from the June 1996 San Diego A.A. Coordinator Newsletter

God, grant me the willingness just to be willing . . .” has prefaced so many prayers during my sobriety. Willingness, a character trait so easy to have when I have it, but when I don’t, can be the most elusive and the hardest to acquire.

Grant me the willingness to let go of my character defects seems to be the most elusive. This will probably never totally happen; however, from experience, I find great relief that these defects, at times, are softened; their corners seem a bit more rounded and sometimes they feel almost manageable. But then, out of nowhere, my willingness gives way and I find myself in the middle of the muddle of an old familiar defect, in all its full bloom glory, haunting me to the hilt. Back to the drawing board, “God, grant me the willingness just to be willing….”

Grant me the willingness to be humble. Again, what a wonderful feeling true humility can bring; but alas and alack I find this too, can be short term and elusive. At least I no longer must dwell in the unmeasurable amount of humiliation and degradation I used to allow myself to feel over anybody, everybody, anything, and everything. The willingness to have a new caring and respectful attitude for myself allows me to have it for others. When I’m not centered on self, when I put others first, and when I truly have love in my heart for fellow humankind, I feel deep gratitude. With gratitude I become humble. But then there’s the slip as I scream, “butthead,” on the freeway!  “God, grant me the willingness….”

Grant me the willingness to let go. To let go of obsessions of the mind and soul over resentment. To let go of worry and replace it with faith and trust. To the now; frequently sweeping my side of the street; being able to say, “No”; letting go and letting God have control over my life, praying, “May your will be done in my life and may I be willing to accept it”; are all tremendous attributes in my life.

That is, until my thoughts run amuck, “I hate when this happens,” and I don’t laugh it off. I do not believe, in the overall scope of life, this tiny incident will mean absolutely nothing. No, I tuck it away and it festers and it festers. It’s then I revert to old stinkin’ thinkin’, and the resentment manifests itself inappropriately – at the wrong thing, the wrong time, the wrong person. “God grant me the willingness . . .”

Grant me the willingness to change my old attitudes and my old reactions towards people, places, things, and all of life. May I spend my time filling those voids with a positive outlook, striving to live my life as you would have me fully live it – in the most productive mode, and as happy, joyous and free as possible – always bearing in mind that you have forgiven me and all you ask of me is to forgive myself. May I accept life as it is. May I look at life’s challenges, painful as they may momentarily be, as nothing more than mere challenges forcing me to grow up just a little bit more. In the long run, each time they are lived through, challenges help to make the foundation of my sobriety just a little bit stronger.

God, grant me the willingness to faithfully go to meetings and always listen to fellow travelers who are trudging this road with me – for that is truly where I hear your voice speaking to me in a way that I can understand. May I remember and always be willing to give of myself and be of service to the downhearted who trudge along this road, and to the alcoholic who still suffers, for it is in giving it away that I am allowed to keep it. May I always be willing to do whatever it takes to stay on the recovery side of sobriety.

“God, grant me the willingness just to be willing….”

– Millie S., San Diego