Mark, Joe and Russ discuss the Recovery Topic of Willpower. Joe shared that before he came into the program, he was in college taking a degree in philosophy. He studied both Teddy Roosevelt and Niche and their thoughts on Willpower. Joe also shared that in his up bringing, willpower was something expected of men.
Russ shared that as a man in the sales profession, he attended many professional seminars which insisted on the positive aspects of willpower in the professional life. Many of these things being taught was counter to what he was taught in the program. Russ shared that since willpower didn’t work on his drinking problem, it was a great source of shame.
Joe shared that his friends would put some social pressure on him to control himself by just having a couple of drinks when they went out. Joe said that he learned to leave events early and drink heavily after. Joe shared that as his disease progressed he could now see his powerlessness. He can remember drinking even when he didn’t want to drink. When Joe first came into the program he could recognize that he was unmanageable, but powerlessness was something that he had to work on to recognize it in his life.
Russ shared from the chapter in the Big Book, There is a Solution. The book tells us that when it comes to the first drink, we are powerless. But then we switched our view from the negative aspect to the positive aspect of willpower. Self-will is usually a negative when it comes to the program, but Russ shared that our problems are usually a result of misused willpower. Russ shared that his Higher Power is the source of power against the first drink. Russ shared that using willpower in the program is a positive use of willpower to do the things he may not want to do. Joe shared that willingness is critical in a program of recovery. Using willpower allows us to be willing to try something different. Working a program requires a willingness to do things we may not want to do and this is a positive use of willpower.
Russ shared from the 12 and 12 that the literature says we need all the willpower we have to do a 5th step. Mark shared that step 3 of the 12 and 12 says we need our will to conform with God’s will. This is the proper use of willpower according to the literature.