A Week with My Recovery Buddies in Michigan

recovery buddies

Last week I flew to Michigan from my new home in FL to visit my recovery buddies. It was an awesome visit!!

First, what a treat to finally be able to fly and watch the ground fade away into fluffy white clouds (I always sit in the window seat!)

Second, I got to ride the most wonderfully trained horse for 2 hours in the roads and fields northwest of Ann Arbor. Thanks to my dear buddy and her darling daughters for making that happen!

The 3-day Women’s Recovery Retreat on Lake Huron was the highlight of the week. The inspiring and witty Barbara Brownyard* led sessions on Steps 3, 7, and 11.

The Ann Arbor Women’s Group sponsored the retreat to help connect women in recovery and bolster our sobriety. 

I spent the last 2 nights with my closest recovery buddy, my sponsor. When I arrived at her house, exhausted, they fed me a fabulous Mexican dish. As we chatted afterward, I started listing to the left in my chair, and they promptly put me to bed.

The next day we had lunch on Walled Lake with my first sponsor and another dear friend. I fit in a quick dinner with a thriving sponsee, and then topped off the visit with a meeting at my very first home group, St. Paul’s of the Cross. Of course, we had to go out for ice cream after!

Thanks to all my wonderful recovery buddies. You enrich my life and teach me so much. Plus, we have SO much Fun! I treasure each and every one of you!

 * P.S. Barbara Brownyard has written a beautiful book on meditation:  https://www.amazon.com/Sitting-Silence-Barbara-Brownyard/dp/1973650002 

Worry Less Now; Gigi Langer

Gigi Langer has been sober 35 years, and holds a PhD in Psychological Studies in Education from Stanford University. Formerly crowned the “Queen of Worry,” Gigi resigned her post many years ago and now lives happily in Florida with her husband, Peter and her cat Murphy.

Worry Less Now Cover

My award-winning book, 50 Ways to Worry Less Now, describes how to reject the faulty thinking leading to addiction, dysfunctional relationships, perfectionism, and worry about loved ones. Check out the practical directions, personal stories, and other helpful growth tools. Amazon: 4.8 stars (Buy Discounted Paperback, e-book, OR audiobook HERE)

GIVE ONLY LOVE BY ‘FORE-GIVING

Have you ever considered that the word “forgive” can be seen as ’fore-give?

I think of it as “before-giving”—giving to another before they’ve done anything to “deserve” it. Perhaps that’s the only reason we’re here — to give love and kindness to everyone we meet.

“Fore-giving is merely looking beyond a person’s flaws and seeing only their spirit. Thus, we give love to others, regardless of how they look or act. This, I believe, is what God would have us do. 

Really?? What if They’re a Jerk?!

There IS one caveat, however: Although we may focus on a person’s essential goodness, we don’t have to put up with their unacceptable behavior. Even after setting boundaries, we can still see their spirit as pure and innocent. 

When we choose to ‘fore-give, we expand the force of love in the world, thus dissolving fear and selfishness. We all become free, peaceful, and happy.

Give it a Try!

Just for today (and tomorrow, too!) let’s try to see the goodness in every person we encounter, and treat them with the love and respect befitting a child of God. When you ‘fore-give it make us all feel better!

P.S.  A Course in Miracles teaches that the world’s pain is caused by our selfish egos’ excesses, and that the truth lies beyond these fearful appearances—in the eternal spirit of goodness within each of us. 

My award-winning book, 50 Ways to Worry Less Now describes how to reject the faulty thinking leading to addiction, dysfunctional relationships, perfectionism, and worry about loved ones. Check out the practical directions, personal stories, and other helpful suggestions. Amazon: 4.8 stars (Buy Discounted Paperback, e-book, OR audiobook HERE)

Worry Less Now; Gigi Langer

Gigi Langer has been sober 35 years, and holds a PhD in Psychological Studies in Education from Stanford University. Formerly crowned the “Queen of Worry,” Gigi resigned her post many years ago and now lives happily in Florida with her husband, Peter and her cat Murphy.

How to Curb Our Selfish Motives

worry less now Gigi Langer

Selfish thinking wrecks our relationships, health, and life success. This destructive force sounds like this:

  • What can I get out of this?
  • How can I hold on to what I have?
  • What can I accomplish so I can look good? Why can’t those other people behave so I can relax?
  • How can I avoid pain and suffering?

THE COST OF SELF-WILL

Ironically, most pain and suffering is caused by living from selfish motivations. As long as our dishonesty and inconsideration are in the driver’s seat, we have little chance of happiness or peace of mind. In my experience, we gain love and success when we ask a power greater than our selfishness to guide us, and then consistently practice rejecting self-centered thinking.

If that seems far-fetched, let’s consider how well your life works when guided by your own self-centered thoughts and feelings. In my case, I could not get relationships to work because I was seeking only to fulfill my own emotional and romantic needs. I only got good grades and degrees to gain respect and admiration from others. Such purely selfish motives resulted only in disillusion, bitterness, alcohol abuse, promiscuity, extreme stress, and chronic pain.

But all that changed once I got honest, found a higher power, and chose to make my life better through consistent practices and healthy tools.

HONESTY

It takes a healthy amount of self-honesty to take responsibility for the failures in our lives. Unfortunately, our selfish mind tells us it’s all everyone else’s fault. It loves to play the role of the victim. Makes sense, right? If I didn’t make the bad things happen, then I don’t have to do anything different!

Perhaps all personal and spiritual growth begins with admitting that our way of doing things is not working. Noone is forcing us to overwork, overeat, lie, or blast anger at a loved one. These reactions are driven by the delusion that I deserve better than what I’m getting.

I must say that honestly owning our own attitudes, judgments, and actions takes courage and often requires the support of healthy friends or a professional. Further, it’s hard to get honest when we’re using drugs, booze, shopping, food, overwork, or other ways to numb our feelings.

POWER

Once we realize our own efforts are only bringing us unhappiness, we are left with one choice: to find a power greater than our own failings to guide us. We may find it within us, outside us, or all around us. It doesn’t matter what you call it—God, higher power, universe, love, inner-guide, true self, nature, etc.–this power can dissolve the fearful self’s messages. But, this requires commitment and practice.

CHOICE & PRACTICE

Unfortunately, one decision to trust a loving power doesn’t put things right. Each day–and sometimes each minute–we can choose to reject our selfish behavior by visualizing how we want to be in the future. And then we practice keeping our mind away from limited thinking.

In my case, I ask a higher power to give me courage, compassion, and grace in all my interactions. I also ask for specifics, for example, a successful new “Worry Less Now” video course. I always leave a little “wiggle room” for a higher magic by adding “in the best way for all.” We don’t have to plot each step toward our desired goal; we just have to keep affirming that it is coming to us in its own time and in way. But we need to be on guard for dishonesty and self-centered fear.

Only regular practice can replace the chatter of self-will with loving wisdom and care. To open the channel to our source, we might use meditation, energy work, cognitive reframing, prayer, acts of kindness, forgiveness visualizations, guided meditations, or groups studying inspiring texts (e.g., The Four Agreements, The Power of Now, Course in Miracles, Bible, etc.) Any practice that connects us with a positive power can overcome our self-centered, demanding, and critical thoughts and actions.

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE WAYS TO OVERCOME SELF-CENTERED THINKING? We’d love to hear from you.

For more specific practices that reduce selfish, negative thinking, please see my book and blog at GigiLanger.com.

Gigi Langer Worry Less Now

Gigi Langer has been sober 34 years, and holds a PhD in Psychological Studies in Education from Stanford University. Formerly crowned the “Queen of Worry,” Gigi resigned her post many years ago and now lives happily in Michigan with her husband, Peter and her cat, Murphy.

In Worry Less NowGigi shares her personal journey as a prisoner of fear, worry, and substance abuse, along with practical techniques anyone can use. Award-winner with rave reviews. Amazon rating: 4.8 stars.

Get special offers on the paperback, e-book, and audiobook HERE.

A NEW-YEAR WISH FROM THE 15TH CENTURY

I’m so glad I opened my Messenger app in Facebook today, because my dear friend, Gail, shared this image from Joan Halifax at the Upaya Zen Center (upaya.org) in New Mexico.

Thank you to Gail and Joan for this New Year wish! 

Fra Angelico is a Renaissance artist whose work I studied when I lived in Madrid, way back in 1969. Can you believe that my art history class actually met right in the Prado Museum??

Having had little exposure to great art, I was mesmerized as our vivacious professor explained each of the original paintings right in front of our noses! This went on twice a week for 15 weeks, I’ve been forever grateful for that experience.


On This New Year’s Eve, I offer you this gorgeous, hope-filled greeting from Italian friar and painter, Fra Angelico (1387-1455).

“I salute you.
I am your friend, and my love for you goes deep.

There is nothing I can give you which you have not already,
but there is much, very much, which though I cannot give it, you can take.

“No heaven can come to us unless our hearts find rest in today.

“Take heaven. No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in this precious little instant.

“Take peace. The gloom of the world is but a shadow. Behind it, yet within our reach is joy.

“There is radiance and courage in the darkness could we but see; and to see, we have only to look.

“Life is so generous a giver, but we, judging its gifts by their coverings, cast them away as ugly or heavy or hard.

“Remove the covering, and you will find beneath it a living splendor, woven of love, and wisdom, and power.

“Welcome it, greet it, and you touch the angel’s hand that brings it.

“Everything we call a trial, a sorrow, a duty, believe me, that angel’s hand is there, the gift is there, and the wonder of an overshadowing Presence.

“Our joys, too, be not content with them as joys. 
They, too, conceal diviner gifts.

“Life is so full of meaning and purpose, so full of beauty beneath its covering,
that you will find earth but cloaks your heaven.

“Courage, then, to claim it, that is all!
But courage you have, and the knowledge that we are pilgrims wending through unknown country our way home.

“And so . . . I greet you, not quite as the world sends greeting,
but with profound esteem now and forever.
The day breaks and the shadows flee away.”

MAY YOUR NEW YEAR BE FILLED WITH COURAGE, BEAUTY, AND DIVINE GIFTS. With great love from Gigi.

Gigi Langer Worry Less Now

Gigi Langer has been sober 34 years, and holds a PhD in Psychological Studies in Education from Stanford University. Formerly crowned the “Queen of Worry,” Gigi resigned her post many years ago and now lives happily in SW Florida with her husband, Peter and her cat, Murphy.

Worry Less Now Gigi Langer PhD

In Worry Less NowGigi shares her personal journey as a prisoner of fear, worry, and substance abuse, along with practical techniques anyone can use. Award-winner with rave reviews. Amazon rating: 4.8 stars. Buy signed copy HERE