If I’m ever going to complete Steps Six and Seven with any degree of success, I need to be humble. I need to learn how to get humble, stay humble, live humble. And I’m finding my biggest hurdle to this preferred lifestyle is my defensiveness.
Step Seven: Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
I’m fairly certain I did a thorough job identifying my shortcomings: I was confidant I knew what I found objectionable about myself, and by confidant I mean there was never a shortage of people, places, and things to point at and blame.
I recently ran down a list of what leads to defensiveness. What I got back was a profile of myself, pre-program. Within a few moments it became pretty obvious that I’d been clinging to old ways of thinking and reacting in a manner that never accomplished anything, save isolation and depression.
As my brick wall response became more and more ingrained, I lost sight of what was really going on (wrong thoughts, beliefs, and accusations), and as a result, everything became knee-jerk by nature. Any question regarding me and my current state of mental health immediately caused my muscles to tense, my eyes to narrow and my mind to tighten. To my way of stinking thinking, nobody was concerned about my current state; they were only interested in attacking me, demanding what was wrong with me, and exhaustingly wondering why was there always something wrong with me.
It becomes embarrassing and shameful, and after awhile I quit accompanying my shrugged shoulders with my blank stare and went on the attack. Instead of beating myself up, I tore you down. Both overreactions. Both unhelpful. Neither humble in the least.
That’s because humility lives somewhere in the middle. Smack-dab in the middle, if you want to get technical about it. But for someone who’s either a 1 or a 10 on a scale of 1 to 10, “middle” isn’t exactly my middle name.
Humility didn’t appeal to me because it comes without drama. It eschews judgments and comparisons, the two things my alcoholism lives for. I needed to know where I fit in relation to you, and there was no way it could ever be alongside, in tandem, as an equal companion. I needed to either feel sorry for you or resent you. Which was it going to be?
That’s why Step Seven has been something of a bugger for me in the past. I’d go into it thinking I was a piece of crap degenerate, and that I needed to throw myself at the mercy of my Higher Power to receive any sort of recompense.
But wasn’t that already accomplished in Step One? No offense, but been there, done that. Now it was time for appropriately assessing myself and my shortcomings, not blowing them up or minimizing them. We all have failings. That’s what makes us human, and therefore equal. It’s this exact thought that allows for the idea of humility to take root and hopefully grow in my heart: that our goods and bads aren’t all that different.
Stop searching for the differences and start looking for the common ground; it’s what makes us common.
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.