I’ve been attempting to understand this step because I not sure I’ve ever really worked it. I went through the experience of the Seventh Step a couple of times, but they seem far removed from any daily program. Like Confirmation.
Step Seven: humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
It’s short and it’s skimmable. Next! Onto the apologies! In less than a paragraph in the book, I’ve dealt with my all my problems, and they’re all so simply solved: Just remember you’re an asshole, and that you’re okay with that, and that you’re working on not being such a big an asshole.
My Step Seven thought process is as follows: So, it goes without saying that I want my shortcomings removed, right? And there was that time, years and years ago, as part of my out-patient program, when I asked for my shortcomings to be removed physically, written of strips of paper, and burned them up in a coffee can and prayed as the ashes rose into the night sky where the Coughing God of Addiction gathered them up into her giant ashtray. So what follows is old-hat; a checked-off list stuck to the fridge, hidden under expiring coupons, forgotten.
But “letting something go without saying” doesn’t work: I can substitute acknowledgment for acceptance all day long. Nothing regarding my sobriety can go without saying, because nothing regarding my alcoholism is quietly understood. I need to be told again and again and repeatedly and in different ways over and over that it is imperative that I humbly ask Him to remove my shortcomings.
I also must understand that I’m not humbly asking for the strength to remove my shortcomings. That’s clinging, pure and simple. That’s me still believing that I need to do all the fixing, and I’ll turn to a higher power if I need help. Just hang out, God, and go have a smoke – I’ll let you know if things gets hairy.
I can’t remove my shortcomings myself because it’s impossible for me to pick them up without causing further damage.
Bonus fact: traveling becomes lighter when things are left behind.