Step 7 of AA, “humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings,” is a pivotal step where you begin to shed the layers of selfishness and self-centeredness that have built up over the years of active addiction. When you make it to step 7 you’re more than halfway through the steps!
While the language in the step refers to God, this step is really about developing humility, accepting your imperfections, and becoming willing to grow into a better person. Completing Step 7 is a turning point that will propel you forward through the remaining steps and help you start living life on life’s terms instead of your own. Keep reading to find out exactly what you need to do to work on Step 7 and move on to Step 8.
What Is Step 7 of AA?
Step 7 of AA is one of the twelve steps that make up the AA program for recovery from alcoholism. Step 7 is stated as follows:
“Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.”
In this step, individuals in recovery are encouraged to continue their process of self-examination and spiritual growth. It involves acknowledging one’s character defects, shortcomings, and problematic behaviors that have been problematic in the past due to alcoholism. In Step 7 AA, humility is key. People humbly seek help from a higher power to address their shortcomings.
Step 7 builds on Step 6, which involves becoming entirely ready to have these defects of character removed. Here, individuals are actively seeking spiritual guidance and support to work on themselves and become better people in recovery.
It’s important to note that the interpretation of the higher power and the understanding of shortcomings can vary from one individual to another within the AA Program. Embracing Step 7 AA can be a transformative process, as it helps individuals grow spiritually and work on their personal development as they continue to abstain from alcohol. You may find AA meetings in Portland, Oregon, and start your journey toward self-improvement and recovery.
What Does Step 7 of AA Entail?
Step 7 AA involves humbling yourself and asking your higher power to remove your shortcomings. This step is all about overcoming your ego and pride to ask for help.
What Does it Mean to Humbly Ask?
To “humbly ask” means approaching God with sincerity, honesty, and willingness to change. You recognize your imperfections and limitations, acknowledging your powerlessness over alcohol and the fact that you need help from a higher power. Ask God for guidance, wisdom, and strength to overcome negative habits and behaviors.
Sincerity means approaching your higher power with genuine and heartfelt intentions. It’s about recognizing the seriousness of your situation and the need for transformation in your life. You approach this step with a deep commitment to change and a willingness to be open and honest with yourself.
Honesty is at the core of Step 7. You acknowledge your flaws, character defects, and the negative behaviors that have been harmful to yourself and others. This honesty is crucial because it forms the foundation upon which personal growth and transformation can occur.
Step 7 requires a clear recognition of your imperfections and limitations. It’s an admission of powerlessness over alcohol and the acknowledgment that, on your own, you are unable to overcome these shortcomings. This humility is a fundamental aspect of the step.
Asking for help is a central theme in Step 7. You turn to your higher power, whatever that may be for you, and ask for guidance, wisdom, and strength. It’s an act of surrender, acknowledging that you cannot conquer your shortcomings through sheer willpower alone. Instead, you seek divine or spiritual assistance to facilitate personal growth and lasting change.
Guidance, Wisdom, and Strength
When you “humbly ask,” you are not merely making a casual request. You are actively seeking divine intervention in your life. You ask for guidance to recognize and address your character defects, wisdom to make better choices, and strength to overcome negative habits and behaviors.
Do I Have To Believe in God to Complete this step?
No, your higher power can be whatever you choose, whether that is God, nature, or your own inner strength. You are free to define your higher power in a manner that feels meaningful and authentic to you. This might also involve drawing on the principles of love, compassion, hope, or any other positive values that resonate with your chosen concept of a higher power. The key is admitting you need help from something greater than yourself. Your higher power gives you inspiration and the willingness to change.
What Do I Need to Do for the 7th Step?
Step 7 is a highly personal and introspective step, and the way you approach it may vary based on your beliefs and experiences. The key is to genuinely seek help from a higher power and be committed to addressing your character defects in the pursuit of lasting recovery and personal transformation.
To complete the 7th Step of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), you may follow these steps:
- Self-Examination: Begin by reflecting on your character defects and shortcomings. These are the negative traits, behaviors, and attitudes that have contributed to your alcoholism and have caused problems in your life.
- Humble Recognition: Acknowledge that you cannot overcome these defects on your own. Embrace humility and admit your powerlessness over them. This is a crucial aspect of the step.
- Prayer or Meditation: Depending on your belief system and higher power concept, engage in a prayer or meditation. Humbly ask your higher power, however you understand it, to remove these defects of character.
- Sincerity and Willingness: Approach this step with sincerity, honesty, and a genuine willingness to change. It’s not about mere words; it’s about a heartfelt commitment to personal growth.
- Action and Patience: Recognize that change may not happen overnight. Be patient with yourself as you work on your shortcomings. Continue to practice self-awareness and strive for improvement.
- Support and Accountability: Lean on the support of your AA group, sponsor, or counselor for guidance and accountability. They can help you stay on track and provide valuable insights.
- Continue the Journey: Step 7 is not the end but part of an ongoing process of self-improvement and spiritual growth. Use the insights gained in this step to inform your actions and decisions in your recovery journey.
How Does Step 7 Relate to the Other Steps?
Step 7 in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is an important part of the overall 12-step program, and it relates to the other steps in several ways:
Step 1 and Step 2
In Step 3, you make a decision to turn your will and life over to the care of a higher power, as you understand it. Step 7 is a practical manifestation of this decision. You are actively seeking the assistance of your higher power to help you overcome your character defects.
Step 4 and Step 5
Step 7 is closely tied to the moral inventory and confession aspects of Steps 4 and Step 5. After identifying your character defects and sharing them with a trusted person and your higher power in Steps 4 and 5, Step 7 is about taking steps to remove these defects with divine assistance.
Step 7 directly builds upon Step 6, which involves becoming entirely ready to have your character defects removed. In Step 6, you’ve identified and acknowledged these defects, and in Step 7, you take action to address them. It’s a natural progression from recognizing the need for change to actively seeking that change.
After completing Step 7, you move on to Step 8, which involves making a list of people you have harmed and becoming willing to make amends with them. The self-awareness and humility cultivated in Step 7 can be instrumental in preparing you for the amends-making process in Step 8.
Steps 9, 10, 11, and 12
Step 7 serves as a foundation for the subsequent steps in the program. Steps 9 (making amends), 10 (continuing to take personal inventory), 11 (seeking conscious contact with a higher power through prayer and meditation), and 12 (carrying the message to others) all benefit from the self-awareness, humility, and spiritual connection developed in Step 7.
Step 7 AA Integration at Crestview Recovery
Crestview Recovery is a leading addiction treatment center in Portland, Oregon, incorporating Step 7 of AA into its comprehensive recovery programs. We provide guidance and support to individuals seeking to humbly address their character defects and seek personal growth through this step. Our experienced staff tailors treatment plans to each client, emphasizing the importance of the 12-step program in achieving lasting recovery and transformation. Contact us today and learn more about our programs!
Since 2016, Dr. Merle Williamson, a graduate of Oregon Health Sciences University, has been the Medical Director at Crestview Recovery, bringing a rich background in addiction medicine from his time at Hazelden Treatment Center. He oversees outpatient drug and alcohol treatments, providing medical care, setting policies, detox protocols, and quality assurance measures. Before specializing in addiction medicine, he spent 25 years in anesthesiology, serving as Chair of Hospital Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee and Chief of Anesthesia at Kaiser Permanente. This experience gives him a unique perspective on treating prescription drug addiction.