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Monday Thoughts 12/31/2018

Monday Thoughts

“The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process, is its own reward.” ~~Amelia Earhart

“Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.” ~~Ralph Waldo Emerson

“My life used to be like that game of freeze tag we played as kids. Once tagged, you had to freeze in the position you were in. Whenever something happened, I’d freeze like a statue, too afraid of moving the wrong way, of making the wrong decision. The problem is, if you stand still too long, that’s your decision.” ~~Regina Brett


Statement #1
 I have a life-threatening problem that once had me.
I now take charge of my life and my well-being. I accept the responsibility.


With the New Year, comes new decisions. The decision to live life without alcohol or drugs is a decision that is made every day by 4C women all over the world. Waking up sober, feeling content in not only remembering activities and conversations from the night before but enjoying the moments comes from multiple decisions from the preceding 24 hours.

The very first time the decision to embrace sobriety is made, it feels incredibly difficult if not impossible. Racing thoughts and muscle memory for substances can be strong, but with the Women for Sobriety Program in action each and every day, sobriety and recovery become cemented. You are never alone; the WFS Online Forum offers a wealth of information, plus connection to understanding women. You are never alone, for we are bonded together in our decision.

New to sobriety and recovery? You are invited and welcomed with open arms to attend a face to face WFS meeting, use the WFS meeting locator here.  Or, if there is not a meeting near you, please take the time to explore our WFS Online Forum here. The WFS Program and Statement #1 in action propels every woman into experiencing a 4C New Life!

Happy New Year!

Hugzzz
Karen


Hi 4C Women,

Can you believe that tomorrow will be 2019! I find myself reflecting on the choices and decisions I made in 2018, over 30 years since I made the decision to quit drinking. Each year has challenged me to make both major and minor decisions and while I have struggled along the way, the decision to quit drinking has remained the most important one of my life. Even though I thought life would be a breeze once I stopped drinking, I soon learned that it was definitely not stopping drinking that was life-changing, it was changing my thoughts, responses and so much more. Yet, if it wasn’t for the WFS program, I doubt that I would have made this absolutely necessary transition to being in charge of my life and well-being. I learned how to cope, to feel safe in sharing my feelings and concerns without judgment and to especially embrace the happy moments. In the past, I either kept looking for the other shoe to drop so to speak or completely missed the joy right in front of me. Being in charge of my well-being seemed an unrealistic concept to me. Yet, this is the process that takes place when practicing the WFS Statements.

For me, it’s all about choice. Each day we get the opportunity to react, respond and choose how we will be in charge of our well-being, sobriety/recovery and to learn from both our mistakes and successes. I love how Karen expressed the feelings of tackling racing thoughts and muscle memory as we make the decision to become sober. While definitely difficult, it is true that we are not alone. I am most grateful for that.

As you read this message and are not sure how to start or continue on this sobriety journey, consider the rewards of sobriety and how that impacts your life and your relationships. Although it may be obvious to you, putting it in writing may be just what you need to uncover, discover and recognize what matters to you and what you are willing to do to get it.

Bonded in empowering our lives by being in charge of our well-being,
4C WFS Member

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Monday Thoughts 12/24/2018

Monday Thoughts“Surround yourself with people who empower you to become better.” ~~Anonymous

“I’ve seen plenty of powerful women squander a chance at power simply because they waited for someone else to give them permission to have power. There is no permission slip—you just have to BE powerful.” ~~Shonda Rhimes

“Your self-worth is determined by you. You don’t have to depend on someone telling you who you are.” ~~Beyoncé


Statement #13:
 I am responsible for myself and for my actions.
I am in charge of my mind, my thoughts and my life. 


Years ago, did someone tell you couldn’t do something? Has doubt defined you? Have you questioned your self-worth or value? Sobriety and Statement #13 in action can eliminate doubt and instill feelings of ability and confidence.

Our Program booklet states “Often our thoughts are formed by past experiences, actions, and attitudes inherited from family and society. By understanding our thoughts, we can accept responsibility for our actions. We recognize we have options and choices.” It’s like moving into the driver’s seat.

Dina Marais, a Business Growth Coach writes, “To take responsibility for your life, is to take responsibility for your powers of thinking, feeling, speaking and acting, because this is the structure of all human experience. You create your life with your thoughts, feelings and actions.

You take responsibility when you accept that the thoughts you have are your thoughts coming from your mind. How you feel happens in your body and is a result of your thoughts. The words you speak come from your mouth and voice. The actions you take, are taken by you. What this means is that nobody can make you think, feel say or do anything. Nobody can push your buttons, because you are the button maker! In the same way you don’t have control over how other people respond as they respond from their mindset.”

Here are 4 ways Dina encourages for taking responsibility:

  1. Stop blaming. When you stop blaming and accept responsibility, you shift from victim to victor.
  2. Stop complaining. Complaining is another form of blaming and playing victim as if you have no choice.
  3. Refuse to take things personal. More than likely it has nothing to do with you.
  4. Live in the present. Be here now, the only moment there is.

Hugzzz
Karen


Hi 4C Women,

Those old messages can play havoc with our lives when we keep them in the present. Learning to be and feel in charge of our minds, thoughts and lives takes time and understanding that as we develop responsibility, disappointments are bound to occur. Nancy Cross once wrote about disappointment, lack of confidence and rebellion that I thought was quite powerful.

Disappointment: A certain amount of negative feelings are inevitable, even necessary. But don’t repress them or get bogged down in them. Instead, experience them, work through them, and learn from them. For example, don’t allow disappointment to halt your progress. Disappointment is just a message or feedback telling you that things are not going according to plan. So, instead of quitting, find out what went wrong and what changes need to be made. When I first read that, I thought about the disappointments I experienced in life and how would I ever overcome feeling unworthy or inept to handle life because of my choices. Nancy’s words helped me realize that I don’t have to win in every situation or put myself down to prove my worth. I work through it, learn and survive.

Lack of confidence/low self-esteem: Nancy shared about how early childhood experiences may have caused us to lose confidence and if so, this is a FACT, not an EXCUSE. This is why, as adults, we need to heal those wounds and realize that self esteem is not a goal but a result of our willingness to heal and trust in who we are today.

Rebellion: Many of us are stuck in the “resistance syndrome” learned from childhood when we had no power. That may be happening as an adult when we automatically resist because you hear the “should” echoing in your thoughts. Rather than saying I “should” go to school to complete my degree, say I “want” to go to school and your personal reasons for that choice. “Shoulds” create resistance while “wants” dissolve resistance.

My response to her message rings true today as it did years ago. What we deserve is the chance to try our best, learn from it and take those lessons into the next challenge – because we know there will be more! Positive self-talk, reflection and changing our attitude and approach from a rebellious child getting in our way to an empowered woman with clarity of choice is Statement #13 in action.

Bonded in in being responsible for ourselves and our actions,
4C WFS Member

 

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Monday Thoughts 12/17/2018

Monday Thoughts
Don’t ever doubt yourselves or waste a second of your life. It’s too short, and you’re too special.” ~~Ariana Grande“

“The one way to get me to work my hardest was to doubt me.” ~~Michelle Obama

“An exciting and inspiring future awaits you beyond the noise in your mind, beyond the guilt, doubt, fear shame, insecurity and heaviness of the past you carry around.” ~~Debbie Ford


Statement #12:
I am a competent woman, and I have much to give life.
This is what I am, and I shall know it always.


Doubt can be a natural by-product of uncertainty, which can either serve us well by keeping us safe from something we don’t fully understand or it can be a crippling sensation which severs us from completely living. Doubt can also be quite obvious, such as the panicked hesitation before bungee jumping or it can be shrouded in secrecy, much like when trying to make the decision to embrace sobriety and recovery.

Statement #12 is encouraging and empowers us to invalidate doubt. It needs direct action and requires us to override some of our most intense feelings. Jean states in the WFS Program booklet, “First the thought, then the reality.” With Statement #12, we can think it, believe it, reach it. It is important to remember that this is a process, and it can be rare to reach goals with a single attempt. In between belief and actualization is learning; what doesn’t work, what does and what falls in the middle.

The WFS Online Forum or face to face meetings can assist with learning. In these connecting and close- knit communities are women who understand and believe. Every day, cheering each other on with encouragement and experience, victories of every size and scale are achieved.  We are capable, and competent, caring and compassionate, bonded together!

Hugzzz
Karen


Hi 4C Women,

We all need encouragement, especially during the hectic holidays. This may sound odd but today my pastor talked about a study on Neuroplasticity: brain healing and changing itself. One remark really stood out to me as it reminded me of the personal and emotional growth that takes place when practicing the WFS program: “Positive mental experiences such as happiness, compassion and accomplishment can actually change your brain structure.”  I thought about Statement 3: Happiness is a habit I am developing; our WFS moto that we are capable and competent, caring and compassionate; and Statement 1: I have a life-threatening problem that once had me all pointing to our accomplishment of gaining sobriety. When I reflect on all the emotional and spiritual growth I have achieved through the use of the WFS program, I related to this study of how our thinking and life experiences can actually have a profound, lasting change on how we react and respond in our sober lives.

Each year, I have our group answer 3 questions and give their answers as a wrapped gift to themselves. Perhaps you would consider doing this yourself:

  1. Self-Care Plan(s) for 2019
  2. Blessing(s) received this year
  3. Acknowledgment of positive change(s) made this year

Just as we cherish encouragement from others, it is important to be our own encouragers.

As we learn, gain insight, realize our competency, express it and share it, having it in writing is a reminder and a gift to ourselves. Be proud, be bold and acknowledge all that you have accomplished, what your plans are to increase your self-care and what you are grateful for as you reflect on this past year.

Bonded in acknowledging our competency and knowing it always,

4C WFS Member

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Monday Thoughts 12/10/2018

Monday Thoughts

“Enthusiasm is the mother of effort, and without it, nothing great was ever achieved.” ~~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Enthusiasm is the energy and force that builds literal momentum of the human soul and mind.” ~~Bryant. H. McGill

“Every project is a race between your enthusiasm and your ability to get it done. Go fast. Don’t slow down. A year from now, new things will interest you.” ~~Jill Soloway


Statement #11
Enthusiasm is my daily exercise.
I treasure the moments of my New Life.


Why is enthusiasm important in sobriety and recovery? Why does it matter? The WFS Program booklet states “Enthusiasm adds fire to life and provides the energy for accomplishment. By making enthusiasm our daily exercise, we can learn to appreciate the value of our New Life.”

Enthusiasm also “gives life a special meaning. To be enthusiastic is to live each day to the fullest. It makes us feel alive and vibrant. It lights up the inner part of our being—we glow, and others respond to this. Much of this is easier said than done, and it takes conscious awareness and daily practice to reap the rewards.

Here are 4 ways to bring enthusiasm to life during your day:

  1. Be yourself: It can be next to impossible to feel enthusiasm when we are trying to live someone else’s life. What matters to you? What do you wish to accomplish? Live your own story.
  2. Act enthusiastic: Some days we simply do not want to be where we are, whether physically or mentally. Boring meeting? Change your perspective and add sparkling moments. Tired of the cold? Bring yourself out of the blahs by acting enthusiastic. Remember, practice makes permanent.
  3. Give yourself time: Every day, give yourself 15, 30 minutes or an hour to do what you absolutely love. This removes complaining that there isn’t enough time for ourselves. Feel your enthusiasm begin to soar.
  4. Be good to your body: Eat well and get enough sleep. Unplug before bed and learn to balance meals for optimal health. Exercise and meditate, move your body with yoga/walking or discover a sport that fits you. Learn to meditate, finding time to experience and reflect the moment.

What ways have you developed to practice enthusiasm?

Hugzzz
Karen


Hi 4C Women,

Great tips on creating and living with enthusiasm, especially that practice makes permanent.

I organized some of my 30 years of WFS papers and found a message from Nancy Cross dated Nov. 26, 2007 taken from Days of Healing-Days of Joy by Larsen & Hegarty that I would like to share along with my comments from that day. It still rings true for me and demonstrates that insightful guidance remains timeless.

“Passivity and patience are not the same thing. We can wait our whole lives for fortune or love to come our way, but if we don’t initiate action (which means risking failure) the opportunities that pass before us daily will probably never be actualized.

Boldness is the opposite of passivity. To be bold means to choose our destination, to set our own course, and to be brave enough to correct that course if we decide it’s not taking us where we want to go.

To be bold is to act…not with ruthless aggression…but with determined energy. It is to reach out and move toward what we are seeking rather than waiting for it to magically materialize.

When we are able to identify our wants and needs, we become better at making choices and at plotting a personal program of growth. Learning to proceed this way takes courage and practice…and the firm conviction that we ARE worth the trouble.”

Today, I will act…not react.

This day I am a hammer…not a nail.

EnJOY!
Nancy

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Hi 4C Women,

I love the image of being a hammer rather than a nail. It represents the truth that we are in charge of our decisions, our plans. It doesn’t mean that our plans always work out the way we hoped but we are in charge of making them!  Taking risks, building our resiliency against reacting negatively towards disappointment, learning what brings us joy and making plans for our future are all part of building a phenomenal tool chest. Start building!

Love,
4C WFS Member

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Monday Thoughts 12/3/2018

Monday Thoughts

“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” ~~Aesop

“Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.” ~~Lao Tzu

“Ask yourself: Have I been kind today? Make kindness your daily modus operandi and change your world.” ~~Annie Lennox


Statement #10
All love given returns.
I am learning to know that I am loved.


Sometimes those closest to us, including ourselves, can be the most difficult to love or to express kindness to. Whether we feel we do not deserve love or are unsure how to receive it, love can be difficult to experience at different times in our life. By focusing simply on kindness, a pathway to love is forged and can be strengthened. Here is an article by R. Owens with 5 ways to put kindness in action:

  1. Communicate on a deeper level by asking your loved ones how they wish to be treated. Don’t assume that loving this person automatically gives you insight into what they need. True love helps us develop special sensitivities to the needs of others, but often our love is tainted with attachment, which tends to turn those we love into objects we think we own. If we begin making decisions on our loved ones’ behalf, they will likely feel robbed of a sense of agency. This is the opposite of kindness.
  2. Empathizing is an important expression of kindness. We begin by empathizing with ourselves and developing a relationship to our own experiences, including our comfort, discomfort, and what we need to be okay. After that, we are able to direct that same empathy toward others. This empathy is full of kindness as it is a kind of attention that sees and holds the most tender parts of others.
  3. Learn to set boundaries and communicate when it may be difficult to be kind. We have periods where extending kindness is particularly difficult. If you are with love ones during one of these times, it is important for you to care for yourself. You do this so as to prevent taking your discomfort out on them. Asking for space is an act of kindness.
  4.  Let go of the idea of being nice. Being nice can be superficial, as well as inauthentic and lazy, as we use niceness to manipulate others or bypass real feelings that need to be expressed. We must challenge ourselves into a deeper engagement around the expression of love for others.
  5.  Holding space is another important act of kindness. Holding space means that we allow our loved ones to show up as themselves. We are not reacting but listening compassionately and witnessing them without judging them or criticizing. Holding space is at the heart of our loved ones (sic) feelings seen and heard by us.”

Hugzzz
Karen


Hi 4C Women,

I am subscribed to Action for Happiness calendars. The December calendar is all about kindness and relates so well to Statement #10. Hope you can practice kindness while learning to love yourself and know you are loved by others. Practicing kindness with the guidance of the December calendar suggestions and the article by R. Owens as provided by Karen, are all wonderful ways to love and feel loved.

Bonded in giving and receiving love,
4C WFS Member