12 Steps to Recovery Step 7: Humility


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All the steps require humility, but step 7 requires it most explicitly. Humility comes from knowing about God and recognising His greatness, venerating Him, loving Him and being in awe of Him; and it comes from knowing about oneself and one’s own faults, and weaknesses.  God gives this characteristic to those who struggle to become close to Him through deeds of piety and righteousness.

Ibn ul Qayyim

Dear Readers,


Please find below Step 7 to recovery. I apologize for the delay. The following step focuses on humility.  The very core of being Muslims is being humble. The word “Muslim” itself means to submit oneself in ultimate humbleness to Allah. In prayer, Muslims prostrate themselves to the ground, acknowledging human beings’ lowliness and humility before Almighty Allah.

Call on your Lord with humility and in private, for Allah loves not those who transgress beyond bounds. Do not mischief on the earth, after it has been set in order, but call on Him with fear and longing in your hearts, for the Mercy of Allah is always near to those who do good.

(Al-Araf 7:55-56)


Successful indeed are the believers, those who humble themselves in their prayers…

(Al-Muminoon 23:1-2)


Has not the time arrived for the believers that their hearts in all humility should engage in the remembrance of Allah and of the Truth which has been revealed to them… (Al-Hadid 57:16)


Step Seven: Humbly ask Allah to remove all your shortcomings.


Having worked Step 6, we are entirely ready to let Allah the Almighty transform us. We move towards Tawakul (belief in oneness of Allah) and release all our short comings to our Creator. We are now willing to humbly request that Allah replace our own dysfunctional patterns with those designed by a Higher Wisdom.
We now bow down to Allah the Almighty and we humbly pray.
Let us consider the following prayer from the Big Book of AA.
Ya Allah, 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. Ameen.  (BB P 76)
The 12-Steps provide a path to freedom from the past and an opportunity to begin anew. Practicing humility and gratitude, we begin to focus on what we are doing right in recovery, and in doing
so; we notice the “right” things in our lives begin to increase. We trust that we will discover the freedom and the joy that Allah intends for us— that is our birthright.
We practice humility when we humbly seek Allah’s intention for our lives. It is sometimes heard at 12-Step meetings that humility is not thinking less of yourself, it is thinking of yourself less. Humility is a virtue that when practiced opens us to a healing grace. Humility means hiding nothing from ourselves, accepting ourselves as we are now, even the aspects of ourselves that may make us uncomfortable.
In the interest of our recovery, we are continually striving to be honest and authentic with Allah. True humility does not bring humiliation; true humility brings serenity.
Mother Theresa said: “If you are humble, nothing can touch you, neither praise nor disgrace, because you know who you are.”
In recovery,we are learning more about who we are. With an open heart we stand in the Presence of Infinite Love and Power seeking a transformation of character. We are learning that 7th Step
Prayers born of our own self-awareness seem to ―work best.
Our experience shows us that the Seventh Step Prayer may not be a magical formula that dispels our dysfunctional patterns. It does,
however, offer us access to a process that is setting us free. We
are asking Allah to heighten our awareness of our own indisputable worth, so that we may come to know ourselves well enough to see which qualities keep us in bondage, and which lead us to freedom. We discover that our defects of character are always opportunities for growth. By focusing on the intent within our dysfunctional patterns and not solely on our actions, we begin to see
beyond the limitations that have stymied us. By opening to Allah, we can transform these limitations and focus on moving our lives forward. This Step marks our milestone decision
to move on with the work at hand.
Predictably, as human beings we may fall short of our expectations. We ask Allah to help us accept our imperfect efforts. For this is a program of progress, not perfection.

2 Different EDA Members’ Step Seven Experiences

“Step Seven was really a turning point for me in my ability to trust my Higher Power and the Program of recovery. Until then I was mostly trying to stay straight and keep my act together one day at a time. All of a sudden I really wanted to change a lot more… to work at bringing myself into a more harmonious relationship with the world. To find out what this talk of serenity was all about.”
“For me, Step Seven involved considerable risk taking. I was now trying to do new things, in new ways. It took practice to learn to reach out at meetings and develop new friendships. I took a big risk when I accepted a service position in my Home Group. It took a lot of faith and help from my Higher Power to do these things… to not just say no automatically.”
“Step Seven really reminded me I have to continue asking for help and feedback, because it usually takes a lot of time to make these changes and it’s easy to revert back to our old coping strategies.”
“Step Seven starts with the word ‘Humbly’ so we can gather that humility is an important key to this Step. Humility is just about the exact opposite of humiliation. It is a sense of our very humanness; a realistic acceptance of our strengths and weaknesses. We have been developing a more realistic acceptance of ourselves by working the first six Steps. Here’s where I think humility really pays off. We get better on two levels. We can take all the Steps and do our best to use all the tools and assets we have, but those deeper changes happen
in God’s own time and manner. So when I say humility, I mean that we do what we can as best we can and the rest is up to our Higher Power.”
“Humility is the result of knowing that God is the doer, not me. In the light of this awareness, how can I take pride in my accomplishments? I am an instrument and any work I seem to be doing is being done by God, through me. I ask God on a daily basis to remove my shortcomings, in order that I may more freely go about my life with an attitude of love and service.”

Step Seven Exercises

Make a grid with two columns. One should be labeled “Character Defects” and the other “Willingness to Have Removed.”
List your defects of character in it. Some to consider are: abusiveness,
thoughtlessness, and perfectionism. Add any of your defects that became clear in Steps 4, 5, and 6.
There are five possible levels that represent your willingness to have each character defect removed. These are:
1) Already removed
2) Absolutely willing
3) Almost willing
4) Give me more time and
5) Never. Assign each defect a level.
If your willingness level for any item is not 1 or 2, you will want to repeat the exercise again later. We are certain that Allah will not remove any defect that we do not admit we have. This fact explains one of the reasons we must take Steps 4 and 5. We also know that Allah may remove our defects only to the extent that we are willing for them to be removed. That is why we take Step 6.
Write down these statements.
•I deserve contempt and condemnation.
•I am worthless.
•I am filled with guilt, shame, remorse and self-loathing.
•I feel like being totally honest.
•I have little interest in impressing others.
•I have nothing to hide from Allah.
•I am coming to really know who I am.
How did you feel as you wrote each of these? Did your disease tell you that some were true? Did some feel true from a positive and spiritual place? Make a note of those feelings near the statements.
The first four statements above describe humiliation, not humility. For us, humility means “down to earth”.
Humility means honest, real, and without phoniness as in statements 5 through 8 above. So, we enter into Step 7 with honesty, willing to stand before Allah, hiding nothing and with no hidden motives. In Step 7,we are asking Allah to do something –to remove our shortcomings. So, now might be a good time to open up to Allah fully.  This is not a true-false exercise. Some of your responses might require some contemplation. Thinking deeply on these questions is the benefit of doing it.

Your own conception:

•Where is your HP located?
•What is the primary location of your HP at the time you are meditating or praying?
•If you usually pray on your knees, why do you?
•Can your HP read your thoughts when you pray? Does your HP hear you better when you speak aloud?
•Is your motive underlying the prayer as important as the thoughts and words of the prayer itself?
•Should your message be specific and precise, or is it OK to be vague in your requests to your HP?
•Place a check next to the defects which can only be removed with the help of Allah and He will remove them.
•Defects of which you are not aware.

“When you’re out of ideas, that’s when faith comes in. Let Allah show you the way.” – Wael Abdelgawad 

•Defects which stand in the way of your usefulness to The Universe and your fellow humans.
•Defects which annoy you.
•Defects which interfere with your happiness.
•Once you have asked your HP to remove your shortcomings, will they be gone?
•Does your HP reward you when you comply with Its will?
•Does your HP punish you when you do not comply with Its will?
You have just completed Step Seven. Remember, if you did your best, it is good enough! Celebrate this major milestone in your recovery, and move on to Step Eight.

About Author

Islam and Eating Disorders founded in 2012 – run by Maha Khan, the blog creates awareness of Eating Disorders in the Muslim world, offers information and support for sufferers and their loved ones.

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