Step Seven in the Twelve Steps asks us to embrace humility and remove our shortcomings. In the traditional wording, Step Seven reads:
“Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings.”
In the Alternative Twelve Steps: A Secular Guide to Recovery, step seven reads:
“Work honestly, humbly, and courageously to develop our assets and release our personal shortcomings.”
Step seven marks the move from being ready and willing to change to the actions necessary to create lasting change. At long last, we are ready to act and move forward.
Humility involves taking a more modest view of one’s own role and importance in the world. No one person is any more important than any other person, and life is not a competition. This can be hard to accept, but it’s crucial when it comes time to make change that sticks.
C.S. Lewis wrote, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.” Let that sink in for a moment. When it comes to addictions, and fulfilling the cravings sparked by addictions, it is easy to see how we become wrapped up in ourselves and our own interests. By taking the step we’ve already taken, we have seen who we are – it’s time to own up to that and make changes. By embracing humility, we are now working toward developing ourselves, releasing those parts of ourselves that are not so great, and moving forward.
Putting the Building of Character First
Here is where the twelve steps start to become really uncomfortable. When it’s time to start making the changes we’ve been talking about, it’s easy to slip back into old habits and old ways of thinking. It’s important to start putting aside those habits aside and start putting virtues like honesty and love of others first. Why?
As has already been mentioned, addictions are lonely, selfish things. We are consumed with our wanting and our need to give into that itch for gratification. That drive can cause us to do terrible things to others in the striving for the end result – the high. When we start to embrace the virtues necessary for moving forward, we can move from being consumed by addictions to serving others.
It’s Not Going to Happen Overnight
This sort of radical change is not possible overnight. Instead it requires steady and constant commitment. This is where a support team becomes a vital tool. Having others model these virtues for you can be beneficial, particularly if you do not come from an environment that embraced them. This step allows you to take the actions necessary, over time, to correct the ways of your past.
Whether one turns to a higher power or finds the source and strength from within to make these changes, it’s important that you accept yourself as being human. These are not easy changes to make, and after wrestling with addiction, these are not going to be intuitive until you’ve developed the habit for the virtues. Despite whatever material wealth one has accumulated, if there is not sobriety and humility, that wealth will never seem to be enough.
Giving it over
When we turn toward God, a higher power, or our recovery group to help us remove the shortcomings that we’re experiencing, it’s not a sign that we are weak, incompetent, or unable., Instead, it’s that very sign of humility – that no one person can do it all – that takes over. Through asking for help in removing the past and embracing the habits and virtues necessary to move forward and live a good life, a sober life, we are embracing those first drops of change.
If you would like help making the changes necessary to maintain lasting sobriety, please contact us. We are here to help you in your journey toward sobriety.