127: Spiritual Principle – Willingness (Sort Of)

What is willingness? The ability to be willing? Being willing? The readiness to do something? How do we actually practice willingness? Is there a tactic to be more willing? Can we possible make ourselves more willing that we are? Is the answer to just keep doing the wrong thing until we are ready to do the right one? Is willingness gained from taking a beating? Is willingness openmindedness in action? We talk all about whether we even believe in willingness and our ideas around this spiritual principle. Join the conversation by leaving a message, emailing us at RecoverySortOf@gmail.com,  or find us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, or find us on our website at www.recoverysortof.com.

Judging episode

Recommended by god:

174: Women in Recovery – Don’t Be a Jerk (Sort Of)

FacebookTweetPin We have on Caroline Beidler, MSW and author of the book, Downstairs Church, to…

58: Smart Phone and Internet Addiction (Sort Of)

FacebookTweetPin 11/22/20 On this episode we explore the world of smart phone and internet addiction.…

2: Meetings Suck (Sort Of)

FacebookTweetPin 10/27/19 We explore the reasons we think that meetings can suck at times and…


recovery sort of is a podcast where we discuss recovery topics from the perspective of people living in long-term recovery this podcast does not intend to represent the views of any particular group organization or fellowship the attitudes expressed are solely the opinion of its contributors be advised there may be strong language or topics of an adult nature

welcome back it’s recovery sort of i’m jason i think i’m willing to record today and i’m billy i’m a person in long-term recovery and i’m jenny i’m also a person in long-term recovery yeah so continuing our spiritual principle of the month we’re on the third month which is we decided willingness uh there was also the option of surrender i saw somewhere but we went with willingness and and now uh you know we just did judging and now i’m judging whether this willingness topic is gonna work because whether it’s worth talking about yeah it’s it’s a hard one to figure out so i mean the the dictionary definition when you look it up of willingness is consent or readiness to do something which does not tell me a whole lot especially from you know coming from like a therapy standpoint of not knowing what ability we have to consent or be ready to do things at any given point in time like you know we talk a little bit about this idea of the nervous system or the animal brain kind of running the show sometimes when we get disregulated and so i i really question how often we have willingness and if willingness is a thing does that mean that self-will is a thing i really don’t know when i think of willingness i don’t necessarily think of like wanting to do something or a desire to do something i think that’s different you know that that comes from a different place willingness is for me is more like a starting point like all right i maybe you know like a maybe you know like we’ll see where the it’s just like you know we’re joking about before this episode but it’s kind of true like i don’t know if this is going to make a good episode or not or whether it’s going to be interesting or not but i’m going to show up and do my part and however it goes it goes and you know maybe it’s terrible and i’m okay with that too you know and and that’s the willingness part like not like no this is going to be a success and it’s going to be great and we that’s the only way i’m going to do it hmm so your willingness is based on the perceived outcome or not based on not based on the perceived outcome right it’s based on i’m just i’m open i’m um present aware you know and what’s your idea of willingness so thinking about willingness it’s hard to define as a spiritual principle it’s more like a feeling like like not a spiritual principle but what does willingness feel like like when i think about my early recovery days like the willingness to get sober you know like it wasn’t like i was it didn’t seem like a spiritual principles felt like a feeling it felt like a trust fall i felt like all right well i’m just i’m just gonna give this a shot i’m gonna try it you know and then you know as a starting point so i the feeling of the trust fall thing you know like that it’s funny because i actually i have like kind of trust issues with people like individual people but i’ll trust a system or a group of people so i’m like alright if this aaa system works i will trust that i’m willing to give this a shot but if it was like why don’t you do what she does like i don’t know you know like but a system like a non-human thing i’m like all right well for me as a non a person that struggles with a god concept that’s exactly what a higher power is in the case of recovery it’s like i don’t necessarily trust an individual but i trust the group or the process um and like you’d said i was thinking of you know willingness is like uh when you said a trust fall it’s like a for me it was like a leap of faith you know it was this thing that because i came into recovery kind of a i would say more of like a rigid agnostic probably like god doesn’t exist and that’s a stupid concept and people that think that are like weak minded and need to be led and then when i got in recovery i’m like well i don’t know if i’m going to change that much but i’m i’m i’m open to at least humor the idea of god or this god concept and see where it goes you know and that’s where it started when you got in recovery you said oh i guess i’m weak minded and need to be led by this program pretty much and that was probably the best decision i ever made at the time so my question because both of you kind of had a similar answer as to what willingness was to some extent uh at least describing what the experience was like what created the ability to do that then that didn’t exist prior to that like when you were quote unquote unwilling like how was that different and was it something you did to get there i think it’s hope is that something we can qualify like i think there was like hope for a good outcome when recovery literature talks about it almost as the opposite it’s like when we are beaten we become willing you know it’s like a point of surrender more than a conscious act of of like wanting to do something you know what i mean it’s like being like held down on the ground when all you want to do is get up but you got five people holding you down and at some point you go all right i’m just not getting up wow those were very different answers yeah i got hope and the beat down yeah yeah right forced you know to to some extent i would say my experience felt maybe a little of both yeah right there was this like acknowledgement that like that i don’t necessarily want to stop using drugs but i have tried so many different ways that have failed this it’s hard to say that this is working for me and then in that moment of like [ __ ] this isn’t working do i have to give the drugs up there did come a feeling of hope with that i don’t know that one was before the other they were almost simultaneous but i guess you kind of sort of answered my question the way i was hoping for it like i don’t know that it was anything i did differently in that moment in that moment to get off of drugs or in that moment at any point in time in my life where i have suddenly become willing to do some different behavior or let go of some behavior that wasn’t helping and so i guess to me spiritual principles are things we can practice and try to hone and get better at and willingness does not feel like something that i actually have any ability to do anything with

and that would be like i’m really starting to question if willingness is a spiritual principle or if this isn’t some [ _ ] that they threw in a book somewhere that really doesn’t hold up in 2022 yeah and i’ve always thought of it as a principle and i’m just analyzing that and i’m theorizing about that a little bit and thinking you know the willingness for me came from like a lack of dependence on myself um when i didn’t worry so much about outcomes and how things are gonna turn out and is this gonna go right for me like willingness became easier it was like a result of that way of living so it was a practice in a sense but it wasn’t like i was specifically practicing willingness it was a result of practicing some other principles and then this gave birth to willingness i feel almost like it was the result of practicing self-will and that not working yeah right failing itself right it was like okay my [ _ ] ain’t working let me be willing for some other [ _ ] but i i don’t that just that doesn’t seem like we actually practice willingness that sounds like we practiced some bad things or things that didn’t work and then ended up at willingness oh i feel like it ties into openness and maybe that’s because it’s that honest open and willing thing we have you know that’s saying we have an a but like if if you’re close-minded you’re not going to see an outcome that would make you willing so you know like i fee you know i think it’s we have to consider being open-minded and how that encourages nurtures willingness because it does feel like willingness comes together like from a perfect storm of other qualities like willingness doesn’t just happen or else we would have stopped drugs and drinking way earlier you know um but it when you get like the perfect storm i mean in a good way of like people resources presence of mine then willingness can appear do you mean that in a good way because i feel like the perfect storm definitely involves some usually a bottom like that that’s kind of what we talk about a little bit well i mean maybe in like the pressure creates diamonds kind of way you know like that sounds really nice until you realize what that pressure looks like in the individual life right right so i guess i’m just thinking so this is more you know not that we’ve been talking about the steps necessarily with these spiritual principles were kind of coming out from a different angle but this was more of a step three conversation and one of the interesting perspectives i had heard from a an older member in a 12-step group at one point was that like willingness is also a step six uh spiritual principle and they said you don’t have to try to stop acting on character defects like that’s not really the goal if you want to stop acting on a character defect go all in on the character defect act on it on purpose then you will create the willingness and i’m like how does that practice of creating a spiritual principle doing quote-unquote bad [ _ ] that sounds like that’s like the old-timer who’s like here’s 20 bucks go get drunk well i mean i get the theory though like if we’re sitting here talking about willingness and there’s no way to really get more willing that we can think of like maybe there is and we just can’t think of it but like it’s okay so i’m in recovery i’ve quit the drug use for a time and now i decide that i should probably stop cheating on my partner how do i create more willingness to stop that and i mean his theory is do it more often and then you feel more guilt and then you get more willing and i’m like yeah but no like that’s a terrible way to practice a spiritual very harmful doesn’t it like but how else would you if that was your issue how do you create more willingness could you visualize the bad deed instead of actually doing it just cheat on them in your mind more often

i had a sponsor give me that similar information yeah i said if if you want to gain the willingness to stop doing something just do it do it more and be aware you know feel the feel the feelings honor the pain and the whatever comes with it well and i think in a therapy standpoint like i have similar ideas but it’s it’s less just keep doing it and it’s more like what would happen if you did that behavior without the self-judgment right because then like we talked about in the the judging episode like if i stop judging myself about the behavior and telling myself how bad i am let me just look at the behavior out of curiosity like okay i do this do i really not like doing this is there really a problem with doing this and if there is what is it about it i don’t like and maybe why do i do it and what causes me to enact this behavior is it because my partner doesn’t talk to me do we have no emotional connection is that why i step out maybe i can work on cultivating emotional connect like once you take the judgment out of it there’s a ability to look at it from a different lens but i don’t know that that necessarily creates willingness and how do you create the willingness to stop judging that’s where this whole conversation that’s right like all the research on this anytime if you try to look up scientific research about willingness only thing you’ll find is economics it’s all about this willingness to pay idea because in epi economics they measure like people’s willingness to pay for goods and services because that’s a huge piece of it and it apparently does not align with like the willingness to accept goods and services which is a whole other concept that i’m not going to get into on this episode but there’s no science of measuring willingness and i mean we say self-will doesn’t exist like there’s no such thing as necessarily willpower at least for us we talk about that in our meetings i don’t know if it’s true or not but we say in 12 step like willpower’s not enough so if that will doesn’t work where does willingness come from yeah well i guess the only place i can start as a listen to this lady on youtube and i’m not going to promote her because she’s like this online therapy or therapy concepts i guess online and i haven’t listened to enough of them to know like oh this is really good information or not but you know i listen to her talking about willingness and i guess in her little presentation it was the opposite of willingness it’s like willingness is almost like a strategy like we have but a emotional strategy not necessarily just a business strategy and the your i guess not choices but the two the opposite of willingness was avoidance so you can avoid something or you can you know have willingness about something so uh like the and there was two lists so like avoidance would be try not to think about it or distract yourself willingness would be notice what it feels like and make some space for it so you know just recognizing honoring what’s going on uh instead of trying to like what i would call justify or rationalize out of it it’s like saying i don’t have a problem versus do i have a problem yeah you know kind of like i mean that’s where i was with drugs like everybody kept telling me i had a problem i’m like no i don’t you’re the problem right drugs if everybody would just leave me alone i’d be fine but then maybe the willingness is the ability to say huh do i like how’s this working for me what’s going on in my life yeah or like an honest assessment of the situation you know i feel like that’s just getting out of denial though is denial the opposite of willingness yeah i mean for whatever reason i automatically go honesty’s the opposite of denying

i’ve read willingness is open-mindedness in action but i it sounded good but it sounds great i like what i thought about what i’m saying from the [ __ ] does that mean every time you say open-mindedness now i think about the brain falling out from the last episode

so oh so billy what you said too this kind of ties in so i tried to think about willingness in the buddhist recovery concept and to me willingness ties into wise intention which is just like it sounds you kind of set a goal and go after it you know goal based on love and compassion non-harming and then the other part of that is detaching from fear aversion or craving and then something you just read there you know like letting stop staying in that that fear version craving letting that go and then going after what you see is good and wholesome wise intention how do we do that though like how do you see what you can’t see i i don’t i don’t know i’m just thinking am i using and people saying you’re a drug addict and me denying that drugs were the problem like i don’t feel like and and that’s why you know when people talk about like come into recovery as like a god-given event or a universe given event or whatever like i don’t feel like i made that decision i just i feel like if i could have made it if it was up to me to make it i would have been able to make it long before that when i wanted to and i get it willingness is not wantingness right they’re different so i wanted to make the decision to not live the way i was living but i didn’t feel like i could be willing to until i was and i don’t feel like i did that maybe i mean and not in that one specific thing but i think there are areas we can set ourselves up for to be willing to do things or to be open-minded for things like it gets back to conditioning like you know i go to meetings and i do recovery stuff because it conditions my brain into spiritual living so if i stop going to meetings and i don’t feel in the space going on in my head with some sort of recovery information you know slowly but surely these ideas that using is okay and i’m gonna be fine and i can manage it now like all those things will come back you know and and it’s sort of my at least i believe my responsibility to keep myself in a good spiritual condition you know to find that like how do i bolster or how do i nurture this willingness within me you know um and again i’ll just go back to like this list of you know another avoidance is like escape avoid or shut down and then the willingness part is curious describe and explore well if i just sit at home all day with my own thoughts and fill my head with the way i think the world works and the way i think things should be and how i want to to things to go you know i’m not dealing with reality i’m going to find myself in a place where i’m going to you know want to avoid and shut down and be away from whereas if i’m practicing some of these other principles you know there will be like in a willingness to engage in more healthy behaviors i i don’t disagree with any of that i just don’t know how to make that happen before my body is ready for that to happen i mean it’s like i i could have went to therapy and you know gotten the growth i got i did it at 30. maybe i could have done it at 16 but it didn’t feel like i was possible then that’s what throws me off about this like i don’t feel like it was an active choice on my part at that point is it an active choice on a daily basis now to you know when i leave here am i gonna spend my day with my own thoughts or listen to an audiobook at some point that helps me explore things from a different view i i don’t know is that an active choice today feels a little more like an active choice today than it did then that’s for sure well to some degree every moment of our lives is some miracle beyond our control you know because at any moment you know whatever let’s just say this building could fall down and [ _ ] kill us all or i could drive out of this parking lot and a mack truck class route 40 and shut my lights out yeah so it to some degree you know all of life is beyond anything you know that’s with you know that everything’s outside of our control to some level or degree but then we also somewhere in there have a line of like responsibility for what’s going on you know i can avoid being in an accident on route 40 if i’m not [ _ ] texting on my phone or talking or [ _ ] with the radio you know if i’m aware and paying attention you know if that truck starts to come my way i can react you know and it’s i feel like my responsibility to put myself in the best place for success you know and like when we i mean whether maybe for me like i think my first treatment center was almost beyond my control i don’t know that i necessarily made a conscious decision to go to that treatment center at 17 it was kind of like a lawyer and i had a bunch of legal problems they said this might keep you out of jail so i was like okay i’ll go you know but had i done had i made different choices with the information that they gave me the outcome might have been different because i didn’t stay clean when i got out of that treatment center now is that because i didn’t go in there with a willingness to stay clean or because i didn’t do the work that was required to stay clean i’m not i don’t know i don’t know that there’s a right answer maybe it’s a little bit of both like this is really a confusing spiritual principle if you ask me do you think so from your description like some may say like like if they had your if they were you you know like maybe you say this like do you think like god like lightning that willingness into your brain like i don’t know completely about god um i feel like you know from my understanding of the universe things happen right when they’re supposed to and they can’t happen otherwise and from there i just don’t know that willingness is a thing like i i don’t know that i completely buy into the concept at all it’s like i do what i can do when i can do it i’ve heard the idea when you know better you do better but i think it’s even beyond that it’s just like when you can do better you do better like nobody i don’t think anybody does worse on purpose and that’s why i don’t think that willingness really is useful for me in the way i understand it so something like and i’m just going to use because it’s a struggle for me is like exercising getting up in the morning going to the gym and exercising like that is a struggle you know but somewhere along the way every morning like i have that i mean i don’t know about you but i go in the morning and every morning i wake up and i’m like ah [ _ ] i’m just gonna sleep in like i’m just did i’ll skip today it’ll be fine it’s not a big deal i went yesterday or i’ll go tomorrow whatever those excuses start and then you know i don’t know where it’s not a conscious you know oh i’m gonna willingness all of a sudden but it’s like i go nope get up we’re doing this this is what we do let’s [ _ ] get moving and then i get up and i get moving and to me like that’s willingness in action i don’t know where that comes from i now i mean i know where sort of where it comes from now is i’ve been doing that long enough where i recognize the pattern and the routine so when those thoughts kick in in the morning that [ _ ] self you know talk myself out of it and i don’t want to do this like now it’s almost laughable to myself you know what i mean like now you’re going to get the [ _ ] up and you’re going to go because that’s what we do now that’s just who you know it’s part of our routine are there days you haven’t gone yes what was the difference were you less willing on those days or did you just not need the gym that day so i’ve actually tried to pay attention to that and most of the time what it is is i can provide myself more excuses on the day that i don’t go for example if i like oh i didn’t sleep well last night i was up till 11 30. you know i get up at five so i’m like oh i was up till 11 30 uh you know that’s not enough sleep like that’s not a healthy amount of sleep to get so it’s okay for me to sleep another hour so that i get my seven to eight it’s good for my brain you know that kind of [ _ ] so would willingness be having less excuses not to okay uh i in that example maybe i mean there’s days that’s happened and i still get up and go yeah i still talk myself into how do we i don’t know i don’t know how you make more of that i don’t know any way i can tell people that are listening to this podcast oh well if you want to avoid the days you don’t go to the gym whether you go to sleep at 11 30 at night and don’t get enough sleep or not you do this and that will make it easier for you to have that willingness the next day oh i reinforced all the ideas on why i do it and what i do that’s what helps me overcome those things you know it’s like the old you know native american fable of like we all have the two dogs and which one do i feed the good dog or the bad dog that’s that decision every morning which dog am i gonna feed today the good dog or the bad dog you know and again i the the willingness is like nope i’m gonna get up and feed the good dog that’s because that’s what i need to do it sounding like willingness is more a process than like the lightning strike that i was leaning towards earlier so it’s willingness is something that is the result of a process and so thinking about that in my own life the year before i quit drinking there were many small events that in a process that made me willing at the end of the year you know to be like all right cool i’m gonna go to rehab you know so maybe willingness isn’t like a sudden thing you can summon but it’s something you have to build toward does that make it more like a spiritual principle i don’t know why this is two dogs well like you had said you know and this is the way i look at most spiritual principles is they do take practice and they’re for me at least i believe they’re not natural most of the time they’re they’re they don’t they’re not self-serving enough for me like my will is to be self-serving but it’s just like honesty like i practice honesty i don’t always want to be honest you know what i mean when the person gives me too much change in the store the decision to keep the money or give it back you know what i mean like the the decision to keep the money is what is [ _ ] first and foremost in my head every time the decision to give it back is me practicing honesty that doesn’t mean i’m not honest because i think about keeping the money you know what i mean and so for me willingness is more like that like it’s not that i have a doubt or that i don’t want to do something it’s what do i do when that doubt or that thing occurs you know do i decide to practice that principle of willingness to aside to put aside my apprehension my lack of trust in the process my lack of desire to do it and just [ _ ] do it anyway i guess what i heard was it’s almost like practicing honesty and open-mindedness builds willingness no i would agree with that i mean you gotta trust in what you’re doing or you won’t have willingness i don’t know though i’m still like really questioning it like so you get up every morning and you’re feeding this quote unquote good dog and you get to the gym but we don’t have any scientific way to measure like if we could go and look at what you would gain from going to the gym that day versus what you would gain from maybe taking that day off and getting the extra sleep right we don’t know which one outweighs the other so you call it the willingness because you’re feeding the quote unquote good dog but like we don’t even know that you could just be like beating yourself into doing something that’s more harmful for you than getting the good sleep so i don’t know like to me that’s not necessarily willingness that’s like you convincing yourself that one thing is better than the other and doing it i don’t know that that’s necessarily a positive nobody says the outcome of that is better for you well it’s not about the outcome that’s i thought we said that earlier like my willingness doesn’t come from knowing that there’s going to be a positive outcome maybe i get to the end and realize i’m a [ _ ] idiot and i have a heart attack earlier than i should have because my heart only beats so many times in a lifetime and i wasted i’ve heard that concept i’ve heard your heart only beats so many times in a lifetime and then you die and that it’s you know so if you do too much strenuous stuff you actually cut your life shorter i don’t know how true that is it’s just some one of those weird [ _ ] random things i heard somewhere definitely stay on a snapple cap or something you know how that applies to like some unfactual fact that i heard if i lay on a calm beach doing heroin and slow my heart down i’ll live longer but i mean that’s not the point i can have willingness to do horrible things i can have a willingness to continue to be a drug addict that doesn’t mean i don’t have willingness i mean it takes a tremendous amount of desire to keep using drugs when you have no money no [ _ ] resources you know what i mean like that takes a drive and a willingness to live that lifestyle it’s not [ _ ] easy it’s hard it’s very difficult we don’t need to cultivate willingness it’s already there well we can sort of cultivate where we place our willingness or what things we want to how we want to practice our willingness about the idea of no matter what as a concept of willingness like is that what that means no matter what we won’t use again is that willingness is that an a a an a expression yeah okay well i mean i’ll just say i don’t necessarily agree with it no matter what concept i think that’s kind of silly but i mean i get it i understand why people say it but i’m like i’m not there i’m on the uh maybe for today i’m not gonna do it i was walking around key west and they were selling joints they were selling joints at a little stand on the sidewalk i was like is it legal here i have no i i don’t know i’m trying to look it up and [ _ ] and i’m like i can’t buy a joint that’s just too [ _ ] weird and i don’t even want the whole joint but if i happen to be standing around and people are smoking something and they pass it to me i’m going to hit it twice we’ll see what happens let’s see if what it does to me it’s a science experiment i don’t know i i’d convince myself that now nobody was standing around in groups passing it to me obviously so i didn’t but i was there i was like [ _ ] it let’s see what happens i don’t know but that’s willingness you had willingness i had willingness to take two hits so there you go so is that a conscious choice or could you have done anything any different i don’t feel like i could do anything any different you were feeding that bad dog yeah once someone would have handed it to you you would have just what if i had no control whatsoever you would have had no power to make anything i mean look i might have come home doing fentanyl and heroin every day or i might have discovered that damn two hits of wheat if i could find a way to only do two hits of wheat is great for me right i have no idea i don’t know if i can do only two heads of weed i have no clue but i i was curious i’m like what i don’t [ _ ] know i don’t want to judge and bash the people who are out there smoking weed as a means of medical marijuana usage and and say that that’s all [ _ ] like how do i know i have no clue i don’t know i don’t either i wouldn’t bash him either i know it wouldn’t be good for me do you at this stage i’m pretty sure like if i had like you know a little bit of marijuana or a drink i would you know it’s because i’ve had like drunk dreams and once i break that seal in a drunk dream i go crazy i’m pretty sure that would happen in real life too really because i’ve had dreams that like i can fly or that i can’t punch and that’s definitely not what happens in real life well i think most decisions just say yeah most decisions we make in life though we can only make with the amount of evidence that we have in front of us you know what i mean like you had made a decision to put yourself back in school and do all that stuff knowing in the beginning that you might not even be able to get a [ _ ] license you know but you had a willingness to do that even though you didn’t know what the outcome was gonna be you had no idea could you could have done all that work and they’d have been sorry you can’t have a license in the state of maryland good luck with your [ _ ] degree it doesn’t feel like willingness though it didn’t feel like it felt like i could no longer go down the path i was going it was i’m like i am [ _ ] miserable in construction this is not working i got to do something else right but it feels like it calls to me when they gave you the information that this might not turn out the way you want it to or expect it to you made a decision somewhere in there to move forward along i mean you didn’t say all right well i’m going to go to school for something else so i’m going to go i’m going to change my career path because this social work thing might not work out would you call willingness i call the opposite of the chart i was an avoidance i was like that [ _ ] won’t happen to me i’ll be fine i’ll deal with that later yeah i mean that’s what it felt like more i was like oh that’s scary but i’m just not going to think about it i don’t know that’s what i’m saying how do you quantify willingness or actually i don’t know more and more we talk about it’s more i’m like this is total [ _ ] this episode has been brought to you in part by voices of hope inc a non-profit recovery organization made up of people in recovery family members and allies together members strive to protect the dignity of those that use drugs and those in recovery by advocating for treatment harm reduction and support resources and mentoring please visit us at www.voicesofhopemaryland.org

and consider donating to our calls

so here’s another quote that i found willingness is vital because it allows us to get a grip on the fact that before change can occur we have to give our permission so they were looking at willingness as the idea of giving permission for change to exist sounds fancy as [ __ ] sure i can’t argue with that i don’t know if it tells the whole story but yeah can you say that in like an indian accent and it sounds like

allows us to get a grip on facts before change can occur it does you know another thing uh just to ease our brains for a second because this one is hurting um if someone approached you with a check in your name for one million dollars and asked if you were willing to accept it and you said yes does that make you willing no why because you already want a million dollars willingness isn’t doing or accepting things that you would gleefully want to do or accept anyway willingness is doing and accepting things you don’t want to do or accept this [ _ ] me all up but i disagree with that too so i can never be willing to do something that i’m interested in that’s ridiculous so willing only works when you don’t want to do it and that sounds like total [ _ ] to me i am willing to do the practices i do for my recovery and to stay healthy because i want to i want to grow i want to listen to audio books i want to journal i want to reflect on myself i want to do this podcast and grow does that mean i’m not willing to do that you haven’t always wanted to do those things no and i didn’t do them when i didn’t want to right but there are things that you’ve done in your life that have helped you cultivate wanting those things you know what i mean like there’s way that like i like to do harder challenging things i think that’s a value that i’ve learned over time is useful and helpful and so like you know say i have a commitment you know on this day to well that’s not anymore but you know thursday to go to the home group and i don’t want to [ _ ] work and i’m tired and i want to go home and i don’t feel like doing this but i said i was going to do it i’m a person that has integrity today and so i get up and go like to me that’s that’s the willing that’s practicing willingness when i don’t want to do something i get up and do it anyway i try to make a value judgment what are my morals and values and then base my decision off of that not what i feel like doing in the moment because i don’t trust what i feel like doing a lot of times i don’t always feel like doing what’s good for me i agree but i think there’s a limit so within some context i am able to force myself to do things i don’t want to do but there’s a line where it’s like even though i know this other thing is good for me i just don’t have the ability to force it and so that’s where i say i call [ _ ] on willingness because if there was a willingness thing i would just be able to willing and able to force myself to do all these things i don’t want to do but since there’s a line in the sand of like what i’m capable of making myself do i’m like yeah that’s totally not me choosing willingness that’s totally my body has an acceptable limit of what it’s going to do to be healthy that’s like the concept of honesty i mean you’re you can be a honest person and still lie you know what i mean i think of that episode you had talked about a situation where you lied i think it was to your daughter or something like that like that wasn’t like now i mean i don’t know maybe it does dude like does that make you a totally dishonest are you not practicing honesty in your life because you lied this one time like and i think willingness falls into that category like just because i am unwilling one time or unwilling occasionally does not mean i’m now that i have no control over my willingness well i i don’t think that i think it’s more the idea that i can’t say it’s willingness and take credit for something i did when i can’t actually do it right so if i okay i’ve been meditating every day right i’m willing to do that so we’re saying on the days i don’t feel like meditating i’m practicing willingness on the days i want to practice the meditation and excited for it i’m all of a sudden not willing even though i’m doing the same behavior because it’s not willingness if i actually want to but then you know i would like to eat healthier i eat decently healthy but i would like to eat healthier and i don’t find myself able to do that so how can i say oh well i’m willing with the meditation and take total credit but then in the area of food that’s just out of my yeah so i guess the difference here i think you’re speaking in like these absolute terms when i hear like the willing like so the thing about willingness is only applies when it’s something we don’t want to do i think that’s more like i don’t hear that as like this absolute like that’s the only time of willingness that’s more of a well i don’t know who the [ _ ] wrote that they might be stupid but it’s for me when i hear that what i mean is if i do something because i want to do it like that doesn’t mean like yeah i’m willing well of course we’re all willing to do what we want to do that wouldn’t necessarily fit under the idea of willingness the same action can be considered willingness when i do it and i don’t want to do it like then i’m practicing willingness you know it’s not it’s like a descriptive term more than it’s like a absolute theoretical i don’t know if that’s making sense but you know what i mean like if i decide oh i you know love doing the podcast so i show up here every sunday i wouldn’t say i’m practicing willingness you know but if i don’t want to show up one week and i go oh man this is a commitment that i made and you know yeah i’m willing i’m you know then i’m practicing willingness like it’s it’s more of a descriptive term than this hard absolute concept i mean i guess for me these that’s what spiritual principles are like honesty there isn’t a right absolute honesty as we talked about with honesty there are situations where not telling the truth might still be the best course of action for whatever reasons we had talked about but that doesn’t necessarily mean you know i’m not practicing honesty in my life in a more general way and i guess this kind of the concept of this principle willingness is the same for me it’s like am i willing to am i do i have the ability to push through and do the hard things that i think are right for me that i think are healthy good wise decisions for me you know even when i don’t want to okay eating and food for me is terrible you know i’m not always will sometimes [ _ ] cheeseburgers and mcdonald’s and the laziness of that comes way easier than eating salad you just called yourself lazy so yeah you’re judging yourself about your level of willingness yes okay have we ever judged others for their lack of willingness to be in recovery when they continue to use or don’t find the ability to work the steps or don’t find the ability to do all the suggestions we say they need to do to stay have i for sure yeah yeah yeah okay so let me go with your example right you want to show up here most weeks to record the podcast some weeks you’re not feeling it so much maybe you’re tired whatever so you have to practice willingness in those moments if you were in a car accident on friday night that left you in the hospital or paralyzed and you literally physically couldn’t show up here does that mean you’re not practicing willingness to live up to your commitment i mean i think we’d all agree no right there’s no ability so what’s the difference between that and some other physical thing going on inside our body some other chemical reaction some other whatever the hell goes on inside of us in our nervous systems maybe we’re in some survival response and feel too much anxiety or depression to go and fulfill our commitment why do we consider that to be unwilling but if somebody’s you know in a hospital recovering from a terrible car accident that’s not unwilling like we’re judging people as being described in an extreme situation that i don’t think is the way most people’s daily life goes i don’t i do i think we operate on this system of like we do what we’re capable of right and i think we judge others i totally disagree well i think we judge others saying they’re unwilling in situations where it’s no different internally for them than the external view if we could see them with a broken leg or something yeah i think when i go to work there’s not when i decide i’m going to skip a task or decide i’m going to push a job off till tomorrow that is not like that is all i could do that day is not do what the [ _ ] i was supposed to do i had no other course of that that was it i can’t believe that that’s the way that i function so you just suck at times i make bad choices that i am 100 responsible for now if i have a anxiety disorder or a neurological condition or one of those issues like if i had a [ _ ] anxiety panic attack at work and couldn’t do my job that day a hundred percent different but if i just decide that i want to sit there and watch youtube [ _ ] videos and not complete the job that’s in front of me those are very different situations so your example is true i just don’t think that’s the way that every situation and every occurrence works in our life like every choice that i have in my life is not my only possible choice all right well think this through though we can say this person is supposed to run on a certain day now it could be the the anxiety attack level of physical ailment where they’re in the tragic car accident right it could be they fell down the steps and broke their leg it could be they twisted their ankle really bad walking and like stepped in a hole right it could be they got turf toe i don’t even know what turtle is but i don’t think football players get it american football players it could be a hangnail in their foot there could be a lot of smaller physical reasons why they can’t run or perform that day or live up to their commitment so why in the level of like our our mental health are you only willing to accept that it’s these drastic you know huge tragic car crash examples but there’s not also tons of minor ones along the way that also limit our ability to perform when it’s when it’s a physical ailment you’re willing to accept that there’s a variety in a spectrum of different things that could cause somebody nice level of life people have to make conscious choices to overcome adversity i mean you can’t just look at every minor tragedy and just be like oh this yes yes the idea so one of the concepts and i didn’t read it but one of these concepts that’s newer age or newer that people are pushing a lot it’s like the cold shower theory or the sweat lodge theory it’s like we should push ourselves to these extreme situations so that when these difficult decisions come up in our lives we have the tools and ability and the the fortitude if you want to call it that to do something different but we have to at some level accept responsibility for our choices and our actions in order to proceed to be able to move forward and do something different if all we ever want to do is be like well this is the best i can do because that’s it then we stay stuck we don’t give ourselves the ability to move forward and progress and overcome challenges which is kind of fascinating because i operate from all i do is the best i can and i don’t do what i’m not capable of and i feel like i grow and push and learn through challenges exactly the way you just said wouldn’t happen but that would mean you never do something you don’t want to do i do what i’m capable of but i can’t force my body to be somewhere it’s not and you’re saying that so you want to show up at every sporting event that your kids have that you go to you want to show up at every class that you were going through through college or every therapy appointment that you have you’re like yes this is exactly what i want to do in this moment no i’m not saying it’s always what i want to but it’s what i’m able to there’s times oh yeah there’s a lot of times i’m faced with the choice of what i want versus what i don’t and there’s times i am able to choose what i think will work out best for me for the results i want even though it’s what i don’t want to do now but there’s also plenty of stuff that i am not capable of doing that i really would like to i just don’t feel able it’s it’s interesting you said we have to push ourselves to these extremes through like sweat lodges and cold showers what if that’s the story we give that it’s pushing ourselves to these extremes but what’s really happening is a depressed person whose nervous system is really low benefits from a cold shower because it excites the nervous system and what if an anxious person benefits a lot from the sweat lodge that really slows down the nervous system and puts it into a lower place what if it has nothing to do with extremes but it’s just changing that internal landscape in order for them to feel more able to be regulated and able to do things in their life what if it’s not about pushing to extremes at all well that i guess would mean the only people that would get benefits from those things or people that suffer with those disorders uh i mean i i don’t know that that’s exactly what work i was just proposing an alternate theory that i think oh yeah they don’t understand why these things it’s a lot of stuff in our bodies it’s still very theoretic and those are just two examples that i know of right off top my head there may be other ones i don’t you know there’s there’s lots of things where the the example this lady gave on this thing was just sitting there holding your breath hold your breath for as long as you possibly can she didn’t say why it started out hold your breath for as long as you possibly can with a timer and then the next exercise was all right well now we’re gonna hold our breath for two minutes you’re gonna hold your breath for two minutes and then she gave you some things to think about why you did it and the idea was look you can wasn’t necessarily whether you i shouldn’t spoiler alert it doesn’t matter whether you held your breath for the whole two minutes or not the idea was could you push yourself beyond a comfort level you know when given the right incentives or motivations or whatever like all of a sudden you could do better based on no physiological neurological difference you know just with different motivations different influences different uh ideas behind it you could actually improve something like the length of time you can hold your breath and i would say that that holding your breath is physiologically changing you inside i guess what i was going for here is we can accept that people can’t run for a variety uh spectrum of physical ailments right it could be the major thing or the minor you know i have a hangnail on my toe i twisted my ankle pretty bad whatever it is you know i but see there becomes so what is your motivation for running and how important do you think that it is in your life you know if you’re running for uh a charity run race that’s raising money for kids with cancer and you got us [ _ ] stubbed your toe into bed last night and you decide well [ _ ] the stub tell i’m gonna do it that’s different than if you’re just running because you feel like it’s a good thing to do and you stubbed your toe you know what i mean there’s a lot of things that go into you know we have some uh value judgments that we can put into overcoming these challenges and adversities and that’s what i think willingness is it’s like what what are our motivations what are the reasons what are the the things that we’re using to push through these hard challenges and again not that one’s right or one’s wrong if you stubbed your toe and you’re just running because you like to run and you don’t want your foot to [ _ ] hurt but good for you you’re not as willing to run that day because the value that you place on running isn’t worth the pain of the stub toe i i guess the point though whether whether it’s you know the stub toe or pushing through it or any of that is just more we’re willing to accept physical ailments on a wide spectrum of like minor to major to understand why people aren’t capable of doing a certain task and yet very quickly in a recovery atmosphere me at times in my life have been very quick to judge and say someone’s unwilling as opposed to opening my brain and saying damn maybe there’s a whole spectrum of internal stuff going on that’s a physical ailment that i can’t see kind of like it’s easier to accept the guy with a broken leg not coming into work than it is the guy who’s depressed right yeah i can’t see his physical mental health stuff going on inside of him but maybe there’s a spectrum of that that also keeps people from being able to accomplish these tasks and maybe i shouldn’t just say ah it’s because they don’t have enough willingness [ _ ] them yeah well that’s where the judgment comes in so i do agree i think we have to it’s incredibly important to give people the right tools and incentives and motivations to find the willingness again back to the stub toe thing if you’re just the same person can not be willing to run in one circumstance and willing to run into other circumstance with the same injured foot based off the motivations and what the importance is because you could have a broken [ _ ] ankle and if there’s a tiger chasing you you’re gonna [ _ ] run you know does that mean you are only ever physically capable of running you know what i mean like what if i’m willing to get eaten by a tiger because it’s a cool way to die yeah that would be cool practice willingness by just laying down but you know what i mean so yeah i agree i think this we shouldn’t judge people for their willingness and that’s one of the things i’ve learned from doing this podcast is like my [ _ ] judgments that i placed on oh they don’t want it and that [ __ ] that’s ridiculous what i the way i look at it now is if someone comes to the program and they’re not getting what they need like maybe this isn’t the right tool for them maybe they need a different tool or some other tools or you know a larger you know there’s some other things we can be doing it’s not necessarily a failure on them as an individual maybe it is in some cases people just don’t want to be clean and that’s different but there’s opportunity there to look at okay so what can we do to help these people find what they need maybe it’s here with some other things maybe they need therapy and counseling and social work maybe this isn’t the right place for them i don’t know but we benefit by helping them to find the willingness i mean i think that’s what a place like voices i hope tries to do it’s like all right you come in you tell us what you’re willing to do what you want to do and then we’ll see if we can get you there and we’ll try to give you the tools to help you do that what i hear you saying is that 12 steps might be a hammer and sometimes we’re not operating with a nail we just want a screw

definitely an n a we like to screw but that’s not the point jenny you’ve been quiet i have been i can’t keep up with you guys but i i love hearing the um the take on willingness i mean i tend to agree with like your base thinking like that we’re all doing the best we can but billy’s got a great point too if you’re not pushed a little bit we’re not going to grow or are we i don’t know i got to think about this you know but you know this wasn’t where i thought willingness was going yeah so it’s i don’t so i have a lot to think about sorry i’ve been quiet but i just just taken it all i knew i’d be quiet on this episode but i’m always glad to be here another quote says people often ask don’t you have to want to enter treatment for it to work the answer is no you have to be willing to enter treatment very few people wanted to enter treatment but we were willing to enter treatment anyway see the difference willingness only applies if you never wanted to in the first place i still don’t like that idea yeah i hear what they’re saying on that idea but i i have known some people that said they went to treatment you know not because they wanted to stay clean or they came to meetings not because they wanted to be abstinent and that ended up happening um that wasn’t necessarily my story but i have heard people say those things you know they thought they’d come to n a and learn to manage which i don’t know why anybody would think that but or they went to treatment for their job or their wife and then when they got there you know they decided it was a good thing i mean that’s true too this next part had to be written by a a guy sorry how does one become willing they decide to become willing it’s that simple see you can’t teach willingness that makes it one of the rarest of the spiritual principles next yeah i almost completely disagree with that i would i mean well then how do you decide to become willing simplistic that’s tough i don’t know i don’t can’t say i agree with that i mean i know

i can’t apply willingness in that way in my life like it’s it just doesn’t seem to fit yeah the last quote that i had pulled out to talk about was willingness without action is fantasy which i i don’t know man like i think it talks about that in our step working guide or something that says something like i can make the decision to go get a bag of chips from the store but if i don’t get off my couch then that decision was really useless or something along those like without that yeah i get the concept yeah but then what is willingness because to me willingness is all about the idea of i don’t want to say it’s about the idea of non-action but it’s a it’s like a thought process to become willing or like jenny said a feeling it’s not the action that goes with it and i guess in to use the chip analogy thing the willingness isn’t the wanting of the chips it’s the am i going to do anything about the warning of the chips you know what i mean like all right so i want some chips but if i don’t get off the couch i’m not going to have chips those two concepts don’t describe willingness well willingness is am i going to go get the chips am i making the decision to go do to follow through on that idea or thought or want i feel like from that place willingness is like really highly based on how much effort it takes you know and maybe this comes into the the social status inequality or the racial inequality or some other inequality but like there’s a guy who’s already got chips in his cabinet he’s only got to walk 10 feet to get chips there’s another guy who can get in his car and go get the chips five minutes away there’s another guy who doesn’t have a car and he’s got to ride a bicycle to get chips there’s another guy who has to walk to get chips there’s another guy that can’t walk or a girl and has to call somebody and hope they have friends to get them chips to come to them like there’s a whole lot of inequity in the different situations there so it’s almost like i i could go into a meeting and be like oh that guy’s willing he’s a model 12 stepper there but he only had to get the chips out of his [ _ ] cabinet whereas like i might be judging somebody else for their lack of willingness to to be able to work the steps but their chips might be 10 miles off through a desert yeah well i mean i would agree it has to do with your values and motivations i mean for sure not everybody comes into recovery with the same tools i [ _ ] i 100 believe that i mean i there’s a guy i know that grew up in one of the poor communities in this area like his mom was the first one to ever shoot him up with heroin i think that guy and me had the same [ _ ] story coming in absolutely not like i give him like that’s an exceptional human being i mean i just came in and stopped [ _ ] doing drugs like that’s pretty easy in my you know maybe not but i’m just saying you know on the level of like effort and willingness like he’s got a [ _ ] done more than me to stay clean and live the life that he’s living does he or does he just do what he’s able to do i think it’s i think for him it was that’s a tougher journey i think his his challenges and what he had to overcome was definitely more than mine and what and again not in the outcome i don’t whether he stays clean the rest of his life it doesn’t make me right because i stay clean longer like that’s not the point of me judging that willingness i’m just saying he had a lot more hurdles barriers obstacles and things to overcome and maybe his journey looks very different than mine but the level of willingness you know is he definitely had a strong willingness to stay clean because he had a lot more to overcome than i did i have heard absolutely nothing today that convinces me that willingness is real it’s not gonna lie that just sounds like a crack of [ _ ] to me sounds like something some guys made up to give themselves some credit for being able to do something they just need a third word you know honest open and willing just to round it out right it used to be like honest open and motivated honest open-minded radical new and yearning horny we’re horny that’s it what i don’t know i just i cannot fathom where in my understanding of how the world works which is that we do what we’re capable of how a willingness fits into that i i don’t think i did it i don’t think i created or cultivated any willingness i don’t think nothing i did spurred it on or continues to spur it on there’s still areas where i have not changed where i would like to see change and i don’t know that there’s nobody has given me anything to take out of here today and say oh if i just keep doing this i’ll get more willing that doesn’t mean you don’t have the whether i change something or not doesn’t mean i have willingness it sure does you’re looking at the outcome i mean because someone comes in to the 12-step fellowship or any 12-step or any recovery program at all and doesn’t stay clean doesn’t mean they don’t have a willingness to do it well that but that’s if there’s something i want different in my life and i don’t find myself capable of doing it personally that’s me saying i want chips and not moving off the couch there’s no difference you said the willingness was in going and being able to put the effort into getting chips if i don’t feel capable of putting the effort yeah but if i say so if the chip thing if i say all right i want chips i’m going to get up and the [ _ ] store is 80 miles away and i want chips that bad that i’m going to drive the 80 miles and then on the 80 miles i get steamrolled by a [ _ ] again tractor trailer i still had the willingness and i still wanted the chips it just didn’t work out the [ _ ] way i thought it should there’s a lot of variables in life that like you said there’s neurological things and there’s all kinds of sub but you took action but that’s what the willingness is taking the action yeah but there’s places in my life where i want something and i would like to be able to and i don’t feel capable of taking the action i don’t think that makes me like unwilling it just means that i just don’t feel capable of doing that thing it seems beyond me at this point in my life will it change will i be able to do it in 10 years maybe but i don’t then i don’t think it’s willingness if you’re not willing to take the action i think it’s desire that’s a different thing is it different yes i mean in my definition of things because i want something does not mean i have willingness willingness is putting that desire into action and again not based on the outcome doesn’t mean i’m going to end up with it it just means i have to have you know i have to be put effort towards it start moving that way start doing something different nowhere in my life have i felt like it was a personal whether it’s you know like this guy said just a decision i made or or some actions i took or or you know some way to cultivate willingness nowhere in my life have i done something that previously felt undoable and thought oh yeah i’m glad i got the willingness for that finally it felt like all of a sudden i was just able it was like a universe given power or strength to just be able to do this thing that i’ve never previously been able to do i’ve never felt like i did something right but you can cultivate that how by reinforcing positive values in your life but you know what i mean like that’s how you cultivate that i don’t know i mean we had spurts of honesty when we were using or spurts of you know humility when i was a drug addict i had spots of humility that didn’t mean i was practicing humility in my life you know it’s like these principles are not these absolute things that we just do or don’t do or light switches that are on or off they’re like they’re they’re like you know exercise or whatever they’re things we have to try to do and that we can hone and get better at and cultivate and grow inside of ourselves so billy’s saying you are what you eat so if you i guess it goes back to those wolves you know the dogs you’re you know are you gonna feed the right one and i’m saying you eat what you can i i don’t i don’t think there’s i don’t know to me and again i’m not this is not the popular opinion for sure i don’t think we have any real say in anything i don’t take credit for [ _ ] that goes well or that i do well in life and i don’t hold myself at terrible judgmental blame for [ __ ] that doesn’t like i’d say i agree like there’s some level like there’s some level of both because we’ve taught him and i’ve talked about this kind of idea before like to me there’s some level of both like there’s a lot of things that are way outside of my control these subtle influences of culture and society and pressures and all that i have no even conscious awareness of that are formed in my head but then there is a level of some kind of personal responsibility where i have to take ownership of the choices that i make even if they are judgments about somebody’s skin color looks race sex like yes those things are subliminally in there in some way but i also have to take ownership of my actions even though i don’t control that thinking like and i don’t know where that line is and you know it’s probably not able even to be distinguishable but i have to at some point for myself make a decision that i’m going to do the best i can to overcome those things and try to not let them define who i am so if you agree with me reach out tell us how you like my theory help us figure out willingness willingness that doesn’t exist and if you disagree with billy feel free to reach out tell me how that worked no uh yeah i don’t know man i don’t know if anybody gained anything out of this some some thinking material to ponder through anybody that studies willingness yeah if you know something seriously please present it i don’t know that you’re gonna change my mind but yeah it’s an interesting topic for sure um have a good week bye did you like this episode share it with people you think might get something out of it check out the rest of our episodes at recoveryswordof.com also while you’re there you can find ways to link up with us on facebook twitter instagram reddit youtube anything we’re always looking for new ideas got an idea you want us to look into reach out to us