What Is Step 7 of AA?
"Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings."
What Is the Purpose of This Step?
You cannot overcome your character flaws without humility. Too often, alcoholics are victims of pride and selfishness. During this step, you begin to practice modesty and welcome a change of attitude, which will lead to a happy life.
How Do You Complete This Step?
- Give up self-reliance for reliance on a higher power—whatever that may be to you.
- Learn to practice humility and put character-building ahead of comfort.
- Make "honesty, tolerance, and true love of man and God the daily basis of living."1
- Accept that humility is necessary to achieve a sober and fulfilled life.
- Change your perspective from a self-centered one to a humble, selfless one.
What Are Some Tips for Completing This Step?
- Be willing to suffer and feel pain. It's important to feel the pain that you masked with alcohol. It is a necessary step toward recovery and spiritual well-being.
- Be patient. You can't change your life overnight.
What Are Some Myths About Step 7?
- Humility isn't necessary for recovery. You can't see your shortcomings without stripping yourself of your ego and pride. This unfiltered look into yourself allows you to develop a humble attitude and correct your moral defects.
1. Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions. (1981). New York: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services. Available at: www.aa.org/assets/en_US/en_step7.pdf
Perspectives on Step 7
By Dominica A.
When I think about Step 7, I think about humility, as it tends to be the central theme of this step.
Humility to me means viewing myself with an honest and realistic perspective. It's NOT thinking I'm bigger than my addictions or other people. When I thought I was "all that" and had control over my life, I was living in an alternate reality, because my life—and more specifically my emotional life—was a hot mess.
Then, once I entered recovery and lay down my addictions, I still had to contend with some things I wasn't crazy about, such as:
All of the previous steps led me to the importance of Step 7 and surrendering my will and life over to my Higher Power, asking for help once again.
It's pretty humbling to ask a Higher Power to remove shortcomings. It's saying:
You know, I really can't do this on my own. Like, this guilt that plagues my mind. It's slowly killing me and I can't let go on my own. Will you help me?
Honestly, I was ready to live a life of humility. I'd had enough of trying to do it on my own, because on my own I usually ended up in a mess.
For this step, I did ask my Higher Power to remove my shortcomings. Were they all removed at once?
What I did notice, though, was that as I consciously invited my Higher Power to remove my shortcomings each day, they were less and less evident.
For example, one of my shortcomings was anger when things didn't go my way. I would react with anger or pout like a little girl when I didn't get my way. This was not attractive to say the least.
So, when I began working Step 7, I asked for my Higher Power to remove this anger and help me stay calm, cool, and collected when the universe didn't cater to my every desire.
I eventually learned how to observe things through a different lens. A lens that was not filtering my life through the perspective of a lonely, disheartened, scared little girl, but rather from a mature, healed, lovable adult.
It's not some magic trick that our Higher Power does to remove our shortcomings (though some are removed miraculously quickly). We gradually learn how to let go, overcome, manage, control, and so on when it comes to shortcomings. It's a journey of self-love and insights on life!
Partner with your Higher Power in Step 7, with the intent to give your "stuff" to whatever that power is. You do the legwork and trust your Higher Power for the rest.
I think you'll see that over time, you'll notice less of your shortcomings (harsh reactions, fear, pride, shame, jealousy, anger, envy, greed, etc.) popping up and more positive things popping up instead, such as love, acceptance, humility, patience, kindness, gentleness, self-control, etc.
Dominica A. has a love for the 12 steps, as working through them several times has helped her steer clear of addictions and grow personally and spiritually.
She is committed to living out the 12-step philosophy and sharing the message of hope to those still suffering in addiction--and to those in recovery as well.
Dominica has attended both Alcoholics Anonymous and Codependents Anonymous meetings over the years and appreciates the support she's received. She's got a deep-rooted passion for helping others heal emotional pain and trauma, as her own journey through love addiction has served as a catalyst for her own healing and transformation.