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
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 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 Now, Gigi 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.
DO YOU HAVE FEELINGS THAT JUST CARRY YOU AWAY AND COLOR YOUR WHOLE WORLD GRAY? Don’t worry! Such feelings are often created by fearful thoughts that aren’t even true.
SO, HERE’S THE TRUTH: We don’t have the means to make people and things exactly as we want them. We just aren’t that powerful.
For example, we live in the wreckage of our future (“Its going to be awful!”) or we create “unenforceable rules” (“This should (or should not happen”). Often, we try to change the past by thinking how it “could have” been better.
Such thoughts are driven by the fear-driven belief that, if we just think long and hard enough, we can protect ourselves (and our loved ones) from pain and harm.
HERE’S THE GOOD NEWS: We can find peace of mind and contentment in the midst of our fearful feelings and thoughts. Why? BECAUSE WE CAN CHOOSE WHAT FILLS OUR MIND.
HOW? Meditation, walks outside, stretching, yoga, prayer, reading or watching inspiring books/movies, 12-step work, spiritual practices, energy work, and thought-correction can all soothe our most difficult feelings. Good healthy friends or counselors really help too.
When we get still and listen to our inner wisdom (or that of another), we receive the comfort of ACCEPTANCE (non-attachment to specific outcomes). Further, we find ways to address those problems that still bother us—IF they are still bothering us (quite often, they’ve shrunken down to nothing!).
NEXT TIME YOUR FEELINGS are having a hissy fit, stand apart from them for a moment to recognize they’re mostly a result of inaccurate and disturbing thoughts. Then, ask yourself, “What healthy actions can I take to soothe my mind and body?” And then, do that!
PLEASE SHARE YOUR FAVORITE WAYS OF SOOTHING UPSET FEELINGS IN THE COMMENTS SECTION. THANKS!!
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.
My award-winning book, 50 Ways to Worry Less Nowdescribes 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 Paperback, e-book, OR audiobook HERE)
REVIEW by Karen Casey, best-selling author of Each Day a New Beginning (Hazelden) “Even though I have been in recovery for more than 4 decades, and didn’t think another self-help book would make it to my treasured list, I was wrong. This book is a winner.”
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.
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.
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 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 Now, Gigi 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.
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 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.
In Worry Less Now, Gigi 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
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