Step 7 in A.A.: Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings
As humans we tend to have issues with pridefulness. In recovery, it is very hard to let go of what we think we can do through our own resourcefulness and place our trust in our Higher Power. But that act of humility is exactly what lies at the center of Step 7.
Maybe you’ve noticed how humility seems to be a common denominator in the first seven of the Alcoholics Anonymous steps:
- We admitted we’re powerless over alcohol, and that our lives had become unmanageable.
- Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
- Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
- Make a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
- Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
- We’re entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
- Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings.
Taken as a whole, the first seven steps of A.A. involve realizing that we cannot make the shift from substance use to sobriety on our own. This is true, no matter how intelligent or strong-willed we might be, because our will has been hijacked. In essence, the steps demonstrate our need for a Higher Power to step in and remove the defects of character that have contributed to the disease.
Navigating Step 7 in Alcoholics Anonymous
Completing Step 7 requires a willingness to transfer control from ourselves to our Higher Power. While working the steps we have learned to admit we needed God’s help, to turn our lives over to God, to admit and list our defects of character, and to prepare ourselves in Step 6 to take this momentous leap in Step 7. So, with all this preparation, why is it so hard to ask our Higher Power for help? The answer lies in a single word: pride.
Overcoming our human pride is no easy feat. We are accustomed to striving for self-sufficiency, to feeling empowered and taking control of our lives—yet we learned the hard way that living a me-centered life can land us in a bad place. Sometimes, the best action to take when all efforts have failed is turning the reins over to God.
Asking our Higher Power to remove our character flaws is absolutely an act of faith. We realize we are not capable of doing the heavy lifting all by ourselves. We have come to believe—to have faith that our Higher Power is ready to step in and help tune up our character. Think of the Higher Power as a doctor who will surgically remove the cancerous tumor that threatens our life. We may know the tumor exists, but do not have the surgical skills to remove it ourselves… but our Higher Power does.
Still, in working Step 7, even while humbly asking our Higher Power to take control, we are tasked with being continually alert to, and to avoid, the sources of temptation that threaten sobriety and could set us back. This requires prayer and commitment.
Consider Ashley Alumni Coordinator Louis M.’s personal experience with Step 7:
“Step Seven for me was about adding to my daily prayers, humbly asking my Higher Power to remove my defects of character. My defects of character were very clearly laid out in my Fourth and Fifth Steps, with a little help from my sponsor. Step 7 started with an addition to my daily prayer about removing my shortcomings and using my defects of character for good, and then evolved into much more awareness of my actions and thoughts throughout the day.”
The 12-Step Program is a valuable recovery tool that walks us, one step at a time, through a life altering shift from egocentrism—being focused on ourselves—toward humility. As each step is mastered, we become closer and closer to living the A.A. slogan, “Let go and let God.” In completing Step 7 you take a giant leap forward on that journey.
Ashley Addiction Treatment, formerly Father Martin’s Ashley, is a nationally recognized nonprofit leader in integrated, evidence-based treatment for substance use disorders and is accredited by The Joint Commission. We offer holistic care that encompasses the mind, body and spirit through inpatient and outpatient treatment, provide drug detox, relapse prevention plans, family wellness programs and a variety of other services tailored to each patient’s unique needs. Our driving principle – “everything for recovery” – reinforces our mission to transform and save lives through the science of medicine, the art of therapy and the compassion of spirituality, and is complemented by our philosophy of healing with respect and dignity. For information about our comprehensive programs, please call (866) 313-6307.