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.
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 of sobriety before going into the 12-step process with my 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.
It is said that, “Self cannot rid self of self with self.”
In Step Three, I had asked God to remove the “bondage of self” with only a scant idea of what that was. But Steps Four and Five provided a better view of my defects of character and shortcomings. (Bill W. stated these words were to be used simultaneously or in the same context—please note Step Seven on page 59 in the Big Book uses the word “shortcomings” rather than “defects of character,” as in the prayer above).
It is important to notice that the Seventh Step prayer ends with the word “Amen.” Meaning so be it, this indicates a conclusion. However, there is no “Amen” following the Third Step Prayer, or those in Steps Four, Five and Six! Why?
I think it’s because Step Seven concludes a process: In Step Three we ask to be relieved of the bondage of self, but we don’t know what that is until we do Steps Four and Five. By Step seven we know more precisely what we are asking God to remove from us as we go out to do His bidding. The process has been concluded; however, more will be revealed.
By Bob S.