The exposure of my coping mechanisms in Step 6 left me feeling like a defect myself. I had tried without any luck to remove these defects myself. I had sworn I would be honest and failed each day. I had started one diet program after another trying to "do" self care. I had bought expensive clothes to cover up my body and let them go to waste by doing housework in them and dripping bleach on them. I could not remove these character defects anymore than I could remove my disease of compulsive overeating. It was when I declared true powerlessness over these and worked Step 7 with an attitude of humility that I was able to release, even if only for a day, some of those defects of character.
Humbly asked Him
Humility: I had enough of being humiliated thank you very much. The authors of the 12 and 12 said it just perfectly for me. It was suggested to me that they were not the same thing.
I didn't do humility very well. I did braggart. I did boisterous. I did self will really well but humility escaped me. So I didn't really have any examples of what this character asset was. So I started to look around and see what it was in others.
My ex husband had a man who worked with him who was brilliant at keeping confidences. He was gentle, kind and didn't gossip. Others went to him for counsel and he gave them what he could. This was my first example of humility.
A woman I am in recovery with graduated with a 1st (4.0) at Oxford. She never uses her intellect as a weapon often sighting her poor memory and her difficulties in recovery. Here is another example of humility.
Each week around the world hundred of thousands of people set up meetings, chair meetings, offer their time for service without being paid. Millions of dollars are spent on petrol(gasoline), telephone calls, photocopying and coffee and tradition 7. This is one of the most powerful examples of humility. The people I am recovering with themselves and their practice of anonymity is the clearest example of humility in my life.
Each time I give service I am blessed with humility working in my life. I am no poster child for OA. I will never be famous for sitting in those uncomfortable chairs every week or to post in support of a fellow recovering person on the Internet.. I will however have the blessed honour of carrying the message and keeping the light on for someone who needs it and this thought gave me permission to work this step with an attitude of humility.
Ok, where's the magic wand of recovery darn it? *laugh* One of my best recovery friends bought me a pink magic wand from Toys R US and told me if I ever needed to be cured I could use that. It's been a joke between us ever since and when she graduated with her Counselling degree I bought her a replica Hermonine Granger Wand from the Harry Potter films so she could cure her clients. What's this got to do with "to remove"? Well there is no force in this world; no pills, no magic wand that can remove my shortcomings or my compulsion to overeat. But the miracle of recovery is that working the steps and handing it all over it does work.
Now I can't remove it. Do you think I would CHOOSE to be dishonest? Nope but I used to as it made me feel exciting and unique. Nowadays I don't like me when I lie. The mental energy expended in keeping it all straight alone is exhausting. But the real gift is by working the Steps and every day learning a new way of coping with the insecurity and fears in my life I don't HAVE to lie.
So how do I know it can be removed? Do I really trust this HP of mine?
Let's give an example of what happens when it is removed. Recently I handed over my life and my will around dating. This means I can't ask people out anymore I have to just let life happen. This is part of handing over my defect of control. I'd been single and not really dated for about 4 years. As a "taster" of what God had in store I was in the post office just before Christmas and a man out of nowhere gave me his number and asked me out. Now it didn't work out but this was the first time ever I have been asked out. By handing over control and praying for it to be removed God showed me that I was perfectly fine and it would happen in his time if I let it.
It was when I "got" the humility I was able to ask for help with the powerlessness over my character defects. One by one they lessened their grip on my character and were replaced with honesty, self love and acceptance. Now I don't get these all right. As I type this the control over my food has returned and I am desperately trying to get honest around my portion sizes once again. I know by writing this work with you it will bring me back to my knees where I belong and it's only here that I am teachable. God can and had removed these barriers in my life before. I know if He is sought he can do so again.
I am, as ever, a work in progress.
Once again a gentle set of reminders of how I worked this step that may help you.
- Select a home group (this can be on-line, on email, in person etc.) and attend meetings regularly and share about your step work and your feelings.
- Get some numbers, email addresses of people you can speak to and share with.
- Get a journal and write down your feelings around this step. I am a great procrastinator and tend to put things off. Journaling helps me.
- Think about asking someone to be your sponsor if you don't have one. A sponsor is like a kind older brother or sister. They are a bit further down the road and they have what you want.
- Work with that sponsor on what comes of this step work. They are a great source of inspiration, clarification and support.
Read Step 4 in the OA 12 and 12 page 59-66
Share your feelings around this what you have read with your OA home group(whether on line or in real life), this step group and a trusted friend or sponsor.
Questions Part 1
- What are examples of humility that you have seen in your life? What does the word humility make you feel?
- How has your obsession with yourself prevented you from being humble?
- When you have self esteem how does that help you to see others?
- What's the difference between accepting yourself for all you are and being self righteous which blocks you from humility?
Working the Step
Using your Step 6&7 list your shortcomings
My main ones were:
- Lack of Self Care
||Short Description of What Happened?
|| Affects my ?
|Examples: My brother
||Physically & verbally abused me growing up
||Self Care, dishonesty (I used to sneak into his room and tell my mother about his drugs.)
||Borrowed money and never paid me back
||Pitted me against my elder brother
Now, for a change, I would like you to list some of your character assets. We did some of this in Step 1 so go back to what you wrote and write a few more down. If you have a hard time thinking of any ask people from the list privately, speak to your sponsor, your face to face group etc. You are an incredible mixture of beauty, honour and bravery for getting this far. Wait there's 3 I just found for you for free ;-)
Here are some of mine:
Questions Part 2
- Why do you want these shortcomings removed? What purpose will it serve to be "rid" of them? Which ones do you want to hold onto?
- Reading through your list of shortcomings can you accept each and everyone of them were designed to keep you safe in sickness but are no longer useful to your recovering self?
- Do I expect my defects to be removed magically?
- How can I adopt an attitude of humility and allow my defects to be revealed and removed in my HP's time?
- What can I do on a daily basis to keep an eye out for new shortcomings or the removal of old ones? (it does happen I promise :-) )
Ok now it's time for another prayer taken daily this week. Each morning in addition to your Step 3 prayer please add one of these or make up one of your own as I did. It's really simple I promise.
OA 12 & 12 p .61
"I am this way, and only with your help can I change."
AA Big Book P.76
"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."
"God please remove anything within me that doesn't serve you and strengthen the things that do."
So you got to the end of "the forgotten steps". You now are at the cusp of Step 8&9 and I am so happy to have walked with you all this way. We are working the actions that will free us of the bondage of all we have done and free us to be perfectly imperfect. I am so happy that you have chosen to take this journey with me. My higher power has really blessed me to have you walking with me.
Ok now we've done this.... let's do a Step 3 prayer, our new Step 7 prayer, the serenity prayer and move onto extra credit.
The OA Workbook has so many good questions for working this step. Here are a few more for you:
- Have I discovered other defects that I didn't see during my Steps 4-6? What are they?
- To What lengths am I willing to go to removed my shortcomings?
- What do I do if I make a mistake?
- How does working my Step 7 effect my relationship with my Higher Power?
- How has God changed my character defects into assets when I need them most?
Walking with you,
The Twelve Steps
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