It all comes down to this simple self-knowledge:  don’t tell me what to do.  I don’t appreciate being ordered around.  Even if it’s in my best interest, I’ll wind it up into a tight ball of spite that gets hurled at your head.

Step 7:  humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

It’s the last phrase in the Seventh Step Prayer: “…as I go out from here to do Your bidding.”  Taken all by its lonesome, this comes off sounding like something the flying monkeys would say to the Wicked Witch of the West.  And Lord knows I love to parse things out until the original meaning has been twisted into its evil twin.  I never wanted to be useful to anyone; that’s just sucking up to the man.  I’m nobody’s flunky, not even God Almighty’s.

The other way I’d make this step impossible was to believe it was a one-and-done-type thing.  As if Step Six wasn’t procrastination-prone enough, this one felt like I needed to travel to Mecca, climb the highest mountain and lay myself bare.  It’s easy to avoid something when it’s made impossible.

And even if I managed to do all that, does flipping off someone in traffic undo everything?  Some jerk cuts me off and I get angry – proof that I wasn’t ready for this step, or the one before it.  And so on, tumbling down.

That’s why I can’t make it a big thing.  That’s why it needs to stay small, stay daily, and stay right-sized.  When I try to make this prayer span more than twenty-four hours (eight of which are spent sleeping), things are guaranteed to go wrong.  That’s why it’s a day at a time.

What I’ve learned:  This prayer doesn’t work best for me first thing in the morning.  What does work best is using it when I’m ready to leave the house, about to pick up the phone, attending a meeting (program or otherwise), or interacting with other people, be they family, friends, or total strangers.

This needs to get printed and laminated and slipped into my front pocket every morning.  Just the physical reminder that it’s there can sometimes serve its purpose.  Fresh start, clean slate, for however long it lasts.

Seventh Step Prayer
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.

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