From the Foreword of the 12 & 12: “A.A.’s Twelve Steps are a group of principles, spiritual in their nature, which, if practiced as a way of life, can expel the obsession to drink and enable the sufferer to become happily and usefully whole.”
of this Step:
Literature Reference: The basic ingredient of all humility: a “desire to seek and do God’s will.” (12 & 12 – Page 72, Step Seven)
What Can I Surrender in this Step?
Belief that I can become less of my character defects on my own or remove them myself.
One dictionary defines humility as: “the quality or condition of being humble; modest opinion or estimate of one’s own importance, rank, etc.” While that is a perfectly good definition of it, the “Literature Reference” above highlights that Bill W. gave us HIS definition of humility in the 12&12 as: “a desire to seek and do God’s will.”
One of the first and most important things we need to learn about our defects is that we can’t be relieved of them without some level of humility. Alcoholics are victims of pride and selfishness. In the past when we felt pain and suffering (generally as a result of said pride & selfishness), we masked it with alcohol. Before coming to A.A., we used self-reliance to deal with it. Today, we can acknowledge the limits of human power in addressing these character defects. We cannot do it on our own. We cannot do it by sheer willpower. We cannot do it by our own intellect and reasoning.
Although Steps 6 & 7 are the shortest Steps in terms of wording in our Big Book and are perhaps the least discussed in meetings these days, they are probably the most potent of all twelve. As we mentioned in Step 6, they ARE the meat & substance of our program of recovery. They embody the miracle of transformation as we turn over our broken, defective personalities for God to transform them into healthy, effective instruments of God’s will.
Humility turns obstacles into opportunities for God to act through us. When questioning whether or not I am applying humility to a situation I could ask, “How would a humble person handle this situation?” When we mix self-centeredness with a situation, a problem results. When we remove it, we only have a situation to deal with, not a problem. The Seventh step is not a one-way street, though. God will remove our defects to the degree that we are willing to practice the spiritual obedience that lay behind them. Step 7 gives us the choice to pray to be free of a defect rather than obsessed with it as we were before taking it. Be patient. Be diligent. Our defects didn’t mold us overnight and we can’t change our life overnight.
In the same manner we hire a trainer, do cardio work, do core work and spend our valuable time money & effort at the gym to strengthen our physical muscles, we must give the same valuable time and effort to the strengthening of our spiritual muscles.
“We heard story after story of how humility had brought strength out of weakness. In every case, pain had been the price of admission into a new life. But this admission price had purchased more than we expected. It brought a measure of humility, which we soon discovered to be a healer of pain. We began to fear pain less, and desire humility more than ever.” (Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, Page 75, Step Seven)
Taking a step displays a willingness to write inventory and allow it to surrender something within us. Write inventory on your most serious shortcomings around the practical application of this step in your life today (“How am I applying the principle found in this Step to every moment of my life?”).
Looking at the patterns of disobedience to spiritual principles in your life, answer these questions in all three areas for which you have been previously writing inventory:
In 1.) My Personal Relationships, at 2.) Work and 3.) with God and A.A….
(Provide examples for each of these in each area – this inventory MAY take longer than previous inventories written 🙂
(If you can answer yes to these questions, you’ve likely taken this Step)
And So It Is. AMEN