Step 7: Myth of Control

We alcoholics spend a lot of time thinking and talking about control. At times the topic is self-control and our frustrated attempts at it. Other times it is about loss of control or attempts at regaining control.

The object of our attempts to control might be alcohol, kids, partners, junk mail or the remote. I just took a look at my sent emails. Bingo. All about control: two about controlling subscriptions to blogs, two about guiding (sounds better than controlling) someone else to a meeting, plus one about having patience. Patience gives out at that precise moment when I’m a feeling loss of control!

If you wonder about this, take a look at your last half-dozen sent emails. Hmmm?

It seems just about any topic could boil down to whether we have control or not. I’ve tried and failed repeatedly in the addiction game of controlling myself and controlling others.

For a while now, it’s been my opinion that self-control is actually a position of yielding to the will of my Higher Power. So in that sense, I don’t believe I’m self-controlled at all. It depends on how much light I’m living in as opposed to the darkness. When I’m in the light, I know God is in control and I let Him be God. When I’m in the dark, I am under the illusion that I have control over myself and others.

During my morning meditations, with the bit of humility I can scrape together before praying, I can usually admit that my natural shortcomings are going to interfere and undermine just about all of my actions and thoughts for the day ahead.

Once again I’m admitting to myself that I have a self-centered, dishonest nature and a tendency to be riddled with fear. I fall short of being the kind of person I was designed to be. I am once again focused on self, rather than on those around me. Sigh.

But beyond self admission, I must take this before God as is explained in the 12 by 12.

The Seventh Step is where we make the change in our attitude which permits us, with humility as our guide, to move out from ourselves toward others and toward God. The whole emphasis of Step Seven is on humility. It is really saying to us that we ought to be willing to try humility in seeking the removal of our shortcomings just as we did when we admitted that we were powerless over alcohol, and came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. If that degree of humility could enable us to find the grace by which such a deadly obsession could be banished, then there must be hope of the same result respecting any other problem we could possibly have.
~Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p. 76

The exact prayer can be the one listed in the pages of Alcoholics Anonymous below or one that you have written for yourself.

When ready, we say something like this: “My Creator, 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. Amen.” We have then completed Step Seven. ~AA page 76

I recently read an article about self-control and it gave 8 magic points to follow. What amused me was that the author readily admitted that some of them work some of the time but none of them work all the time!

Talk about what doesn’t work. That’s it– me in control.

I pray every day for God to take control of my life and specifically that He take the illusion of control away from me.