The principle behind step seven is HUMILITY.
I think if weíve survived this journey so far, by the time we get to this step hopefully we are beginning to believe that itís not really up to us, and that our Higher Power is there helping us not only with the food but with most everything including those character defects that mess up our lives and our relationships. I really struggled with the concept of humility at first and like many people before me I thought it meant humiliation or being less than, and I certainly didnít need to feel more less than, than I already did.
It took me a long time to grasp the concept of humility and when I finally got it, it was only because of the feelings I got in my OA meetings where despite what Iíd done or hadnít done, I was still like everyone else Ė another bozo on the bus. It was then that I realised that having humility means we are neither above nor below anyone on some imagined ladder of worth. I know many of my character defects were ways Iíd behaved in the past in an attempt to make me feel better than others like being judgmental or critical, whereas some had the exact opposite effect, namely self pity.
In meetings, I always identify myself as a compulsive overeater because it was there that I learned that I was exactly the same as others, merely being a compulsive overeater who was looking for recovery. In the past I would rather identify myself by my accomplishments, ie the person who did all these things and had a couple of degrees, one even cum laude, because those made me feel better than others. Many of the people in meeting have less education than I do or come from a totally different cultural, ethnic or socioeconomic background and yet theyíre exactly the same as me. That for me is what humility is all about in that it right sized me and made me just the same as others, a human being struggling to cope in an often difficult world.
But of course itís not easy to just list the character defects and then seemingly do nothing, but in actual fact we really are putting in the action already and have become more aware of when we act out on those defects, so that I know for me is a start. Iím now also aware when Iím being critical or Iím people pleasing and I can ask my Higher Power for help with that. In fact some defects are really just misapplied instincts and Iíve been able to turn some of them around. For example my stubbornness has helped me in being able to persevere in the program, and so I have just kept coming back even when I was struggling with food and that has helped my recovery as I keep learning all the time. As for self pity Iíve realised that gratitude is the exact antidote for that defect so when I do sometimes catch myself wallowing in self pity which does happen from time to time seeing I also suffer from depression, I try and remember to make remember all the things Iím grateful for and that always helps.
ASSIGNMENT AND QUESTIONS ON STEP SEVEN
Read step seven in the OA 12 &12 or p.76 in the Big Book and answer the following questions.
1. What is your definition of humility and how does it differ from humiliation?
2. Why do you want to have your shortcomings removed?
3. Have you made a list of your shortcomings? Please share about one of them and any insights you have about it
4. What positive trait do you want to develop or substitute for that shortcoming?
5. Which of your character defects do you think helped you survive in the past?
6. How willing are you to make changes and what can you do to show your willingness?
7. How do you think that becoming Ďright-sizedí would help you in navigating your way through life?
8. Can you visualise yourself as the person you will be without the character defects you found? How will you think, act and feel?
Then say the following 7th step prayer from the AA Big Book every day for one week.
SEVENTH STEP PRAYER: My Creator, I am now willing that You 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. (Seventh Step Prayer - Page 76 of the Big Book)
The Twelve Steps