I am horribly busy with schoolwork, but I received this from a fellow in recovery whom I respect very much, and I wanted to share it.  Thanks, Dan!
I have been thinking about willingness and what it means in recovery. It is more than just being ready to change. Like so much else of a 12 step program, it is a call to action (as are surrender, gratitude, and acceptance). Below are some good definitions of willingness in a 12-step recovery context. But I believe that there is a component of willingness that is not described below and that is “courage”. Without courage, willingness is just a wish or desire to change – so what courage is required? The courage to move forward taking actions despite the fear and anxiety of the unknown. Courage does not mean having no fear – it means doing what you have to do in spite of the fear…. this is a prerequisite for willingness.

When I have been in relapse before – I knew all the “right” things to do and I kept doing some of them (attending meetings) – but I was not yet willing to do all of the actions and activities to support and drive my recovery. Fear of not getting something, of losing some freedoms, of have to live by a discipline… these fears blocked my willingness…. when I had the courage acknowledge these fears and proceed to all of the actions “suggested” for recovery – then I was willing and my recovery began again in earnest.

Willingness Defined

Willingness can be defined as being eagerly compliant. It means doing something out of choice and not because of coercion. When people become willing to do something, it means their minds become more open and receptive. They may consider doing things that in the past may have appeared objectionable. Willingness means embracing change rather than fighting it.

The Key to Willingness in Recovery

Willingness is a mental attitude that can insure success in recovery from addiction. These are its major components:
  • If the individual is truly willing to escape their addiction they will do whatever it takes. It involves having an open mind about any potential resource that can help them. Those who are truly willing do not have a long list of recovery options that they are not even prepared to consider.
  • Willingness involves a degree of humility. The individual no longer believes that they have all the answers. They are prepared to listen and learn from the experiences of other people.
  • If the individual is willing to stay sober, they will make this their number-one priority in life. This is because they realize that making a life away from addiction requires a great deal of effort. It will not be achieved overnight. The willing individual will be prepared to devote however long it takes to rebuilding their life.
  • Those who are willing to escape addiction will want to make the best use of all the available resources that can help them. They will take responsibility for their own recovery and see addiction specialists as partners there to help them. The willing individual does not passively wait for other people to fix them. They take action to make this happen.
  • Willingness does not mean becoming passive. The individual still needs to question things and make decisions. It does usually mean being a bit more open-minded about possible solutions.