Thursday, April 18, 2013
Will Power or Willingness Power?
I read a lot about addictions, go to a lot of 12 step meetings, and treat a lot of addicts.
I am finding that it really isn't about will power. As I read the Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book I found this:
"The fact is that most alcoholics, for reasons yet obscure, have lost the power of choice in drink. Our so-called will power becomes practically nonexistent. We are unable, at certain times, to bring into our consciousness with sufficient force the memory of the suffering and humiliation of even a week or a month ago. We are without defense against the first drink."
I agree with that. It doesn't excuse an addicts actions. It doesn't relieve them of consequences, or tell others to just forgive and forget. It simply points out the fact that it isn't about will power.
Then the AA book says this about a man who decided he was willing to try the 12 steps:
"The moment I made up my mind to go through with the process, I had the curious feeling that my alcoholic condition was relieved, as in fact it proved to be."
That is how life works. That is how God intended it to be. This is like the age old question about Faith v. Works.
Are we saved by grace, or by our actions? Can an addict exert enough will power to overcome his addiction? Can a sinner work hard enough to pay for his sins and be perfect? Should everyone stop trying because we never can do enough?
It says in Ephesians "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God"
Then it says in James 2 "faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone."
WHICH IS IT???
I think the answer to my first question and this question are the same. It's not about Will Power. It's about Willingness Power.
When we admit we can't do it alone, and we are willing to seek the help of God - he gives us the ability. We must be willing to place our faith in something greater than ourselves. We must stop relying on our personal strength and will - at which point we are given exactly that strength and will which we lacked.
It's like C.S. Lewis said:
"In one sense, the road back to God is a road of moral effort, of trying harder and harder. But in another sense it is not trying that is ever going to bring us home. All this trying leads up to the vital moment at which you turn to God and say, "You must do this. I can't.”
After we make that admission, and really beleive it - we then work with all our heart, might, mind, and strength (which God has given us) to do what we should. We help others and avoid those things which we know destroy our lives.
We become WILLING to stop trying on our own. We use Willingness Power, and are then granted the Will Power we could never attain by ourselves.
We are always responsible for our actions. There is always a choice, and we always have access to the power to choose the right- The power is often not within us, but we can accept that power from above.