Does Step Seven Let Us Off the Hook? By Jamie Moon

12 steps jamie moonJamie Moon talks step seven of the 12 step process.Well here we are at Step Seven—Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings. Now I know that this was written in a time when there was a male dominance in writing and culture—but hey! Why can’t these Steps be brought into the twenty first century? I mean really, if God is everything, then God is female as well as male. Why do we insist on holding on to phraseology which makes God male? I mean some people even make the word God mean male—I once was giving a talk and had a lady in the audience berate me for my male stance on God. This she said was because the word God was male. But that I think is going to extremes—but “Him?” That is kind of difficult to get away from.



But I digress. Back to the question, Does Step Seven let us off the hook? As part of our treatment to drug and alcohol addiction we use the prayer, that I’m sure you know by heart, which is the only real reference to Step Seven in the Big Book, says:

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. Amen.

So, let’s break it down, “My Creator,” ok I’ve already decided that God is everything back in Step Three. If that be true then everything is created from God stuff. Therefore I must be created from and by God. Then it says, “I am now willing that you (God) should have all of me, good and bad.” Now, I am surrendering even more so than I did in Step Three, but I think most importantly I am giving over my judgment of good and bad. Now here’s where the question rests. Does that mean that if after sincerely saying this prayer I am not responsible for what comes out of my mouth or what I do? I don’t think so. Maybe if this was the last of the Twelve Steps. But it is not, it is the Seventh of Twelve. Although it may be perfect that one acts badly in a particular situation. There are also later Steps that say we must clean up that behavior. So we are not let off the hook there.

The prayer continues, “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.” Wow, so I’m asking for every defect to be removed, right? Not quite, the caveat is “which stands in the way of my usefulness…” but who makes that choice? All things being equal the answer is—God. Then of course, “Grant me strength, as I go out from here, to do your bidding.” Very important and very early in the process we are asking “to do” God’s bidding. We’re not waiting for Step Twelve. The implied “bidding” here is to live life without defenses. I wonder with our controlling nature or that of the anorexic or bulimic if that is an easy prospect? Not.

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