Step Seven

Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

Leader's Share and Step Questions

[NOTE: You may change “Him” to some other wording for “Higher Power” if that would help you.]

The principle behind Step Seven is HUMILITY.

Greetings all! :-) We're now up to Step Seven! It's great to see that most of you still sending in your answers to the loop. I know several of you have been concerned that you've fallen behind, but I know that you and your sponsor will come up with a timeline that works for the two of you, so please don't be too hard on yourselves if you are lagging behind. I know you’ll get to each Step. :-) I’ll keep moving forward, though, so hopefully you can catch up in due 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 CD's, flaws, annoying personality traits (our shortcomings), and now we ask for just that -- to have these shortcomings removed from us. We needed willingness for Step Six, and now we'll be using HUMILITY for Step Seven. “Humbly asked [our Higher Power] to remove our shortcomings.”

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, I can be very self-centered, so I now declare that I hereby stop being self-centered! There, all done!" :-) No, it has to be done by someone/something 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 giving 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. But early on in my 12-Step life, I heard a great perspective on this in an online meeting. The woman said that our CD's do *not* mean that we're "bad" or "unworthy" or "evil" or anything even remotely like that! She said that, for her, these things just meant she was "out of alignment" with her connection to her Higher Power. She was ”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 -- “blockages” that keep us from being who we were 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 passing out from lack of oxygen, we're useless to the child. We *must* self-care with the oxygen mask before we can care for 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 need 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?

Here is the prayer for this Step:

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.



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

1. Write a reflection on each segment of the prayer (i.e., reflect on what each phrase means to you):

    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 the context of Step Seven (Humbly asked our HP...)? What can it mean to us as addicts?
3. What are some ways that a “defect” has been transformed by humility in this program? [For example, how has selfishness or intolerance or some other defect been transformed thru humility?]
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 this 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 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 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. Share on this activity for one or two of your CD’s.

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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