Step 7 - It's All About Letting Go
Step 7: Humbly asked God*
to remove our shortcomings.
Once we have become truly
willing for the God of our understanding to remove our 'defects of
character' (or shortcomings or whatever you want to call them), we simply
need to ask… that's what Step 7 says. In some ways it really is
Of course, it doesn't
always feel that simple!
The 7th Step is the
letting go step. Letting go is a big subject for us. It often seems as if
we should be able to let something go, but it feels stuck.
It's starts with acceptance
One way I look at all
this is that acceptance proceeds letting go, and once acceptance is there,
letting go almost takes care of itself… almost. Step 6 is really where
we reach true acceptance.
As an old timer in
Alcoholics Anonymous used to say, over and over again, "You've got to
accept it just as it is!" He'd go on, saying that if the acceptance
was real and true, the letting go would just happen. He'd point out we
couldn't cheat by accepting it so it would change – the acceptance had
to be absolute and total and then, he'd continue, "of it's own action
it will change." I've found he's often right; in fact, if it doesn't
change I now figure I haven't really accepted it.
Seek and do God's will
Of course, in Step 7 we
are also dealing with humility… have you looked humble up
recently? My dictionary includes such statements as 'not haughty or
arrogant.' Unfortunately, it also contains such phrase as 'not assertive'
and 'low,' which, if taken too literally, puts us back at powerlessness
over everything, not just our addiction. Obviously, there must be some
As addicted people, no
matter what addiction we claim, we have lots of experience with
humiliation. We know it from the results of our addiction, and we usually
discover we don't have much solid self-worth.
That's not what we're
after here. The 12 and 12 sets us straight when it says, in Step 7,
that humility is the desire to seek and do God's will.
Knowing God's will for us
is a huge subject! Theologians have debated it for thousands of years. The
authors of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous were smart enough
to stay out of this battle. There is, however, an approach that's much
simpler, and if we have learned to be honest with ourselves, works as a
good guideline. It's this:
If something works well
for us, it's probably God's will for us.
Think about it and see if
it fits for you. If it does, it means we have to know a bit about
ourselves – we need to know what we're good at; what we're bad at, and
all that stuff in the middle.
For many of us,
recognizing what we're good at is the hardest part of this. One way to
begin to get at it is to look at what you do easily. For instance, for
years and years I thought everyone could write reasonably well because I
found it fairly easy to do so. When I discovered that most feel writing is
really difficult, I was forced to recognize that I'd been given a talent…
it is the antithesis of humility to deny that, because I would be denying
a talent that I had been given.
On the other hand, I also
have to recognize that balancing a checkbook is almost impossible for me
Both are true for me –
other things will be true for you. Learning to accept, and be a good
steward of our gifts is part of the power of the 12 Step Program.
Love, peace and
* Yes, in the Big
Book and subsequent official versions of the 12 Steps, the word used is
actually 'Him.' However, I believe the way we use language impacts
our view of ourselves. So I substitute non-gendered language for gender
specific language (even when it's said to be generic).