Step Seven

Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

Leader's Share and Step Questions

Center yourself as you are able
AA Big Book, page 76, paragraph 2.
AA 12 & 12 Step 7
OA 12 & 12, p. 59 - 60, especially read it for the difference between humiliation and humility.

In step four we inventoried our shortcomings. In step five we admitted them. In step 6 we decided that we were willing to let them go, maybe not all at once, but if not, we’d remain always willing to do so. Now we ask our higher powers to remove them. And according to this step we have to do so humbly:

AA12 & 12, page 75:
A great turning point came in our lives when we sought for humility as something we really wanted, rather than as something we must have. It marked the time when we could commence to see the full implication of step seven: “Humbly asked him to remove our shortcomings”

Why does this step say ‘humbly ask’ and not just ‘ask’ -- why is the adverb there? Why does the AA 12&12 say (above) that’s the “full implication’ of the step?

Each of us has our own constellation of character defects that we found in Step 4, have admitted them, and have decided we want to be rid of them. For me-- the center of that constellation is selfishness, often based on fear that I won’t have what I want. I have been selfish my whole life. Sometimes necessarily so, sometimes greedily so, sometimes angrily so and, most of the time, just habitually so. It was my go-to modus operandi. One of the problems of using selfishness to drive my will and my life, I was really putting my wants, needs, etc., in a place that placed more value on me than on you. I did not consciously think I was better than you; in fact I usually felt like I was a failure, inferior, tiny, insignificant. To compensate, perhaps, I needed to be better. Not the same as, but better…

And whenever I didn’t immediately get what I wanted or was even afraid I wouldn’t, I was uncomfortable (restless, irritable or discontented), but I chose not to feel it; I chose food instead.

AA 12 & 12-- p. 72
…. Whenever we had to choose between character and comfort, the character building was lost in the dust of the chase of what we thought was happiness

That fits my story for sure .. Reread it with your own name or the pronoun ‘I’. AA 12 & 12-- p. 72
This lack of anchorage to any permanent values, this blindness to the true purpose of our lives, produced another bad result. For just so long as we were convinced that we could live exclusively by our own individual strength and intelligence, for just that long was a working faith in a Higher Power impossible. This was true even when we believed that God existed. We could actually have earnest religious beliefs which remained barren because we were still trying to play God ourselves. As long as we placed self reliance first, a genuine reliance upon a Higher Power was out of the question. That basic ingredient of all humility, a desire to seek and do God’s will, was missing.

Reread this, as well, using the pronoun I and whatever you call your higher purpose/power.

If I want recovery, I can no longer rely on myself, my self will, my selfishness, my reactionary fearfulness.. I can only, seriously and with intention and mindfulness, put myself on an equal basis with everyone else. Even though I think I have always done that, I have not. And in that humility, the guiding force of my life now becomes a desire to seek out the next right thing and do what my higher power wants me to do. And that’s why the adverb ‘humbly’ is the first word in Step Seven. Humbly means that I put myself in my right relationship to others and in service to my higher power. Only then can I ask that my character defects be removed.

AA12&12 p.
During this process of learning more about humility, the most profound result of all was the change in our attitude toward God. And this was true whether we had been believers or unbelievers. We began to get over the idea that the Higher Power was a sort of bush-league pinch hitter, to be called upon only in an emergency.

It is this change in attitude that puts us in right relationship -- the meaning here of humility -- to others and to our higher power. For those of us who struggle with the concept of a capital G God, we can finally understand the concept of a higher power as something that is not us -- it is something that directs our lives. For me, I find the basic concept of love, kindness and service, as the way I strive to live. I truly do thank Goodness. For those with a firm belief in god, I am told, this is where the relationship needed by this program becomes apparent. In any case, it becomes constant in our lives -- no “calling on it only in an emergency”: -- this humble and right relationship is the relationship that we have to live in.

Work the Step
In the AA Big Book, all of Step Seven is one paragraph, and these are the directions we get:
When ready, we say something like this: “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.” We have then completed Step Seven.

So your job is to say something like that -- known as the 7th Step Prayer -- The directions are to say something like it; you don’t have to use the words in the book, but you can use those words if you find meaning there. For now, write it out in your own words in a way that is meaningful for you and keep it with you. I keep mine in an electronic format on my phone so that I can refer to it. Because this step requires vigilance -- it (along with step 6) is not a once and done step; it is something we do often.

Here is what I say:
I am absolutely willing that the universe should have all of me, good and bad. Please destroy my defects of character and make me useful to others. I will find the strength as I go out from here to do the next right thing. May my thinking, my intuitions and my decisions be inspired by my best self and not my responsive will. I willingly love and serve others.


What are your thoughts on the meaning of humility?

Why do you think the word ‘humbly’ is the first word in this step?

Reflect on this from the AA 12 & 12.

During this process of learning more about humility, the most profound result of all was the change in our attitude toward God. And this was true whether we had been believers or unbelievers. We began to get over the idea that the Higher Power was a sort of bush-league pinch hitter, to be called upon only in an emergency.

Our shares help others, so if you are willing, what change did happen in your attitude towards your higher power? Did you think of your higher power as a ‘sort of bush-league pitch hitter” called on only when you got tired of, or were in a tough spot, while you ran the rest of your life yourself? Has that changed?

If you are willing, share your own version of the 7th Step Prayer.


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