THE GOD IDEA: A DEAL-BREAKER FOR RECOVERY?

Light as the God idea.

I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t stand the Christian-sounding language (the “God idea”) at my first 12-step meetings.

But, with few other options for getting sober in 1986, I kept coming back. Most important, I held on to the flexibility offered by the words, “as we understood God.”  

In those first months, I began to wonder if this mysterious “higher power” had something to do with the joy and freedom of my new sober friends. Also, I tried not to judge any language that smacked of organized religion. After all, who was I to condemn this God idea, when I had screwed up my own life so royally?

Something Greater than Myself

Then I read this passage:  “Deep down in every man, woman, and child is the fundamental idea of God. . . For faith in a power greater than ourselves, and miraculous demonstrations of that power in human lives, are facts as old as man himself.”
(p. 55, Alcoholics Anonymous)

Up to this point, I had put my faith in the power of high grades and romance to make me happy. But nothing had worked. In fact, I was facing my third divorce! Perhaps something greater than myself could help me out of my misery.

The most user-friendly name I can give the God idea is “positive power;” but we each find many different ways to experience it.

Positive Power as Mother, Master Mind, Love, and Light

After a year of meetings, working the steps, and therapy, I figured something was helping me stay sober. My new friends called it “God.” But, at that point, I couldn’t imagine love coming from a traditional male God. Instead, I felt most comforted by the caring “mother-power” of the women at the meetings. 

But that was only my initial image. Soon, I went to a Unity church in Warren MI led by Jack Boland, a minister in recovery who led a group that referred to the God idea as the “Master Mind.” Using his eight-step process we each made requests, and each day we affirmed them for one another.

After several weekly sessions, I could not believe the “miraculous demonstrations” I witnessed! For one, I had met a man who was healthy and fun, and instead of instantly merging my life with his, I was living alone (for the first time ever!) and taking it really slowly. (Today we’ve been married 32 years! Now, that’s some positive power, aye?)

Soon after this, my sponsor began a Course in Miracles group for sober women. As we studied the lessons, I saw the God idea expressed as love, peace, and connection. But the image I found most convincing was of a “light” within each of us:

“The light is in [you] now. .  .It is the only thing you bring with you from your. . .Source. The light cannot be lost. [It] is shining in you now, and from your heart extends around the world. . .The light within you is sufficient.” (Lesson 188, A Course in Miracles)  

As I discovered this light within myself, I began to see it in others. For example, when a woman walks into a 12-step meeting, I can instantly see the her shining light leading her to a happy, healthy life.

What’s Your Image of Positive Power (a God Idea)?


My images and experiences of positive power continue to evolve, and I’m relieved that I don’t need to define it or understand exactly how it works. I just know that when I let this power into my mind and heart, amazing things happen!

Perhaps you, too, have found a power that works for you, even if it doesn’t conform to a religious standard. ** I’D LOVE TO HEAR ABOUT IT! ** (Click HERE or email me at glanger2202@gmail.com; or comment on this post in FB, TW, or Instagram.

As we share our experiences, I hope fewer people reject the 12 steps because of their use of the God idea. May we each find a positive power that works for our recovery and happiness!

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

Gigi’s award-winning book, 50 Ways to Worry Less Now describes how to reject the negative 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)

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.

Mistaken Identity, The Sacred Journey from Addiction to Awakening by Paul Noiles

I just finished reading an advance copy of Paul Noiles’ amazing book, and it’s AWESOME!

I met Paul on social media and loved his expressive and honest writing. After discovering we shared recovery from addiction,  we started reading one another’s blogs and posts. When Paul mentioned he was writing a book, I jumped at the chance to encourage another writer to take on such a great challenge.

My Review of Mistaken Identity

Soon, Paul sent me a manuscript which was full of heart and wisdom; but, like so many early drafts of brilliant books, it needed editing and tightening. My good friend (and the editor of my book) Anita LeBlanc (at TheWriteWord.com) worked on Paul’s manuscript, and I’m so happy to see that it’s finally ready for prime time!

I’ve read several books about addiction, but this one is much much more than that! Although Paul tells his story of recovery beautifully, the book’s greatest gift is how it leads us to discover the light of our true being.

Noiles believes that addiction is caused by deep emotional pain that creates an unlovable “mistaken identity.” Through recovery, gifted mentors, meditation, and a variety of spiritual practices, we grow into our “true identity” to be a beacon of love in this world.

Paul’s use of experts, research, personal stories, and transformative practices make for a fascinating read about addiction, rebirth, and joyful living. I highly recommend it!

An Excerpt: Ego vs. Love

Here’s one of my favorite excerpts from Mistaken Identity. I love it because it depicts the choice we can make between ego (fear, self-centeredness, dishonesty, resentment) and love (soul, peace, compassion, care).

As you probably know by now, my constant goal is to reduce ego’s influence and increase love’s influence in every aspect of  life. Paul’s book offers such inspiration and guidance for our spiritual journey to the best center of our selves.

“Ego seeks to serve itself. Soul seeks to serve others.

Ego seeks outward recognition. Soul seeks inner authenticity.

Ego sees life as a competition. Soul sees life as a gift.

Ego seeks to preserve self. Soul seeks to preserve others.

Ego looks outward. Soul looks inward.

Ego feels lack. Soul feels abundance.

Ego is mortal. Soul is eternal.

Ego is drawn to lust. Soul is drawn to love.

Ego seeks wisdom. Soul is wisdom.

Ego enjoys the prize. Soul enjoys the process.

Ego is the cause to pain. Soul is the cause of healing.

Ego rejects God [Spirit]. Soul embraces God [Spirit].

Ego is me. Soul is we.”

From Mistaken Identity, The Sacred Journey from Addiction to Awakening, by Paul Noiles.

PAUL NOILES is a unique teacher who believes all addictions are about the pain of not liking and knowing our innate truth and our solution – an awakening of consciousness. He writes with depth, uncomplicated clarity, courage, vulnerability, and honesty rarely seen in the world today. His raw, intimate sharing of his experiences restores hope for many in the grips of addiction. Paul is not aligned with any particular religion or tradition.

Paul Noiles, Recovery Coach – Awakening Coach, Consciousness Author, and Motivational Speaker   C:   306 880 0816 E-mail:   noiles.paul@gmail.com Website: www.paulnoiles.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.


NEW VIDEO: From Love Addiction, Drugs, and Alcohol to “50 Ways” to Reduce Anxiety (Interview with me!)

THANK YOU SO MUCH, ARLINA, AT ODAAT CHAT PODCAST FOR OUR AMAZING TALK!

Arlina has been sober since 1994, and is the host of the award-winning podcast, ODAAT CHAT (ODAAT stands for “one day at a time”).

VIEW YOUTUBE VIDEO HERE

Arlina offers Classes and Personal Coaching as described below. Learn more at Sober Life School or odaatchat.com

The 30 Day Challenge – Struggling to stay sober? Try it for 30 days, this time with support from a sober friend, me. 

Reinvent – How To Rebuild Self-Esteem After Alcoholism & Addiction

Sobriety Reset – Master the Basics of Recovery and Get Re-inspired

In 50 Ways to Worry Less NowGigi Langer 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 4.8 stars. Get special offers on the paperback, e-book, and audiobook HERE.

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.