This article is an excerpt from the Hazelden-published book, Practicing the Here and Now: Being Intentional with Step 11 by Herb K. The Big Book asks us a question on page 47: "Do you believe?" And if you don't yet: "Are you willing to believe?" The assumption is that the reader has had a real experience of no personal power—perhaps through some aspect of addiction (the first half of Step One) or of the bedevilments, the spiritual malady, of unmanageability (the second half of Step One). Thus, the assumption is that the experience of no personal power has produced a disposition of openness and even a desperate need for some kind of power to stay abstinent at the least—and to live life comfortably at the most. The Big Book's question is gentle, with a fallback position: Are you at least willing to believe? The Big Book suggests this is the cornerstone for the spiritual arch that leads to freedom (page 47). After some more poetry, logic, science, and outright cajoling, we arrive at a much more black-and-white question, not so gentle: "God is or God isn't; God is Everything or God is nothing; What is your choice?" (page 53). Very confrontational! So what exactly is faith? Not certitude or knowledge; not feeling or emotion. Faith is not a function of the head (thought) or the body (feelings). Perhaps faith is simply a choice, a decision of our free will. There is no absolute certitude; there is no felt feeling. We make a choice out of pure desperation. We're totally hopeless if we don't choose: there is a Power other than mine, other than human. I do not know what It is. I cannot put It into adequate words. I don't necessarily have any positive feelings about It. I just choose! My choice is: It is. There is a Power. It may be Nature, a Source, a Force, an Energy, a Reality, a Creator of all that is—I don't, and can't, know for sure. Now here is the alchemic magic. I have made a decision—that is my act of faith, my free choice. There is no evidence ("the evidence of things not seen"). But my mind, viewing this decision, accepts it as true—because if it's not true, all is lost. My mind concludes that it's reasonable. My mind's acceptance of this faith decision thus becomes my belief. Then the rubber meets the road. My body translates both the faith decision and the belief tenet as true: I act "as if" this expresses reality. I behave as if what I decided and believe is true—this is my act of trust. There is no substance to faith; it is dark, thin—merely a decision. Richard Rohr says that faith is the acceptance of a Reality without any evidence, and once we accept it, the evidence for that Reality begins to appear! Spiritual alchemy: the iron of doubt has been converted to the gold of action. I live "as if" and my life works. Perhaps that is evidence enough. The silver bullet of Step Two is the open, all-inclusive invitation to choose our own concept. Twelve Step programs have no dogma to believe; they have a few suggestions about what to do. Choose your own concept! What word or phrase captures the qualities or attributes you need It to be or to have now, at this time? Your needs and concept will change over time. "Came to believe" is a process. Gandhi suggested that our concept of God will change as we do. Ask, reflect, choose, and write in your journal the qualities and attributes you need in your Higher Power. This choice may involve spiritual fourth dimension vocabulary—a concept that references Holy Spirit. Or this choice may be for simply working the rest of the Steps to regain my health. Or it can be for the human spirit found in your recovery group, as the Twelve and Twelve suggests. Or the choice may be for the higher self of some psychologies or Eastern religions. Whatever we choose, we act as if our choice is based on the reality that It is. We make a decision that this Larger Reality is and is concretely true. The Big Book suggests we decide that someplace deep down inside us is a sufficient Power (page 53). I choose, with all the power of my free will, that "an unsuspected inner resource" is so (pages 567–68). Perhaps, if It is, It is: infinite: It has no beginning and no end unconditional: It has no needs, therefore, It is Pure Love unilateral: It offers an overflow of creative, generative action present: There is no place where It is not caring: It created me so that I might enjoy just being. What other reason could there be? Is your choice for a caring Reality? Love Is Action; Love Is a Relationship Love is giving of oneself, without conditions, so that another may be and may flourish. Love, the word, is a symbol of this action. Love is unconditional, creative. Love is an action. Love is unconditional when the Giver has no needs, no preconditions, just overflows itself. Its Grace is unearned and ever-present. It is life that cannot be gained by action—life that cannot be lost by action. It is creative because the gift is existence. Before me there was It and only It—without beginning. I find my beginning in It—an overflow of generosity: I am not It; but I am not not It. Love is a relationship because It is dynamic. Its nature is goodness generating goodness— the innate movement of the Unmoved Mover. And Love loving is a relationship. Herb K. was given the gift of freedom from alcohol February 21, 1984. As a result of the application of the Twelve Steps as contained precisely in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, he experienced a profound spiritual awakening in 1988. Since then he has been very involved in carrying the message of recovery through presentations, facilitating workshops, and leading retreats. He has authored two books to help people access the instructions and confirm the actual process contained in the Big Book for experiencing a spiritual awakening: Twelve-Step Guide to Using the Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book (2004) and Twelve Steps to Spiritual Awakening: Enlightenment for Everyone (2010).