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Connecting With The World

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STEP Seven is one of the more challenging Steps to discuss at length. The section in the Big Book is short - just a prayer. Whilst I would never really endorse messing with the Big Book, I have inherited, from my first sponsor, the practice of listing the defects for removal along with the Step Seven prayer adding, "Please could you particularly remove from me my fear, self-pity, self-seeking and dishonesty" before finishing with the final line about having the strength to do God's will as I move on with my day.  

The list of defects of course largely comes from a written Step Four and Five. Whilst the guidance of a sponsor is helpful in identifying my defects, the humility more often comes from seeing the truth for myself - and experiencing the harms that come from them. I have found the process of taking a daily inventory helpful too - in the form of Step Ten as well as my end of day practice of Step Eleven. You soon get fed up with a defect if you inventory it every day for a month.

On the subject humility, there is of course the idea that I completely wrecked my life under my own steam. Being unable to control my own drinking played a part but I wasn't a well-rounded human being before I picked up a drink. Lack of power was, and always has been, my dilemma. In the longer term another thing that has improved my humility is a connection with the world outside of AA. 

I was quite young when I fell into AA - my life a total car crash. As tempting as it would have been to spend the rest of my life in just AA meetings (and with three or four a day in Bristol even back then, it would have been feasible) the prospect of doing this for potentially a few decades would have been selling myself short.  I had a sponsor who agreed. "You can't practise these principles in all your affairs if you don't have any affairs to practise them in" were his very sage words at the time.

So, move out into the world I did. Some people outside of meetings were really empathetic about my alcoholism and recovery, and some people absolute didn't care, which is sometimes how it should be. I have had to grow up, take responsibility and be another face in the world. I have learnt that, whilst defects can get in the way sometimes, now that most of my jagged edges have been rounded off, I am not so different from everyone else trying to make sense of life. For someone who arrived at AA absolutely petrified of the world and completely disconnected from the human race, that truly is a miracle - especially without a drink. It is a beautiful Universe after all, where gratitude and humility often go hand in hand.