A Study of Step 7

The 12 Steps of A.A. and Al-Anon

Chairs in a circle
Step 7 Requires Humility. © Getty Images

The spiritual focus of Step 7 is humility, asking a higher power to do something that cannot be done by self-will or mere determination.

Step 7
Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

This step is the culmination of a great deal or preparation of working the "middle steps" of the 12-step programs. After carefully taking a moral inventory, admitting our faults and becoming willing to have them removed, the final step in the process is to humbly ask for help in removing those character defects that may have been in effect for many years.

These faults can range from simply having been dishonest -- lying about problems to others -- or having held resentments against love ones. Or these faults may involve much more serious offenses. Regardless, the 12 steps provide a path to freedom from the past and an opportunity to begin anew.

Visitors to this website have shared their experience, strength, and hope in working Step 7. Here are their stories:

Step 7 Is Hard Work

Interesting topic, step 7. Not real easy to accomplish. Consider that this step requires 3 ingredients for a successful completion. First, it requires that we have a belief in the "Him" this step refers to. Second, it requires a knowledge of what those shortcomings are. And third, and perhaps most important, it requires a degree of humility.

These things do not just come to us overnight. They are acquired through the hard work of the prior steps, one through six. Without working through them, step 7 is nearly impossible to work.

It took me quite a while to even get down on my knees in prayer, having been raised in a religion that prohibited this act. Once I did, I realized that this was merely a gesture of humility, a position I could assume that gave me the self-assurance that I was being as humble as possible. What else could I do to demonstrate humility to myself?

Then I worked through steps 4, and 5, coming to grips with my past, reasoning out the exact nature of my wrongs, and realizing exactly what I would ask of my higher power.

Step 6 gave me time to prepare myself for the step 7 event. What was step 6? Working the first five steps, and then getting humble. Once that was done, step seven happened.

I woke up one morning and realized the moment I opened my eyes that it was time to work step 7. I got out of bed, got down on my knees and did it, following my request with the seventh step prayer.

Oh, what a joy! I suddenly felt very free and grateful!


Mentally Ready

When I did this step, I checked the dictionary for the exact definition of humble. Upon finding that first the word meant -- not proud or haughty; not arrogant or assertive -- I could then become mentally ready.

For me, making a written list of what I perceived to be my shortcomings was important. How could I ask God for help without knowing precisely what was needed?

By doing this, I could focus on change in behaviors. My action was necessary, both in affecting new attitudes and in prayer.


Index of 12 Steps and Traditions Study

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