Recovery: 5 Ways to Fill up Your “Sanity Bank”

In early recovery, we want relief from our messy situations—right now! But rather than focusing on those situations, we need to do the necessary footwork to heal ourselves. Think of it as filling up your “Sanity Bank.” As you fill up the bank, it yields miracles both inside and around you.

Five kinds of footwork help you make deposits into your Sanity Bank:

  1. Attending meetings: Go early, stay late, make sober friends (no romance!).
  2. Working the 12 steps with a sponsor: Meet regularly to work on recovery.
  3. Reading A.A. and other literature, e.g., Hazelden.
  4. Praying and meditating daily: Quiet time, read, pray, meditate.
  5. Service: Help with group tasks, talk to newcomers, sponsor others.
       No-Sanity Bank (Sick Self)       Sanity Bank (Healthy Self)
·       Drugs/Alcohol, Sex, Worry

·       Denial

·       EGO=Ease God Out

·       -ISM=”I Shall Manage”

·       Fear: Victim Mentality

·       Self-Centered

·       Instincts: ”I must have more…”

·        – Material/Emotional Security

·         – Prestige & Power

·         –  Romance


·       Clean, Sober, Clear

·       Honest, Open, Willing

·       Trust God’s Care

·       Turn it Over to Higher Power

·       Love: Trust God/Power

·       Helping Others (no strings)

·       “Loving Power provides…”

·         – Material/Emotional Security

·        –  Prestige & Power

·          – Romance


The table shows the difference between a sick and a healthy life.  Surely we want the latter.

 But why are we accumulating these “sane” riches? For the day when we need them. When we are down in the dumps, we can make a withdrawal from our Sanity Bank. We may receive comfort from a friend or ask our Higher Power for a different perspective.

Our Sanity Bank often surprises us with unsolicited gifts, similar to interest payments or dividends. We might receive an unexpected answer to a prayer, a positive change in a challenging situation, or money right out of the blue.

Like any system, the Sanity Bank can get out of kilter. Especially during the good times, it’s easy to become complacent. Life is going so well that we “forget” to do our footwork.  At such times, our bank’s riches are getting dangerously low, often without our own awareness.  Perhaps we:

  • Revert to old ways of “looking for love in all the wrong places:” TV binging, excessive partying, seductive games, overeating, or workaholism.
  • Stop meeting with healthy others and start hanging out with negative friends.
  • Become self-centered and grouchy with our loved ones.

Then, when the shit hits the fan, there’s little sanity left to draw upon. As stinkin’ thinkin’ creeps in, we see troubling events as catastrophic,  worry about the future, and indulge our anger about the past.

Fortunately, when you reach this state, you can refill your Sanity Bank through a crash-course of footwork. Go to extra meetings, call your sponsor, give a ride to a newcomer, or memorize a new prayer. Here’s one of my favorite meditations.    May it bless your sanity!

 May I be at peace; May my heart remain open; May I awaken to the light of my own true nature; May I be healed; May I be a source of healing to all others. 

worry , recovery, sanityGigi Langer, PhD has more than 35 years of experience in psychology, therapy, and recovery. She is a sought-after speaker on professional and personal growth. Gigi has co-authored five other books and is an award-winning writer.  Her latest book, 50 Ways to Worry Less Now: Reject Negative Thinking to Find Peace, Clarity, and Connection, will be released in March 2018

Does Change Make You Worry? Step Back . . . Try Beauty!

Worry Less Now Blog: Beauty Trumps Worry

Change: Who likes it? No one does! I don’t either. Cuz it makes me worry! (What does this have to do with a hedgehog?? Stick with me here . . .)

Change always wakes up worry’s whispered lies:  “What if the change makes things worse? Don’t make the wrong choice. It could cost you!!”

We make a plan and proceed as if it’s in stone–but we know better, don’t we? At least those of us who’ve been around for a while. “Make the plan but hold it loosely.” That’s what I’ve learned over the years.  Still, when things change, it unsettles me; I need to step back to breathe and gain wisdom. Today, I’m stepping into quiet moments of beauty.

So, what’s the change that’s causing my worry? As happens so often in my life, the right person shows up at just the right time with (what seems to be) just the right advice. This latest info might require me change the release date of my book, 50 Ways to Worry Less Now.

A friend-of-a-friend, a very experienced publicist, suggests releasing the e-book and print book at same time, in late February or March. I would print it right away and send out “advance reader” copies with letters requesting traditional media coverage –- reviews, interviews, and so on– to generate “buzz” before the release date. In the meantime, I would continue social media marketing. As I read up on marketing (I’m a total novice, so I have to research these things), there seems to be consensus on this approach.

This new plan kinda breaks my heart, tho’.  I want to get the book into readers’ hands as soon as possible.  I’m pretty sure it’s gonna help a lot of people beat the worry habit. For now, only the beta readers will get it, as they’ve invested their time to provide feedback and deserve a little reward. But others won’t.

So, while I’m stepping back to gain perspective before making this decision, I’m enjoying a bit of beauty by recalling one of my favorite books of all time: The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery. Stunning writing! 

Here’s a little poem I wrote in 2011 after reading it.

And What of Beauty?  by Gigi

If all is illusion, as many believe.

Then, what of this feast that greets us each day?

The luscious green summer,

The slinking grey body of my cat, Murphy,

Looked upon with a full, almost-bursting heart?

Is it that Beauty elicits Love?

And thus transcends the physical?

Is it a portal into Heaven and Peace?

I may never know

Art, however, has captured itself

When Muriel Barbery wrote,

“I’ll be searching for those moments

of always within the never.

Beauty, in this world.”

As the rising notes of Satie rose up

Into that courtyard, Barbery’s character,

Realizing that she will never again see her dear friend, thinks,

“Those strains of music created a sort of interlude in time,

Something suspended,

An elsewhere that had come to us,

An always within never.”

Beauty trumps Death.

Love trumps Pain.

Truth trumps Fear.

Gigi Langer, PhD.  With more than 35 years of experience in psychology, therapy, and recovery,  Gigi is a sought-after speaker on professional and personal growth. She is an award-winning writer, and has co-authored five other books.  Her latest book, 50 Ways to Worry Less Now: Reject Negative Thinking to Find Peace, Clarity, and Connection, will be released soon. 

“Worry Less Now” Hits Kindle in Two Weeks!

Worry Less Now
It’s Coming Out Soon!

WHAT’S A COVER REVEAL??  So, in book marketing there’s this thing called a “Cover Reveal.” (I learned this from my wise mentors at You post a picture of your book cover a couple of weeks before its release. . . and Boom!

Yup, you guessed it: This is the BIG REVEAL, the first time anyone has seen the great book cover designed by Kelly Zorn  here in Ann Arbor, MI. Isn’t it gorgeous?

WHAT’S IN IT FOR YOU? The book has a lot of great stuff: Practical tools, compelling stories, and easy-to-use ideas that defeat worry and negative thinking. Check it out at

I discovered the strategies through therapy, recovery programs, energy psychology, spiritual traditions, and mental health research.  (I’ve used these techniques extensively because I have a teensy issue with worry!)

WHAT ARE READERS SAYING? As one advance reader wrote: “Your personal story and the examples of the strategies helping peoples’ lives show that the techniques really work. I learned so much.”

Access your own wisdom, power, and dreams by applying the ideas in this book. Calmly and wisely handle any challenge: relationship failures, illness, work stresses, worry about loved ones, substance abuse, fear of failure, perfectionism, negativity, depression, childhood trauma, or anxiety.

Gigi Langer, PhD.  With more than 35 years of experience in psychology, therapy, and recovery,  Gigi is a sought after speaker, retreat leader, and award-winning writer and professor.  She has co-authored five other books for educators.

50 Ways to Worry Less Now will be released in  print October 2017.  Available at

Reject “Worry, Worry, Worry . . .”

worrying dog

Remember that TV commercial with the dog who buried his bone in the yard and then looked out the window, worrying about its safety?  In the background you hear the song “Trouble” by Ray LaMontagne. Check it out.

More than 20 percent of us struggle with worry and anxiety (according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America). A person with an anxiety disorder spends about 300 minutes a day worrying, a condition linked with cardiac, emotional, and other health problems.

Worries tell us, “Watch out!” Sometimes, they’re right on, especially when we’re in danger. But, what about those that sap our energy and lead to failure, discouragement, and limitation?

I call such worries “whispered lies” because they’re mostly false, telling us the pain of our past will repeat itself. We can change these lies by getting honest, claiming positive power, making healthy choices, and using growth tools.

So, our thinking is the problem, right? But, wait a minute! Our thinking helps us reach important goals: jobs, degrees, repairs, trips, and so on. We set a goal and take the steps to attain it. If we just try hard enough, we get everything we want, right?

Unfortunately, this linear approach doesn’t always work: Our hearts are broken, we don’t receive a hoped-for promotion, or a loved one is seriously ill. We’re shocked to realize how little control we have over our spouses, bosses, friends, family, or adult children.

We become like that little white dog: We imagine we can fix our troubles by worrying about them. Or, we try to deny them by partying, working long hours, sexual preoccupation, or drugs and/or alcohol.

But these desperate strategies don’t work. The worrying and negativity just multiply itself, and we become more miserable.

If we get honest about our dilemma, we begin to see something bigger than our fears to bring us some semblance of clarity–a source of positive power. We might call it Being, Buddha, Courage, the Divine Spark, God, Great Spirit, Light, Providence, Universal Intelligence, Wisdom, or any name that works for us.

As we choose a new life and use growth tools to attain it, we become expressions of peace, clarity, and connection.

These sound like pretty lofty goals, but as my worries fade away, I find true happiness. You can, too.

Find tools to ease your whispered lies in my other posts .

Gigi Langer, PhD is a former “queen of worry.” She’s also an educator, speaker, and author of 50 Ways to Worry Less Now coming out in Fall 2017. The new book contains 50 powerful tips to defeat negative thinking, and find inner peace, clarity, and connection.