My name is Tami, and I am a COE. I am your Step Study Leader this last quarter of 2003. I am grateful to be recovering from this dread disease one day at a time and to humbly ask to have my shortcomings removed.
Step Seven is the natural next step after our work in Steps Four, Five and Six. Now, that we have taken our inventory, discussed the "exact nature of our wrongs" and become "entirely ready" for God to remove our defects, it follows that the next Step would be to ask Him to do so.
The wording in this step brought me up short. Here I was in the middle steps and wanting to continue, but the word "humbly" was nearly my undoing. Isn't being fat or obese in our society humiliating enough, now would I have further humiliation? Clearly my definition of the word "humbly" needed some work, if I was to keep making progress. I think my original concept of humbly was closer to undignified subservient begging. In fact, as I began to explore what humble means, I have come to see that a truly humble person has a balanced innate dignity, neither arrogant or groveling in their approach to their HP or others.
Humility, the state of being humble, is often misunderstood. It is equated with weakness, when it is inner strength. It does not mean inferiority, resignation or submission. In fact, these traits imply we are still resisting our need for help. When we are humble, we are totally willing to accept God's help, knowing that without it we cannot progress further. That I could identify with, and did not bring images of me crawling on the floor like a worm. In true humility we possess healthy self-esteem, accept ourselves as we are, assets and defects alike, and extend the same acceptance to others. We are learning to recognize humility in others and to learn from them.
Humility also helps me to see my true relationship to my Higher Power. Throughout the Steps, I am steered to turn to the God of our understanding for guidance and support in my efforts to change. By the time I reached Step Seven, I know I don't have to beg or demand things from God. I simply ask. I learn to trust GOMU's way and pace as I go about our business. Humility is also the recognition of all the components of myself discovered in Steps Four and Five and total acceptance of the daily action in Step Three.
Those who are humble have learned to rely on God, not to defiantly resist their HP's assitance. I can accept that mistakes may be made, but I will continue to ask, not expecting perfection of myself or of others. In my active addiction days, I would not ask for help from anyone, I had to be independent and do it myself. I stayed in the disease for a long time because it hurt my pride to seek help. I have learned to humbly ask my HP for what I need, again and again. And I've learned that God will fill my needs, in divine ways and timing, which are tailor made for me.
How do we humbly ask God to remove our shortcomings? As we learned in Step Three, there is no set way to communicate with our Higher Power. Some read the list of imperfections over and over, asking their Higher Power to remove them. Some find it helpful to meditate and pray on their relationship with God. Some get on their knees and ask God to remove their shortcomings. However we choose to ask, turning everything over can offer a wonderful release that enables us to continue our recovery confidently.
The first defect that I was willing to let go of was worry. As I turned to God and surrendered this defect, I was given many opportunities to let this defect go, and to act in ways that would see this request be answered. New situations appeared in my life, and I had a choice to repeat the same old patterns of responses, or to practice something new. My defect became glaringly evident to me, and slowly, I learned to replace worry with trust and with faith. Worry gave me the illusion of control in my life, but is in fact, rooted in fear. I began to have my eyes opened that worry prediposed me to a negative not a postive frame of mind. Worry thoughts kept me thinking of the ways in which I would handle my life independent of my HP's assistance. As I would meditate on the Serenity Prayer, I would have ideas come to me how to let the worry go and to feed my mind with faithfilled thoughts. Each time I would catch myself involved in worrying, I would stop and look for the good and the positive ways I could see my HP working in that particular situation. Worry also kept me trapped in self reliance independent of God's will for me. God's will always brings me to a higher plane; to trust, peace and a growing deepening faith.
The first day I said the Seventh Step Prayer, and asked God to take my defect of worry, my car broke down. Immediately the thought came to my mind that I had a choice to trust my HP or to worry. I was stranded miles in the country, so I prayed a simple prayer, humbly asking for help. Before I got the words out of my mouth, some people I knew and trusted stopped and give me assistance. I was quite grateful as the temperature was near triple digits that day. I had a moment's decision, and made a conscious choice to trust my HP in this situation. I have been given many other situations to trust my HP or to worry. I truly don't worry anymore. I don't need to, I am guided to take a positive action by being consciously connected to my HP all the time. I have learned I don't need to control my life to feel safe in the world. But, I do need my connection to my HP and faith makes things happen that are truly remarkable. And each time, the trust and confidence in my HP deepens and grows stronger.
I also began to understand that worry was how I showed my love and caring to my family. It was compassion and care taken too far. No longer assets.....they were demonstrated as the defect of worry in my life. It is important to find the balance with our HP, for I want the worry removed and to retain the care and compassion. I began to seek more positive methods of expressing my care to them without the negative power of worry. I entrusted them into the care of my HP.
One thing I've learned is God will not take a defect unless I ask. God does not seek to control me but to help me partcipate in my own transformation. It must be willingly let go. I must ask repeatedly, without giving up. I will never attain perfection. I learn patience and discipline as I humbly surrender my defects and shortcomings, and seek my HP's ways to change.
The AABB suggests that if we still cling to something we will not let go, we ask God to help us be willing. When ready, we say something like this: "My Creator, I am now willing that you should have all of me, good and bad. I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness to you and my fellows. Grant me strength, as I go out from here, to do your bidding. Amen."
To gain character as you lose ego
To gain integrity as you lose dishonesty
To gain strength as you lose fear
To gain compassion as you lose disappointment
To gain discipline as you lose willfulness
To gain connection as you lose separation
To gain forgiveness as you lose resentment
To gain enthusiasm as you lose hostility
To gain tenderness as you lose rigidity
To gain boldness as you lose bitterness
To gain generosity as you lose selfishness
To gain optimism as you lose inadequacy
To gain excitement as you lose embarrassment
To gain gratitude as you lose greed
To gain love as you lose pride.
WTS Step STudy Leader
STEP SEVEN ~ QUESTIONS
1. Which shortcoming is causing me the most trouble right now? What benefits do I get from it? What problems does it cause me?
2.What can I do to cooperate with my Higher Power in removing my shortcomings?
3. Am I able to see challenges as opportunities to practice new character traits?
4. As I turn my defects over to God, are new shortcomings coming to light? If so, can I continue to ask God for help?
5. What negative behaviors or traits are lessening or have been removed?
6. What positive trait do I want to develop or substitute for a trait I want to eliminate?
7. As I work Step Seven, do I see a change in my relationship with my Higher Power?
8. Can you find a positive assets in any of your defects?
9. What are you grateful for at this point of your recovery?
Blessings in program,
WTS Step Study Leader