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Are you willing? Discuss amongst yourselves.

September 3, 2012

I have always called my sobriety date the “day I became willing.”

The truth is I had been no stranger to rooms of alcoholics anonymous or the 12 steps prior to that date.  I was often invited by well-meaning friends and there were a few instances of invitation by court card as well.  I was always fascinated by what seemed to be a bit of a counter culture.  It was certainly nothing like the world I had been living in for a very long time.  I saw happiness, clear eyes, social activity that seemed genuine and intriguing, but until May 23 of 1991 it was simply not something I believed completely necessary for my life.  To some degree my life may have been powerless over alcohol (albeit, in my mind, not completely?) but it had not yet become unmanageable.  It was on that day in May of 1991 that all of step 1 became obvious and meaningful.  I went from one moment to the next a completely changed person, not only understanding that willingness was my key, but my path as well.

But willingness can sometimes be a challenge when you are dealing with the disease of alcoholism.  It does not offer itself like a light switch, I am not (always) able to turn it on with complete sincerity whenever the need arises. Like most of that is doled out on a daily basis in this life, I must maintain my spiritual program with tools that I have been provided with and taught through the years.  In essence, I must wake up and ask for the willingness that will provide me with the willingness to be a man amongst men, treat others as I would like to be treated, pause when agitated, be of service wherever I may be, smile, make and keep my commitments, not be judgmental, relax, and (believe it or not) enjoy my life one moment at a time.

Am I willing?  Yes, I am.  I wish it were as easy to remember or habitualize as it is to recognize the gratitude I feel when in the behavior.  I have created an enormous amount of good, willing habits over the years… all with a resoundingly positive results.  Which is a reminder that my willingness is constantly learned and to accept there will always be a potential for growth and new willingness as long as there is a path to walk, run, skip, or crawl along.

This means I must also be willing to hit a few walls along the way.  I must be willing to remember that the world isn’t going to always be filled with sunshine and my experience with willingness will not always be a quick, painless, or enjoyable.  This has to be good with me, because this is simply part of the process.  I recognize that there have been (and will be) times when willingness seems almost unrecognizable.  There are days when my disease lapses into an all too familiar comfort zone of self-pity, denial, or possibly depression, or grief.  If I can muster up enough willingness to allow someone to listen to me, or possibly offer up their own experience with wherever I am… or simply find the way to remember that this, like everything else, is temporary and will pass on to a place where the willingness is easier once again, I will win with flying colors.

Even better is to find the willingness to remember that helping others is the best possible solution to recognizing your own willingness.

Why am I writing about willingness today?  An homage to what has worked and a self-slap on the head to remind me of the simplicity to all of my perceived issues of the day.  I am far better off than I sometimes believe and all I require to recognize that is the willingness to believe that the problems we create are often, if not always, self-created.

I am willing to remember that.

Stop.  Smile.  Breathe.

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