Steps four through six in AA have been working up to this point. In step four and five we explored and came to terms with our shortcomings. In step six, we mentally prepared for having our higher power remove our character defects. Now, we’ve reached step seven in AA, where it’s time to actually ask God to remove these defects.
Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
Over the course of your addiction, you likely came into contact with and created a lot of negative energy. By asking your higher power to remove these faults, you’re creating space for positive energy to come your way in the future.
What Does Step Seven in AA Mean?
Here’s the thing about step seven: simply asking God to remove your shortcomings doesn’t mean they’ll automatically go away. Step seven requires that you be involved in actively making choices and actively letting go of our shortcomings.
Your higher power will remove your shortcomings if you ask, but it requires that you make an effort as well.
Simply put, step seven in AA requires a different type of work compared to the last few steps. In the previous steps, you’ve been identifying and slowly breaking down layers of ego, selfishness, deception, denial, and other negative attributes. Step seven is like the final push to destroy these behaviors for good.
And remember, you can do step six and seven multiple times. Start with one or two shortcomings to prepare to remove and then ask God to eliminate them. Then go back as many times as you need to.
How to Work Step Seven in AA
So, if step seven in AA requires action, what exactly do we need to do in order to have our shortcomings removed?
First, we need to ensure we’re staying humble in our progress, leaving any feelings of grandiosity and self-entitlement at the door.
Then, we need to be aware of the choices we make going forward. We’re powerless to alcohol, but we have the power to make small changes and decisions in our daily lives. We’ve already become very aware of our character defects, so we should know how different situations may cause us to react. This means we should be proactive. When you anticipate coming into a situation or a conversation that would normally cause you to act out on a character defect, think about how you can act on a spiritual principle instead.
To reflect on yourself through this step, consider asking yourself some of the following questions:
- What have I learned in the last six steps that helped me to prepare for asking God to remove my shortcomings?
- How do I react when I’m proud of myself? With modest pride or arrogant pride?
- When can I stop myself from acting on character defects and choose to act on a spiritual principle instead?
- Am I feeling complacent or overly confident in the progress I’ve made in my recovery?
The first word in step seven in AA is the key word to succeeding in this step. Be humble.
What does it mean to be humble? Remove any arrogance that you have in your attitude toward recovery or the 12 steps of AA. Being arrogant during your recovery defeats the purpose of asking your higher power to remove your shortcomings.
You have made incredible progress to get to where you are now, and you should be proud of yourself. But there are two types of pride: modest pride and arrogant pride.
Arrogant pride is when you begin to feel superior than others as a result of your accomplishment. Imagine a first-grader who received a high mark on his homework and boasts to all his friends about how well he did, how he’s the smartest kid in the class.
Contrast that with modest pride, which acknowledges the positive feeling that comes with doing something good, but still recognizes that it doesn’t make you superior to anyone else.
Modest pride goes hand in hand with humility. You can and should feel good about everything you’ve achieved in your recovery, but don’t lose sight of the fact that you still have work left to do. In practicing humility, you understand that you are neither too big nor too small.
Need Help with the 12 Steps?
Working alone to remove your shortcomings is difficult. It becomes easier when you have a group of peers working toward the same goal in their own recovery. That’s one of the best parts about the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous: the built-in community support.
At Any Length Recovery, we strongly believe in the healing power of the 12 steps and use them to help addicted men and their families to achieve lifelong recovery from addiction. If you’re interested in learning about our programs and how we help our guests to recover, give us a call today at (512) 598-9968.