Step 7: Twelve-Step Program

A note on language. At Renascent, we help people recover from substance use addiction and integrate 12-Step facilitation into our programming. We recognize that the substances our clients are recovering from and the 12-Step groups they connect with may vary. Throughout our website you may see general terms relating to the 12 Steps as we are inclusive of all recovery programs, including AA, CA, and OA.

Humbly ask him to remove our shortcomings.

Like every previous step in the program, Step 7 prepares you to continue moving forward in your recovery and ensures that you are ready for the next phase.

Step 7 builds upon the work you did in Steps 4, 5, and 6 by asking you to face your pride and move forward with humility – efforts that will then help you in Step 8. 

What is Step 7 in AA?

Step 7 focuses on ego, pride and changing our attitudes. The key to this step is humility: we can recognize our limitations, we know we cannot overcome our shortcomings on our own, and we can seek help from a higher power.

This work requires introspection and a willingness to see things from a new perspective. In this way, Step 7 can lead you toward deep personal growth and development of an even stronger foundation for healing and recovery.

Why do we need humility?

Humility is the state of being humble – it means being free from pride or arrogance. But it’s not the same thing as having low self-esteem. Humility is about owning our imperfections and seeing our mistakes as part of the path of personal development.

Humility can be considered a core value. It is closely related to modesty, which comes from understanding our place in the larger world and accepting that desire, success and failure are all equally normal parts of life. Recognizing and accepting our strengths and weaknesses are key to humility, self-knowledge and wisdom.

It can be hard to admit to mistakes and accept the responsibility of past decisions. But humility gives you power over your ego, and helps you have more compassion for yourself and others. Humility is also essential to having a growth mindset: when you are free from pride and fear of failure, you have more freedom to learn and develop in new ways.

Asking for help from your Higher Power

In the 12-Steps, the concept of a “higher power” is open-ended and can be interpreted in a way that is meaningful to you. It can mean a traditional concept of God or a spiritual energy; a sense of connection to nature, friends, family or your recovery group; your conscience or personal values; or even your recovery journey itself.

In other words, the key to Step 7 is asking for help from something or someone you can turn to for support, guidance and strength, and can lead you towards a healthier, more fulfilling life. Your higher power is where you find the most meaning, and where you can feel supported to be your whole and true self as you face your faults and mistakes. 

Don’t feel rushed to work this step. It can take time to let go of defensiveness, blaming others and making excuses. While it can be emotionally challenging to work this step, developing humility is an incredibly positive and powerful part of healing and recovery.

As you begin to let go of ego, anger, and resentment you make room for positivity, joy, strength, compassion and real change – work that will greatly support your recovery journey.

Making the Most of Step 7 AA 

There is no one way to work through Step 7, and your approach will be as unique as your own recovery journey. Some people find it helpful to talk through their shortcomings with a trusted person, a counsellor, or their higher power, while others may prefer self-reflection or writing it all down. 

However you approach it, as you work to acknowledge your shortcomings and ask for help in their removal, it can help to focus on:

  • Setting aside ego and pride to truthfully admit the areas where improvement is needed.
  • Facing your fear of change and asking for help in your daily life without any old, familiar coping mechanisms.
  • Practicing gratitude, mediation and self-reflection, even when it’s uncomfortable, knowing you can trust your higher power to accept you in your vulnerability.
  • Letting go of control and being patient in the gradual process of real change. 

People often approach Step 7 thinking it will be a quick phase to work through, only to discover the challenge asked of them by such short and seemingly simple instructions. It can take time to discover what humility means in your own life, and it’s normal to feel impatient or to have some anxiety and hesitation around facing and admitting your flaws. For example, Renascent Alumni Colin W. describes how he came to understand the value of humility, and how his sponsor helped him to overcome self-doubt. 

As Colin says, “Step 7 emphasizes the willingness to let go of these negative traits and seek spiritual growth and change. … This Step, and everyone before it and after, has a way of reminding me that I am not alone.”

Step 7 Transformation

Despite the challenging work, Step 7 is incredibly rewarding. It marks a significant step towards healing and transformation, allowing us to let go of our ego and past mistakes, find peace of mind and deep resilience, and make the necessary changes for a new way of living.

Want to Delve Deeper into Step 7?

Resentments, fear, dishonesty, self-pity, intolerance, anger are some of the “rocks” that can pull us down and hold us back from recovery. In the book, Drop the Rock: Removing Character Defects, the authors explore how you can set yourself free through Step 7. Drop the Rock is a powerful recovery tool that helps you recognize your character defects. By taking a magnifying glass to Steps Six and Seven—often called the forgotten steps—the book leads you into a deeper understanding.

How Renascent helps

At Renascent, we offer comprehensive person-centred addiction treatment programs in safe, caring environments. We use up-to-date, evidence-based approaches to treat addiction, including abstinence-based treatment that integrates 12-Step facilitation with modern clinical and medical best practices, and the highest quality standards of care.

Renascent deeply understands the unique individual journey that is necessary for your recovery. We are here to support you and guide you to define what your recovery means to you. Your Road to Recovery starts here.

About the Authors

Renascent Staff
The staff at Renascent is passionate about helping people with substance addictions so they can reach their full recovery – with compassion, respect, empathy and understanding. Our staff includes our counsellors, all of whom have lived experience of addiction and recovery.