Just got back from walking again this morning... for the first time in a long time it wasn't that much of a trudge, I'm very grateful for that. Clashes with my daughter yesterday seem to have been let go, and the conversation was amiable this morning. My f2f meeting last night was on "Willingness and Action". Our local Big Book study had just recently read one of the new stories where the author had stated she believed these were the two most important things in program.
I've heard many people over the years in program saying they were willing but just couldn't seem to get started. My thought is: if there is no action, then there isn't truly any willingness. It doesn't seem to me that I can be willing without Doing the action. I'm willing to be abstinent if I just didn't have to not eat compulsively to do it. I'm willing to walk everyday if I didn't actually have to get out of my chair and go do it. I'm willing to be loving and patient so long as I don't have to deal with anyone or wait for anything. I'm willing to work on myself to be a better person as long as I don't have to change.
Being willing without action are just empty words to me.
This is a program of action. There are 12 action steps that I take in order to achieve the spiritual connection that allows me to change. And why do I want to change? Cause my life was in a shambles and I'm the only one who could do anything about it. I'm the one who must take the action, who must change if my life is to be better than it was, if I am to achieve the promises this program has said could be mine IF I work the steps.
An excerpt from a book called "Holy Hunger" that reached out and grabbed me was:
"No insight into self, however subtle; no analysis of the dynamics of addiction, however accurate; no understanding of the nature of desire, however sophisticated or enlightening - none of these fine things can substitute for action. The healing of addiction depends, first and foremost, not on what we know, nor on what we feel, but on what we do - a fact that remains as stubbornly true for "old-timers" as it does for newcomers."
I have Free Will, I can choose to work this program, I can choose to do the daily steps that will keep me in recovery, but I can not do it alone. The willingness to do the work is there only when I can turn over my own Will and let my Higher Power's guidance give me the impetus to act!
I've had conversations about this Free Will, and someone said to me once, Yes, you have Free Will until you make the choice, then it's no longer up to you. If I choose to let my Higher Power in the drivers seat, then I no longer am in control. If I choose to NOT let my Higher Power in that seat, then I have let the world be in control. So it would seem Free Will is the choice of perception, how will I view the events that happen to me, how will I react to those things? I can't control them, so I am in a perpetual state of reacting or responding, but I am not "in control".
The Serenity Prayer says, "God grant me the Serenity to Accept the things I cannot change, the strength to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.", and what I know today is, the only thing I can change is me and only with the help of my Higher Power. I can change the things I do, but until it becomes a part of who and what I am, "I" haven't changed, only my behavior. Changing the behavior though is the first step to making it a part of myself, it's practicing those changes until it becomes second nature, until it becomes who I am. That's where the "acting as if" comes from.
I've had a challenge with the "acting as if", I viewed it as being dishonest, I couldn't understand how I could "pretend" and still consider I was being true to myself. I'm still working on it, but have come to realize, at least for me, that all change is the result of practice. I can't think of a single situation where I have simply been "changed", it has been a slow process where one day I'll realize I'm doing something differently without thinking about it anymore, it has just become a part of who I am. I have had thoughts that have popped into my head on occasion, and those I attribute to my Higher Power talking to me, showing me a different way. One example of that was when a teen, (a very smart mouthed, sarcastic one), I responded to a compliment with a very acerbic comment, and immediately thought to myself, "Why do you do that? Can't you just say, "thank you" and let it go at that?".... it was a moment I still remember as vividly as if it just happened. I had become that way as a defense mechanism so I wouldn't stutter, and it worked, but it isolated me from a lot of people.
In thinking about that right now, I just realized that it was that decision to start being "mean, or a bit of a smart mouth" that I was "acting as if" I was in order to not stutter, in order not to be made fun of, in order not to feel bad, and over time it simply became a part of who I was. It served me for a while, but in the final analysis it did a lot of harm to my self esteem and to my relationships. I do not wish to be that way anymore and have been working on not being so, I have made some progress, but there is still more to do. I will keep practicing and hopefully when HP is ready that change will be made a part of me.
I have come to know that I will never "arrive", there will always be some way I can improve, some way I can be "more", and that is becoming a comfort rather than an irritant. And so, I keep doing the things that keep me in recovery, I do not work this program perfectly, but I use it the best I can. When I step off the path I recognize it almost immediately and am able, by the grace of God, to get back on. For this insight I am truly and profoundly grateful.
Today is a great day to be alive, it's Day One, always!
love and hugs,
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