Addiction Recovery Program - A Guide to Addiction Recovery and Healing
Step 7: Humility
KEY PRINCIPLE: Humbly ask Heavenly Father to remove your shortcomings.
All the steps require humility, but step 7 requires it most explicitly: “Humbly ask Heavenly Father to remove your shortcomings.” The humble heart we developed in step 6 brought us to our knees in step 7 to ask the Lord to remove our shortcomings. When we had progressed to this point, we were ready to pray without any other motivation but our desire to become one in heart and in mind with Heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. No longer were we satisfied with a change in habits or even in lifestyle. We were finally ready to have God change our very nature.
Step 7 represented for each of us such total surrender to the Savior that many of us could not help but cry out in our hearts, as Alma did, “O Jesus, thou Son of God, have mercy on me” (Alma 36:18). Genuine remorse filled our hearts, not only because we had suffered or made others suffer but because we regretted that even in recovery we still could not remove our own shortcomings.
Having felt a portion of the love of God, we desired to give up all our sins, even all inclination to sin, so we might know Him better. Finally, voluntarily, with all our hearts, we offered our whole souls to God and asked Him to forgive us and make us in His image. We had finally come to realize that no other name, no other way nor means, can give us a complete remission of our sins. Holding nothing back, we pled with the Father that He, in His infinite mercy, would forgive us for all our pride, transgressions, and shortcomings. We asked that He would grant us grace, that through Him we might maintain this new way of life.
The Lord did not begin such a revolutionary change of our entire character until we allowed Him to do so. Step 7 was our decision. We had to humble ourselves deliberately. We had to surrender every particle of self-sufficient pride and admit that our efforts to save ourselves had been insufficient. We had to feel and live the truth King Benjamin taught—that we are all beggars before God and have no hope of salvation by our own efforts but only through the mercy and grace of Jesus Christ (see Mosiah 2:21; 4:19–20).
Step 7 marked for each of us the moment when we finally yielded without reservation to the eternal truth taught in Mosiah 16:4: “All mankind were lost; and behold, they would have been endlessly lost were it not that God redeemed his people from their lost and fallen state.” Our experience taught us that in taking step 7 we were not excused from the work that was ours to do. We still had to be patient and “press forward with a steadfastness in Christ” (2 Nephi 31:20).
We had not become entirely free from the desire to sin. We had to learn to accept life on God’s terms and wait upon His purposes and His timing—even in the removal of our shortcomings. In taking step 7, we learned to live with the same humility and patience toward God that Alma and his brethren showed when their burdens were lightened but not removed: “They did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord” (Mosiah 24:15). We finally abandoned the idea that we could become perfect by ourselves, and we accepted the truth that God desires us to conquer our weaknesses in this life by coming to Christ and being perfected in Him. We found that by His grace, He enabled us to deny ourselves of all ungodliness and to understand that salvation comes not by our own power but by His (see Moroni 10:32).
Each step comes with a warning, though, and step 7 is no exception. We who have embraced these principles must warn you that you cannot expect to take this step without sacrifice—and rightly so. In Doctrine and Covenants 59:8, the Lord commands, “Thou shalt offer a sacrifice unto the Lord thy God in righteousness, even that of a broken heart and a contrite spirit.” This offering is the essence of step 7. Even as you feel the pains of your own rebirth, remember that His suffering, not yours, ensures your redemption from sin. Your sacrifice is only a humble reminder of His “great and last sacrifice” on your behalf (Alma 34:14).
When you put everything into God’s hands, you have finally done all you can to receive His unmistakable witness that your sins are forgiven, that your past is truly in the past. Like people who were converted in the Book of Mormon, you can testify that you have “been visited by the power and Spirit of God, which [is] in Jesus Christ” (3 Nephi 7:21). Along with Alma, you can exclaim: “I could remember my pains no more; yea, I was harrowed up by the memory of my sins no more. And oh, what joy, and what marvelous light I did behold; yea, my soul was filled with joy as exceeding as was my pain!” (Alma 36:19–20).
Seek for the power of the Savior’s Atonement to become effective in your personal life by meditating on the sacrament prayers
One effective form of meditation is to think of a verse or a phrase of scripture as you pray to understand its meaning and application in your own life. Since each of us must make the covenant that is repeated in the sacrament prayers, you could meditate on them.
Following the invitation of the prophets to apply the scriptures in your life, you may want to read Moroni 4:3 and 5:2 and humbly consider these sacred words in your own voice: for example, “O God, the Eternal Father, [I] ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this bread to [my soul as I] partake of it . . . and keep his commandments which he hath given [me], that [I] may always have his Spirit to be with [me].”
Pray humbly for God to do for you what you cannot do for yourself
By keeping a simple prayer in your heart, such as “Lord, what wilt thou have me do?” or “Thy will be done,” you will be continually reminded of your total dependence upon the Lord. The love of God, yours for Him and His for you, will help you form one relationship to which you can give yourself without reservation. You sought this love all the years you were trapped in addiction. In step 7, you will find a way to obtain peace as you enter into the “rest of the Lord” (Moroni 7:3; see also Alma 58:11; Ezra Taft Benson, “Jesus Christ—Gifts and Expectations,” Ensign, Dec. 1988, 2).
Study and Understanding
The following scriptures and statements from Church leaders may help you in taking step 7. Use these scriptures and questions for meditation, study, and writing. Be honest and specific in your writing.
Choosing to be humble
“As I said unto you, that because ye were compelled to be humble ye were blessed, do ye not suppose that they are more blessed who truly humble themselves because of the word?” (Alma 32:14).
Most of us came to recovery meetings in desperation, driven by the consequences of our addictions. We were compelled to be humble. The humility described in step 7, however, has a different cause. It is voluntary. It is the result of your own choice to humble yourself. How have your feelings of humility changed since you started recovery?
Filled with joy
“They had viewed themselves in their own carnal state, even less than the dust of the earth. And they all cried aloud with one voice, saying: O have mercy, and apply the atoning blood of Christ that we may receive forgiveness of our sins, and our hearts may be purified; for we believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who created heaven and earth, and all things; who shall come down among the children of men.
“And it came to pass that after they had spoken these words the Spirit of the Lord came upon them, and they were filled with joy, having received a remission of their sins, and having peace of conscience, because of the exceeding faith which they had in Jesus Christ who should come” (Mosiah 4:2–3).
The people of King Benjamin offered the kind of prayer that we offer as we take step 7. They felt peace and joy when the Spirit of the Lord came upon them and gave them a remission of their sins. Reflect on experiences you have had with these feelings. Write about how it would be to have these feelings become your way of life.
Believe in God
“Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend.
“And again, believe that ye must repent of your sins and forsake them, and humble yourselves before God; and ask in sincerity of heart that he would forgive you; and now, if you believe all these things see that ye do them.
“And again I say unto you as I have said before, that as ye have come to the knowledge of the glory of God, or if ye have known of his goodness and have tasted of his love, and have received a remission of your sins, which causeth such exceedingly great joy in your souls, even so I would that ye should remember, and always retain in remembrance, the greatness of God, and your own nothingness, and his goodness and long-suffering towards you, unworthy creatures, and humble yourselves even in the depths of humility, calling on the name of the Lord daily, and standing steadfastly in the faith of that which is to come, which was spoken by the mouth of the angel.
“. . . If ye do this ye shall always rejoice, and be filled with the love of God, and always retain a remission of your sins; and ye shall grow in the knowledge of the glory of him that created you, or in the knowledge of that which is just and true” (Mosiah 4:9–12).
Prayerfully write a list of the things King Benjamin said we must do. How do these things relate to taking step 7?
What promises come from doing as King Benjamin instructed? (See the last verse.)
If you received these promises, what would change in your life?
Obeying the law and the commandments
“For this end was the law given; wherefore the law hath become dead unto us, and we are made alive in Christ because of our faith; yet we keep the law because of the commandments” (2 Nephi 25:25).
We are “made alive in Christ because of our faith” in Him. What does it mean that the law is dead to us? Why do we continue to keep the law or obey the commandments?
How do you feel today about keeping the law?
How is keeping the commandments an expression of your love for God?
The love of God
“When we put God first, all other things fall into their proper place or drop out of our lives. Our love of the Lord will govern the claims for our affection, the demands on our time, the interests we pursue, and the order of our priorities” (Ezra Taft Benson, in Conference Report, Apr. 1988, 3; or Ensign, May 1988, 4).
Coming to know the mercy and goodness of God thus far, you have probably begun to feel the love of God—love for Him and love from Him. Reflect on and write about any increase of love you have felt while working through the steps.
How does step 7 qualify as the greatest act of your love so far?
Taking upon yourself the name of Christ
“Whosoever doeth this shall be found at the right hand of God, for he shall know the name by which he is called; for he shall be called by the name of Christ” (Mosiah 5:9).
Most of us think of taking Christ’s name upon us in context of baptism and the sacrament, and rightly so. Consider for a moment what it might mean to be called by the name of Christ and to have His reputation as your own.
What do you need to do to be found at the right hand of God? What do you covenant to do when you are baptized and when you partake of the sacrament?
Write about the feelings you experience when you think of His willingness to give you His name or reputation in exchange for all your shortcomings.
Surrendering your weaknesses
“A religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation” (Joseph Smith, comp., Lectures on Faith , 69).
Some people read these words and think “all things” refers to all possessions. How has surrendering all your weaknesses to the Lord increased your understanding of what it means to sacrifice all things?