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)

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)

SPIRITUAL GROWTH: ONLY THE RESULTS ARE VISIBLE!

a course in miracles

I just had an ah-ha moment while reading this in A Course in Miracles (ACIM): Learning is invisible, and what has been learned can be recognized only by its results.

Why did this strike me as so significant? I used to think doing God’s will required visible effort that resulted in some abstract enlightenment or bliss.

Now I see that perhaps we best follow God’s will by first seeking invisible learning, and then witnessing the amazing visible results. To paraphrase ACIM, God’s presence can become compellingly real to us as it becomes manifest through our healed, loving behavior.

12 Steps to Learning and Results

The 12 Steps illustrate this process beautifully, as they teach us that a higher power can do for us what we can’t do for ourselves.

Steps 1-3 (admitting powerlessness, gaining strength through a higher power). As we learn about our personal powerlessness and a force greater than ourselves, we notice surprisingly visible changes in our lives:  we’re enjoying meetings; we’re seeking out healthy, sober mentors and friends; and most important, we aren’t practicing our addictive habits (drinking, using, codependency, gambling, overeating, etc.).

Steps 4-9 (taking a moral inventory, addressing character defects, and making amends). As we learn to take responsibility for our self-centered fears, motives, and actions, we magically begin to act more generously towards ourselves and others. In short, our invisible internal changes precede our visible outer changes.

Learning Requires Action

Does this mean that we don’t take actions to foster our learning and internal growth? No! In 12-step programs, we choose to go to meetings, read the literature about our disease, and meet with a sponsor to take the steps. Our willingness to make these choices is a gift of grace.

Through these actions we begin to learn—to change inside. And those changes manifest through visible results. One might say that this quiet, spiritual learning shows up “in living color.”

Talk to anyone who’s been following the 12-step path, and you’ll find they’ve gained not only freedom from their addiction; they also have the families of their dreams, amazing jobs, peace of mind, and an enjoyment of life. In my case, after three divorces I’ve been happily married for 31 years, plus I’ve published an award-winning book. Amazing!

But what about the hard times? Even when the shit hits the fan, our spiritual learning makes us more resilient; we bounce back, better than ever. For example, we can deal with the painful effects of death, illness, job loss, divorce, and money troubles with the support of a higher power and the friends who stream loving care into our lives.

We Don’t Learn Alone

But there is one catch to spiritual learning:  we can’t do it alone. We need teachers, guides, and buddies to visibly demonstrate a new way of being. Their example motivates us to learn what we need to get the same amazing results.

The step 11 Prayer of St. Francis best expresses this new life. We sow love instead of hatred, pardon instead of injury, faith instead of doubt, hope instead of despair, light instead of darkness, and joy instead of sadness; we seek to console rather than be consoled, to understand rather than to be understood—and most important of all—to love rather than to be loved.

Finally, step 12 teaches us to give it away; to foster others’ learning so they may also manifest the miracles of recovery. As we know, what we give returns it to us ten-fold.  

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 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.

TRICIA LEWIS & ME: RECOVERY HAPPY HOUR PODCAST “IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE”

Thanks to Tricia Lewis for featuring me on her very cool PODCAST, Recovery Happy Hour. Tricia was emotionally and physically addicted to alcohol and took her last drink in November of 2016. As she says, “a life without booze is so much better than I ever imagined.” 

TRICIA’S OPENING TO THE RECOVERY HAPPY HOUR EPISODE

“How often do you get the chance to talk with someone who has almost 35 years of sobriety?? What an episode to end the year on!

On Episode 118, we’re talking with Gigi Langer, PhD. Her recovery began with a 12 Step program but the healing came with tons of other modalities over the last few decades. This is an episode jam packed with resources, so make sure you check out the show notes for links! Also, I talked about our “sliding doors” moments in today’s introduction, and how one decision to quit drinking can change the outcome of your life in ways beyond your comprehension.

TO LISTEN TO ME ON RECOVERY HAPPY HOUR, JUST CLICK HERE

https://recoveryhappyhour.libsyn.com/118-its-a-wonderful-life-gigi?fbclid=IwAR2vVPfUsClXXlVcWifpo-2wP8lKqSncrN9ko7Rd8VM4bcgjdrvBqbzFTPM

A BIG ANNIVERSARY!

I’m so grateful to announce that on January 11th, I celebrated 35 years of continuous sobriety. What a gift! But I’ve had to work for it through meetings, reading, service, and praying & meditating. The biggest contributors, however, have been my sponsors who helped me work the 12 steps, and my female “posse” of recovering women who have stuck by me through think and thin. In addition to these wonderful influences, I’ve had lots of help from therapists, mastermind partners, Unity church, energy workers, and doctors. The biggest “thank you” of all goes to my Higher Power, who has restored me to my true spiritual self.

Gigi Langer Worry Less Now

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.

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: 4.9 stars.

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