The Antidote to Self-Will
This week, we’d like to turn our attention back to our discussion of the principles of the twelve steps. The sixth step of Alcoholics Anonymous reads, we “[m]ade a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all” (italics mine.) As you can probably guess by the emphasis in the second part of the sentence, “willingness” is the principle that ungirds this step. Whether we are in active addiction, or whether we’re walking the path of recovery, one of our biggest dangers is our “self-will run riot”. This problem of willfulness is at the core of so many of our issues. Willingness – willingness to change, willingness to take direction, willingness to be of service – is the antidote to that problem.
Taking Direction and Putting It Into Action
As we stated in our blog on courage, the principles have a synergistic relationship. They overlap, support, and feed off of each other. In fact, we can readily see how it works with courage. Courage isn’t fearlessness. Rather, it is the willingness to do what needs to be done in the face of those fears. Surrender is another one of the principles with a strong relationship with willingness. Surrender is where we turn the keys over to a power greater than ourselves. As the step says, we make a “decision to turn our will and our lives over”. It’s the first half of a two-part equation. Willingness is the second. It’s taking that direction and putting it into action.
A Step Toward Acceptance
Self-will, or willfulness, is stubbornness. It’s the idea that we have all the answers. It’s our way or the highway. Essentially, it’s an attempt to control every aspect of our lives. As we’ve mentioned many times in this blog, substance use and other mental health disorders are often a reaction to trauma we have experienced. We attempt to control and regulate our difficult emotions through the use of drugs and alcohol. On the other hand, willingness is a movement away from that need for control. It’s a step towards acceptance. When we are willing, we are flexible and ready to do something voluntarily. Because we’re no longer trying to force things to line up with our perceptions, we become adaptable. Through willingness, we learn to both accept life on life’s terms and act accordingly.
Real Courage Means Asking for Help
Ocean Recovery has been successfully treating substance use disorders since 2002. Furthermore, we use many of the principles we’ve talked about to guide our clients towards their new lives. Many of us our own personal experience with recovery and we’re happy to share our experience, strength, and hope with all who come through our doors. We also offer individual and group counseling, addiction education, yoga, and much more. It’s all part of our holistic approach to recovery. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance use or co-occurring disorders, please consider giving us a call today. Real courage means asking for help. Ocean Recovery is ready to answer.