Sometimes I wonder how it is that I am living the life I have today. By “the life”, I mean one of peace and freedom from my food addiction. At least once a day, I am stopped dead in my tracks with overwhelming gratitude for what it feels like to live in recovery.
It would be impossible for me to pinpoint an exact moment when the miracle occurred. My recovery has been (and continues to be) an ongoing process. Just like my life, my recovery has had ups and downs and gone through significant changes over time. But if someone would ask me how my recovery began, I’d say it began with the first decision I made to step out of willfulness and into willingness.
I’d spent my whole life trying to solve a problem for which I never found the answer. Until one day, I heard about a possible solution through an inpatient treatment program. I considered the possibility that I just might have a shot at recovery and as a result, I became willing to learn more.
With nothing but hope, I made a decision to take a leave from work, go into substantial debt and attend inpatient treatment. It had taken a tremendous amount of willingness and sacrifice to do this.
When I arrived, not only was I suffering the physical consequences of my food addiction but I was dying a slow and agonizing spiritual death. Here I was, utterly defeated, admitting that I was powerless over food and my life had become unmanageable. After a lifetime of painful searching, I was finally being offered a solution…. a solution which I rejected the very idea of. This so-called solution did not appeal to me at all. I wanted ease and comfort. I wanted to do things my way. I wanted what I wanted and would only accept the help that I decided on.
I clung to my old ideas. Unwilling to give up control, I was afraid to let go of the only thing I’d ever known, my self will. My (false) belief was that my self-will was what gave me power and kept me in control. Today, I know the truth about a life run on self will. My self will kept me imprisoned for years in behaviours with deadly consequences. It kept me in victimhood so that I didn’t have to take responsibility. It kept me trapped in the belief that if only the external world were different, my inner world would finally be at peace.
My years of willfulness robbed me of so much but thankfully, I finally recognized that. By accepting the truth of where my self will had gotten me, I was able to continue on the path toward willingness. If you’re wondering how I did that, it didn’t happen in one giant leap, it took many steps, each
requiring some degree of willingness. With the hope that what worked for others might also work for me, I became willing to do what others had done.
If you struggle with letting go of self will, try getting curious about possibilities and ask yourself the questions that can lead to willingness.
Is it possible that taking new actions might bring new results?
Is it possible that you can doubt the process and do it anyway?
Is it possible that as addicts, we aren’t so different… and what worked for me, might also work for you?
Acknowledge your shift from willful to willing every time you don’t want to do something but you do it anyway. Continue to ask yourself two things, “What am I willing to do, to increase the manageability of my life?” and “What am I willing to do, to increase my spirituality?”. For example, you might start to follow a food plan as well as begin a consistent meditation practice.
As you begin to experience the miracle of recovery, ask yourself, “What am I willing to do, to align my will with that of my higher power?”.
You just might say you’re willing to go any lengths.