Following the heavy work and action involved in Steps Four and Five, Steps Six and Seven fall again on the early Steps of believing in a power greater than ourselves and turning our will and lives over to God. It is important to keep in mind that these Steps state perfect ideals and are used as goals.
In Step Six the powerful instinct to live cooperates fully with the Creator’s desire to give new life, and it reads, “Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.” When people’s natural desires far exceed their intended purpose and drive them blindly, they depart from the degree of perfection God wishes for them here on earth. That is the measure of their character defects, or, as some describe, their sins. Step Six is the best possible attitude one can take on the lifetime journey to manage natural desires and keep them in check. Anyone in recovery will confirm that God is active in this Step. The key is a willingness to walk in the direction of perfection.
One priest in recovery sums it up like this: “Character defects and shortcomings are the trans fats of our spiritual life. We like some of them, but we know we will be healthier without them. It’s hard to strive for God’s perfect objective when we could easily settle for our own self-determined objective. We have to practice saying, ‘This I cannot give up yet (rather than not at all).’”
Humility is the primary principle in Step Seven, and the basic ingredient of all humility is a desire to seek and do God’s will. Humility is the avenue to true freedom of the human spirit and an aid to survival. In Step Seven which reads, “Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings,” humility begins to act as the nourishing ingredient which brings serenity. It transforms failure and misery into priceless assets, it brings strength out of weakness and it acts as a healer of pain. This humility is welcomed rather than feared, and it helps teach that the grace of God can do for everyone what they cannot do for themselves.
“No one lets go of shortcomings all at once. They disappear as we become aware of them – one at a time, over many years. With each layer we peel away, so much is gained. Each time I identify another troublesome attitude or behavior and surrender it, I grow. And I’ve still got lots of growing to do,” reflects a sister in recovery.
Written by Guest House Staff Writer
AA is not affiliated or allied with any sect, denomination, or specific religious belief. When AA speaks of God, they mean each individual’s own conception of God.