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A.A. Oldtimers…On the Seventh Step

A.A. Grapevine, May 1945, Vol. 1 No. 12

Editorial: On the 7th Step


"Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings."

We all know that it is God's will that we live clean, wholesome lives; that we think clearly and become persons of honest decision. This we know we cannot do until we become our real selves, so, in desperation, we alcoholics revert to prayer. We humbly ask God to remove our shortcomings; to restore us to our natural selves, so that we may think clearly on our problems.

Emerson says, "None will ever solve the problem of his character according to our prejudice, but only in his own high unprecedented way."

Character is undoubtedly accumulative, and in removing shortcomings it stands to reason that we are striving to build character. This can be done by observing our errors, and, one at a time, correcting them on the spot.

We have already accepted this "Power greater than ourselves" as a reality. Something to which we can pray, expecting to receive help. So now we ask for courage to look at our shortcomings honestly. To recognize them for what they really are, and not what we might wish them to be.

What are some of our shortcomings? Let us list just a few: 1. Excessive drinking. 2. Resenting help. 3. Resenting the good fortune of others. 4. Defending ourselves when we know we are in the wrong. 5. Jealousy and envy of all kinds. 6. Shunning responsibility.

Through the grace of God we have found A.A., which teaches us that we are sick people and that alcohol in any form or amount is out. So we stop drinking. That takes care of our number one problem.

We must be willing to accept help of all kinds without resentment. This takes a little time, as we are the world's most sensitive persons. We know too well that we have neglected all of our talents and abilities for alcohol, and we have terribly guilty feelings, made more acute by persons who are already in better circumstances than we are. Nevertheless, we learn to suffer our hurt feelings and start building a constructive, happy life.

Defending what we call our "pride" is one of the most difficult shortcomings to remove. Many of us have thought of pride as something virtuous, something to be honored. Well, what have we left, we who are humbly seeking help, that we can put on exhibition as virtue? Often we cannot actually put our finger on anything in our make-up of which we are really proud. So we break down our false pride, and exchange it for humility.

The most beautiful art in the world is simple, with few lines, little fuss and complications. So we try being simple for a change. Just plain honest simplicity. We look for the best in our fellow man, "Pardon the wrong in him; hark to the song in him."

By accepting God's help, we learn to think clearly; to play fairly; and to give generously.

Elizabeth W.
Boston, Massachusetts

One Response

  1. Jonathan Hager says:

    One of the hard parts for me is forgiving others who’ve said or done cruel things to me in the past. Sometimes I just have to find other things or people to think about, along the lines of what is said in the Big Book. One of my other character flaws I’ve really had to correct is slovenliness. Rather than avoid the problem, I’ve chosen to break it down into small, manageable pieces. I’ve been training myself for a while to do two things: make my bed in the morning and clean my shower.Because I’ve focussed on these changes for a while and they are becoming habits, I’ve now begun training myself to wash my dishes as I make them dirty. If I keep this up, pretty soon I figure the slovenliness will be gone. For me, a person that once cleaned their car and found sixty dollars in change in the back seat, that is major growth.

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