This week's HTYH will complete our discussion about Step Seven, "Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings." In Bill Wilson's book, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, on page seventy-five he said: "We saw we needn't always be bludgeoned and beaten into humility. It could come quite as much from our voluntary reaching for it as it could from unremitting suffering. A great turning point in our lives came when we sought for humility as something we really wanted, rather than as something we must have. It marked the time when we could commence to see the full implications of Step Seven: "Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings."
As we approached the actual taking of Step Seven, it might be well if we AA's inquire once more just what our deeper objectives are. Each of us would like to live at peace with him or herself and with our fellows. We would like to be assured that the grace of God can do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. We have seen that the character defects based upon shortsighted unworthy desires are the obstacles that block our path toward these objectives. We now clearly see that we have been making unreasonable demands upon ourselves, upon others, and upon God.
The chief activator of our defects has been self-centered fear-primarily fear that we would lose something we already possessed or would fail to get something we demanded. Living upon a basis of unsatisfied demands, we were in a state of continual disturbance and frustration. Therefore, no peace was to be had unless we could find a means of reducing these demands. The difference between a demand and a simple request is plain to anyone.
The Seventh Step is where we make the change in our attitude that permits us, with humility as our guide, to move out from ourselves toward others and toward God. The whole emphasis of Step Seven is on humility. It is really saying to us that we now ought to be willing to try humility in seeking the removal of our other shortcomings just as we did when we admitted that we were powerless over alcohol, and came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. If that degree of humility could enable us to find the grace by which such a deadly obsession as alcohol could be banished, then there must be hope of the same result respecting any other problem we could possibly have.
Barleycorn once saw a quote from a Jesuit Priest who said for him, "Humility isn't so much aiming toward heaven as it is backing away from hell."