“Your willingness to look at your darkness is what empowers you to change”
— Iyanla Vanzant
Steps two and three outlined in the book of Alcoholics Anonymous as a guide to recovery are:
2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
My first sponsor always encouraged me to pray for willingness. I needed to be willing to surrender to a higher power. I kept telling her, I am willing. I know that I have a problem, I just don’t feel like my life is unmanageable, with this problem (see post 5/13/2022).
All the while telling her this, I was still drinking during the day, early enough that I could join meetings in the evening. I wanted to stop drinking, but I wasn’t acting like I wanted to stop drinking. I was not willing to do whatever it took to get sober. I wasn’t willing to face myself and admit defeat, displayed in the way I was dragging myself through life. In the Emergency Room on February 27, 2021, I begrudgingly, became willing to go to rehab. At that point, I had already involved multiple parties that would keep me accountable. In rehab, I didn’t always agree with what was said in the mandatory meetings we had to attend, but because I had been exposed to several of the fellowship programs prior to my entry into treatment, I kept an open mind to what I was hearing. I attempted to encourage those I was in treatment with to keep an open mind. The people who were sharing with us were sober and weren’t inside a residential treatment facility. Something of what they were telling us, had to be true!
After treatment, I was terrified I would start drinking again. I previously had so many out-of-body experiences where I ended up sitting outside of a liquor store- inside the store- purchasing- consuming alcohol. The muscle memory we create through repetition can be hard to overcome. I got a sponsor at my 90-day mark after one of my friends I met in a fellowship called me out on not having a sponsor. I kept telling people I would get a sponsor when the time was right, and I didn’t want to force a connection with anyone. I continued going to meetings daily, most times twice a day. All I knew is that I didn’t want to drink again. As I drifted further from my sobriety date and shared more in meetings, I was able to look back at the insanity of my drinking, begin to uncover the “why” and recognize how my actions had hurt those around me. In the New Year, I found myself setting and enforcing boundaries, and becoming willing to be of service by speaking at meetings and at institution commitments. Institution commitments are close to my heart because I know what it feels like to be sitting on the other side of the phone being forced to sit in a room (not necessarily listening) for an hour while someone sometimes talks to us and other times talks at us.
My willingness to participate in a program of recovery did not happen the first time I tried and surely didn’t happen overnight.
How do you get over the unwillingness to accomplish a goal?