Like our twisted lives, this page is a perpetual work in progress.
I have been incredibly blessed within the first several months of publishing Beyond Recovery to participate in several book talks, articles, interviews and meet and greets.
And, years later, people continue to be touched by my story. Lives saved. Battle scars and deep wounds healed, not by me, but by those who were insired by something I shared. I cannot get anyone else sober or heal their wounds. That’s a job for those who want to change. I can, with 100% assurance, say that anyone who wants to get sober can, if they are willing to follow some simple suggestions, find a power greater than themselves, and become willing to do some work. At least that has been my experience and that of MILLIONS around the world.
I Rekindled My Love for Recovery
I got sober on October 10, 1986 and had become a little complacent in my recovery when the pandemic hit in 2019-2020. Isolation can be dangerous, if not deadly for alcoholics and addicts.
Fortunately, I discovered a new recovery group on zoom that was kind, loving, nurturing, and straightforward. Many have become virtual friends and the group as a whole, in many respects, my second family: Find us here: www.aahomegroup.org.
These wonderful souls rekindled my love for recovery. I got to witness recovery happen live, one day at a time. As the pain began to dissipate, the light came back into their eyes. Their stories and the hundreds of new people I saw and heard from were somber and joyful reminders of why I am so grateful to have found recovery. I am even more grateful for the hosts who entrusted me to share my experience, strength, and hope, live Via zoom to thousands of recovering alcoholics all across the globe.
Now, I am often asked to come back month after month to share my story and have had many in attendance say afterward, how much I helped them. One individual, Joe, who heard me speak and bought this book, called me weeks later in tears to thank me for how my story enabled him to heal a fractured relationship with his father.
I will continue to re-live my story through talks and books until the day I die because it would be selfish of me not to. If I can help just one more person stop drinking, overcome their physical and mental maladies, or just encourage them to ask for help, then all the adversity I have faced and overcome will be worth every tear and every triumph.
The reviews below offer moments of validation that I made the right decision to get sober and that I get live to share my story. I thank my Higher Power every day for that priceless gift. A gift and responsibility I do not take for granted.
Thank you for your support and encouragement. And as Bill W. said, “Pass it on!”
Here are some reviews:
A bravely shared journey with life lessons for all.
Reviewed in the United States on July 11, 2017
Top positive review
Must read for those in or affected by addiction
Top critical review
Straightforward Recovery Story
…Writer’s Forum announces change in format: With face-to-face events currently off the shelf at Copperfield’s Books, the monthly Writers Forum series – organized by writing instructor Marlene Cullen – is about to morph into a whole new version of itself, and not just because it’s moving from liver in-person gathering to Zoom-based events.
“I had been thinking about ending Writers Forum and doing something else, and wasn’t sure if this change was a good idea,” Cullen admits. “One morning, after reading People magazine, I folded it over and set it down. I was deep in thought. Maybe it’s time to change ’Writers Forum’ to something like ’Writers Chat.’ I looked at the open magazine page and saw the word ’CHANGE’ in big letters. Well, I couldn’t ignore that sign.”
After much back-and-forth, Cullen says, she has decided to retain the Writers Forum name, but is changing the format and emphasis, putting more emphasis on the participating writers and less on professional guest presenters. In partnership with the Aqus Foundation, the series, to be held on Wednesdays and Sundays, will feature local writers reading excerpts from “The Write Spot: Writing as a Path to Healing.” The writers will share their writing journeys, followed by activities to inspire writing, with group writing sessions from time to time. Beginning on Wednesday, Aug. 5, the new version of Writer’s Forum will feature Teri Sloat reading “Common Threads” and Shawn Langwell reading an excerpt from “Cathartic Writing: The Healing Power of a Story Now Told,” and will talk about writing as a journey. On Sunday, Aug. 9, Ted Moreno will read “I Write My Life Every Day” and will lead participants in a relaxing hypnotherapy activity. Cullen will lead a writing exercise. The following Sunday, Aug. 16, Kathy Guthormsen will read “Phoenix,” Susan Bono will present “Solace of Cherries” along with a brief “craft talk” and writing exercise. For information on participating, visit TheWriteSpot.us and click on “Writers Forum.”
(Have an idea for a good BUZZ item? Drop a line to email@example.com)
Barnes and Noble
“A great story of personal triumph.”
“Heartfelt and inspiring.”
In Beyond Recovery, Shawn Langwell gives the reader a front row seat to overcoming the challenges of addiction. It is a wonderful tale of recovery and learning to love again, one day at a time.
Marin IJ: Posted: 10/12/17
KZSB interview with Maria Long and Ed Giron Monday, October 16, 2017
Below are links to a two separate interviews.
Petaluma Community Access with Anne Marie Gallup
Langwell Interview 7-14-17
Want to Be a Successful Writer? Rise Early, Says Petaluma Author of Eight Books
Crissi Langwell’s coffeemaker starts brewing at 5:20 am, and as soon as the hot caffeine is ready, she starts writing.BY GIL MANSERGH APRIL 2017
Having written eight books (with two more coming soon), Petaluma author Crissi Langwell lives what she labels “a hectic but rewarding life.” The hectic parts come from wearing “many hats.” She’s a wife and mother, has a full-time job in Santa Rosa, takes classes at Santa Rosa Junior College, volunteers for her church, and coordinates Sonoma County 4-H’s summer camp. The rewards come from fulfilling her dream of becoming an author, the perks of book signings and meeting her fans, and writing a blog – not to mention being interviewed for the Argus-Courier.
These successes are hard-earned.
Crissi’s coffee-maker starts brewing at 5:20 AM, and as soon as the hot caffeine is ready, she starts writing. An hour later, she earns “wife points” by taking her marketing manager husband Shawn a cup of coffee. Since the kids and dog will soon wake up, Crissi dons headphones to keep writing. By 7:30, it’s time to prepare for her job as the online content producer for the Santa Rosa Press Democrat. After work, she is either in class or doing homework — squeezing in more writing time when in the middle of a book project.
To cope with being overly busy, Crissi says she “thanks God for the crockpot.” Another trick in her arsenal is a color-coded calendar synched to the family’s iPhones. Even so, there was one year when “there was just too much,” so Crissi had to “drop things,” like some of her volunteer work. She still regrets not being able to spend more time with community groups like “the Fabulous Women of Petaluma, who add so much to our town.”
Always writing, Crissi put her tips for remaining creative while leading a busy life into a guide she calls “Reclaim Your Creative Soul.” Her novels cover a variety of subjects. “Loving the Wind” tells the story of Tiger Lily and Peter Pan, and her “Road to Hope” trilogy focuses on two women’s life-altering friendship.
Writing has a strong presence in the Langwell house. Drawing from his “hippie childhood,” fight with alcoholism, and 30-years of sobriety, Shawn published his memoir, “Beyond Recovery, a Journey of Grace, Love and Forgiveness” in November. Daughter Summer, a freshman studying creative writing at SSU, published her own first novel, “The Horror Stories of Los Posadas,” while a senior in high school.
Crissi already has a game plan for a more secure future, with writing as her career. This includes keeping her strong fan-base by creating sequels for her most popular books. Her present project is expanding her novel “The Road to Hope” into that aforementioned trilogy. In the first book, characters Jill Johnson and Maddie Russo may be from different generations, but they both have a profound sense of grief and loss. Fortunately, happenstance throws them together and they find the strength to change course.
Crissi invites people interested in discovering the secret of Jill and Maddie’s exciting first encounter to join her at 6 p.m., Tuesday, April 25th at Copperfield’s Montgomery Village bookstore, where she promises to read aloud the “happenstance incident” from “The Road to Hope.” Learn more about Crissi’s books here.
Petaluma author shares recovery journey in new memoir
Three decades after taking his last drink, Shawn Langwell has written a revealing memoir that details his tragic childhood, struggle with addiction, and his uphill journey through recovery.
Beyond Recovery offers an intimate look into the life of an alcoholic. Langwell holds nothing back as he shares his rock bottom moment and the slow process of healing one day at a time. In this tell-all book, Langwell includes humorous stories from his childhood in the ‘60s, shocking moments throughout his hippie upbringing, and the devastating moment his father abandoned his family. Langwell also shares the shame and discomfort he endured as the child of an absent father, and how alcohol became his escape.
“The main purpose of this book is to share a perspective on what it’s like to battle addiction and the underlying causes of it,” Langwell says.
Langwell will be at Gaia’s Garden in Santa Rosa on Monday, Jan. 9 from 6-8 p.m. to read a portion of Beyond Recovery. He will also read and sign copies of his memoir at Il Davide (901 A St., San Rafael) on Jan. 28, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Shawn has over thirty years of continuous sobriety and has dedicated his life to helping others. He lives in Petaluma with his wife, three kids, and shadow-chasing dog, Jasper. Beyond Recovery is his first book. Find out more at shawnlangwell.com.
Note: Shawn Langwell is the talented husband of Crissi Langwell.
Press Democrat By Crissi Langwell| December 15th, 2016
Off the Page – National Novel Writing Month
For most, November is the start of the holiday season, the true onset of chillier weather and earlier darkness, a time to cocoon and nest. But for over 300,000 writers across the country and globe, it is a time to hunker down over their keyboards for the annual challenge of NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month.
The concept is simple. To “win,” a writer must meet the goal of 50,000 words by midnight on Nov. 30. That’s 1,667 words a day. Through NaNoWriMo’s website (www.nanowrimo.org), writers can post their word counts, find other writers in their home region, hook up with writing buddies, find “write-in” events, and read pep talks to stay inspired. By the end of the month, each writer must paste the entire text of his or her novel into the site to be validated.
Sonoma County has a host of writers participating this year, most of them repeat performers. I spoke to a few this past week. Marie Millard of Rohnert Park, a music teacher and Facebook page manager for businesses, is returning for her third year, writing a romantic comedy. Michelle Murrain, a relationship coach from Healdsburg, is also coming back for her third year, writing a science fiction novel. Odin Halvorson of Sebastopol, an independent film editor and college student, who has been writing NaNoWriMo novels since 2006, is penning a sci-fi novel this year. In Cloverdale, Roger Lubeck has logged 11 years of November novel writing. He’s trying out a Western in 2014 for the first time. Georgette deBlois, a retired woman in Santa Rosa, has been leading writing groups for NaNoWriMo for the past seven years. And there’s a husband and wife team jumping on board, too – Crissi and Shawn Langwell of Petaluma. Crissi Langwell is the online content producer for the Press Democrat, and has done NaNoWriMo for five years. Her husband, a sales and marketing manager, is a first-timer.
Does knowing that thousands of other people are writing at the same time help? Halvorson said the structure of NaNoWriMo is a benefit. “Going to write-ins with fellow writers, socializing with people who are interested in literature and generally intelligent, spending time on the forums when they’re active, and getting caught up in the race to the ‘finish line’ does all string together into a really enjoyable experience that you don’t usually find when just writing on your own.”https://ea900f1f911c281b335d2df59177bd41.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html
When asked where they liked to write, authors said they had a wide range. My desk, the pool, my car, coffee shops (Shawn Colvin); at home in bed, at a coffee shop (Crissi Langwell); at home in my office (Lubeck); at coffee shops, or anywhere and everywhere, from home to the middle of the woods (Halvorson).
deBlois hosts a weekly writing group at the Warm Puppy Cafe at the ice skating rink in Santa Rosa. The sessions begin with a discussion about writing experiences or craft, then everyone writes together. She loves that the group is “a serious, no nonsense, pleasant, fun atmosphere.” deBlois emphasizes that NaNoWriMo is not a class about how to write a novel. “It really does not matter if you’re a beginner, advanced or published author. Inspiration and imagination know no boundaries.”
But can you really produce a good novel in a month? There have been some notable success stories, such as Sara Gruen’s novel “Water for Elephants,” which started out as a NaNoWriMo project. What about our local writers? Crissi Langwell wrote her first novel outside of NaNoWriMo, but she has used it since then to write her other books. She is releasing a new series this year, combining magic and desserts. She does admit that her November novels require more editing, but “I love the sense of urgency during NaNoWriMo. It keeps me on my toes to keep writing, and forces me into a routine. There’s no time to be lazy or succumb to writer’s block. And I love the sense of community.”
Lubeck has turned four of his NaNoWriMo books into self-published novels, and Murrain has published two. For others, like deBlois, publishing isn’t the goal. “I just like to write.”https://ea900f1f911c281b335d2df59177bd41.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html
What advice would these authors give to someone considering giving NaNoWriMo a try? Murrain said, “Go for it. It’s nice to win (make the 50,000 words), but it’s really all about doing it, giving yourself the permission, to spark the creative flow.” Lubeck said, “If you need to plan or plot, do that in October. Don’t let plotting get in the way of writing.” And Millard said, “Don’t quit if you’re behind. Finishing a novel on Dec. 15 is still pretty satisfying!”
Halvorson’s words are simple. “Write – just write. Ignore everything that says you can’t do it, focus on the pieces of the story you want to tell, and tell it….You are creating fantastic art, and that is the most beautiful thing any human being can do.”
Michelle Wing is a writer of poetry and creative nonfiction, and the author of “Body on the Wall,” a collection of poetry, and co-editor of the anthology “Cry of the Nightbird: Writers Against Domestic Violence.” She has deep roots in community journalism, and serves on the board of both Redwood Writers and the Healdsburg Literary Guild. Michelle lives in Cloverdale with her wife and a menagerie. She is assisted in all her creative endeavors by her service dog Ripley.