Some in AA say willingness is the key to recovery. But where does willingness come from? For some, it comes out of desperation. For others, quite possibly from self-care. Yet what if the only option you might have is from desperation…what then? When it comes from this direction, most often it sounds like a demand… “you must change or die.”

When willingness is self care, sometimes it drags along dangling around in doubt, fear and procrastination. As with any adventure, curiosity’s usually out front, leading, asking questions, and exploring for answers. Yet when addiction shows up, willingness often jumps out the window. “You can’t make me!” So what does one do when this direction seems like a dive off a cliff… and no other option seems doable?

You don’t want to give up your daily routine of having a nightcap before bed, or give up the guys coming over on Saturday/Sunday afternoons to watch sports…after all, what’ left? Oh the drudgery of being with people you don’t want to be with or doing things that you really don’t want to do. “Therapy is bullshit,” but you have to get the wife to leave you alone about your drinking. After all, you don’t have a DUI. You haven’t lost your job. You still make a good income to support her lifestyle she’s accustomed to… why can’t she just leave you alone about this one thing. It’s not that big a deal. It’s just a couple of beers on the weekends. It’s not like you do it all the time. And a few drinks after work with clients. Or for some, you can’t sleep and a good drink helps you get the sleep you need.

All these are justifications to support the drug use. But let’s go a little deeper to see what is behind these thoughts. For some, using drugs become a way to cope with stress or other issues that become to difficult to even think about. These are distractions.

Where to start? Start with small steps. Are you willing to focus? Become aware of the distractions?
Are you willing to stop punishing yourself by procrastination? Are you willing to stop putting off the self care of things that are important to you? Are you willing to replace those negative inner critical voices with loving kind messages? Are you willing to let go of what others might think while you forge into new emotional territories? Are you willing to detach from the rigid expectations you might have been conditioned to follow as you practice what at one time seemed impossible?

Along the way we find those that encourage us as we review our failures. Find the things we need to work on guiding us deeper into new frontiers. One small step is to be willing to give your soul some growth by participating in these trial and errors. There’s not one right way to do things nor do you have to do your best. It’s the smallest steps taken that begin the journey. And you don’t have to know where you are going to begin.