There was true humility and deep surrender by asking God to “take all of me,” both the “good” and the “bad.” This was an admission that I could not trust myself to differentiate between the two. I almost drank after five months sobriety before going into the 12-step process with my AA sponsor.
He wisely pointed out the obvious fact that my mind lied to me—It was not to be trusted! I needed a higher power (God) to see the truth about myself. What an ego-shattering revelation! Yet, it was necessary to give up on myself and trust God to take over my recovery. Someone said: “Self cannot rid self of self with self.”
I often hear long dissertations of what Bill W meant by “shortcomings” and “defects of character” in Step Seven. Though it may be impossible to overstate the importance of dictionaries, Bill W uses these words to mean the same thing. Let us look how he came about phrasing Steps Six and Seven: Page 59, Step Seven: “Humbly asked Him to remove our “shortcomings.”
Page 76, Step Seven: “I pray that you now remove from me every “defect of character” that stands in the way of my usefulness to you and my fellows.” Consequently, it is easy to see that Bill meant for us to absorb these two words as “twins.”
I wondered why the closing word “Amen” was not used in the many prayers of the steps leading up to Step Seven. It was explained to me that this word can be used as a summary of previous connected facts, e.g,:
In Step Three we asked to be relieved of the bondage of self, but we didn’t know what that was. Not complete. No Amen! In Step Four we only partially realize the nature of said bondage. Not complete. No amen! In Step Five our sponsor may provide deeper insights of the bondage. Not complete. No Amen! In Step Six we become willing to ask God to remove this bondage. Not complete. No Amen! In Step Seven, not that we have a much better insight of our bondage and are willing to be rid of our defects and shortcomings we are now ready to ask God for help. We have completed the necessary prerequisites. The summary has been completed—consequently Bill adds the word, Amen.
So be it.
By Bob S.