After my last post about knowing God’s will*, several of you wondered if ANY of your thoughts could be trusted.
Are all our thoughts from the selfish, dishonest, unhealthy self?
It’s a great question!
In early recovery, this is probably the case. As we hear old timers say, “Don’t drink, don’t think, and go to meetings.” But we need not mistrust our thoughts forever.
Here’s the beauty of the Twelve Steps: They transform not only our behavior, but also our thinking.
Rebelling against “Good Girl” Thinking
When I was young, I decided that most of my thoughts were based on the “establishment;” and therefore, I should do the opposite. In essence, I had to choose between being a “conformist, nice girl” or a “free, but naughty girl.” Guess which one won the battle?
After many years of living with the disappointments of my naughty lifestyle, I finally got sober and started to work the steps. But, I was still confused about which voice to listen to.
Was a strong desire to do something coming from God or from my self-centered fear?
How to Listen for God’s Thoughts
For the first time, I started questioning the motives behind my thoughts and actions. For example, after six months of sobriety, I had a strong urge to leave my marriage. But, after being told not to act on my urges, I consulted extensively with my sponsor, stayed in couples therapy, and continued working my program. I also developed healthy friendships with sober women and learned how to have fun without a man or booze.
In short, I took another six months to sense God’s will.
Eventually, instead of an urgent need to run, a calm quiet voice asked, “Do you really want to live the rest of your life with this man?” My considered answer was, “No.” So, I did leave, and a few years later I married the man of my dreams. Peter and I have now been together for 31 years. Amazing for a girl with such a horrible track record!
God’s Mind Can Be Our Mind
A Course in Miracles says that we can join our thoughts with God’s thoughts when we get quiet and sincerely ask to see beyond our fearful thinking. As we enter the stillness, we come to know the peace of God.
The more we grow spiritually, the more closely we align our thoughts with God’s. And, more and more often, “we know intuitively how to handle situations that used to baffle us.”
So, YES, our thoughts CAN be trusted, but only when we’re spiritually fit, sober, and consult with a trusted advisor to distinguish God’s voice from the ego’s voice.
I Still Need to Check My Thinking!
Even after all these years, I still need to be careful about acting on what my mind tells me–especially when my thoughts are emotionally charged. I don’t try to “go it alone” with my first ideas. Instead, I check in with my sponsor and my higher power through prayer, journaling, meetings, and meditation. I also use several tools to overcome the negative thoughts blocking my connection with God.
Only after receiving clarity and peace do I decide to act. Surprisingly, quite often, no action is required because it was my mind that needed changing. And my God does that for me (when I ask!).
— A QUESTION FOR YOU: HOW DO YOU KNOW WHICH VOICE IS GUIDING YOU? —
* If you wish, when you see the word “God,” please substitute your own word for your Higher Power. For more on various ways to think about this, see THIS POST
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)
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.