Willingness

By susanpeabody 03/29/18
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"Change to the human being is like the metamorphosis is to the caterpillar. It is the inevitable cycle of life. If there is no change, there is no life." Susan Peabody 1990

In recovery we all know it is important to change. Where do we start? We start with willingness. The question is: Where does willingness come from and where does it go? No one knows for sure, but there are three major theories. One theory is that willingness is the by-product of a crisis experience. Another theory is that it comes from some benevolent force in the universe---God or a Higher Power. Finally, some people believe that it just happens. One day a person is unwilling to change and then the next day they’re ready to move forward.

Crisis Experience

People in 12-step programs call a crisis experience “hitting bottom.” It is any experience, or series of experiences, that bring you to the point where you are ready to ask for help and to do something different. This works for very stubborn people who won’t change until their life is really a mess and being stuck has turned into what the book of Alcoholics Anonymous refers to as “incomprehensible demoralization.” By this I mean that all hope is gone and the person in question is either in a life-threatening situation or so depressed that she or he can barely get out of bed, and may even be suicidal.

Many people in the grips of such a dilemma die. They take their own lives---sometimes slowly through addiction, and sometimes quickly by jumping off a bridge. For others, however, this incomprehensible demoralization triggers a fear of death and then the next move is quite clear. Change or die!

The Spiritual Approach

While we don’treally understand spirituality, we can observe the changes that take place in people once a spiritual awakening has occurred. Over the last twenty years, I’ve seen many people change after such an experience. They are in a miserable rut. They are powerless over their inner compulsions and have no strength to fight back. They habitually act out self-destructive and life-threatening behavior. Then in a moment of agony, they call out, “God help me,” and somewhere deep in their heart they surrender. They admit they are powerless and they ask for help. Then, they feel willing to change, when before they were afraid. They feel as if they are at the start of a glorious new journey and happily move forward.

It Just Happens

Some people don’t need to hit bottom or to pray for a spiritual intervention. They just wake up one day and feel motivated. Then they take action. We don’t understand just how this works, but I have observed it.

In my personal journey change first began after a crisis. I had a nervous breakdown and it was change or die. Later, after a profound spiritual experience, I wanted to change to please my Higher Power. After that, I wanted to change because I saw how valuable it was and how it lead to my being "happy, joyous and free." Today I am changing every day. Sometimes slowly and sometimes quickly, but always for the better.

For more about change see: The Art of Changing

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