Self Will is the willfulness that comes from our lowest drives, the ones that seek pleasure, seek to avoid or deny pain, and generally keep us from the harder but far more rewarding things that God’s Will, our highest will, wants. We give in to self will all the time – when we opt for an easy meal of fast food instead of cooking ourselves something more healthful, when we put ourselves in triggering situations. sabotaging our recovery efforts we are listening to Self Will.
Self Will and Addiction
This is the same Self Will that leads to many addictive problems. Gods Will is constantly telling us that we are holy, that we are not limited by our fears or desires, that we are loved and loving. It is the Self Will that is shouting when your inner monologue is negative, telling you that recovery is too hard, the road to repairing your life is too long and arduous, that you can’t do it.
At first, Self Will might appear to have your best interests at heart: It is a good thing to listen to yourself, to your inner messages telling you that you should slow down or you will fall ill, to reconnect with loved ones, to help a person in need. But often, the Self Will is unconcerned with others, only the Self, and this is where it can lead to problems. The Self Will does not like hard work, and does not value the big picture. It is incapable of looking past your immediate, most base needs. As a survival mechanism, this is wonderful, but too often the Self becomes twisted to think that other substances, like alcohol or drugs, are also necessary for survival and to bend your thoughts and desires to meet this belief.
How does the Self Will become so twisted? The Self despises difficult emotion, pain of any kind, really. At some point in your life, you were in emotional pain that you did not know how to process. The Self Will did also not know how to process this pain, because its’ only job is survival of the physical body. Emotional well-being is not its’ strong suit at all, and it tends to respond to deep spiritual or emotional pain with “GET ME OUT OF HERE!”, a desire to escape all the hard feelings. And when pain is numbed with a substance, the Self Will latches onto to this as a perfect solution—because in the immediate moment, it is a perfect one. It is only with time, something that does not translate to the Self, that the folly of this method of dealing becomes evident. But the Self doesn’t care about that, about how the solution it has discovered will slowly kill you, it only wants what it wants, blindly and without ceasing.
Recognizing that this Self Will has become perverted is an important task on the road of recovery. It is not that the Self wants to hurt you, it simply knows no other way to get what it needs. It’s like a three-year old driving herself to the candy shop in her mother’s van—there is no ill intent, just a selfish, uncomprehending desire to have needs met, and damn the consequences. Making peace with the Self Will and learning to be aware of it without letting it control you is a difficult but necessary task.