I'm getting ready to head out the door to meet up with a fellow that I sponsor. We are working on being entirely ready to have God remove his defects of character. This sixth step is about being willing. And being willing is what seems to have been a great asset in my recovery.
Will is a strange thing. For me, I had run things on self-will. I was a willful kid for sure. My father used to tell me that I was strong willed. I suspect that meant that I was a pain in the ass at the time. I found that in later life my will was more about having my way and feeling that I was entitled to feel angry. After all, I was married to an alcoholic which seemed to give me the right to feel bad and place blame.
I was also willing to tell my wife what to do, how to be happy. Just do what I say and all will be okay. I thought that all my problems were because of her. Not once did I really look at what I was doing. And if I did, it was just for a fleeting moment so that I could get back to being a victim once again.
When was I willing to go to any lengths? It was when I my pain finally wiped out my self-management delusions. What I was doing wasn't working. My wife wasn't getting sober. I was miserable. Nothing was working for me, except work itself. And there I could tell others what to do and have things neat and orderly.
So complete and utter desperation brought about my being willing to do something different and believe that something that was beyond what I was doing might be a better solution.
And once I was willing to reach out, I had to take some actions. I had to stop pretending that I had things under control. I had to be honest with my sponsor and others. I had to be the person that I really am, rather than the person that I wanted others to see. Being authentic is not easy for me, but I gradually began to share my own weaknesses, to be honest about my feelings. And the miracles began to happen.
So I ask those that want me to sponsor them, "Are you willing to do the work?" Sometimes the answer is a strong "YES". And sometimes, even saying yes and believing it is followed by "It's too hard" or "I have trouble trusting". Some are willing to do some things but aren't willing to go to any lengths. Caveats often are the rule rather than the exception, unless I'm willing to go to any lengths.
I have had to ask myself when I start to falter in recovery:
Am I willing to be open and honest?
Am I willing to stop isolating and actually call someone, extend a hand, grasp a hand?
Am I willing to stop making excuses about why I can't do something and come up with reasons why I can?
Am I willing to break free from what holds me back in being at peace with who I am?
I have found that I am willing to do these things. And I will keep doing them because I don't want to go back to being the miserable person I was a few years ago. Yes, I am willing.