Willingness to Change

Willingness to Change

I arrived in SA in 1999 under dire circumstances following a long period of compulsive poor behavior involving few other people but leaving devastation within my own family. I did not discover the extent of the devastation until many years later after engaging in the SA program wholeheartedly.

Typically, once I discovered I was sick and not just a sinful broken person I needed to be the sickest person in the whole of the program, including all past and present members living and deceased.

Although my opinion of myself was “healthy” and I was as pure as the driven snow, I reluctantly attended meetings of SA regularly right from the start. This was mainly to get my life back into order, to get my wife off my back and to resume a happy carefree disposition which I previously occupied in society and commerce. Willingness was virtually non-existent for me.

I attended meetings but often looked at “raw material” but in terms of the SA sobriety definition I stayed sober but also held down several key positions in the groups I did attend. In the early days in Melbourne, Australia there were only three meetings, no telephone meetings and Zoom was nonexistent. Willingness started for me when I believed I had a spiritual happening during an early meeting. The topic was resentment. I carried no resentments, needless to say, however I hated my mother-in-law’s guts with a passion for the harms she had inflicted on both me and my wife but especially me. In the meeting the sharing turned to anger, hatred, retribution and guilt.

I heard a small voice in my head that said “Forgive her.”

I struggled in my mind, yes, no, yes, no, and finally I said a flippant, throw away prayer that somehow, I meant deep down. I prayed “God, I cannot forgive her, can you please forgive her for me.” Then I felt a huge weight lifted off my shoulders and I felt almost weightless, but ecstatic and confused. I left the meeting and drove home never to carry bad or damaging thoughts of her any longer. A few months later she passed away and I was able to fully support my wife and her family in the grieving process and the funeral arrangements.

Where did this willingness come from, I often ask myself. SA says that a spiritual awakening has to come about in the three areas of emotional, physical and spiritual which comprises a change in behavior resulting in a change in thinking (and attitude). I have concluded that the spiritual process of the program is both progressive and inevitable from the working of the steps in conjunction with others who are doing the same.

One of the scariest aspects of Sexaholics Anonymous lies in Steps One through to Three where I absolutely admit a lack of control and power. Then, as if that was not enough, I had to hand all my control over to someone or something I don’t really know or have ever really experienced. This was a huge step for me but in the light of few other choices (read – none) I did follow this path and miraculously the result came out alright – but not just alright, it produced a new improved and better person far greater than I ever could have imagined.

In retrospect I see now that the Program does offer a guarantee in the form of two passages:

  1. Rarely have we seen a person fail who thoroughly followed our path—AA 58
  2. The 12 Promises—AA 83-84

To this day I have never found any part of the AA Big Book and the SA White Book to be incorrect, misleading or in conflict with any part of my own spiritual program and beliefs.

Steve P., Melbourne, Australia

Discussion Topic

Where are you today related to the willingness to change?

The author of this article describes how he came into the rooms of SA in 1999 with the purpose of getting his life back into order—but not to change.

His willingness to change by true progressive victory over lust grew over the years. His willingness to change by forgiving his mother-in-law came about due to a spiritual awakening. His willingness to change by engaging fully in the SA program and handing over all his control to a Higher Power was the scariest yet most miraculous step for him.

How are you doing with the progressive victory over lust in your life today? How is your willingness to forgive each and every person on your resentment inventory? Have you truly surrendered all control to a Higher Power of your own understanding? Have the 12 Promises come true in your life today?

You may use this topic in a discussion meeting, or send a story of your own recovery journey to essay@sa.org

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