Definition of willingness: The quality or state of being prepared to do something; readiness
This is kind of an abstract thought for me. Willingness is a quality. It is being prepared to do something, being ready, which isn’t actually doing whatever that something is. I’ve always thought of this step as a “thinking” step rather than an action step. So, let’s look at it together and share insights and experiences.
In my readings this week, I picked out a few things that stood out for me.
In the OA 12 and 12, Step 6: “As soon as possible we want to get on with the business perfect people.” “… saying we’re entirely ready and being entirely ready are two very different things.” “We admit that our old ways of relating to other people have caused pain and we want to let go of them. But how will we act?” “We get a rush of excitement from telling a lie and getting away with it…” “The sixth step calls for us to be entirely ready to have God remove all our defects of character.” “Even when we do approach it with complete willingness, another problem often arises with step six. Some of us misunderstand this step and act as if it’s up to us to remove our own shortcomings.” “So we try never to get angry… try not to feel any fear.” “We are powerless over each of our defects of character…” “Being entirely ready means… make every effort to act and live by the principles embodied of the twelve steps. “… we dedicate ourselves to a lifetime of growth and change. Being entirely ready means that we are completely willing to recognize and let go of our defective behavior patterns, and to let God change us as God will.” “When and how our defects are removed is entirely up to God. Our work is to do what we can to make ourselves ready by actively reaching for recovery…” “Only when we fully realize that they are costing us more than they are giving us do we become entirely ready to be rid of our defects of character.” “A willingness to change is the essence of step six.” “…we will strive to keep ourselves entirely ready for any transformations our Higher Power wants to bring about I us.”
That’s a lot of pertinent information I picked out for a step I think of as abstract and about “thinking” rather than doing! Made me think, though, about a couple of things. Perfection, for one. Perfectionism is a defect for many, so it seems like a bad idea to work towards it. It could get a bit unbalanced unless we’re really holding tight to ALL the steps and our relationship with our Higher Power.
I also thought about this idea of hanging on to defects because it gives me something positive. No. Can’t be. Can it? Well, don’t I feel powerful when I use sex to invoke a certain emotion in my husband? And isn’t it true that I am feeding my ego and chasing some sort of power high when I take on a position of leadership. I know when my motives are wrong, when I start to feel envy when someone else is stepping into that position. I don’t mean to be vague. Let me be a little more transparent. I sing on a worship team. It really does give me a high not only to worship in that way, but also because I’m in front of people. Even though I am sometimes envious of other team members who have more “stage” time or receive more recognition, my ego is being fed and I chase that feeling of being important.
These readings also brought to mind an experience I had a while ago when I was fasting from things of the flesh in order to grow in the spirit. One night I found myself reaching for food. I felt very frustrated with myself and kept wondering what was wrong with me that I couldn’t fast for just one week to get closer to my God. I saw things that were wrong with the way I was living and things I was doing, and I had this first ah-hah moment of, “Wow, I really need to fix these things!.” That’s when I then heard God say, “Excuse me? WHO needs to fix these things?” Oh, wow, there it was. It is not up to me to fix these things. It is up to God to fix them, in His perfect timing. This week’s reading reminded me that my work is to make myself ready, to be willing, to let God change me.”
The idea of trying to change ourselves is written about as trying to not feel angry, or not to feel any fear. In my experience, whenever I try not to feel things, I get into much more trouble than if I actually the negative emotion. I am learning to sit with the emotion, maybe journal through it, experience it and work through it, rather than avoid the feeling or work really hard to ignore it or pretend it simply does not exist.
Interestingly, in contrast to the OA 12 and 12 reading, the AA Big Book dedicates a whopping one, single paragraph to Step 6. Kind of made me giggle. It broke it down and made it so simple. God can take all our defects – every one. If we still cling to something we will not let go, we ask God to help us be willing.
Please do your own reading of the first paragraph on page 76 of the AA Big Book, as well as the Chapter of Step Six in the OA 12 and 12. Share with the loop and/or your sponsor those things that speak directly to you in your situation where you are now. Here are some questions to ponder and share on this week.
1. Are there any defects you are holding onto? Can you share about one or two?
2. How has perfectionism interfered with your willingness, if indeed it has?
3. What are you willing to do for your recovery this week?
4. Do you think there is action associated with this step? If so, what is that action(s)
Thank you again for allowing me to give service in this way. I appreciate the opportunity to share my experience, strength and hope, as well as to read about yours!
Blessings in recovery.
The Twelve Steps
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