Humility was essential to complete Step One. The disease of alcoholism had broken me; my self-will was useless, which was humiliating. To come forward and admit that for over a decade there was something in my life that I couldn’t control or stop took quite a bit doing. Three years, in fact, until the pain got so great that I was left with two choices: ask for help or quit breathing.
Step Seven: Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
Step One was easy compared to Step Seven. All I was admitting to was my powerlessness over alcohol. Step Seven wants me to admit that I’ve got a laundry list of character defects which are directly responsible for my current condition, and that simply removing the drink doesn’t remove the misery.
My assumption for years was as follows: once I fix myself and my problems, once I get my head on straight, the need to drink would be lifted. My alcoholism was a side-effect that would vanish once I got proper counseling.
What was actually happening was the exact opposite. My head was never clear long enough to get it on straight, intoxication kept pushing my problems onto tomorrow’s to-do list, and I numbly walked through my days with the vague notion that I was doomed.
To my astonishment, Step One removed the obstacle that had been blocking any attempt of change. Although it did leave me with one caveat: my defects were still my defects. I was none too pleased to learn there was much more wrong with me.
However, over time I have become pleased. Without this program, without this disease, I would have gone through this world one giant selfish windbag, forever taking and complaining. I can see my shortcomings now for what they truly are: barriers that keep me from celebrating life.
This is where the Seventh Step Prayer comes in:
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 fellow. Grant me the strength, as I go out from here, to do your bidding. Amen.
Finally, some direction.