I looked the word up, because I wanted to see what the dictionary definitions are. I looked at one or two and I’m baffled. They list meanings like “eagerly disposed” and other very affirmative things.
In AA my experience with willingness has been grudging. I wasn’t willing to consider a higher power, to pray, to do lots of things they told me to do until I was completely beaten into the ground. I became willing through hard, hard knocks and experience.
When I finally became willing, it was almost as if I was willing to try each and every thing as an “experiment.” I know that I’ve heard recordings of Bill W telling us to pray to a higher power that I may not know is there as an experiment, if nothing else. That this experiment may bring about the desired result of belief. “Willing to experiment” is hardly “eagerly disposed” or “cheerfully consenting.”
When I hear willingness discussed at meetings, it’s usually in the context of reluctance. I have experienced a few lucky souls who showed up at AA very willing to take suggestions and change, but they are the minority in my opinion. I was very, very unwilling to change and so six more years of drunkenness was my result.
My willingness today . . . I know I’m not so hard-headed as all that but I can be very stubborn and rigid and …… unwilling. I’m going to think about that one and see if I can’t see my unwillingness in terms of a character defect that is here, now.