Step 7: Achieving Your Potential
It’s important to understand the difference between the shortcomings we want to be removed versus the defects of character. Things you act out upon or certain reactions are defects of character. Conversely, shortcomings are the things you are not doing to achieve your potential. For example, not littering anymore would be removing the defect of character, but not picking up trash that you see is the shortcoming – basically not taking the steps to reverse it.
Step Six and Step Seven are the shortest steps in The Big Book, so when I got to them it was pretty simple to complete them. My sponsor asked if I was ready to be a bigger person, which I was, so I started each day asking my Higher Power to remove my shortcomings. As I went about my day, it was helpful to understand my shortcomings and how I was changing. My personality started to change because I was being proactive instead of reactive. If someone cut me off in traffic, my natural reaction used to be getting mad and yelling. After step 7, I realized how I felt about things that would arise before I acted out. Over time the natural instincts weren’t so natural anymore.