Posted on

Organization Update 11/30/18

Hello Competent Women!

Running a little late tonight and I have a 4C holiday open house to get to so I will make this brief. Lots of exciting things happening here at Women for Sobriety as usual. We had a very successful Giving Tuesday, bringing in $8,000 in direct donations! We are still waiting to hear from Facebook, which was running a donation matching campaign with PayPal. Many 4C women logged on right at 8 a.m. EST to claim our piece of that pie. I keep checking my inbox like a kid on Christmas morning!

One of our online groups, the Bloomers, also ran a quick restricted fund campaign to help brighten up the office a little. In under 24 hours, they raised $890 to replace the old, dirty blinds in the office. A local volunteer has coordinated the whole effort, obtaining the bids from the blinds folks, running the campaign, and she’s now even scheduling all the work herself. We office gals are super appreciative and looking forward to having a fresh, clean face to the world. I’ll be sure to post pictures once the facelift is complete!

The Board of Directors met this week and we got the 2019 budget finalized. What a relief, and the meeting only ran 3 hours! I tell you, it is such an honor to serve with this dedicated bunch of women. The time and energy they put into governing WFS – on a volunteer basis, no less – is truly astounding! We are very excited to be able to direct thousands of donor dollars to outreach next year. This has been the result of many years of hard work reducing administrative costs so we can spend the money where it is needed most – getting this life-saving program into the hands of the women out there who are literally dying from their life-threatening problems, including alcohol, methamphetamine, opioids, benzodiazepines, and other drugs. I hope to return to the national NAADAC conference next year and increase our repertoire even more. Moderators are encouraged to let me know if there is an event in their local communities that they could use a few dollars for! Let’s fill those rooms!

We also got two new corporate officers this week. I am proud to welcome Britt Rodriguez as Treasurer and Lisa Lerner as Secretary. Britt has served on the Finance Committee for many years and so is very familiar with our books, and also has a sharp mind and experience with accounts that will serve WFS well. Lisa has been a Certified Moderator for over a decade and will do a great job keeping all of our corporate documentation in tip-top shape. Please join me in thanking these dedicated women for extending their commitment to WFS in these vital roles!

Okay, I better get off to this wonderful sober holiday party that has already started without me. I have been so grateful this holiday season to be surrounded by the love and support of my Sisters, even though I am far away from home. I couldn’t ask for anything better in my life!

Enthusiastically Yours!
Adrienne Miller
President/CEO
Women for Sobriety, Inc.

Posted on

Monday Thoughts 11/26/2018

Monday Thoughts

Yesterday’s home runs don’t win today’s games.” ~~Babe Ruth

“What you know today can affect what you do tomorrow. But what you know today cannot affect what you did yesterday.” ~~Condoleezza Rice

“Why let go of yesterday? Because yesterday has let go of you.” ~~Steve Maraboli


Statement #9:
The past is gone forever.
No longer am I victimized by the past.
I am a new woman.


Recently in our f2f group, one 4C woman brilliantly described how she curtails thoughts about the past.  In her mind, she imagines or envisions “auto-correct,” backing up and erasing regrets/negative thoughts and replacing the words with statements which empower her towards her goals. This is an excellent tool to put action into Statement #9.

Instead of replaying events or thoughts from the past, we can zap unhealthy or unproductive lines of thinking and insert self-encouragement. Our Program booklet states “To loosen one’s grip on the past is not always easy. We evaluate our past so we can learn from it. We examine our feelings about the past so we can process and release them. Our interest in the past is to use it as a guide for how we want to be in the moment and to prepare for the future.”

Sobriety and Statement #9 in action focus on the present and plans for tomorrow. Romancing past alcohol or drug use kept the process repeating, but this critical Statement offers alternative choices and opens up endless possibility.

Hugzzz
Karen


Hi 4C Women,

The past has come back to me this past week and it’s been a struggle to work through it. As I reached out, I realized how blessed I am for Statement 9 and the support I received. I don’t usually read my horoscope which is on the side bar of my home page but for some reason, I decided to and here is what it said on the very day I couldn’t stop the tears and reached out. “You will likely receive the support you need if you seek out advice on a problem today. But where you find counsel isn’t as important as the information you are given. The key message is that you needn’t go through life’s rough patches or face its array of baffling questions alone. You also don’t have to feel like you’re the only person who must come up with all the answers now. Thankfully, it warms your heart to know that others have your back when you need them.”

As I started my Christmas decorating, I decided to open each wrapped ornament, ceramic item, holiday photos and snowmen (I am a collector) with great care and reflection. I was overwhelmed with gratefulness for the love I have experienced in my life even while feeling sad about the losses. I cannot change the past and while there are times I am conflicted with regrets, Statement 9 brings me back to the realization that it is futile to be stuck with what cannot be changed. So I keep on learning, trying to understand my strong reactions and seek peace and healing. I hope that each of you will reach out when you need to share unsettling feelings, gain insight from others and know you are doing the best you can. You are enough and most importantly, you are not alone. Part of no longer victimizing ourselves begins with forgiving ourselves for our mistakes and unhealthy choices. No longer will we be the provider of punishment and continued suffering. We can go to that auto correct button and press “forgive, heal and learn from the past.

Bonded in forgiveness, healing and learning as the past is gone forever!!

4C WFS Member

Posted on

Monday Thoughts 11/19/18

Monday Thoughts

“There is a universal, intelligent life force that exists within everyone and everything. It resides within each one of us as a deep wisdom, and inner knowing. We can access this wonderful source of knowledge and wisdom through our intuition, an inner sense that tells us what feels right and true for us at any given moment.” ~~Shakti Gawain

“There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.” ~~Nelson Mandela

“Growing up is difficult. Strangely, even when we have stopped growing physically, we seem to have to keep on growing emotionally, which involves both expansion and shrinkage, as some parts of us develop and others must be allowed to disappear…. Rigidity never works; we end up being the wrong size for our world.” ~~Jeanette Winterson


Statement #8
The fundamental object of life is emotional and spiritual growth.
Daily I put my life into a proper order, knowing which are the priorities.


The meme’s and quotes are readily found; “I am not adulting today” or “Who let me adult? I can’t adult.”  It can be easy to fantasize about a younger or past self, a self with less responsibility or a snapshot of a simpler time, yet to maintain sobriety and recovery continued growth is essential.

The practice of Statement #8 can feel obvious when returning to a place that remains unchanged, whether it be a physical location or even a relationship.  Sometimes the differences are stark, at other times growth may not be quite as visible. In early sobriety the freedom from substances are vivid, almost if a whole new world just opened up.

Over time though, growth can be shelved or its priority lessened. From our Program Booklet, “We can gain useful self-knowledge from reflecting on our life experiences. Continued emotional growth improves our ability to manage the ups and downs of life. It provides us with our own path to emotional peace and contentment. We uncover our inner strength.” Here are 4 questions for continued growth:

  1. Are you aware of your strengths and weaknesses? This awareness can help maximize strengths while encouraging growth in other areas.
  2. Do you practice personal responsibility?  In-between a life situation and your response to it is a fleeting moment when you decide how to respond.
  3. How do you define your ideal self? You can increase emotional and spiritual maturity when you define what this means for you.
  4. How do you acknowledge growth in your life? Comparing ourselves to where we were as to where we are now can move us forward. Liking who you have become can propel us onward.

Hugzz
Karen


Hi 4C Women,

The guidance for emotional growth as expressed in the Program Booklet is an accurate description of what will keep us on track to understanding what our priorities are – a continuing exploration of our life experiences, willingness to accept what needs to change and an action plan(s) to create the growth we desire to be able to establish our priorities.

I found an article online from Lifescript.com/well-being/articles that provided 10 Steps Toward Spiritual Growth that reflected the WFS Program so well that I would like to share them in this message:

10 Steps Toward Spiritual Growth
By: Ashleigh Frank

Spirituality is a belief system in which a person seeks to relate to the rest of existence (whether that is God, humanity, the universe, nature or life itself). It is a pursuit of peace, love and understanding. Many people want you to believe that the secret to spiritual growth and development can be found in a book, a lecture or some other product that will magically unlock the doors to happiness. But the truth about spiritual growth is that it comes from within. It is all about you and the way that you view the world. Here are 10 steps to help you on your journey of personal spiritual growth, and none of them cost a thing.

1. Want Change

It may sound silly, but the first and most important step toward personal spiritual growth is the desire to grow. All of the self-help classes, spiritual gurus and inspirational books in the world won’t make a lick of difference until you make a conscious decision to change. Spiritual growth and development is not a goal; it is a lifelong journey that requires time, energy and dedication. If you are looking for a quick fix or overnight results, you will be disappointed. When the novelty of your new spiritual growth technique wears off, you may be tempted to give up. It is much easier to let life carry you along as it pleases. The only difference between people who exist and people who really live is motivation. If you are properly motivated, keep reading.

2. Start Small 

There are many spiritual practices out there, and information is readily available over the Internet. But don’t make the mistake of trying to take on too much too soon. It is best to start with one new practice. Begin a meditation, prayer routine or yoga class at your gym. Attend a lecture on reiki at your local community college. Once you are comfortable with your new skill, add another element.

3. New Adventures

One of the great joys in life lies is learning new skills. If you never tried anything new, your life would grow stagnant. Take up an activity that you are curious or passionate about, such as writing poetry, practicing yoga or painting water colors. Enjoy the process of learning and improving your new skills. By embracing people and things that are outside of your ordinary routine, you open yourself to personal and spiritual growth, and you diminish your fear of the unknown.

4. Release the Past

The past is history, and there is nothing you can do to change it. Holding on to past events keeps you from experiencing new ones, and the emotional baggage will only weigh you down. Accept these past events, both good and bad, as learning experiences and move on with life.

5. Take Responsibility 

Sometimes you cannot control the events that happen to you or the people who do them. But you always have control over how you respond. Focusing your attention on what or who caused a problem does not offer any solutions. Instead, concentrate on your response and what you can do to improve the situation and prevent it from occurring again.

6. Pause and Reflect

Life moves so fast that sometimes it is important to stop, take a step back and really examine yourself and what you are doing. You can do this by practicing meditation. Meditation allows you to quiet your mind and clear your thoughts. Through meditation, you can step outside yourself and observe your life. Are you using your time wisely? Are you taking proactive steps to reach your goals? Are you happy? These quiet moments of reflection, when performed regularly, can help you right yourself on your spiritual path.

7. Stay Open

From a young age we are taught to judge and label actions, thoughts, words and people as “good,” “bad,” “right” or “wrong.” Whether we realize it or not, we are constantly judging others by how they look, what they say and more. But to feel connected to everything around you, first accept people and things as they are. It takes a conscious effort to stop looking through the lens of a critical eye, but if by looking for the possibilities and potential resources in life, you begin to grow spiritually.

Consider the difference between these two life philosophies: “Everyone is out to get me” and “Everyone is doing the best they can.” Imagine how much more stressful the first person’s life must be? Allow others to be themselves around you. Treat their uniqueness with respect rather than criticism. Remember, love is the heart of spirituality.

8. Appreciate the Present 

It is easy to get caught up in a materialistic mindset and focus on wants, needs and desires. When you begin pursuing possessions, you lose sight of what you already have. The world becomes an obstacle, standing between you and what you desire. Increase your personal spiritual growth by developing what you already have. When you do this, the world becomes an ally in helping you achieve your goal.

9. Accept Unhappiness

We all know someone who seems perpetually happy. She is always smiling, and her can-do attitude never fails. You might envy this person or even resent her. You might think, She’s so lucky. I wish I could be that happy. In reality, happiness is not a personality trait. It is not a gene that some people are born with and others aren’t. Happiness is a choice. And unhappiness is a natural part of life.

Everyone has their good days and bad days. It is how you deal with those bad days when they come along that matter. You are quick to treat your physical ailments, so don’t hesitate to treat your emotional and spiritual ailments (such as depression, insecurity, fear, mood swings and bad tempers). Use meditation, yoga, prayer or relaxation techniques to soothe your soul when you find yourself unhappy.

10. Don’t Fear Mistakes

Mistakes and bad decisions are some of our greatest teachers. If you never did anything wrong, you would never learn anything new. Think of mistakes as opportunities to learn and grow, and give yourself full license to make them. We are all imperfect people. If you are able to embrace your imperfections and laugh at yourself, you will become more flexible and open-minded. Remember: We live in an imperfect world so that we can better understand perfection.

Have patience on your quest for spiritual growth. The process toward enlightenment is slow and unnoticeable at first, and you may feel compelled to give up. Just keep in mind that spiritual growth is a lifelong commitment to love, peace and understanding, and it is meant to be taken one day at a time. Like so many other things in life, spirituality is about the journey, not the destination. To quote the Buddha, “There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting.”

Everyone’s spiritual journey is extremely personal. I hope you find some wisdom, guidance and/or support in your spiritual journey to love, peace and understanding with the suggestions above.

Bonded in creating emotional and spiritual growth.
Love, 4C WFS Member

Posted on

Organization Update – 11/16/18

Hello Competent Women!

It’s been a busy couple of weeks, as usual. Lots of exciting things happening in the organization and lots of great volunteer opportunities, and lots of volunteers stepping up to the plate to help grow this program!

We got a really enthusiastic volunteer to partner with a member of the Face-to-Face Management Team on starting a monthly support circle for our Certified Moderators (CMs) and Certified Co-Moderators (CCMs). They are looking at videoconferencing and audio conferencing options to bring our in-person group leaders from across the US & Canada together to share ideas, support, and encouragement for themselves and their group facilitation. What a great resource this will be for the 4C women who dedicate themselves to bringing the New Life Program to their local communities!

The Conference Planning Workgroup met last Saturday night and I will be honest, it was the most fun I’ve ever had working on a Saturday night! So many wonderful new ideas were being generated and pragmatic solutions to actually make them happen. With big names like Karen Drucker and Annie Grace on the schedule already, this year’s conference promises to be one of the best yet! Have an idea for an informal activity or a full workshop/breakout session for the 2019 conference? Let us know! Use the Call for Presentations form for formal workshop and breakout sessions, or email volunteer@womenforsobriety.org if you have an idea for an informal group activity you would like to lead.

On the outreach front, we’ve been invited to participate in another project with Choice in Recovery. Many will remember that we participated in this video project to help educate the public about the many options that are available to people in recovery from Substance Use Disorders. Choice is creating an online course for treatment professionals to learn more about the many pathways available to their clients and has asked us to participate. Some folks may also remember the webinar I did in July 2017 for the Cigna Drug & Alcohol Awareness Series. I blushed when I heard that it was their most often replayed webinar from 2017! I am preparing another webinar for them, tentatively scheduled for March 2019, where I will focus on the closing gender gap in addiction demographics.

Other new volunteers include a new Peer Leader for the CCL Workgroup, bravely coordinating our Certified Chat Leaders as they bring online meetings to our WFS Online community, and a couple of women who may be taking on some blog editor work… I have lots of ideas on how to expand this blog to make it even more helpful to the women of the New Life Program and others who are interested in the organization, but not nearly enough time to do it all. Hopefully, these 4C gals will be able to help with this exciting expansion of this public resource!

I was also reminded that in one of my previous posts, I promised a picture of the new heaters in the office, so I’m making it my pic of the week this time. Compare it to the pics in the 10/27/18 Organization Update post and you can see how much smaller and unobtrusive they are. And so warm during our first big snowfall of year this week!

Alright, folks, that’s all I have for tonight. Thanks to all of you for reading and especially to our fantastic volunteers who are stepping up and helping make change happen. We have a lot of women in addiction and recovery to help, and we can do so much more together!

Enthusiastically Yours,
Adrienne Miller
President/CEO
Women for Sobriety, Inc.

Posted on

Monday Thoughts 11/12/18

 

Monday Thoughts

“You can find something truly important in an ordinary minute.” ~~Mitch Albom

“Life is amazing. And then it’s awful. And then it’s amazing again. And in between the amazing and the awful its ordinary and mundane and routine. Breathe in the amazing, hold on through the awful, and relax and exhale during the ordinary. That’s just living heartbreaking, soul-healing, amazing, awful, ordinary life. And it’s breathtakingly beautiful.” ~~LR Knost

“Sobriety is a rewarding experience for those who invest in the moments of each day.” ~~Jean Kirkpatrick, Ph.D.


Statement #6

  Life can be ordinary or it can be great.

Greatness is mine by a conscious effort.


What’s in a minute? Joy? Sadness? Curiosity? Awe? Each of these listed here, plus endless other moments can be experienced in sixty seconds. In the past, before sobriety and New Life, it was easy to rush through to the next moment, ignoring everything to get to somewhere else. It was easy to miss life, which created a cycle of yearning for more and then missing the present again.

Statement #6 in action can assist in focusing on being present. From our Program booklet, “Although we only get a one-way ticket through life, we speed through our days as if planning to enjoy them at another time. We live as if there are an endless number of tomorrows.”  With this knowledge, each moment can be lived fully, increasing feelings of balance while lessening regret.

Investing in each moment can lead to feelings of contentment, peace of mind and simple joy. Do you recall the first time you became aware of being connected to the moment? It feels wondrous! The sun warmed my face, the breeze tasseled my hair and the fall colors mesmerized my eyes; I was acutely aware of how fleeting that moment was and felt grateful for being present. No matter the circumstances, one moment follows another and we have the choice to be present.

Hugzzz

Karen


Hi 4C Women,

I love the quote from LR Knost that Karen included in this message. Just as happiness is created, not waited for, I feel the same way about ordinary life, including those that become moments of greatness. Or, I would say, those moments of “awareness” of joy, surprise and wonder. I received two thank you cards last week and read them over and over because they were so loving and kind. They truly brightened an ordinary day. I felt the same joy on Halloween. The little kids are so joyful, showing off their costumes and grinning from ear to ear when I hold out the bowl of candy for them to choose from. It’s fun and brings back wonderful memories of my childhood when my mom took my sister and I out trick or treating.  For me, most of my great moments are the ordinary ones that become extraordinary because of one intense feeling – love! A beautiful sunset, leaves changing, a bonding moment with a friend or stranger who responded to my conversation, finding a cute decoration on sale, quiet reflection – all of these for me are love whether it’s nature or people. It’s the feeling that changes the ordinary into greatness and that is the conscious effort of awareness.

This week, I encourage you to practice that awareness. Make a list of the things that brought the ordinary into greatness. At the end of the week, keep the list handy to remind you of all that’s ordinarily wonderful, joyful and great in your life.

Bonded in awareness,
4C WFS Member

Posted on

Monday Thoughts 11/5/18

Monday Thoughts

“You can find something truly important in an ordinary minute.” ~~Mitch Albom

“Life is amazing. And then it’s awful. And then it’s amazing again. And in between the amazing and the awful its ordinary and mundane and routine. Breathe in the amazing, hold on through the awful, and relax and exhale during the ordinary. That’s just living heartbreaking, soul-healing, amazing, awful, ordinary life. And it’s breathtakingly beautiful.” ~~LR Knost
“Sobriety is a rewarding experience for those who invest in the moments of each day.” ~~Jean Kirkpatrick, Ph.D.


Statement #6
 Life can be ordinary or it can be great.
Greatness is mine by a conscious effort.


What’s in a minute? Joy? Sadness? Curiosity? Awe? Each of these listed here, plus endless other moments can be experienced in sixty seconds. In the past, before sobriety and New Life, it was easy to rush through to the next moment, ignoring everything to get to somewhere else. It was easy to miss life, which created a cycle of yearning for more and then missing the present again.

Statement #6 in action can assist in focusing on being present. From our Program booklet, “Although we only get a one-way ticket through life, we speed through our days as if planning to enjoy them at another time. We live as if there are an endless number of tomorrows.”  With this knowledge, each moment can be lived fully, increasing feelings of balance while lessening regret.

Investing in each moment can lead to feelings of contentment, peace of mind and simple joy. Do you recall the first time you became aware of being connected to the moment? It feels wondrous! The sun warmed my face, the breeze tasseled my hair and the fall colors mesmerized my eyes; I was acutely aware of how fleeting that moment was and felt grateful for being present. No matter the circumstances, one moment follows another and we have the choice to be present.

Hugzzz
Karen


Hi 4C Women,

I love the quote from LR Knost that Karen included in this message. Just as happiness is created, not waited for, I feel the same way about ordinary life, including those that become moments of greatness. Or, I would say, those moments of “awareness” of joy, surprise and wonder. I received two thank you cards last week and read them over and over because they were so loving and kind. They truly brightened an ordinary day. I felt the same joy on Halloween. The little kids are so joyful, showing off their costumes and grinning from ear to ear when I hold out the bowl of candy for them to choose from. It’s fun and brings back wonderful memories of my childhood when my mom took my sister and I out trick or treating.  For me, most of my great moments are the ordinary ones that become extraordinary because of one intense feeling – love! A beautiful sunset, leaves changing, a bonding moment with a friend or stranger who responded to my conversation, finding a cute decoration on sale, quiet reflection – all of these for me are love whether it’s nature or people. It’s the feeling that changes the ordinary into greatness and that is the conscious effort of awareness.

This week, I encourage you to practice that awareness. Make a list of the things that brought the ordinary into greatness. At the end of the week, keep the list handy to remind you of all that’s ordinarily wonderful, joyful and great in your life.

Bonded in awareness,
4C WFS Member

Posted on

Organization Update 11/2/18

Hello Competent Women!

I realized that I forgot to introduce you to the newest member of the WFS office team! Amanda joined the team in October as our new Office Clerk. A local young woman in recovery, Amanda is excited to get to share her enthusiasm for sobriety through her work for WFS. Amanda will be helping with picking and packing bookstore orders, sending literature to groups, filing, scanning, cleaning, answering the phones, and general office assistance. Please join me in welcoming Amanda to the office!

The Face-to-Face Management Team met this week. We had a great discussion looking at our requirements for Certified Moderators and Certified Co-Moderators, which lead to a suggestion that we create a Moderator’s Support Circle – a regular meeting where our community group leaders can come together to share support encouragement. What a great idea! We have one member of the F2F team willing to contribute, but she will definitely need another volunteer to help make it a reality. CM/CCMs with experience with conference call meetings and/or webinar software strongly encouraged to apply! We also talked about the idea of inviting professionals with education and experience in group dynamics to participate in an update of our Moderator’s Manual. I have a few people to invite, but I would love to hear from you have this type of experience and are willing to lend your expertise!

We are also looking for a Peer Coordinator for our Fundraising Management Team. Peer Coordinators are the people responsible for helping keep the management teams active, productive, and on track. They help schedule and lead team meetings, follow up with the workgroups working on specific tasks, and make sure that everyone knows what they’re doing. Our fundraising team has not quite taken off yet, so this is a fabulous opportunity for someone who wants to step up, take charge, and build the team of their dreams! Experience in fundraising, grant writing, corporate sponsorships, and other non-profit funding strategies are strongly encouraged to email volunteer@womenforsobriety.org to volunteer.

I also finally got the Organizational Chart updated – you can find it in the Governance section of the About page, too. It’s really important to me that we are as transparent as possible right now, so I’m glad to be able to share this. You’ll also see the 2017 IRS Form 990 uploaded there. As with all non-profit organizations, we are required to make the past 3 years of 990’s available for public review. If you’d like to request copies of 2015 and 2016, just send me an email and I’ll get them sent directly to your inbox! We also decided to do a regular annual report rather than another mid-year report for 2018, so keep your eye out there for that.

Now I know what all of the forum participants are thinking – what ever happened to the feedback/ideas report that was promised? Well I haven’t forgotten, I’ve just been very very busy, but it looks to be a rainy weekend, so I plan to cozy up with some hot tea and my copy and paste buttons and get that posted as soon as I’m done with my new tap dance class on Saturday afternoon! (#statement6)

Physically speaking, I’m continuing the great office cleanout. I’ve recouped some good money selling off surplus equipment and supplies and I’m so happy to announce that the new heaters are installed! Just in time for winter!

Well, folks, that’s about it for this week. I’m very excited to see that people are starting to leave comments – please feel free to post any questions you have about all the exciting changes at WFS. I want everyone to feel like they are an important part of the changes going on organizationally and programmatically here at WFS – since of course, everyone is! Together, we can reach so many more women and do so much more! Thanks for helping!

Enthusiastically Yours!
Adrienne Miller
President/CEO
Women for Sobriety, Inc.