Step Seven of Chronic Pain Anonymous – Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

In Recipe for Recovery I found the description for Humility, central to Step Seven and CPA recovery: “…we accept and love ourselves exactly as we are.” That meant my sins, flaws, or shortcomings, whatever you want to call them. Clearly, my willfulness had created these emotional, mental, and spiritual glitches that felt like knotted ropes garroting my breathing and exacerbating decades of chronic illness and pain. Clearly, as well, I was powerless over their removal.

To prepare for this meeting with Higher Power, I returned to Prayer, another Step Seven Ingredient. For days, I sat in silence in my wingback chair and listened for the nudge to ask for help. Only when beckoned, did I begin.

It mattered not that my shortcomings appeared like an overgrown lot filled with scrap metal, their jagged edges glistening in the sun. It mattered not that guilt and shame slithered along mud-packed roads to the quarry. It mattered not that masks of entitlement lined the walls of my study. There I was, surrounded by fits and starts that had lost steam and collapsed—the caricature of my birthright.

Then, change occurred: I felt held, then smiled and stretched my back against the wingback chair. I was forgiven—not that my shortcomings had been removed; they were still around but had less influence over my motives, thoughts, and behaviors, now that I was aware of them. Only with daily practice of Step Seven would my shortcomings be entirely removed. That would be Higher Power’s design for my continuing purification.

Step Eight would deal with the harms I had caused others.