Step 7 of Alcoholics Anonymous states the following: “Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.”
This step of AA’s Twelve Step program of recovery is about reducing character defects by embracing humility and spirituality. Working through the 7th step requires a constant commitment to being honest, brave, and humble.
During steps 4 and 5, participants were asked to identify their assets and shortcomings. During step 6, we sought to become equipped to deal with these so that were prepared to take action in step 7.
Quitting alcohol or drugs is a huge transition. Moving on to step 7 requires actively letting go of one’s defects, behaviors, and feelings that are holding one back. This transformation requires a tremendous amount of effort and courage.
It’s vital to remember that asking to be released from one’s shortcomings does not automatically make them vanish. It is up to the individual to be conscientious and make better choices. However, many in recovery do have faith that their higher power can remove their defects when asked to do so.
Working on the previous steps requires dismantling deep layers of denial, ego, and other harmful qualities that dominated one’s life when he or she was active in addiction. Arriving at step 7 implies being prepared to stop thinking as much about ourselves and what we are going to receive, and, instead, begin looking at how we can help others. Simply put, a higher power can help a person replace their addiction with something better.
Step 7 and Humility
When working on the 7th step, the idea of humility comes down to having a realistic perspective of oneself. Humility is being honest about one’s life and place in the world. This is the art of being “right-sized.”
When a person apologetically asks their Higher Power to remove their shortcomings, they recognize that they are neither too great or too small. Ego, self-entitlement, shame, and regrets are all gone.
By admitting one’s powerlessness over drugs or alcohol, one has already begun embracing humility. During this step, recovering addicts often realize that humility is not a state of despair, but rather a state of serenity and acceptance of life, despite whatever comes to pass. It is a continuing opportunity for a person to welcome humility as a central element of remaining sober.
Wishing It Does Not Make It So
Taking action and making progress means work. In AA, working through the steps means using one’s energy to be disciplined and dedicated to striving for long-term recovery. It takes effort to stand up for oneself, to be patient, and to endure the emotional discomfort of newfound behaviors.
Recognizing when we are responding adversely to our shortcomings, and altering these responses, does not come easy. However, the more familiar a person is with their defects, the more likely they are to stop and pay attention to what is going on in their mind and body. By practicing humility in step 7, one can gain a sense of their own humanity and their ability to possess compassion not only for others but for themselves.
We can evaluate progress in recovery by remembering who we were while using, rather than measuring ourselves against others. We can recognize our assets and wield them with humility, looking for an honest way of living in a reality free from the use of drugs and alcohol.
Great and enduring change happens slowly, and almost no one can let go of their shortcomings all at once. Our defects will continue to gradually disappear as we become conscious of them and take action, one day at a time. Recovery is about progress, not perfection. It’s about patience and the willingness to learn new ways of coping with the overwhelming urge to take the path of least resistance and return to our old ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving.
Getting Help for Alcoholism
Support groups like AA work best when used in conjunction with a comprehensive, evidence-based treatment program. Recovery By The Sea offers treatment in both partial hospitalization and outpatient formats. In addition to group support, our programs feature the following:
- Substance abuse education
- Medication-assisted treatment
- Art therapy
- Music therapy
- Health and wellness education
- Aftercare planning
For many, professional treatment that includes these essential services is the first step toward long-lasting sobriety and a more fulfilling life. It only takes the motivation and willingness to change for the better and to accept that they are healthier ways of coping with stress than to turn to drugs and alcohol for misguided support.
If you are ready to get well and reclaim your life back from addiction, contact us today! We will provide you with the tools you need to succeed and enjoy a healthier, happier life!