Taking Step Seven

Step Seven has always been quick - but not easy.

If I have done Step Six and become entirely ready to have God remove my character defects, then in Step Seven all I have to do is to ask Him to do so.  It’s that simple.  On my knees, in prayer, I just ask.  The AA Big Book seems to say that Steps Six and Seven happen within an hour after finishing Step Five.

But of course, this also required a whole new level of trust in that God I described in Step Two.  I was still running that Step Three experiment.  Still trying, as much as I could, to turn over my life and will to His care.  Still observing the results.  When I really did turn my life and will over, my life was better.  By the time I did Step Seven, about a year and a half into recovery, my life was much better.  I was back with my wife.  My business was actually providing some income.  I wasn’t putting my life at risk any more.  I was pretty convinced by that time that this God business was real, that it really worked.  

So my sponsor said, “Okay, Son.  Get on your knees and make the prayer!  The words are in the AABB.  Just say them.”  I did.

And I didn’t feel any different.

I was learning that this is the nature of prayer, most of the time, as I’ve experienced it.  It seems to take more than just saying the words; it also seems to require believing the words well enough to act as if the prayer is true.  I got up from my knees and didn’t feel any different – but I said, “Thank you, God, for removing my pride and arrogance and cynicism.”  And I said that with humility and honest self-appraisal – then realized that those feelings were indeed the exact opposite of pride, arrogance and cynicism.  Wow.  God had removed them already!

I must be great!  (oops.)

Yep.  I was also learning that Step Seven seems to require reworking frequently, just like Step Three.  I keep taking back those character defects, and I have to keep asking God to remove them again.  And so I do.  And each time I do, I gain just a bit more humility and a bit more trust in God.

This process is still going on.  I have noticed, as the years go by, that these character defects are not nearly as evident and “in-your-face” as they used to be.  I operate out of humility most of the time now, but pride still rears its head at times.

Progressive victory on this one.