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What Is Step 7 of AA? Understanding Humility

Finding your path to sobriety can often feel like a maze, with numerous turns and complicated pathways. Yet, navigating this labyrinth becomes less daunting when you have a clear map and supportive companions on your journey.

In this context, the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) serves as a guiding compass. One of the most profound steps on this path is Step 7, an often misunderstood yet transformative aspect of recovery.

Breaking Down the Language

"Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings."

The language used in this step may seem simple on the surface, but it holds profound depth, with its roots reaching into the heart of your recovery journey.

At its core, Step 7 calls for humility. It invites you to surrender your shortcomings or flaws to a higher power and asks that you trust this process in your path toward recovery. This step is a crucial turning point, where you actively seek change and personal growth rather than merely acknowledging your imperfections.

It’s not about perfection or eradicating flaws but about fostering growth, acceptance, and understanding within ourselves. This step can be a profound shift, transforming your perspective and approach toward your recovery journey.

How Are Our Shortcomings Removed?

By understanding and accepting our own shortcomings, we begin to create an openness that allows for personal transformation.

This does not suggest an instantaneous removal of our shortcomings. Instead, it advocates for a willingness to let them go, understanding that change is a gradual and continual process.

By admitting our shortcomings, we acknowledge areas of our lives that we can improve upon. We create room for growth and invite the opportunity to replace these shortcomings with healthier habits and perspectives.

This 'removal' is about altering our responses to the triggers that have previously led us to unhealthy behaviors. It is about learning new ways to cope and respond, slowly replacing old, harmful patterns with more beneficial ones. It's important to note that this isn't about achieving perfection but evolving as we navigate our sobriety journey.

Who Is This Higher Power?

In the context of AA, the higher power referenced in Step 7 does not necessarily mean a religious deity or spiritual entity. While it can indeed be a god for those with religious beliefs, for others, it could be the AA community, nature, or a moral compass. The AA program encourages you to define your own understanding of a higher power, allowing for flexibility and personal interpretation.

The concept of a higher power is a common thread in the 12 steps of AA, serving as a beacon of hope, guidance, and strength that can support you through your journey. It's an external entity that helps you recognize that you are not alone in your recovery, providing comfort and fostering resilience.

What Is the Role of Humility?

Humility is the linchpin of Step 7. By humbling ourselves, we recognize that we are fallible, we have flaws, and, most importantly, the capacity to change.

Humility allows us to see ourselves as we are, without judgment or harsh criticism. It is accepting that we have shortcomings and understanding that it’s okay not to be perfect. In this acceptance, we can find the courage and motivation to seek change.

Furthermore, humility allows us to connect with others authentically. It makes us open to listening, learning, and growing alongside those who share our journey. By fostering humility, we create a bridge of understanding and empathy with our fellow travelers on the road to recovery, reinforcing the importance of community in the healing process.

Acting on Step Seven

Step 7 presents a transformative turn in your recovery journey: seeking to have your shortcomings removed through humility and the assistance of your chosen higher power. It's a proactive step, urging you to acknowledge your imperfections and actively seek change and growth.

This step promotes a shift in perspective, helping you understand that perfection is not the goal; personal growth is. And by incorporating humility into your daily life, you learn to appreciate your recovery journey and navigate life’s challenges with grace and resilience.

Embrace Humility

At the heart of Step 7 is humility — a virtue often misunderstood. Humility is not about self-deprecation or undervaluing oneself.

It's about self-awareness. Humility calls us to see ourselves clearly, acknowledge our strengths and weaknesses, and understand that we are neither superior nor inferior to others.

Embracing humility means accepting our imperfections and seeing them as opportunities for growth rather than immutable flaws. It opens the door to empathy as we start to listen and learn from others, fostering understanding and supportive relationships.

Moreover, humility involves recognizing that we are not alone on this journey and that it's okay, even necessary, to seek help from our higher power and those around us.

Practice Strategies To Cultivate Humility

Incorporating humility into your everyday life might seem daunting, but with a few practical strategies, it can become an integral part of your journey to personal growth and recovery:

Practice Gratitude

Regularly expressing gratitude can foster a sense of humility. It reminds us that we're part of a larger whole and helps us appreciate the people and circumstances in our lives that support our growth.

Start with a gratitude journal, noting down three things you're grateful for each day. Over time, this simple practice can shift your perspective to focus more on the positive aspects of life and less on the negative.

Mindful Listening

Truly listening to others when they speak and giving them your undivided attention encourages humility. It opens your mind to different perspectives, fostering empathy and understanding.

Practice mindful listening by eliminating distractions when conversing, being present in the moment, and resisting the urge to interject with your own opinions. This helps you to understand others more deeply, fostering stronger, more meaningful relationships.

Perform Acts of Kindness

Engaging in altruistic acts, big or small, shifts our focus from ourselves to others. This fosters humility and promotes a sense of interconnectedness. Small acts of kindness (holding the door open for someone, offering words of encouragement, or even volunteering your time for a cause) can help you shift your focus outward.

Recognize the impact of your actions on others and take joy in the happiness and relief you can bring to people's lives.


Spend a few minutes reflecting on your actions, thoughts, and emotions each day. Identify instances where you could have acted more humbly and consider how you might respond differently.

By acknowledging your shortcomings, you become more open to growth and self-improvement, embodying the essence of humility. Through these strategies, you can embrace humility as a way of life, transforming your recovery journey, daily interactions, and overall outlook on life.

Let Go of Your Shortcomings

One of the fundamental aspects of Step 7 is acknowledging our shortcomings and expressing a willingness to let them go. This doesn't suggest that our flaws will instantly disappear. Rather, it indicates a shift in perspective and a commitment to personal growth.

We learn to see our shortcomings not as definitive aspects of our character but as areas where we can grow and improve. By acknowledging these areas, we open ourselves up to change, learning to replace harmful patterns with healthier habits.

This transformative process isn’t about reaching a state of flawlessness but about growing and evolving throughout our recovery journey.

Seek Help from Your Higher Power

Having acknowledged our shortcomings and committed to personal growth, we turn to our higher power for assistance. As you define it, this higher power becomes a beacon of hope and strength throughout your recovery journey.

Here, we humbly ask our higher power to help us overcome our shortcomings. This step signifies a sense of surrender and trust in the process of recovery. By seeking the aid of a higher power, we acknowledge that we can't do this alone — and that's okay.

By acting on Step 7, we engage in significant personal growth, fostering resilience, empathy, and humility in our journey toward sobriety. Each step, each day, brings us closer to our goal, reminding us that this is our comeback story.

Find Solace In Community

Recovery doesn't happen in isolation; it blossoms in the warmth of shared experiences and collective strength. The importance of connection and community in the process of recovery cannot be understated.

This is where Sober Sidekick steps in. Our platform ensures that every member's voice is heard and their experiences validated. Our unique empathy algorithm ensures that each post garners real-life support, echoing the essence of Step 7's humility in community action.

Sober Sidekick's 24/7 accessible virtual AA meetings and direct messaging features allow you to connect, share, and grow alongside others who understand your journey.

Embrace your comeback story with Sober Sidekick, your compassionate companion on the path to sobriety. As we delve deeper into the layers of Step 7 and the essence of humility, remember you are not alone. Your journey toward sobriety is a shared one, and every stride you take brings you closer to your wellness goals.


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