Every time I come to it, Step Seven reminds me to practice what I say I believe.
Humbly asked God to remove these defects of character.
Because I believe what people told me about alcoholism — it is a three-fold disease: Physical, Mental and Spiritual — I believe we need three types of “treatment.”
- Abstinence helps us recover physically. (Step One)
- Going to meetings and getting a sponsor and working the steps helps our minds recover.
- Working Steps Two and Three opened the door to spiritual recovery —
Now, after working Steps Four, Five and Six, Step Seven takes us through that door, as we begin treatment for our spiritual sickness. Moreover, it puts our ego in a kind of remission as we learn to practice these principles across the board. (Step 12: Prepare for a New Level of Powerlessness)
A whole lifetime geared to self-centeredness cannot be set in reverse all at once. Rebellion dogs our every step. (The 12& 12, Step Seven, page 73)
Hanging on to my character defects because I am comfortable with them, ashamed, or fearful make me wonder which part of the inventory I missed.
Hanging back, though, may mean I not willing to do whatever it takes to stay sober — or I kinda doubt that as far as east is from west, so far has God separated me from my sins. (Psalm 103:12)
That’s harsh . . .
But letting pride, resentments, anger or jealousy live rent free in my head or heart is deadly.
Step Seven is the spiritual remedy for concrete problems my ego and I still generate. More than that, it is doing what my faith believes —
Lord, if YOU are willing, you can cleanse me . . . (Matthew 8:12)
Christ wasn’t — isn’t — backed off by thee and me and our “character defects” and He makes no demands of us other than we come learn and we will find rest for our souls. (Mathew 11: 28-29 )
But, He is patient and waits for us to give over to Him the yokes of habits and hangups and attitudes that lead us into no places worth going. (We Are Only As Sick as The Secrets We Keep)
Here’s a prayer that helps me when I get tongued tied or discouraged or doubtful; clicking the links is a refresher course to knowing Whom we ask to remove our character defects:
I am now willing that you should have all of me, good and bad.
I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character
which stands in the way of my usefulness to you and my fellows.
Grant me strength, as I go out from here, to do your bidding. Amen. (Adapted from The AA Big Book, page 76)
Rereading Step Seven in the 12&12 —and reworking it — reminds me why we say, Keep Coming Back — it works if your work it. And dear reader, you are SO worth it!
Love in Christ,
Sober and Grateful