7. Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings.
We make a lot of surrenders in OA. In Step 1, we finally surrender to the facts—we can’t get over compulsive eating by ourselves. In Steps 2 and 3, we surrender to the idea that there’s something more powerful than our own wills, and that we need spiritual direction to get better. In Steps 4 and 5, we surrender any notion that we were blameless in the mess we’ve made of our lives. In Step 6, we took one last look at the truth of our lives and said, yes, we are ready to have removed those defects of character that got us into this compulsive-eating mess in the first place.
So now comes Step 7, the actual removal.
The action of Step 7 isn’t just in the asking, however. Yes, must ask God, Take this, please. But we also have to take the action of letting go of whatever we’re holding onto. Sometimes we balk at doing so. We’re concerned that without those flaws in our makeup we won’t be ourselves any longer. We’ll just be automatons. “I’d rather be depressed, angry, miserable, and eating my face off,” says some voice in our heads, “than the puppet of some Higher Power I can’t even see.” If our minds, diseased as they are, rebel at Step 7, at the notion of surrendering our defects of character to HP, we might think of some analogies. If our trash smelled putrid on a hot summer day, would we stand at our garbage can, holding the stinking bag over it and wondering whether we should drop it in? If we’re holding a full baby diaper, do we weigh the pros and cons of tossing it in the trash? Don’t we always flush?
We can ask ourselves two questions:
- Do the people I know in OA who’ve gone through Step 7 act like Godbots? Or are they choosing to exercise free will in a spiritual way?
- Do I really want life to suck, to die young, and to be in mental, spiritual, and physical agony for however many days I have left?
When we put it squarely like that, it’s not much of a choice. We have to let go of, to surrender, our defects if we want to lead a sane and happy life. If we hold onto them for fear of losing control, then our disease has won out, and we will continue to suffer until we are ready to surrender.
But why not simply try it God’s way? Whatever that means to us. If our conception of God remains such that we don’t trust him/her/it/they with our defects of character, then we may need to reconsider that conception and find a God idea that will allow us to transfer this burden.
No matter what, though, anything is likely better than where we’ve been. Anyway, this is a very low-risk proposition. If letting got remove our defects doesn’t ultimately work out, we’ve lost nothing except maybe a few pounds. We can always go back to being miserable if that’s what we want.