In the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous there is only one short paragraph regarding step 7. It contains the prayer we say for the removal of our defects of character. There is some tricky language here as the prayer states that we pray for removal of “defects of character which stand in the way of my usefulness to YOU (Higher power) and my FELLOWS.” This can be alarming to some alcoholics as they imagined they would be white as snow after the removal of their defects of character. Sure, we have had a psychic change and are a different person now. Also, our most glaring defects have been removed by the Higher Power. But we are left with some defects to deal with ourselves.
Once a defect is ascertained we have to look at what we must do to remove it. This requires a lot of humility on our part. After the step states that we “humbly ask him to remove our shortcomings.” We do not get to pick and choose which defects must go. We have to realize in humility our fears, dreads, demands and dreams. Each of these items are carefully examined in the taking of step 7. We also review our resentment list with humility, and realize that these resentments must be mastered. They must be rooted out of our character root and branch if we are to live a successful sober life.
Our ego may want to hang onto some things but after careful examination, and with humility we see that these things must also fall by the wayside. Some of the defects of character may have been used as coping mechanisms to get us through situations. We need an open mind as new ways of relating are presented to us after the taking of step 7. This is another area in which 12 step meetings are very helpful. We hear other people share how they took the steps and the results they achieved after doing so. It also may be helpful to go to a step study meeting at times to get more clarity on the steps. And reading the 12×12 on steps 6-7 can help us gain a better understanding of these two steps and how they work together. Willingness and humility are the keys to these two steps. With these two qualities we are able to allow the Higher Power to step in and make us into a new and sober person. This once again involves change. But we are not left alone to complete the necessary immediate changes. We have the help of the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous and our Higher Power.