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Monday Thoughts 12/30/2019

 

“Don’t wait for something big to occur.  Start where you are, with what you have, and that will always lead you into something greater.”  ~~Mary Manin Morrissey

“Now, every time I witness a strong person I want to know: What darkness did you conquer in your story?  Mountains do not rise without earthquakes.”  Katherine MacKenett

“You can make positive deposits in your own economy every day by reading and listening to powerful, positive, life-changing content and by associating with encouraging and hope building people.”  ~~Zig Ziglar

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#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.

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Jean Kirkpatrick, Ph.D., our WFS founder, accepted and understood that she needed to make changes to her life in order to end the pain that she felt overwhelmed with.  Jean’s alcohol abuse was slowly taking away everything she cherished and valued, so she tried something different.  Through her pain, Women for Sobriety came to life.

It is fitting to begin the New Year with Statement #1.  For those new to sobriety and recovery, this Statement is the launching pad for a balanced New Life.  For those already embracing a life free from substance, Statement #1 is a powerful reminder of the process and the opportunity to reflect on the many changes you have made.

When starting a new job, hobby or lifestyle, various tools are needed in order to move forward.  The same is true with sobriety and recovery.  Looking ahead, each Monday Thoughts will now include a tool that will correlate with this week’s Statement.  This tool will be something to add to your supply of resourceful actions and strengthen your New Life insurance policy. If there is a sobriety and recovery tool that works for you and would like to share, please email me at karen@teamwfs.org  Here is our first tool of 2020!

Tool for Statement #1:

Create a 4 Point Sobriety Plan for when the urge to drink or use is triggered.  Write down at least 4 things that you will do BEFORE choosing to drink.  Such items on this list can be calling a 4C sister, asking for a chat on the WFS forum, reading the WFS Program booklet, removing yourself from people or situations, or journaling the drink all the way through to the pain. Always carry your list with you or post it in a visible area.  What will you put on your list?

Hugzzz and Happy New Year!

Karen

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Hi 4C Women,

Statement #1 has always been a strong reminder that I “once” had a problem and I have the capability to change that as long as I keep that single word “once” in my head.  It is a forward moving word to me.  The action part of this Statement reminds me that I am in charge “now” and accepting that responsibility when I feel triggered.  I love Karen’s idea of adding a recovery tool to the Monday Thoughts. I hope you will provide her with some of your coping tools that will certainly help others.

My coping tool is to reflect on the woman I once was.  I ask myself what would happen if I gave into my triggers.  How would it be to meet her again, to be her again?  I fought hard for her to become a 4C and courageous woman against tough odds.  The best way to not be her again is to have a working coping tool to leave her in the past where she can be at peace knowing the hard work brought emotional and spiritual growth where none existed before.  The best thing about coping tools is that they can change as we change and we can learn from each other.  When I reflect on the woman I use to be, I remember that when I quit drinking, I thought my world would be perfect, no problems, no issues – just a walk on the beach.   Well, to my chagrin, life not only presented some very tall challenges, I was now expected to be this wonderful problem-solving, great decision maker since drinking was the problem.  No inside changes needed as many who do not have an addiction believe.  Thank goodness for Statement 1 and the entire WFS program.  Drinking took away my clarity, reasoning and even wanting to try to change my life.  So, I had a choice.  Did I want a New Life?  Did I want to work at change?  The more I said yes to my New Life, the better equipped I was to handle life’s challenges without drinking.  Was it easy?  No.  Was it worth it?  Yes!  Life would present challenges whether or not I was drinking but, wow, what an esteem, confidence builder it is to make healthier choices and survive mistakes.  I encourage each of you to discover what it is you want in your life, what you need to discard and how you will manage to cope when it gets tough and to celebrate when it works out the way you hoped.

Bonded in building a New Life for the problem that “once” had you, your 4C sister

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Monday Thoughts 12/23/2019

“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.”  ~~ WFS Program booklet

“We all make mistakes, have struggles, and even regret things in our past.  But you are not your mistakes, you are not your struggles, and you are here NOW with the power to shape your day and your future.”  ~~Steve Maraboli

“All negativity is caused by an accumulation of psychological time and denial of the present.  Unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry—all forms of fear—are caused by too much future, and not enough presence.  Guilt, regret, resentment, grievances, sadness, bitterness, and all forms of non-forgiveness are caused by too much past, and not enough presence.”  ~~Eckhart Tolle

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#13 I am responsible for myself and for my actions.

I am in charge of my mind, my thoughts and my life.

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As the holidays approach this week, I would like to share a post from our beloved Nancy Cross:

 

The Holiday Season usually brings a busy travel season. I do hope none of you have booked (or are planning to book!) this trip.

The Guilt Trip

I had not really planned on taking a trip this time of year, and yet I found myself packing rather hurriedly. This trip was going to be unpleasant and I knew in advance that no real good would come of it. I’m talking about my annual “Guilt Trip.”

I got tickets to fly there on “Wish I Had” airlines. It was an extremely short flight. I got my baggage, which I could not check. I chose to carry it myself all the way. It was weighted down with a thousand memories of what might have been.
No one greeted me as I entered the terminal to the “Regret City” International Airport. I say international because people from all over the world come to this dismal town. As I checked into the “Last Resort” Hotel, I noticed that they would be hosting the year’s most important event, the “Annual Pity Party.” I wasn’t going to miss that great social occasion. Many of the town’s leading citizens would be there.

First, there would be the Done family, you know … Should Have, Would Have and Could Have. Then came the I Had family. You probably know old Wish and his clan. Of course, the Opportunities would be present, Missed and Lost. The biggest family would be the Yesterdays. There are far too many of them to count, but each one would have a very sad story to share. Then Shattered Dreams would surely make an appearance. And It’s Their Fault would regale us with stories (excuses) about how things had failed in his life, and each story would be loudly applauded by Don’t Blame ME} and I Couldn’t Help It.

Well, to make a long story short, I went to this depressing party knowing that there would be no real benefit in doing’ so. And, as usual, I became very depressed. But as I thought about all of the stories of failures brought back from the past, it occurred to me that all of this trip and subsequent “pity party” could be canceled by ME! I started to truly realize that I did not have to be there. I didn’t have to be depressed. One thing kepi going through my mind, I CAN’T CHANGE YESTERDAY, BUT I DO HAVE THE POWER TO MAKE TODAY A WONDERFUL DAY. I can be happy, joyous, fulfilled, encouraged, as well as encouraging.

Knowing this, I left the “City of Regret” immediately and left no forwarding address. Am I sorry for mistakes I’ve made in the past? YES! But there is no physical way to undo them. So, if you’re planning a trip back to the City of Regret, please cancel all your reservations now! Instead, take a trip to a place called “Starting Again.” I liked it so much that I have now taken up permanent residence there. My neighbors, the I Forgive Myself’s and the New Starts are so very helpful. By the way, you don’t have to carry around heavy baggage, because the load is lifted from your shoulders upon arrival.

If you can find it, please look me up. I live on “I Can Do It” Street. – Meg S.

Statement 13·1 am responsible for myself and for my actions.
I am in charge of MY mind, MY thoughts, and MY life.

EnJOY! Nancy

 

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Hi 4C Women,

I wrote my part of this message back in 2013 and when I looked at it again, I am struck by the fact that this message still speaks volumes to me.  With so many planning trips during the holiday season, this message is one of caution to make sure your travel plans do not include any place described in the Guilt Trip but creating plans to be in the city of Starting Again filled with Hope.

2013: Wow, did that trip sound way too familiar to me! I lived and visited all of those places way too often, especially the “It’s Their Fault” area of town. Thank goodness for WFS and therapy that helped me unload that useless baggage and move into the town of “Starting Again.” It is certainly a more pleasant place to reside and while I may visit the “City of Regret” every once in a while, (I’m only human), it will never be my permanent residence. Fortunately, my brief visits to the “City of Regret” actually helps me to once again realize how much harm was caused by living there and that healing from the past is where I need to be. Regrets can be a teaching tool rather than a beating myself up tool because the past CANNOT be changed and I refuse to victimize myself over and over again by packing those bags of guilt until they fall over on me. Working on positive change is the baggage I pack to stay in my new town of “Starting Again.” What’s in your baggage? Where are you residing today? What’s your plan to move from the “City of Regret” to the town of “Starting Again”?

Bonded in creating our own journey, your 4C Sister

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Monday Thoughts 12/16/2019

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”  ~T.S. Eliot

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.  You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror.  I can take the next thing that comes along.”  ~~Eleanor Roosevelt

“Real courage is when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.”  ~~Harper Lee

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#12 I am a competent woman and have much to give life.

This is what I am and I shall know it always.

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 A number of women I know include courage as the 5th ‘C’…. Capable, competent, caring, compassionate and courageous when describing themselves in their New Life.  It takes courage to live in sobriety and recovery, and Statement #12 in action enables endurance and spirit.

Feelings of guilt, shame or failure can run rampant in active addiction.  Yet paradoxically it is those small daily victories that over time compound and grow, blossoming into a sturdy foundation of ability.  I still recall and relish the thrill of marking off each month of sobriety that first year.

One of the ways that I have practiced Statement #12 is to challenge myself.  Whenever something felt scary or unsteady, instead of turning away, I moved closer to that fear.  I put my hands on my hips and stand tall, much like the Fearless Girl Statue who resides in Manhattan, or Superwoman.  In our WFS Program booklet, it states “First the thought, then the reality.  Believing you are a competent woman is giving life to life.”

Hugzzz

Karen

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Hi 4C Women,

I love the 5th C for courageous as I see each woman who walks through the doors for the first time to attend a meeting as extremely courageous.  I am also appreciating and feeling deep compassion for those who have suffered losses and still continue to work on or maintain their recovery.  I have 2 friends who have lost their adult children within the last 3 weeks.  My heart breaks and I am without the right words to express it fully.  Statement #12 for me is about the inner strength we possess and how we have each other to lean on in both joyful and sad times.  I couldn’t imagine being on this journey alone.  My soul is fed at each meeting as I am privileged to witness each woman’s willingness to care for each other, to build each other up and listen to each other while building their own self-esteem.

Statement #12 is also about accepting where we are right now, to persevere in moving forward with forgiveness, self-care, kindness and love.  It takes a lot of competency to recognize and acknowledge a need for personal change and then to follow through with practicing the WFS program.  I struggled at first to say “I am a competent woman” yet each time I said the words, it felt authentic and finally one day, I truly believed it.  Nancy Cross once wrote that when we run from our challenges, we kill our power.  We strangle our strength.  No more running or hiding.  We will survive and it will be with the support and encouragement of those who understand, without explanation.  Just as my friends are suffering greatly, my hope is that they will lean upon and find the beginnings of healing from the love and support of those who care.

Bonded in being 4 and 5C women together!  your WFS sister

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Autumn Update – WFS Newsletter

Autumn Update

December 2019

 

2019 Highlights

  • Launched customized new chat room for online chat meetings.
  • Modernized the WFS Online Community with new software.
  • Increased conference attendance by 20%.
  • Conducted outreach at three major national conferences for addictions professionals.
  • Launched new Friends of WFS software to streamline donor, volunteer, and event management.
  • Relocated office, downsizing to save on overhead and channel more funds to empowering women to overcome addiction.

WFS Office Relocation

In September 2019, after much sorting, organizing, purging, and packing, the WFS office completed its first move in over 35 years! Thanks in large part to outsourcing of our literature production tasks, we were able to downsize our square footage by half. This is part of an overall effort to decrease overhead so we can spend your generous donations where they really count – developing the New Life Program and empowering women to overcome addiction!

Our “new” building is a classic Quakertown structure that is being restored – check out those amazing original hardwood floors! Shown in the picture is our streamlined bookstore and shipping department, with a circle of chairs that we use to hold our weekly on-site WFS meetings.

Replay

Soberful Podcast
Listen as one of our 2019 conference featured presenters, Veronica Valli, interviews WFS President/CEO Adrienne Miller about the New Life Program.

Beyond Addiction Show
Go to Episode 32 for another in-depth interview with President/CEO Adrienne Miller about the New Life Program.

KYW Newsradio
Quick tips for navigating the holidays sober.

Personal Stories

From the WFS Blog

HOME AT LAST
…There is nothing special about me, I just realize the importance of putting in the effort to get what I want and what I am worthy of. Because of Women for Sobriety, I am doing what I dreamed of as a child and countless things I never would have dreamed of. Read More

NOTICING THE JOY
I recall feeling like I was going to lose my mind around my one year mark, but then SO MANY people told me that was absolutely normal. I recall the day that I realized that I didn’t know how many sober days I had accumulated… I actually had to count. I cried for the joy of that ~ it was my new normal and that day I knew I had found my New Life! Read More

 

New Meetings

Maplewood, MN: Wednesdays – 7 pm
For Licensed Healthcare Professionals Only

San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico: Wednesdays – 10:00 am

Everett, WA: Thursdays – 6:30 pm

Patterson, CA: Saturdays – 10:00 am

Chandler, AZ: Saturdays – 10:00 am

Albuquerque, NM: Wednesdays – 5:30 pm

Save the Date!

Auction Coordinator Needed!
Do you look forward to the annual fundraising auction at conference each year? Help us carry on the tradition by volunteering to coordinate the event! If you are interested in taking the lead on this vital fundraising project, please email admin@womenforsobriety.org today!

Call for Presentations Available
Learn more about being a conference presenter on our conference page.

 


 

What WFS Does

The WFS New Life Program is a self-help program that promotes behavioral changes through positive reinforcement, cognitive strategies, letting the body help and dynamic group involvement.

Women for Sobriety meetings, also frequently referred to as “face-to-face” groups, are available in the United States and Canada. WFS meetings are limited to women who are personally engaged in recovery from problematic drug and/or alcohol use.

WFS Online is a free, open forum for women overcoming their addictions using the New Life Program. WFS Online consists of a 24/7 message board, as well as online text chat meetings.

WFS provides Phone Support via women who have volunteered to be phone contacts for women who may not have access to other WFS peer support or who wish to develop a more individualized support relationship.

WFS hosts an Annual Weekend Conference. This retreat-style weekend offers workshops, presentations, and WFS meetings from Friday evening to mid-day Sunday.

Your year-end gift will allow WFS to continue providing services to women in recovery! Thank You!

Donate Now

 

Financial and other information about Women for Sobriety’s purpose, programs, and activities can be obtained by contacting WFS at PO Box 618, Quakertown, PA 18951; 215-536-8026; or contact@womenforsobriety.org, or for residents of the following states, as stated below. Registration in a state does not imply endorsement, approval, or recommendation of WFS by the state. CO: Secretary of State, 303-894-2860, www.sos.state.co.us/ re: Reg.No 20183006027. FL: CH53986 A COPY OF THE OFFICIAL REGISTRATION AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE DIVISION OF CONSUMER SERVICES BY CALLING TOLL-FREE (800-435-7352) WITHIN THE STATE. IL: Contracts and reports regarding WFS are on file with the Illinois Attorney General. MD: For the cost of postage and copies, from the Maryland Secretary of State. MI: MICS No.CS 58804. MS: The official registration and financial information of Women for Sobriety, Inc., can be obtained from the Mississippi Secretary of State’s office by calling 1-888-236-6167. NJ: INFORMATION FILED WITH THE ATTORNEY GENERAL CONCERNING THIS CHARITABLE SOLICITATION AND THE PERCENTAGE OF CONTRIBUTIONS RECEIVED BY THE CHARITY DURING THE LAST REPORTING PERIOD THAT WERE DEDICATED TO THE CHARITABLE PURPOSE MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY BY CALLING (973) 504-6588 AND IS AVAILABLE ON THE INTERNET AT http://www.state.nj.us/lps/ca/charfrm.htm. REGISTRATION WITH THE ATTORNEY GENERAL DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT. NC: Financial information about this organization and copy of its license are available from the State Solicitation Licensing Branch at 919-814-5400. NV: The state of incorporation of WFS is PA. PA: The official registration and financial information for WFS may be obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of State by calling toll-free, within Pennsylvania, 1-800-732-0999. WA: From the Charities Division, Office of the Secretary of State, State of Washington, Olympia, WA 98504-0422, 1-800-332-4483, or www.sos.wa.gov/charities. WV: West Virginia residents may obtain a summary of the registration and financial documents from the Secretary of State, State Capitol, Charleston, West Virginia 25305. CONTRIBUTIONS ARE DEDUCTIBLE FOR FEDERAL INCOME TAX PURPOSES IN ACCORDANCE WITH APPLICABLE LAW.

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Monday Thoughts 12/09/2019

“Enthusiasm is energy.”  ~~Lailah Gifty Akita

“Live your truth.  Express your love.  Share your enthusiasm.  Take actions towards your dreams.  Walk your talk.  Dance and sing to your music.  Embrace your blessings.  Make today worth remembering.”  ~~Steve Maraboli

“Enthusiasm is a supernatural serenity.”  ~~Henry David Thoreau
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#11 Enthusiasm is my daily exercise.

I treasure the moments of my New Life.
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The WFS New Life Program and especially Statement #11 have inspired me to live in enthusiasm and to be myself while doing it.  For years, I tried to be like everyone else.  From my thoughts, and ideas, to how I decorated my house, I tried to either please others or be like someone else.  Over time, I had smothered my authentic self and emptiness overwhelmed me. I then tried to fill that void with alcohol.

With a clean slate, recovery is an invitation to unleash wholeness and embrace life.  Statement #11 encourages self-evaluation and restores authenticity when practiced daily.  Initially, my feelings felt flat, but it became easier over time to identify even the briefest feelings of gratitude.  It began when I felt the excitement and enthusiasm of staying sober each day.

It is comforting to know that this Statement does not mean jumping off the wall enthusiasm.  It can be as simple as a nod of gratitude for the moment, or the hour.  Today, I feel enthusiastic whenever I draw or create, or am deeply connected to the moment.  Our founder, Jean Kirkpatrick, Ph. D, was deliberate in her use of the word ‘treasure’ in Statement #11.   This week take some time to reflect on your journey of enthusiasm and authenticity.  Do you see a connection between the two?  When was the last time you felt gentle enthusiasm?  When was the last time you felt overwhelming enthusiasm?  What do you treasure today?

Hugzzz

Karen

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Hi 4C Women,

The last time I felt enthusiastic was on Friday when I opened the mail and there was my ticket to the Reba McEntire concert.  I was so excited as I had waited online for a couple of hours in anticipation of buying a ticket.  Finally, the moment arrived and there were over 700 people ahead of me, but I was enthusiastically patient.  A lifelong desire realized!  I have also been enthusiastic decorating for Christmas.  Each snowman brings joy to my heart and a big smile.  Less enthusiastic is the fall I took on Tuesday, hitting the cement driveway while trying to open the flap of my hand truck so I could put a slightly heavy snowman onto my porch.  I went to the ER and while I still have a headache and toothache, I did not suffer a concussion, brain bleed or fractured skull.  So, for that, I am slightly enthusiastic and grateful.  Being grateful is a form of enthusiasm that I encourage everyone to embrace.  It can be, as Karen said, a smile, a nod or practicing/doing something that brings authentic joy.  Sometimes it is just getting back to the basics.  We’ve done an exercise in our f2f group that always makes me think of my sensory delights and to be in the moment when I experience them.

I love the taste of:

I love the sight of:

I love the feel of:

I love the smell of:

I love the sound of:

Answering these sensory questions may be just the spark needed to discover what brings a smile to your face, where you feel most creative, and how to achieve the joy of enthusiasm, meaning and living a balanced life on this recovery journey.    Bonded in learning to treasure the moments of your New Life, your 4C Sister

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Home At Last

It’s very character building. I’ve laughed through tears of frustration, screamed so loud in exasperation that my voice echoed off the walls and talked out loud to coach myself through it. I’m painting some rooms in my new home and I can’t believe how time-consuming this process has been. There was wallpaper that had to be removed which took a full day and then scrubbing the wallpaper paste which took another full day. Hunching over counters and wrangling the heaviest of appliances away from the wall ~ it’s been a workout physically and for my patience.

I FINALLY finished the first coat and, while it continues to dry,  I’m going outside to shovel for the second time today. I am a first-time homeowner and learning patience, faith, and determination every day. I LOVE MY NEW HOME. I never thought I’d want to “settle down” but one day at the end of July, I realized (actually the universe told me) it was time. The most perfect wonderful home was waiting for me and every day I marvel at how lucky I am. 


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

Safe in my bedroom are the notes for the event I’m co-hosting next week on our regional PBS station. It’s my debut on the channel and hopefully funding will be in place by the spring for a 13-part series that I will be co-producing.  Isn’t that the coolest? There are so many wonderful things happening to me, yet I honestly don’t even have much time to sit and think about them. I just keep saying “yes,” going about my daily routine and focusing on the tasks in front of me. 

My next door neighbor is an answer to a prayer that I hadn’t prayed. He’s about my age and willing to help with anything. He hauled all my leaves onto his trailer to take them out to the brush site, helped me get my lawn in order and I’ve consulted him on many other things. When he asked if I was going home for Thanksgiving (I am not close with my family), I told him,  “THIS is my beautiful home!” He seemed a bit horrified that I would be spending the holiday alone. But when I went inside after the conversation I wept tears of joy at the realization – I AM HOME!

I’m trying to stay cordial but not warm – I’m not interested in a relationship with him and I can tell he would be. The truth is – I’m not really interested in having a relationship with anyone right now. I have so much else to focus on and so much more to do. 

LIFE IS GOOD, life is calling to all of us to join in on its goodness.


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

I am enjoying every moment of my goodness because I have worked HARD to create this reality. I’ve spent years rewiring my thoughts and changing my behaviors. My work isn’t done because I keep accepting bigger challenges and I have even bigger dreams yet to realize. I could never ever give up my morning routine because it is what makes my life possible. There is nothing special about me, I just realize the importance of putting in the effort to get what I want and what I am worthy of. Because of Women for Sobriety, I am doing what I dreamed of as a child and countless things I never would have dreamed of. 

My life overflows with abundance and love! Sobriety isn’t about surviving or making do. Sobriety is about dreams coming true!

~running9bear

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Monday Thoughts 12/2/2019

“To the world you may be one person; but to one person you may be the world.”  ~~Dr. Seuss

“If only you could sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to the people you may never even dream of.  There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.”  ~~Fred Rogers

“You don’t love someone because they’re perfect, you love them in spite of the fact that they’re not.” ~~Jodi Picoult

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#10 All love given returns.

I am learning to know that I am loved.
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In our WFS Program booklet, Nancy Cross states, “All recovery roads lead to the ability to love and be loved.”  Statement #10, the second of the “Love” Statements is profoundly life changing.  It is an act of self-love to live every day sober.  It states that we are deserving and worthy of love.  It is connecting; being fully alive in living life.  This simple act of love that we give ourselves returns in unlimited ways.

What happens when love is freely shared?  Statement #10 asserts that it will be returned, not necessarily as a ‘this for that’ situation, but it does return.  This week is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the many ways love has been returned in your life; from a message or warm words in the WFS Forum or face to face meeting to the excitement of seeing dear friends at the next WFS Conference.

In your reflections on love this week, consider how love has evolved throughout your life. How would you describe what love feels like today?  How is this different in sobriety than beforehand?  Do you find it easier to give love than to receive it?  If so, why? and what can you do to create a greater sense of balance?  Finally, recall a moment when you felt awed by love in your life and carry this awareness close whenever you need a hug from within.

Hugzzz and love,

Karen
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Hi 4C Women,

Powerful, thought-provoking questions.  I am filled with gratitude to WFS that my answers today in recovery are quite different than they were in my active days of drinking.  I didn’t like myself very much although I pretended I was just fine.  Inside I was in a lot of emotional pain.  It sometimes still feels odd to acknowledge that I have learned to love myself and accept love from others.  I have always found it easier to give love and I have a feeling that might be true for many of us.  It’s difficult to accept love when you feel unlovable.  Most of my unlovable feelings stem from being rejected throughout much of my life by my biological father.  Then I married a man who was much like my father which I learned in therapy, was me trying to recreate history with a better outcome.  I needed to prove I was lovable.  Well, that didn’t work out as I had hoped but I sure tried my hardest.  What drew me to WFS was the philosophy that women drank for very different reasons than men and each Statement felt as though they were written just for me, telling me I wasn’t being silly, over emotional or too sensitive.  The greatest gift was that I wasn’t alone.  I would never have to figure all of this out on my own ever again.  So, describing love before WFS was living constantly in the fear of rejection and today, love is living with acceptance of loving who I am now and traveling this journey alongside caring, compassionate friends in sobriety.  The last question Karen asked us to consider, a moment of awe through love, brought to mind a very specific moment.  I am going to keep that moment in my heart during these very hectic holidays as I do believe it will bring balance when I need it most and logic, something that seems to escape me when the holiday rush begins to feel more like a hurricane.

Bonded in learning self-love, self-worth and receiving love in return, a 4C sister

 

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Monday Thoughts 11/25/2019

To heal a wound, you need to stop touching it.”  ~~unknown

“Moving on to the future without letting go of the past is like tying your arm to a post while catching a train.”  ~~anonymous

“Never regret.  If it’s good, it’s wonderful.  If it’s bad, it’s experience.”  ~~Victoria Holt

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#9 The past is gone forever.

No longer am I victimized by the past.  I am a new woman.

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Identifying and understanding attachment is the initial action into letting go of the past.  Statement #9 is a favorite for many women just for that reason.  I had no clue that clinging to the past was causing continuous unease.  Simply unaware of just how tightly I had been holding onto past ideas, situations, conclusions, and even material possessions, kept me stuck in the past.

Here is a small favorite Zen short from a book by Jon J. Muth which encompasses Statement #9 brilliantly:

Two traveling monks reached a town where there was a young woman waiting to step out of her sedan chair. The rains had made deep puddles and she couldn’t step across without spoiling her silken robes. She stood there, looking very cross and impatient. She was scolding her attendants. They had nowhere to place the packages they held for her, so they couldn’t help her across the puddle.

The younger monk noticed the woman, said nothing, and walked by. The older monk quickly picked her up and put her on his back, transported her across the water, and put her down on the other side. She didn’t thank the older monk, she just shoved him out of the way and departed.

As they continued on their way, the young monk was brooding and preoccupied. After several hours, unable to hold his silence, he spoke out. “That woman back there was very selfish and rude, but you picked her up on your back and carried her! Then she didn’t even thank you!

 “I set the woman down hours ago,” the older monk replied. “Why are you still carrying her?”

While this is a powerful little parable, it is important to understand that letting go or forgiving does not erase or eliminate what happened in the past, it simply offers a new perspective.  It is refreshing to let go and live your own story instead of being defined or held captive by the past.  This can be a helpful tool to practice this week if feelings of unease arise as the Thanksgiving holiday approaches.

Hugzzz

Karen

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Hi 4C Women.

I started looking through old photos and found myself staring into my past with both gratefulness and amazement.  Grateful for many of the joyful times I experienced and amazed that I made it through some excruciatingly difficult times.   After all these years, I understand that I was mostly angry at myself for my choices, leading me to hang onto regrets.  In order to heal from the past, I needed to first forgive myself.  Statement #9 was telling me that I hold the key to unlocking the pain of the past.  If I was to truly heal, I had a lot of work to do in learning to release the past, to forgive myself and find the lesson.  I initially disliked hearing that I had to see a lesson within the pain.  I was way too angry and if I let go of the pain, I’d had to face my part in my choices, take responsibility!  That didn’t work too well with my blame game. I realized that my anger, disappointment, loss, sense of powerlessness was no longer a protection from rejection or hurt but denying myself the ability to build healthy relationships and trust my instincts to make different choices.  If I didn’t find a way to heal, I would always be giving my power away.

I often look back on a message that Nancy Cross wrote about the heavy burden of carrying old baggage.  The baggage of envy, anger, sadness, regret, guilt, shame and so much more.  She expressed it so well when she said that when we find we have too much to carry, we look for a cart.  For her, that cart was her addiction.  The question that she posed was, “Do you know who packed your bags?”  We have a choice in sobriety to repack those bags, getting rid of the “shoulds”, the “cant’s” and “I wish I would haves.”  And while the hurtful past arises as a natural process, we have the choice to acknowledge it and let it “briefly” visit.  Then we make another choice to not be victimized by it, the action part of Statement #9.

Perhaps you can ask yourself as you reflect on the pain of the past, are you stronger for it?  Wiser?  More compassionate towards yourself for your ability to survive and make healthier choices?  Have the lessons gained from the past created inside changes that sustain you and honor you in the present?

Bonded in understanding that forgiveness means your present happiness is more important than your past suffering, a 4C sister

Posted on

Monday Thoughts 11/18/2019

“I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn.”  ~~Maya Angelou

“Your morning sets up the success of your day.  So many people wake up and immediately check text messages, emails, and social media.  I use my first hour awake for my morning routine of breakfast and meditation to prepare myself.”  ~~Caroline Ghosn

“The secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine.”  ~~Mike Murdock
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#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.
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Statement #8 can feel confusing at times, and it might be that one Statement that you’re not sure what to do with.  Sure, it’s easy to read or state out loud, yet action into this empowering Statement can feel uncertain at times.

Did you ever feel that you knew it all?  I did.  When graduating high school, it felt like once I crossed that stage with diploma in hand, life would be a piece of cake.  After all, I was now officially an adult.  Often or thinking that “I got this! ”..….yet I didn’t.  I didn’t know what I didn’t know.  Today, thanks to WFS and Statement #8, I understand differently and am open to growth. Every day is a new opportunity to learn.

Beginning each day with the mindset of growth as a result is empowering.  It removes the constrains of rigidity and know-it-all-isms.  It also took the heavy weight off me that I had placed on myself as well as what others had decided for me.  This was and still is incredibly freeing!  With growth as the object of life, as it states in our WFS Program booklet, “Emotional and spiritual growth is the essence of a New Life.”

Hugzzz

Karen
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Hi 4C Women,

I took part in a class that had Priorities as one of the topics.  As I listened and learned, I realized that this was something I wanted to share with the women in WFS.  I was fortunate to receive the printout from the woman who led this part of the class.  So, here are a few things I learned and hope they will be a guide in helping you determine your authentic priority in YOUR life:

We have the freedom and ability to make decisions about our lives and the direction in which we wish them to go. In other words, we can establish our own priorities.  We are not limited to reacting instinctively to our surroundings; we have the power to exercise control over our lives.  This is an incredible power and if we want to make the most of our lives, to realize our potential, we need to use it consciously and wisely.

What is a priority?

Simply put, a priority is something of leading importance in your life.

A priority is what you live for, what gives focus to your life.

A priority is the shaping value around which the rest of your life tends to be ordered, for better or worse.

A priority is whatever has first claim on your time, energy and resources.

A priority is something you consistently prefer to (or feel you must) do, have, worked toward, think about or spend money on.

A priority can be consciously chosen or It can be set for us by outside circumstances.

Now think about your priorities in general.  Which is your number one priority?  After you answer that, determine if it is an authentic priority.

Authentic priority is:

Consciously chosen

Gives your life purpose, direction and meaning

Gives you enthusiasm, energy and motivation

Frees you from the forces of circumstance, expectation and habit, giving you a way to stay on the course you’ve chosen

Is realistic and attainable as an unrealistic priority will lead to frustration and disappointment

To determine if your priority is authentic but not quite sure, answer these last 3 questions:
Time: What do I spend my time thinking about?

Money: How do I spend my money?

Energy: How do I spend my energy?

I thought about my priorities and these questions helped me so much in thinking about how I spend my time, what causes or people I support financially and where I spend most of my energy.  It all goes back, for me, to what an authentic priority is and answering those questions, was a real eye opener.  I hope you are able to give serious consideration to the questions and most importantly, to your answers.

Bonded is setting priorities that support your life’s purpose and meaning, a 4C sister