The Twelve Steps in Everyday Living: Part Seven
Step Seven: Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings
Step seven seems almost impossibly easy… if you have completed 1 through 6 to the best of your ability; all you have to do is ask God to remove your shortcomings? I remember in early days of sobriety thinking, “ooh, I can’t wait to get to that step; I will breeze right through it!”
Not so fast. There’s an unspoken end to this step: then you need to act as if He has already removed it. There’s the rub! Yes, I was entirely ready to have God remove the obsession to drink and use drugs, and yes, I humbly asked Him to remove the obsession, but the action in this step is for me to get up from my knees, and go about life as if the obsession is gone. Some days easy, some days difficult, but it is in the continuous practice of this step that I finally found my release.
And it was one of those things that I did not even realize it had happened. I would have a thought about my addiction, and then I would try to remember when my last thought had been, and I couldn’t! And that is when I realized the miracle had taken place.
This step can be more challenging when dealing with less urgent shortcomings. Let’s take an easy one to identify, impatience. I’m sure every human being deals with it at some point in their lives, for me, it is definitely a character defect with which I still struggle. I have identified it, I have been more than willing to have God remove it, and I have asked Him, numerous times, to remove it. But it’s the acting as if feature that I still have work to do. I will find myself in the middle of yelling at one child or another, and I realize that I have reverted to my more basic nature. Depending on how deep I’ve gotten myself into the given situation, I will attempt to ask God in the moment to remove it (most of the time through gritted teeth, but still!). Now the real work begins for me… I need to act as if it is gone!
Of course, obstacles block the path to this step at every turn. I want to be patient and tolerant, but then the people around me behave in ways I find unacceptable, and I lose sight of these attributes. I want to have the best possible relationship with my loved ones, but if they have done me wrong, how do I handle that and have a good relationship? Sometimes, when practicing this step, it feels like I am always being the bigger person, and when the hell does everyone else get to practice a little humility?
Which of course brings it back to full circle… there is only one person I can control, only one set of behaviors I can correct, and only one person’s feelings with which I have to live… my own.
So if someone else is behaving badly, that does not excuse my bad behavior.
If I have a complicated history with a loved one, and I believe I have been wronged, that does not give me the right to respond in kind.
If my children make the same mistakes over and over, I do not have a pass to rant and rave about it.
It is every easy, when dealing with everyday life issues, to play the blame game, and justify why I revert to character defects… I am simply reacting to the bad behavior of others, and anyone would do what I am doing if they were in my position! But, of course, the victim mode is a slippery slope, and in the end, I am only hurting myself, and my own peace of mind, when I play that game. Bring it back to center, take stock of myself, and figure out what God’s will is!
My daughter will be turning 13 this weekend, and I will be spending the day figuring out how to make this event as special as possible… not too shabby!
Posted on May 24, 2013, in Twelve Steps in Everyday Living and tagged Addiction, Alcoholic Anonymous, God, Higher Power, Humility, Recovery, Self-Help, Sobriety, Substance Abuse, Support group, Thought, Twelve-Step Program. Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.