“Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.”
— Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) Step Seven
Step Seven requires actively setting our egos aside and allowing our higher power to take charge in removing our character defects (which we identified in Step Four). And, to do this effectively, humility—modesty and "teach-ability"—is essential.
With Step Seven, we develop a deeper spiritual connection with God (or a higher power of our choosing). Remember that belief in a traditional “God” is not required to work the 12 Steps. Individuals can choose to seek guidance and deeper connection through whichever spiritual practice or meditation works for them.
The Big Book (p. 76) offers the following prayer to exemplify how Step Seven can help us strive to build a richer spiritual connection:
"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."
Humility is so clearly spelled out as a requirement for this step because those of us struggling with addiction issues often have difficulty admitting mistakes and asking for help. For this reason, Step Seven can be a challenge. Here are some tips to help ease the process:
- Talk with a sponsor. This person has already worked Step Seven and will, therefore, likely be able to share their experience with cultivating humility.
- Practice self-compassion. Criticizing ourselves for our shortcomings will only make the process of working Step Seven more difficult. Self-compassion can soften our attitude toward ourselves, which gives us space to allow our higher power to help us improve.
- Try journaling. Write about your previous experiences where self-reliance failed you. This can be enlightening and help you to envision an outcome where relying on a higher power will be beneficial.
Remember, Step Seven isn’t a “one and done” situation. This is an ongoing process that requires time, patience and practice.
For further reading on Step Seven, check out the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions (pages 70-76) and the NA Basic Text (pages 35-37).