Practicing Willingness in Your Recovery
In early recovery, you’ll hear a lot about mindedness, willingness and honesty. These are the three keys that can help you stay sober in the long-term, and offer a short and sweet blueprint for how to approach your new life. Willingness is usually the first of these attributes you’ll need to get sober. Because if you’re not willing, you’re not going to be able to do the things you need to do to succeed.
Desperation vs. Willingness
Many people get to detox or treatment, thinking that they’re finally ready and willing. It’s easy to feel willing if you’re drug sick or homeless, and treatment is the only option that can help get you out of the mess your life is in. It’s true that many people seek recovery when they are down and out or desperate. But desperation and willingness are two separate animals.
Desperation will get you through the doors of a treatment center, but it won’t necessarily help you stick around once you’re feeling better. You may feel desperate, rather than willing, if you’re signing the paperwork, doing the intake, and meeting other requirements of the program. It’s fine to let desperation get you through the door of a treatment center. But converting that emotion into willingness is what will help you continue to stay sober.
Willingness is what happens when you're no longer desperate, but acting from a place of hope.
How to Become Willing
Are you willing to do whatever it takes to stay sober? It may feel like a scary prospect to be willing to do almost anything for your recovery. Your life belongs to you, right? Sure it does, but look at where your actions got you. Your life became unmanageable because of your addiction. You need to accept help.
No one is going to ask you to do anything that’s harmful to yourself. And if you don’t try to change, you’re not going to be able to. Work helps you progress in recovery.
Becoming willing to stay sober means that you know you’re an addict or alcoholic, and you know you can’t live this way anymore. You want to do whatever it takes to stay away from drugs and alcohol. Before you pick up a drink or drug, you should work your program. This means calling your support network or going to a meeting.
Listening to others and taking their suggestions is an important part of willingness. They've been where you have been, and they know things will get better for you.
You may not “want” to do things that a treatment program or 12-step sponsor asks you to do. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do them. Willingness means you’re going to try things that are suggested to you, including going to or sharing at 12-step meetings.
If you keep doing the same things, you’ll keep getting the same results. It’s time to try something new. Latch on to your hopes and let them be the driving force in your recovery.
Willingness is an Action
Willingness isn’t always an emotion. Sometimes it’s an action. Going to meetings every day for your first 30 days sober is one recommended way to be willing. Take suggestions from others, and start doing step work. Try to remain open-minded about suggestions you’re given.
It's alway hard to humble yourself to the suggestions that others give. As things get better, you may feel that you're doing "fine" and don't need help anymore. But addiction is a disease that can easily lie to you.
Staying willing will take some work. After all, once you get some time in sobriety, you will feel more confident about yourself. Remaining willing to continue to work your program, build relationships in recovery, and work on changing yourself is vital.
If you feel yourself getting “stuck” in recovery, it’s time to revisit the idea of willingness. What was it that made you get sober in the first place? What changes are you grateful for in your life?
If you continue to struggle with willingness, tell somebody you are close to how you are feeling. Ask for suggestions. Recovery can’t happen overnight, so patience is often a part of willingness.
Getting Help for Addiction
Getting help for your drug or alcohol abuse is the first step that shows you’re willing to change. This is an exciting step to take! Call us to hear more about your treatment options at 619-363-4767.