Understanding Step Seven
In Step Seven, we humbly ask a power greater than ourselves to remove our shortcomings. As in the previous steps, we have the freedom to define this power in whatever way makes sense to us. Humility is one of the most powerful tools used in Step Seven. It means recognizing that we are no better than other people. At the same time, we realize that other people are no better than we are. It also means realizing that there is a power greater than ourselves that can continue to transform us.
When we think of humility, we may think of humiliation. We may believe that the step is trying to tell us to think of ourselves as bad, weak or unimportant, but that isn’t the point of this step. We are imperfect people, but we are not bad people.
Addiction Is a Disease of More
Many of our shortcomings and mistakes have been caused by our constant desire for more than we had. If we had a car, we wanted a bigger and more luxurious car. We might have yearned for better clothes, better furniture or fancier material possessions. We compared our experiences with those of other people and may have felt like we were cheated somehow.
We wanted it all, and we wanted it now. No matter how much we had, it always seemed like there should have been more: more money, more love or more happiness. Whatever we had, it seemed like there had to be more than this.
Often we turned to alcohol or drugs because our desires were frustrated. When we didn’t get what we wanted, we drank or drugged. When we got what we wanted, we’d still drink or drug to celebrate. It was next to impossible to ever be completely satisfied. Just about anything that happened gave us an excuse to drink or drug.
Lessons in Humility
As we work the steps, we begin to grow in humility. We have learned about powerlessness. We have found something to believe in and have faced the wreckage of the past. In this process, we begin to recognize our remaining character defects and realize that there is a lot more to life than constantly yearning for more and more of everything.
Many of us delve deeply into spiritual growth and consider the purpose of our lives and our sobriety. We realize that it’s got to mean more than chasing after material possessions and career success. There has to be more to life than comparing what we have with others and always feeling dissatisfied.
Our sobriety becomes the most important thing in our lives. We no longer chase after more than our share. Instead we work toward character-building and inner peace.
Getting Past Self-Centered Fear
In many ways, addiction is a disease of self. It is our tendency to be self-centered that has caused us to be so preoccupied with our own needs. Up to now, we have devoted a lot of our time to getting our own needs met. As we recover, we are learning to align our will with a power greater than ourselves, which we may call God, the universe or whatever name works for us. It’s all about letting go.
In Steps Four and Five, we have gotten in touch with some of our character flaws. We are ready to let go of most of them, but there may be a few that we aren’t quite ready to change. We learn that the pain of transformation can lead to true growth. One day at a time, we strive for steady improvement and we begin to experience glimpses of inner peace.
In Step Seven we learn that the root of a lot of our problems has been self-centered fear. We’ve been afraid we would lose what we have or that our desires would never be met. If our lives are full of frustration and dissatisfaction, we can’t find peace.
It’s in Step Seven that we learn to shift our attitude to let go of self-centered fear. Using humility, we realize that the same power that has relieved our compulsion to drink and drug can remove the other sources of dissatisfaction in our lives. We can attain serenity.
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