Step Seven

Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.




Leader's Share and Step Questions


STEP SEVEN

Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

The principle behind Step Seven is HUMILITY.


[Again, we have another Step using "God" (in the form of "Him"), and by now you have a way to deal with that.]
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Greetings all! :-) We're now up to Step Seven! It's great to see some of you still sending in your answers to the loop. I know several of you have been concerned that you've fallen behind, but don't worry about that. I may have a "deadline" to get all 12 Steps sent out in 12 weeks, but there's no "deadline" for your work. You and your sponsor will come up with a timeline that works for the two of you, so please don't be hard on yourselves if you are lagging behind. I know you'll get to each Step in your own time. :-) Ok, on to Step Seven!

Step Seven is contained in one paragraph in the AABB (page 76, 2nd paragraph). Step Seven *is* the Seventh Step Prayer. Step Six had us becoming *entirely ready* to have our Higher Power remove our shortcomings (our CD's, flaws, annoying personality traits), and now we pray for just that -- to have these shortcomings removed from us. We needed WILLINGNESS for the last Step, and now we'll be using HUMILITY.

As we noticed last week, this isn't something *we* do -- it has to be done *for* us. By that I mean we don't say to ourselves, "Ok, choosing 'intolerance,' I now declare that I hereby stop being intolerant! There, all done!" :-) No, it has to be done by someone other than us -- it has to be done by this Power greater than ourselves. By now, this Power should be an entity we've grown used to; an entity that has done for us things we couldn't do for ourselves (like given us the gift of abstinence (remember my Halloween story?), or helped us remain calm in the face of "disaster" (remember my waiting-room story during my husband's cancer surgery?)).

So, what are all these shortcomings, and what do they mean? Well, I had quite a long list of CD's, so I could have thought of myself as a pretty bad person. Sheesh! But early on in my OA life, I heard a great perspective on this in an OA meeting. The woman said that our CD's do *not* mean that we're "bad" or "unworthy" or "evil" or anything *like* that! She said that, for her, these things just meant she was "out of alignment" with her connection to her Higher Power -- "out of alignment" in being who she was created to be. So asking that Power to remove these shortcomings just meant we're asking to clear up the "blockages" that keep us from being in contact with that Higher Power -- that kept her from being who she was created to be. I liked that perspective! [Slogan: "We're not bad people trying to be good; we're sick people, trying to get well."]

And the woman also said that she viewed these "blockages" as having been put there through common human experiences -- "mistaken thinking, hurtful experiences, misguided choices," etc. She felt that, once those "blockages" (CD's) are out of the way, then her path to her HP was "open" -- clear and open so that she could rely on that connection to guide her through life. I really like that perspective, and it's the one that has worked for me.

Another theory about our CD's is the notion that our DEFECTS are just ASSETS that are being applied improperly (improperly because they're now "blocking" us). I had to look a bit closer at that one. For example, take SELFISHNESS. The "asset" form of that would be "SELF-CARE." Self-care is a worthy asset. We can't be of any use to anyone else if we allow ourselves to decline in any way. Even on an airplane, we adults are required to put on an oxygen mask FIRST before we assist, say, a child who is traveling with us. That's because, if we're fainting from lack of oxygen, we're useless to the child. We *must* self-care with the oxygen mask before we can help others. But somewhere along life's road, our self-care became, ME, MINE, ME-FIRST, GIMME, WHERE'S-MY-SHARE. What started as an asset slowly morphed into a shortcoming. It got warped. We're asking our HP to "de-warp" our inner workings. I've also heard it said that we need a "personality transplant." :-) Also called an "ego-ectomy." :-) This is the "psychic change" we addicts needs to make if we are to be free of our addiction. I want to be free of my addiction. I want to be free from the "bondage of self." I want to be free from food's "allure." I want to be free from my CD's. Don't you?


ASSIGNMENT:

A.) To refresh where we are, re-read the first paragraph on page 76. Then read the second paragraph (i.e., the Seventh Step Prayer).

Questions:

1.). The Seventh Step Prayer is shown in it's entirety at the end of this assignment. Write a reflection on each segment of the prayer, listed here:
a. My Creator:
b. I am now willing:
c. that you should have all of me, good and bad:
d. I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character:
e. which stands in the way of my usefulness to you and my fellows:
f. Grant me strenth:
h. as I go out from here:
i. to do your bidding:
j. Amen:

2. What is humility in this context (Humbly asked our HP...)? What can it mean to us as addicts?
3. What are some ways that "failure" has been transformed by humility in your life?
4. Why do we (as addicts) place ourselves above other people? Where does humility place us?

B. Here is a reading from another OA-sanctioned book, "The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous" (aka: "OA 12 x 12"):
"If we have earnestly worked the first six steps of the program, we have already come a long way toward this new attitude of humility. We have [1] admitted our need for help to live our lives, [2] have begun to let go of self-will, [3] have become willing to acknowledge our true selves -- defects and all -- and [4] have become willing to have our self-defeating attitudes and traits changed." [OA 12 x 12 p. 60]

Questions on the reading:

1.) This passage lists 4 things that we should have accomplished by now. List each, and describe how you have changed. [Note: having our defects "removed" is just another way of saying "we've changed.]
2.) Further along in the OA 12 x 12, it says, "...humility means that we aren't smug when a defect...is removed; we're genuinely relieved." [p. 61] Have you already experienced the removal of some of your defects? Do you feel relieved?
3.) The OA 12 x 12 also says, "We proceed with our step-seven prayer, secure in the knowledge that we have done our part and God will do the rest." For me, this means that I can "let go of the outcome." This frees me from being "involved" in the removal process -- as the Step implies. It has to be done *for* me, I can't do it myself. How does this relate to your Step Three work?

C. Take your list of CD's (from your Step Six assignment), and say the Seventh Step prayer (below) for each one. [i.e., take the phrase in the prayer, "every single defect of character," and replace it with a particular CD. e.g., "...I pray you now remove 'intolerance' which stands in the way of my usefulness to you and my fellows..."] Do this for each one.

D. After Step Seven:
1.) After you've humbly asked your HP to remove each of your CD's, sit and reflect on how that feels. Share with the loop.
2.) Suppose a defect that seems "gone" suddenly pops up. What would you do? Suppose a "new" defect pops up (trust me, this happens as HP "reveals more and more to us"), what would you do?

We're making great progress!! :-) See you at the next Step! - Susan


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SEVENTH STEP PRAYER

My Creator,
I am now willing that you should have all of me, good & bad.
I pray that you now remove from me every
single defect of character which stands in the way
of my usefulness to you & my fellows.
Grant me strength, as I go out from here to do Your bidding.
Amen






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Step Seven


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