Last updated: 22 November 2023 & medically reviewed by Dr. Kimberly Langdon
So far in the journey through the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), you will have learned to accept that you are flawed, that you require help from a higher power, made a moral inventory, and admitted to others your wrongdoings through alcohol abuse. Step 7 prepares you for the remainder of the steps by displaying true humility in the face of your defects.
As participants who have made it to step 7 have already constructed their own interpretation of who God or a higher power means to them, the language used in the prayer of step 7 should seem less daunting.
The humility learned during step 7 also helps reinforce the previous steps and improves a person’s ability to reflect on past actions and behaviors.
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What is the 7th step prayer?
While previous steps in AA are often recited as a form of prayer or mantra, step 7 is the closest to what could be considered a religious address to God. It reads as follows:
“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.”
As participants who have made it to step 7 have already constructed their own interpretation of who God or a higher power means to them, the language used in the prayer of step 7 should seem less daunting. While the use of “My Creator” and “Amen” may fall in line with more traditional representations of a higher power, these words should be interpretable to members who have their own view of their higher power.
What is the purpose of the 7th Step prayer?
The previous steps of AA have allowed the participant to learn acceptance of their shortcomings, admittance that they can not overcome alcohol addiction alone, and forced them to take a look at their moral landscape and take inventory of it. These reflections push the person towards a crucial trait in completing the steps, humility.
Only through modesty and removing pride and arrogance from one’s character can those on the 12 Step program truly give themselves to a higher power to help remove their defects of character. The humility learned during step 7 also helps reinforce the previous steps and improves a person’s ability to reflect on past actions and behaviors.
Is humility the same as weakness?
A part of the 12 steps that many struggle with is the admission that they are “weak” to their addiction and the parts of their character that manifest in behaviors that lead to drinking. This is tackled in the first step, admitting that you are powerless in the face of your addiction, but some still hold onto a sense of pride that holds them back from truly accepting this fact.
Step 7 requires modesty and humility to be properly completed, and some will need to return to the first step and work their way through again to completely accept that they need help from a higher power than themselves.
The act of reflection and humility requires immense strength to fully actualize, a strength that the steps help a person to build. Though the powerlessness to addiction is ever-present, the 12 steps build and mold character strengths in other areas so that the recovering addict may be able to govern their own life successfully and soberly.