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August 24 • Willing

Day 777

Being willing to see what this recovery stuff is all about was a big first step for me. I wasn't sure I believed in sexual addiction three years ago when I first Googled it and went to my first meeting, an SLAA group in Columbia, MO. After the meeting, I wasn't sure what I'd learned, so I went to a bar and got drunk while hoping to make a new friend.

I was making a lot of bad decisions. I knew they were bad, and I kept making them. I knew I could stop whenever I wanted to because I would stop and promise myself that I wouldn't do 'that' again after every massage parlor or bar or other illicit activity. Even then, I knew how stupid that sounded, but I used my willingness to stop — even though I was obviously not being successful with that — to justify my existence and my continued standing as a good person. Then the cycle of self-destruction and self-hatred would start again. Eventually, that started sounding like a problem that I could not fix on my own, and I became willing to want to be willing to see if there was help for me somewhere.

I became willing to attend meetings, but I couldn't find one. I went to multiple locations, called multiple numbers that I found in the online listings of sexual addiction organizations, and kept striking out with meetings that stopped meeting and numbers that were no longer in service. It was weird. I've wondered whether my addict was playing tricks on me back then by confusing the numbers and addresses, or maybe I just wasn't ready. But I did keep looking, for six months.

Eventually, I found a functioning meeting, and it was the one I needed to be in. I transitioned from being willing to attend, to being willing to listen, to being willing to share (a little), to being willing to find a workshop, to being willing to be willing to try recovery. That process took about six months for me. I'm fortunate that I survived that long. I've met others whose process was longer, and some who progressed much quicker, but the general experience was the same. And then there's the untold numbers of people who did not survive the journey even to that point.

As I started working the steps eighteen months ago, I was frustrated at how many of the steps are just statements of "being willing" to do the next step. That seemed terribly inefficient. I thought we could speed-up these 12 Steps by cutting them down to 6 Steps and a pitch-in dinner. I still wasn't getting it.

Doing the work won't change a thing if I'm not willing to receive the change. I don't think I've made that connection before this very day about how much the statements of 'willingness' matched my progression from active addict to committed recovery.

Somewhere in all that, I became willing to be sober for the rest of my life. I've also become willing to wait on that noble goal; I am willing to be sober today, and today, that is enough.



We rise and we fall

And we break

And we make our mistakes

And if there's a reason I'm still alive

When everyone who loves me has died

I'm willing to wait for it

–Lin-Manuel Miranda, Leslie Odom, Jr., Original Broadway Cast of Hamilton, “Wait for It”


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