Alcoholics Anonymous Step Seven - Giving Defects to God

While step seven of the Alcoholics Anonymous program could be viewed as a second part of the preceding step, it has enough power to stand on its own. This step is where the preparation meets action.

Step Seven - Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

In step six, AA members looked inward and prepared themselves to get rid of a lifetime of baggage. This baggage is in the form of character defects uncovered in steps four and five.

Seventh Step Prayer of AA

On page 76 of the "Big Book", members of Alcoholics Anonymous are encouraged to offer a prayer to their Higher Power, asking Him to take away, once and for all, the "junk" they have been carrying around their entire lives.

"My Creator, I am now willing that you should have all of me, good and bad. I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness to you and my fellows. Grant me strength, as I go out from here, to do your bidding. Amen."

Having said this prayer, or some similar sentiment in their own words, the AA member is said to have completed step seven.

Step Seven Action

I had heard many people talk about having a huge burden removed from their shoulders immediately after completing steps six and seven. Looking forward to the same relief, I happily worked these steps. Looking skyward with my hands held wide, I waited for all of the negative feelings to be lifted.

Unfortunately, my experience was quite different from others I had heard. My sponsor suggested that I spring into action. After all, he reminded me, Alcoholics Anonymous is a program of action.

Looking at the text of the step I couldn't see any opportunity for action.

"How about something ceremonial?", my sponsor suggested, smiling.

That night I wrote each of my defects on a piece of big block letters. I took the stack of sheets onto the back deck of my house along with a lighter. Opening the lid of the grill, I sat down on a nearby chaise lounge to pray. Taking some deep breaths, I repeated the seventh step prayer several times.

The time for action had arrived!

Taking each of my character defects in turn, represented by a piece of paper, I dropped them into the grill. Striking the lighter, I set fire to the corner of the page. Focusing on the wisp of smoke, I visualized God taking that particular defect from me forever.

The power of step seven became obvious to me as each character defect was reduced to ashes before my eyes.

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