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|08-29-2010, 07:49 AM||#1 (permalink)|
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: In my little piece of heaven
Intro Step 7
This is an online Step Study. Each of the 12 steps will have its own thread, so you can participate at whatever level you are comfortable and discuss your own experience with concepts in each step. It’s a combination and compilation of step studies – some from Al Anon, some from Nar Anon and some from CODA.
Sources include Paths To Recovery, Al-Anon’s Steps, Traditions and Concepts ©1997and How Al Anon Works for Families and Friends of Alcoholics ©1995, along with some readings from Courage to Change, One Day at a Time in Al Anon II ©1992.
Each of us works the steps in our time, and in our own manner. Most often, step work is done by those who attend face-to-face meetings and have a sponsor. That doesn’t mean that you MUST, it’s just a suggestion. Please don’t feel as though you must rush thru these steps… it took some of us a few years in the program before we began, and we found ourselves stuck on at least one of the steps for a year or more. The questions and postings here will be an outline, a framework from which you can begin your journey. If nothing else, the questions will provoke some thought and self-reflection, and some great discussions and dialogue.
Others who have worked the steps before may find that they wish to do the steps again. Many people who work one step per month every year – 12 steps for 12 months. The more you learn about yourself, the more you know, and the more you wish to learn!
Step 7 – Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings
From How Al Anon Works for Families & Friends of Alcoholics pp 56-57
Many people confuse humility with humiliation. But humiliation is a form of abuse and has no place in our spiritual growth. When we speak of humility, we speak about self-acceptance. In Step Six, we learned to accept our part in our relationship with our Higher Power. We recognized that we are not all –powerful and that there are limits to what we can achieve by ourselves. We can no longer go back to the oblivion of denial, yet we’re not capable of effectively eliminating those aspects of our personalities that cause us embarrassment or make our lives unmanageable. We have little choice but to accept ourselves as we are, with all our limitations. And chief among those limitations is the fact that we cannot cure ourselves. By accepting that God can do for us what we cannot do for ourselves, we begin to achieve the humility that is necessary for change to take place. In Step Seven, we put that acceptance to work. We take action.
Nonetheless, even after we accept the fact that we need the assistance of a Higher Power, many of us try to figure out exactly what we need and hand our Higher Power a list of tasks to fulfill on our behalf. This is not humility, this is self-will. True humility is based upon letting go of self-will and relying instead upon the will of our Higher Power. Again, we admit that our own resources have let us down and we need help. To ask for such help is to take a huge leap of faith – to truly place ourselves, our futures, and our actions in the care of God.
Then, for the first time in the Twelve Steps, we ask God directly for help. We neither grovel, regarding our needs as shameful, nor do we demand, treating our needs as all-important. There are a variety of ways to ask. We may pray, meditate, visualize, write, speak aloud, or sing our requests, but whatever form we choose, we communicate our desire to be free of excess baggage. We simply speak from the heart.
Courage to Change ODAT in Al-Anon II 1/31
After working Al-Anon’s Twelve Steps zealously for over a year, I was despondent over my continuing lapses into self-pity and resentment over the alcoholic’s inability to give me the emotional support I wanted. One evening during a meditation on the Sixth and Seventh Steps, three words seemed to flash in my mind: We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character, and we humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
I suddenly realized that much of my zealous working of the program had been the exercise of my own limited power. With a new and sincere humility, I asked God to remove my shortcomings. When I saw the alcoholic the next morning, it was as if a veil had been lifted from my eyes. I saw her suffering, struggling to stay sober, and I had compassion for my own struggle as well. My self-pity and resentment were gone.
I want to be ready for shortcomings to be removed, and I will do what I can to prepare. I can develop a non-judgmental awareness of myself, accept what I discover, and be fully willing to change. But I lack the power to heal myself. Only my Higher Power can do that.
“I accept the fact that I need help in being restored to sanity, and that I cannot achieve this without help.”
The Dilemma of the Alcoholic Marriage
Step 7: Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings
In working Step Seven, some of us pray for the willingness to release our shortcomings and then trust that God will take them from us.
The following questions may generate thought and discussion on Step Seven
What does humility mean to me? List people know who possess this trait.
How am I humble? What can help me to be more so?
What old behaviors get in the way of my being humble?
What defects am I ready to have removed?
Do I believe that my Higher Power can rid me of my defects? How do I know this?
Am I ready to ask God to remove my defects?
How do I humbly ask God to take my shortcomings?
Which shortcoming is causing me the most trouble right now? What benefits do I get from it? What problems does it cause?
How can I treat myself with compassion in my recovery and ask for the willingness to keep trying?
Do I have a sponsor? If I don’t have one, how can I ask someone to help me?
What character defects will I have to overcome to allow myself to turn to a sponsor for help?
What can I do to cooperate with my Higher Power in removing my shortcomings?
What positive changes can I make in myself?
What positive trait do I want to develop or substitute for a trait I want to eliminate?
What can I do this week to practice a positive trait?
Have I had any fears removed from my life? Which ones?
What negative behaviors or traits are lessening or have been removed?
What slogan could remind me to find a substitute for a negative behavior I wish to release?
Am I able to see challenges as opportunities to practice new character traits?
Am I able to laugh fondly at my mistakes and not be devastated when I am not perfect? Can I love and celebrate my humanness while working for balance?
As I turn my defects over to God, are new shortcomings coming to light? If so, can I continue to ask God for help?
As I work Step Seven, do I see a change in relationship with my Higher Power?
What other people think of me is really none of my business!
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