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Posted by on in Alcoholism

Willingness is one of the keys to my sobriety.  In early recovery as much as today, I must maintain an open mind and a willingness to learn something new.  Whether it is accepting a Higher Power into my life, letting character defects go, getting a sponsor, or listening to the experience of others, willingness is an essential quality of my spiritual growth.

Willingness in Early Recovery

When I was newly sober, willingness was one of the qualities that saved my life.  Although I did not immediately want quality sobriety at first, I was willing to go to treatment.  I did not see it as willingness at the time, but I had enough of an openness to consider an alternative to the way I was living.  Unfortunately, the only reason I had this amount of willingness was because of where I was emotionally; I had become emotionally exhausted, confused, and completely afraid of life.

Attending twelve-step meetings, I had the slightest amount of willingness, and was able to listen to speakers and fellows share their experiences.  With the little amount of willingness I did have, I heard enough to help me grow.  I did not have the most open mind, nor the most willingness in the room, but I was reminded that I only needed a little to begin.

I heard repeatedly to get a sponsor, even if it was a temporary sponsor.  I heard I needed to work the steps, help others, get commitments, and go to a meeting every day.  All the cliche pieces of advice for newcomers, I took in.  I had enough willingness to get a sponsor on my fourth day of sobriety.  He told me he would be my sponsor one day at a time until I found a new one, and that I should call him the next day so we could start working together.  With over 30 years of sobriety, I had enough willingness to believe in what this man was telling me.  He is still my sponsor today, and we have grown extremely close over the past several years.

Being a newcomer, willingness is not an easy quality to come in contact with always.  My ego was in the way, telling me that I could do it differently.  Spending my whole life "knowing everything, always," it was a dramatic shift to have it brought to my attention that I needed help.  However, my sponsor asked me in my first 30 days one simple question, "Are you willing to just entertain the idea that maybe there is a different way for you to interact with life?"  My answer was that I was, and this was and still is a great reminder to remain open-minded and willing.

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