The Twelve and Twelve tells us that “the whole emphasis of Step Seven is on humility.” We first looked at humility in the Third Step when we made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God. Without some humility, no alcoholic can stay sober, no Al-Anon can stay serene. Our experience has shown us that without humility, we cannot live a purposeful life. AA teaches us that a useful life is one in the service of others. This may be a bit tricky for the Al-Anon since we so often are worried about others that we forget about ourselves.
Bill Wilson explains humility this way, “As long as we placed self-reliance first, genuine reliance upon a Higher Power was out of the question. That basic ingredient of humility is a desire to seek and do God’s will.” When we live life run on self will, humility is missing. Humility, we discover, is not something to re resisted, but something to be accepted.
Bill Wilson wrote that the process of accepting humility “was unbelievably painful. It was only by repeated humiliations that we were forced to learn something about humility.” Taking the Third Step was a bold example of spiritual humility because it was a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God. With the Seventh Step, we have an opportunity to put that decision into practice by asking God to do something specific for us. We are humbly asking God to remove our character defects. We are saying your will, not mine. But we must accept the terms, conditions, and timetable that our Higher Power has in mind.
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We conducted a survey so that our listeners can help us understand this step
We posed the question, “What does humble mean to you?”
The possible responses were …
What is interesting is that this survey proves that we people in a 12-step recovery program have our own language.
The possible responses I provided in the survey sent to our listeners came directly from the definition of humble in the dictionary.
But “other” was the second most popular response.
In other words, being humble means something different to AAs than normal people.
So ,? let’s discuss how we understand this step and how humility plays a role.
What does it mean to you to be humble?
How are you humble? How can I become more humble?
What does the term “humbly ask” mean to you?
Before program, what did you think of humility? Was it a positive/negative?
Before program, did you experience humiliation?
What is the difference between humility and humiliation?
What are “our shortcomings?”
How is Step 3 related to Step 7?
How does acceptance relate to Step 7?
What is the Seventh Step Prayer?
The Seventh Step Prayer
from page 76 of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous
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.
What does it mean to you that God “should have all of me, good and bad?”
In this prayer, character defects stand in the was of being useful to others and God. What does this mean to you?
What does it mean to you “to do your bidding?”
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Clyde from Shelby Township
How about now, have you been humiliated in recovery?
Is there a difference in how you responded to humiliated between before and after program?
What would you say to the new person faced with Step 7 for the first time?