Here are some questions that pertain to Step 7.
What does humbly mean to you?
How are humility and humiliation related?
What behavior do you expect to see from someone who is humble?
Why is it important to ask humbly?
Why do we have to ask?
Where do you stand on the ‘remove’ vs ‘transform’ controversy that is such a big deal to me? Does one understanding make this step more useful to you than the other?(And, please, don’t hesitate to disagree with me....we can both be right!)
Why do you want God to do this?
How will you know that God has done this for you?
It is my belief that God has ALREADY given us everything we need for complete recovery—the second we ask for it or become aware that we need it....but that WE stand in our own way of accepting these tools and gifts. In what way might you be standing in the way of accepting the gift of the removal (or transformation) of your shortcomings?
What will you do to keep yourself from picking these old tools...our shortcomings...back up in the future?
If it seems that God has not removed/transformed a CD for you, what might that mean? What response do you think this calls for?
If you believe that God will remove your shortcomings, with what will you replace them, and how will that happen? If you believe that God will transform your shortcomings, how will you support and nurture the new character assets?
What is the blessing in this step?
How will you use this step to bless others?
Here are my answers to these questions:
To me, humbly means,”from a standpoint of realizing that I am not God, I don’t have to be God, and that that is a good thing.” It is about realizing that I was CREATED to function best when I am connected to my HP....just like an electric lamp is CREATED to function best when connected to the source of electricity in the house. Unconnected, the lamp can be beautiful, can hold clothing, but will not do what it is designed to do, namely illuminate the room. If I am trying to function disconnected from my HP, I may be able to function within the range of my powerlessness, but won’t be able to be the person my HP created me to be. So, when I do something humbly, I do it with acceptance, realization and gratitude that I cannot—and don’t have to--do it alone....That it is NOT a FLAW that I need help....that I do not have to grovel when asking for help....that it is my HP’s PLEASURE to help me, once I realize that that is the original plan for me.
In spite of the fact that humility and humiliation come from the same root word—humus—the ground, the earth...I believe them to be opposing concepts. Humility draws us closer to our HP, and to others, just as we are, perfectly human and perfectly in need of our HP. Humiliation draws on the false belief that we are supposed to be perfect—that we are supposed to be gods...and uses that fallacy to ridicule us...to shame us, to ‘put us in our place’ and perhaps elevate the humiliator. (I made that word up....like it? :) )
I would expect that people who are humble would be grateful for their HP, grateful that they don’t have to BE in control of keeping everything in the world aligned and moving smoothly (like I thought I had to be pre program), willing to ask for help, teachable, realistic about their own assets and CDs, and seeking to stay in contact with their HP.
I think it is important to ask humbly because if we are not approaching this step from this attitude, we are not likely to be teachable, open to change, or grateful, and would probably miss the blessings of this step. When I go tell God how and when and where to fix a problem, I am treating my HP like a servant, which is certainly not coming from a position of humility. When I approach my HP like an open, teachable, grateful child, asking for help, and willing to accept what comes, I am able to accept the gifts that my HP would have me receive. I don’t believe HP withholds the gifts, but I am not able to accept them when I am full of myself.
Why do we have to ask? While I do not attribute a specific gender to my HP, our language lacks a viable neutral gender with which to talk about HP....so, please read whatever gender works for you in the following. My HP is nothing if not a true ‘gentleman’...in that s/he does not barge in where not invited. HP does not manipulate me, does not push his/her agenda on me. My HP is infinitely patient, and waits for me to invite him/her into my life. Therefore, if I want help, I need to ask. Asking puts me in a position of openness and acceptance... I believe that HP has ALREADY made available to me everything I need for recovery and life....but I am not able to access those things until I come to a place of humility when I realize I NEED HP’s help. Asking puts me in that position.
As I have said before, I prefer to ask God to transform my CDs, rather than remove them. Part of this comes from my reclaiming my body and my self which I rejected at a very, very young age. And part of it comes from honoring the work that my little self did, with the few resources she had, to survive in a very difficult situation. Those character defects which I have now outgrown, were the best tools I had to survive, and I am not ashamed that I used them when nothing else was available. It took a LONG, LONG time for me to accept that Lainey is brave...Lainey being my inner child....the abuse survivor, the one who was ‘not supposed to live’ long enough to go to school. I want my character defects to be transformed just as my inner child is transformed, accepted, and allowed to grow, as I dance down this road of happy destiny.
I want God to do this because, very simply, I cannot. And because these CDs are VERY HEAVY rocks in my backpack of life, and I am tired of carrying them. And because I am looking forward to seeing how God will transform them.
I will know that God has done this for me when my reactions change without me having to consciously change them. I expect to be surprised by my reaction one day, and then realize that God has done for me what I cannot do on my own. In the meantime, I will act as if God has already transformed these defects.
Sometimes I enjoy hanging on to my CDs, because they are comfortable, like ratty old slippers. Sometimes I still hang on to them, because I don’t trust my HP to provide alternatives when s/he transforms them. Living out of fear and doubt causes me to stand in the way of accepting this gift. Choosing to take the easy, familiar way causes me to stand in the way of accepting this gift. I have a slogan on my wall that I read from a fellow... “Don’t ask God to guide your steps if you are unwilling to move your feet.” Sometimes I am simply unwilling to move my feet.
I will do the footwork....prayer and meditation, reading literature, staying connected to HP and my community, pausing to give HP room to work, staying abstinent, practicing the NEW responses, acting as if, taking care of me....so that I do not pick the old tools back up. And if I do, as soon as I realize I have, I will stop, pray, turn around, and get back to basics in the program. Work the steps around my detour, and remember I am human, and will make mistakes.
If it seems that God has not removed/transformed a CD for me, it may mean that I need to explore where the blessing of that CD might be for me. Perhaps there are situations where I am supposed to use that CD, but in a positive way....and I am looking for a different kind of transformation than my HP has offered me. Perhaps it means that I have not yet done the footwork to be able to accept the transformation. Perhaps it means I am not yet ready to let go of this CD, and that I need to be gentle and understanding with myself, and work harder on the spiritual and emotional legs of my recovery, trusting that when the time is right, I will be able to let it go.
Since I believe that God will transform my shortcomings, I will support and nurture the new character assets by practicing them intentionally, by living in gratitude, by being gentle with myself when I forget and ‘try out the old CDs to see if they really don’t still work’ as a former sponsee was wont to say. I will stop and express my gratitude each time I realize that my new character asset has been experienced or called into play.
The blessing in this step is that I will no longer have to be shackled with the ‘ill fitting shoes’ of my CDs....that I can shed that old sarcophagus and emerge with a whole new set of reactions and tools for living. I will be invited to live free.
I will use this step to bless others as I interact with them in a healthier, more respectful, generous, kind, and loving manner. Because I will have more respect for myself, I will be able to better respect others. I will be able to live happy, joyous and free, and to share the light of recovery with others.
The Twelve Steps
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