Up until now, the steps you have worked on have brought to your attention your disease of addiction and unmanageability, reintroduced you to some new spiritual concepts, and have prompted you to identify and become aware of your character defects. Now it is time to do something about these negative character traits! The seventh step simply reads as “Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.” What this step requires from us is more awareness and willingness, as we cannot hope to have our shortcomings removed without putting forth a great deal of effort alongside our higher power.
Hopefully you have begun practicing awareness of your character defects now that you’ve worked your sixth step, as that daily awareness of your shortcomings will be crucial if you are to work your seventh step effectively. The best way to maintain and improve upon this awareness is by pausing throughout the day for some meditation and reflection. Think about how your day has been going, paying close attention to those decisions and interactions with others which stick out in your mind. If you are feeling unhappy with how a situation or conversation went, think about the part you played in the event and whether a character defect of yours caused you to make a poor choice which is resulting in your bad feelings.
The other half of your working a thorough and meaningful seventh step is your willingness to give your character defects over to your higher power so they may be removed from your life. This requires willingness and prayer on your part, as your connection to a God of your understanding must be strong and consistent if these shortcomings are to be eliminated. As part of your daily prayer routine, you should ask your higher power to help you be aware of your defects of character, and that He help you act on the principles of your recovery program rather than the motivations of these old instincts and shortcomings. Do this every morning, and in the evenings reflect on how the day went and thank your higher power for His help in removing your character defects on that day. In time, you will see a change in yourself as you are realigned to the principles of the program and those shortcomings appear less and less in your daily life!
The seventh step is just seven words long, but the successful practice of this stage in your recovery program lasts a lifetime. No one is perfect, and now more than ever the mantra of “progress, not perfection” will come into play. You cannot expect your defects of character to evaporate overnight, as this is not what your journey is meant to be. The work you invest in yourself by keeping aware of your character defects and diligently asking your higher power to help you eliminate them in your daily life will transform you into a better person over a period of time. So long as you maintain your willingness and awareness you will succeed in working your seventh step, and you will notice your life begin to change for the better as your shortcomings have less and less of an effect on your decisions and interactions with others!