When you get clean you start to hear a lot of stuff about willingness. Are you willing to go to any length  (for your recovery)? But what does it mean? Where does willingness come from?

I believe the magic of recovery exists in the willingness to try. Imagine an arrow being shot into space  and time. At the very tip of the arrow is willingness. It’s the first thing to pierce the air, changing the  energy and molecular configurations around it.  Simply by launching the arrow, change begins to  happen.

Willingness is akin to saying “I’ll try ___ even though it doesn’t make sense to me and I see no point in  it or understand why I’m doing it.” Willingness is trying something when a voice is crying out not to.

At the beginning of recovery willingness is usually born out of desperation. First we are willing to  consider not using drugs. Next we are willing to not get high for 24 hours even though we don’t believe  we can do it.  We become willing to consider that maybe the people who are clean might not be full of  shit with their suggestions on what to do next, how to make it for another hour or another day without  using.

When we are willing to admit we need help it seems to come to us.  Our life starts to shift. We begin to see that when we become willing, things usually start to change for the better. It becomes easier to not have to be in control of everything all the time. We allow for some sort of falling of the cards to take place.

Willingness comes out of a desire to believe that all is not hopeless.

Even when we don’t know what move to make next, especially during our darkest, most confusing times, change begins as soon as we become willing – even when it means being willing to wait to see where the universe will blow us next.



Patty is a nationally recognized certified recovery coach and writer. She lives in New York City.


I have inject Heroin for 20yrs,now am drug free for 5th year, am still working on the 12 steps program.
I say thanks God for giving a chance of living again.
Am proud of my recovery.


I like the “mustard seed” visual of willingness. It just takes a mustard seed (which Bill W. got from the Bible, of course) of willingness to attract the hope, success and change we’re looking for but may be too overwhelmed to work for.

Thanks Patty, as always. hugs.

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