Colin’s Perspective: Tackling Step 7

By Colin W., Renascent Alumni

Step 7: Humbly ask him to remove our shortcomings

After being set free from resentments and admitting to my higher power and my sponsor the exact nature of my wrongs, I felt truly excited with my newfound freedom! My sponsor and I moved quickly, striking while the iron was hot, and we began reading Steps 6 and 7. The literature was really short, and so it occurred to me that I had finally landed on an easy step. “Pheww” I thought. 

The excitement wore off quickly as I realized I did not understand Step Seven (7), and how it applied to me in terms of an action or how to work through it successfully. I reread the entire chapter in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous and got to page 76 of “Into Action”. I asked myself the questions: Have I emphasized willingness as being indispensable? “Yes”.  I had fully embraced certain principles early on in my step work. Honesty, open-mindedness, and willingness were deemed essential to this new path to my wellbeing. 

After a few more minutes of reflection, my answer was “yes, I think”. What was this new self-doubt and why had it popped up now? My mind was racing in what seemed like an endless loop. I felt panic in my stomach. I took a deep breath and looked up the word “shortcoming”, then I looked up similar words to help me understand. “Defect, flaw, imperfection, deficiency, fault, and limitation”. 

I called my sponsor back (finally), and talked about this new anxiety I felt after we read Step Seven together. He sounded amused, which was always hard for me. I was glad someone was enjoying hearing me squirm over the phone!

He asked me to stop talking. Then he said in a really gentle voice that he himself accepts me for who I am, and that he acknowledges me. He acknowledges that I am full of life, and that he appreciated me, flaws and all. I often fall short of patience, self-discipline, acceptance, and willingness too.

Then he quite simply told me that if he accepts me for everything I am and am not, then surely my Higher Power does too. So, I should humbly be able to ask him to remove my shortcomings.

I learned that Step Seven emphasizes the willingness to let go of these negative traits and seek spiritual growth and change. The idea behind it is that by humbly asking a Higher Power for help in removing these shortcomings, individuals can cultivate personal growth, achieve spiritual progress, and improve their lives. 

Do not be afraid to ask for help. This Step, and everyone before it, and after, has a way of reminding me that I am not alone.

Colin W.

About the Authors

Members of Renascent's alumni community carry the message by sharing their experiences and perspectives on addiction and recovery. To contribute your alumni perspective, please email