Last year I wrote about the H and O of H.O.W., the HOW of change, of recovery from addiction or from anything else.  Honesty, Open-mindedness, and Willingness are some of the ingredients necessary to move along this pathway. If you are stuck, physically, emotionally or spiritually, take a look at these three pieces and see if you can progress by paying more attention to your HOW.

Willingness. Willingness to change, progress, recover from anything. Webster’s dictionary defines willing as: 1.inclined or favorably disposed in mind, ready, 2. prompt to act or respond, 3. done, borne, or accepted by choice or without reluctance, 4. of or relating to the will or power of choosing, volitional, voluntary.

“The proof of the pudding is in the tasting,” is a profound saying…think about it. Likewise, “the proof of the willingness is in the action.” Bummer. Much easier to be into thinking, talking, philosophizing, and bull-sh….., than into action. If you are ready for change, then take certain steps of action to accomplish your goals. Paying special attention to #2 above, note “prompt to act”. If you are willing, it is time to stop procrastinating, (bull-sh… yourself).

Let’s look at some examples: Willing to get out of a dead end job? Great! Take action and apply for other jobs, start your own business, go back to school, whatever it takes. May have to move? Do it. May have to work during the day and go to school at night, giving up free time? Too bad. Are you willing to do what it takes to change? Then do it.

Wish you could: play the piano, loose weight, stop drinking, stop smoking, speak another language…pick one or more. Are you “ready, favorably disposed and without reluctance”? Are you committed to taking action to demonstrate your willingness? The deal with any of the above, any change, is to become willing (reread definition above), make the commitment, take action, and continue to take action. What’s that last one? Oops, did I forget to say…willingness is not a one-time decision or one time action, unless what you are doing is a one-time event. You only have to be willing, make the commitment and take action once if you are talking one bungee jump, one phrase of Japanese, one low calorie meal, or one hour (forget day, that would take hourly willingness) of being a non-drinker, non-druggie, or non-smoker. If you are really willing, demonstrate it with action…sustained action.

Life changes require ongoing willingness, regular recommitment to the new way of life, consistent action, for as long as you want the change. Everyone knows people who have stopped smoking and started again years later, lost lots of weight and gained it back…dozens of times. Every bar serves people who have stopped drinking, for a day, a week, a month or even years…and started again. In each case, the person had the willingness and took the action, then became unwilling, stopped taking the action necessary to sustain the change. Why? Change is tough, commitment is tough, immediate gratification is, well, immediate. Willingness to change often means not having all wants immediately gratified. (All needs will be gratified…no one is talking about withholding air or water, just alcohol, drugs, cigarettes and excess food).

The same applies in the case of learning something new. The action proves the willingness. We can learn from musicians, athletes, writers and many others who must be consistently willing to do the work, the practice, the training, or the hours producing to accomplish their goals. Every accomplished musician practices untold hours, day after day, no stopping with simply learning the scales. Every competitive athlete trains consistently, not quitting with the first 30 minute workout of the week. Writers produce, write, rewrite, edit, throw out and redo…all taking time and action. Results come from continued willingness, demonstrated by continued action. (The immediate gratification sacrificed in these cases may be leisure or recreational time.)

Are you a drinker or a druggie? Think you may be ready to change? Getting Honest and Open-minded? Now try being Willing, taking the action of seeking help to prove that you are willing. Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings are free, as are Alanon meetings for families and friends of alcoholics and addicts. The Steamboat location and schedule can be accessed by calling 970-879-4882 or check your local phone book.

Once you get H.O.W. life becomes a little less difficult.  

Related articles: H.O.W. do we Change?, Open-minded.

Excerpts from Mission Possible:

“…Seizures, meningitis, Dengue Fever and machete wounds are all part of life and death in rural Honduras, where there are no doctors. Honduras gives me my first taste of providing medical care in a developing country. This is why I had gone to medical school in the 1970s. Now I can live my dream for a few weeks and experience what medicine does and does not have to offer to this community. I will be the only doctor for many miles and many hours, and will know that when I leave there will not be another doctor here for many months…”


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