Step Seven: The Thing About Shortcomings

“Humbly asked Him to remove these shortcomings” states the text for the seventh step in the 12 steps of most 12 step programs. ‘Him’ referring to a God that has been constructed out of the individual person’s understanding and belief, step seven is call to take action against the negative behavior patterns that block further spiritual or personal development.

Step four of the twelve steps asked for an inventory to be taken of resentments that have for too long been held on to. By examining these negative thoughts, it became evident that there were things out of control, or in control, from the past that were never let go of. As a result, these obsessions created roadblocks in relationships with the self, the other, and a higher power. Taking step five with a trusted friend, this laundry list was aired out, making careful note of various stains and imperfections. Step six asked for willingness to let go of these attachments. Many would assume that letting go of what is not longer entirely fit to be of service, including memories, should not be difficult. The alcoholic or addict knows, however, that these resentments were at times the bread and butter of life itself. If not angry at someone, then what? So much of themselves were tied up for ages in these defiances. Nonetheless, becoming willing to let them go, eventually the step is taken to ask for it all to be removed.

Often, 12 step programs follow The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous which uses a specific prayer to address this drastic move of step seven. In the prayer, a higher power called God is called upon to remove every single defect of character in order to be of more usefulness to one’s fellows. When considering the previously held fear of what life would possibly like without holding onto shortcomings, it is quickly understood that the promise is held for more growth, more expansion, and more capability to be of service.

Shortcomings are not deficits in one’s personality. Rather they are learning tools for one’s strengths. Additionally, shortcomings are not so miraculously removed. Might as the context of the prayer may be, working to ‘remove’ shortcomings looks more like working to enhance one’s strength. For every problem there is a solution. Inherently, many of those solutions reside internally, within the very individual. Learning to embrace and build on these positives will in time get rid of the negatives.

At The Villa Treatment Center, we believe in your ability to build a better you so you can live a better life. Recovery is just the beginning of the miracle. If you’re ready to make a change, we are ready to help. Call us today for more information on our programs of care, 1-818-639-7160.