Both Feet on the Ground
When Bill W. started thinking about promoting himself as the leader of Alcoholics Anonymous, Dr. Bob stated “keep both feet on the ground”. This principal applies to each and every one of us today as we work to keep our ego in check and remain a humble, teachable citizen during these unprecedented times.
How does one obtain humility? We proceed to break down the ego with Step 5 – “admitted to God, to ourselves and another human being the exact nature of our wrongs”. It’s a humbling practice to be truly open and honest with another human being. It is the practice of identifying and taking a deep look at our personal shortcomings. We slide into Step 6 – “were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character”. This brings us to Step 7.
“Humbly Asked Him to Remove our Shortcomings”
This step is often connected with what is known as the 7th Step Prayer:
“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.”
Step 7 quite simply asks that you request that your higher power remove your shortcomings as part of your daily life. That’s it. If you want to work on particular defects, you can be specific in your requests.
Humility is a core concept of Alcoholics Anonymous and Step 7, in particular. Don’t think of humility as groveling at the feet of your higher power. Instead, believe that it is the key to the true freedom of your spirit. It is about accepting the truth about yourself and desiring to turn to your higher power to change.
This step asks that you turn to your higher power and ask for assistance, but you can’t do that until you can honestly look at yourself without either self-satisfaction or self-loathing. You can’t ask to have a defect of character removed if you can’t yet admit that it exists. This is why humility is so central to this step.
It is an absence of humility that allows people to justify their behavior and excuse it away. Without humility, immaturity is “youthful high spirits.” Without humility, risky sexual behavior is “a healthy sex drive.” Lack of humility can also lead to a flawed negative self-image as well.
Will My Higher Power Remove My Shortcomings?
Well, yes and no. Just because you ask for them to be removed doesn’t automatically will them out of existence. You have to do work. Remain vigilant and correct your behavior when defects begin to reassert themselves.
However, there are people for whom asking a higher power to remove shortcomings will lead to the absence of those shortcomings. You may be one of them. But, you can’t get complacent. You have to know that your higher power can return those shortcomings at any time.
Ideally, you will make progress. Progress is fewer shortcomings. Progress is greater willingness to ask for help. Progress is increased humility. Alcoholics Anonymous is about progress and not about perfection.
If anyone out there is having any trouble with humility, I can relate, but I always remember that when alcohol was my higher power, I had no problem with humility. I had no problem pan handling or borrowing money from anyone just to get a drink. So if I could humble myself for a drink back then, I should be able to humble myself to the A.A. program today.
Having both feet on the ground gives us a solid foundation in which to rebuild our lives in sobriety. We remember that there are no strangers in A.A., only friends that we have not met.