Thoughtless people sometimes state that our meditations and affirmations are foolish because we state what is not so. "To claim that my body is well or being healed when it is not is only to tell a lie," said one distinguished man some years ago.
This is to misunderstand the whole principle. We affirm the harmony that we seek in order to provide the subconscious with a blueprint of the work to be done. When you decide to build a house your architect prepares drawings of a complete house. Actually, of course, there is no such house on the lot today, but you would not think to say the architect is drawing a lie. He is drawing what is to be, in order that it may be. So, we build in thought the conditions that will later come into manifestation on the physical plane.
"Around the Year with Emmet Fox"
This analogy of Mr. Fox's really helped me stop judging, and with an open mind (or mostly open), explore the practice of affirmations.
Sure, via my experience with the 12 Steps I subscribe to the belief that there is a God and that God has a Plan. And while I will never fully comprehend God's Plan, I believe it is ultimately a good and benevolent one for me -- even though great whopping chunks of it are hard or scary or painful or dull (never mind that just by being born where I was born I am wildly over-advantaged compared to 3/4 of the world on any given day, and thus this great benevolent Plan which looks so sweet for me looks pretty poor for that 3/4, and the whole "I'll never fully understand the Plan" thing gets stretched a little thin against all that)... but with that said, believing in the value of -- and diligently practicing -- affirmations does not mean I think I am the one making the Plan.
Just like my journey with prayer has evolved over the years, -- i.e. I am praying to change me, not to change the world around me, praying for God to use me rather than praying to the Santa Clause God to "gimme" -- so too my affirmations are more about enhancing my character assets while whittling away at my (many) character defects.
Ultimately for me the practice of affirmations is now rooted equally in both science and faith.
We now have a whole body of research demonstrating how the brain, much like a computer, has mental "programs" running we may not even be fully aware of, but with some mental discipline this "software" can be rewritten; that meditation or focused thought (i.e. affirmations) have real and measurable effects on our thinking and our physicality. That's the science part, and if you Google around some of it is fascinating reading. (Sure, some of it drifts into what might be more speculative than reportive, but there are hard numbers out there and a whole lot of data to back this up.)
And as for the faith... a cornerstone of my belief system is that I embrace the idea that I don't know everything. (Understatement! Titanic understatement!) That in fact I know next to nothing about much more than the most basic Spiritual Laws, and even that understanding is at an elementary level. I don't know how it all works, but I do have experience that there is something at work -- and in addition to AA's more structured and directed prayer and mediation, affirmations can be a helpful and healing spiritual tool to try and connect with that Something.
More simply put (really Mr. SponsorPants? Now you're going to put things simply?) as an alcoholic, I often have a busy busy mind, so why not make the conscious choice to dedicate some of that busy thinking to positive, helpful, constructive, character-defect-shrinking affirmations, rather than an alcoholic's more common mental loops: Fearfully catastrophizing the future or reliving old hurts or (worse yet) engaging in phantom conflicts with people that never happened (or haven't happened yet and likely won't), solely in the theater of my mind.
As with all spiritual tools, you never know until you really try.
There are more essays like this one in "Mr. SponsorPants: Adventures in Sobriety and The 12 Steps for AA's and Others." Available as an eBook on Kindle via Amazon. Download the Kindle reader app for free on any device or platform, from PC to Smartphone, and enjoy eBooks anywhere you have time to read.