I began my recovery 28 years ago without a belief in a Higher Power. I called myself an agnostic. I wanted to believe, but I required some proof first, a small burning bush or a token miracle of some kind, if not an actual voice that assured me, “I am God.” Needless to say, I wasn’t optimistic.
When I first learned about the concept of “act as if,” I had no faith that it would work, but I was told to start praying as if I did believe in a Higher Power. I was so miserable and desperate at that time that I would have done almost anything anyone in recovery told me to do. So I started praying daily and that action, while it did not give me any belief at first, it did begin to give me hope that at some point I might come to believe.
I kept at it. I realized that I wanted and needed a loving relationship with a Higher Power. I wanted a Higher Power who would be there for me at all times, whose presence and love would comfort me at all times, who I trusted to walk me through whatever was on my path, who I could talk to like a friend. It occurred to me that when I want to become friends with another person, it requires time and effort to develop that relationship. So that’s what I did. I acted as if I were getting to know a new friend. I talked to God a lot, every day, praying, making conscious contact, and often feeling silly because I still didn’t believe, but I just kept acting as if.
I can’t tell you at what point I was no longer acting. I don’t think it took long. All I know is that one day I realized that I had the faith I’d always wanted. That was many years and miracles ago. You see, that small burning bush and those miracles I had hoped for had been there all along. I just couldn’t see them until I came to believe.