Acting ‘as if’: Taking Small Steps

November 22, 2016


Acting as if is another recovery truism that’s been around for a long time. I still use it regularly in my life. I know people who are not in recovery—athletes, performers, artists—who use the technique too.

All it means is that if it’s time to act, we do—whether taking that action feels comfortable or not. Instead of doing nothing, or waiting for confidence, success, or inspiration to overtake and motivate us first, we go ahead and move forward with an action anyway and let the good feelings catch up to us.

We act as if the desired change has already taken place.

Action: “I didn’t pay my bills because I didn’t have enough money to pay them off in full,” a man told me. “I had to learn that I could make payments and pay off the whole bill by paying a little at a time.”

Sometimes you can sabotage yourself by trying to do too much at once. If you can’t stop drinking or using drugs by yourself, are you willing to ask for help?

If you can’t accept everything about your life in one fell swoop, are you willing to accept where you are and how you feel today? If you can’t forgive someone, are you willing to start praying for that person and let go of the resentment you feel?

Break whatever you are trying to do into small steps. Then take the first step first.

From the desk of Melody Beattie
Originally posted December 9, 2014

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  • Diane

    i needed to read this today. This is exactly what I’m fighting right now in my life, the black or white of my disease of addiction. I’ve spent the last year overcoming drug addiction, gambling addiction, and now I’m focusing on my food addiction. I have days where it’s hard to do anything and my biggest objective for that day is not to beat myself up about it. Self love seems to be the hardest thing so far for me to overcome. But I read an article about Post Addiction Withdrawal Syndrome (paws) and it seems to fit exactly what I’m going through so I try to allow myself some time to heal before I up my expectations of myself too much higher.