by Pat P.
“Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings”
Doing the Step
The focus on this step is humility. I must find a way to humble myself so I can begin to be honest with myself and begin the recovery process. I must take the action needed to face the fact that I have created much pain in my life and for others.
Steps Four and Five moved my focus from the outside to the inside. For the first time I had to start looking at how I think and act. It was a wake-up call for me. Now I need to start the process of living life from the inside out. In Step Six I said O.K., I’m ready. Step Seven is taking the action. What do I do?
I must first determine what I’m really willing to do to change. I must convince myself that I need to change by giving examples of how my character defects have caused problems for me and those around me. I must learn to take small steps by identifying the character defect that is causing me the most pain right now.
Am I willing to give up this defect? What would I gain or lose by giving it up? I must be specific. I must then explain what I’m willing to do to change. Just what am I willing to give up? What positive attitude would I replace it with? What do I feel when I think of surrendering to my Higher Power and trusting my defects will be removed? I must then cite examples that indicate I am committed to the care and guidance of my Higher Power. In what areas do I have to work the hardest to give up my defects? What anxieties am I feeling when I think about having my character defects removed?
I must then identify any character defects I’m not entirely ready to have removed. I must then understand why it is necessary to learn humility before my Higher Power can remove my defect of character. I must then explain what behavioral changes I’ve made that indicate my thought patterns are changing.
Listening to the Step
The nice thing about listening to these steps is I’ve already formed a relationship with the person that should be as close as or closer than any other human being. They don’t understand it, but they had to surrender themselves to me in order to get this far. They have turned over the control of their life to the Twelve Step process and me.
What I want them to do is to expand that surrender beyond the process and me. I want them to feel that security of not being alone anywhere they are. In order for this to happen they have to experience it. This step allows them to begin the experiential process of incorporating a new way of living which will result in more peace and serenity.
My job is to tell them just that. I must give them permission to let go of their will by always being open and honest to them, not being judgmental but being supportive. I must keep the ball in their court by encouraging them to stay in contact with me, be honest and open with me and go to meetings sharing what they are experiencing.
Remember, the puzzle is scattered out on the table and they have to learn how to put it together. My job is to teach them the tricks I learned about how to find what piece goes in what place and also to remind them they are going to make lots of mistakes and that is part of the journey. I must teach them how to handle the pain that comes with recovery by teaching them to talk about it to me and at meetings. I must focus on them getting all the pain and craziness that’s going on in the inside and put it on the outside. That’s done by talking about it to me and people who are also going through the process.
To me Step Six was like going on a diet and getting hungry. Step Seven is about taking the action needed to stay on the diet. It takes much more determination to stay on a diet than it takes to talk about it.
Recovery was a process of practicing patience and tolerance with me. I had spent my entire life having unrealistic expectations of myself and expecting life to happen on my terms. It took a lot of practice to learn to let life happen on a timetable other than mine.