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Step 7

Section 4: The SEA's 12 Step Workbook
Self-Esteem Seekers Anonymous -

The SEA's Program of Recovery
By James J. Messina, Ph.D.


Step 7

We humbly asked our Higher Power to give us the strength to let go of our shortcomings.


Directions: As you systematically work through the twelve steps of the SEA's program, you will be expected to read the material in this section and respond to the questions in your journal. Each step contains key words or concepts, which are explored in the questions under each step. Your recovery from the negative impact of self‑esteem is dependent on your honest assessment, admission, and acceptance of the steps you need to take in order to ensure your personal recovery. Most likely over your lifetime you will need to review these twelve steps, so for later reference keep the SEA's manual along with the other Tools‑for‑Coping‑Series books in a safe place.

Letting Go

Step 7 is the step of letting go of all those things which you cannot change, over which you have no control and are powerless. Letting go involves all those behaviors listed in the following poem whose author is anonymous.


Letting Go

To “let go" does not mean to stop caring.

It means I can't do it for someone else.

To “let go" is not to cut myself off.

It's the realization I can't control another.

To “let go" is not to enable,

but to allow learning from natural consequences.

To “let go" is to admit powerlessness

which means the outcome is not in my hands.

To”let go" is not to try to change or blame another.

It's to make the most of myself.

To “let go" is not to care for, but to care about.

To “let go'' is not to fix, but to be supportive.

To “let go" is not to judge,

but to allow another to be a human being.

To “let go" is not to be in the middle arranging all the outcomes,

but to allow others to affect their destinies.

To “let go" is not to be protective.

It's to permit another to face reality.

To “let go" is not to deny, but to accept.

To “let go" is not to nag, scold, or argue,

but instead to search out my own shortcomings and correct them.

To “let go" is not to criticize and regulate anybody,

but to try to become what I dream I can be.

To “let go'" is to not regret the past,

but to grow and live for the future.

To “let go" is to fear less and LOVE MYSELF MORE. 


Step 7 requires that you let go of the need to control others, events, and circumstances. In the past you attempted to maintain your sanity in the midst of insanity in your: dysfunctional family of origin; co‑dependent relationships; failures, and disastrous relationships.


Step 7 encourages you to believe that you gain sanity by letting go of the “uncontrollables and unchangeables'' to your Higher Power. Tools for Handling Control Issues will help you take this step.


Before you are ready to “let go'' you must first identify all of the uncontrollables in your life which you need to “let go.'' To do this, give examples under each category what you need to let go:

  • people
  • circumstances
  • situations
  • personal shortcomings

I need to let go of the following

  • People
  • Circumstances
  • Situations
  • Personal Shortcomings


Now answer these questions as you proceed with Step 7:

  • How much strength do you need in order to “let go" of the uncontrollable and unchangeable things in your life?
  • How much comfort does it give you to visualize that your Higher Power is big enough with enough strength and power to handle everything which you “let go?"

After reviewing Tools for Handling Loss, Chapter 8, “Letting Go,'' give examples how in your Step 7 letting go process you are letting go of:

  • Guilt
  • Grief
  • Dependency on others
  • Overresponsibility
  • Resistance to change
  • Fear
  • Anger
  • Denial
  • A loved one's death


Give examples of how these following issues are obstacles in your "letting go" process:

  • Irrational beliefs
  • Fear of unknown
  • Avoidance of feeling guilty
  • A sense of overresponsibility
  • Overdependence on others
  • Unwillingness to express true emotions
  • Fear of being disloyal or unfaithful
  • A lack of belief in self
  • A lack of belief in your Higher Power
  • Others' reaction and response to your healthy behaviors
  • How will your life be different by taking Step 7 and “letting go" of each uncontrollable as it comes up in your life from now on?
  • Where does the strength come from in this Step 7 process of letting go of shortcomings to your Higher Power?
  • What role does your Higher Power play in those things you have “let go" of?
  • What support from your counselor, Buddies at SEA, and others do you need in order to keep on track in this letting go process?
  • What is at risk when you “let go" of someone, something, a situation, circumstance or personal shortcoming which you cannot change or control?



Restate Step 7 in your own words and explain how it helps you to regain your sanity and promote your recovery from low self‑esteem.