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Monday Thoughts 9/9/2019

Monday Thoughts

“Treasure the things about you that make you different and unique.” ~~Karen Kain

“A woman who expresses enthusiasm about whatever she is doing radiates an aura that makes persons in her presence feel good.” ~~Jean Kirkpatrick, Ph.D.

“Truth is the property of no individual but is the treasure of all men.” ~~Ralph Waldo Emerson


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


Traveling is a favorite activity and recently my new passport arrived in the mail. It was a moment of sheer exhilaration; it meant the door was open to anywhere in the world. I languished in that moment for what seemed like an eternity, savoring each turned page and wondering what stamp might reside there. I felt Statement #11 beaming from within.

In the past I was unable to embrace the joy of planning an adventure. I felt such a need to escape my daily life that getting away (whether with alcohol or an airplane) was more important than anything else. Just like with drinking, when I did arrive at a destination, I could barely enjoy myself since I was already dreading facing reality again.

Today, Statement #11 aides in a sort of mindfulness if you will, of the present moment. Being able to treasure or be in this moment, and the next fills life with living. It is just as fun to discover, decide and plan when being in the moment. Even when those moments are long gone, feelings of lack do not take up residence since it was enjoyed the first time. The adventure begins with a truth…. all those precious moments add up to one great experience; a lifetime of dynamic living.

Here are some questions from our WFS Program booklet on Statement #11:

  • How can you increase your enthusiasm today?
  • What energizes you naturally?
  • How can you enjoy what you currently have?

Hugzzz
Karen


Hi 4C Women,

I have been reflecting a bit on the past, looking through journals and WFS messages over the years. This helps me in recognizing how I have internalized the 13 Statements and what work I still need to do. Enthusiasm comes in spurts for me. A lot depends on what is happening in my life. While I have learned phenomenal coping skills in WFS, I have also learned that this recovery journey is not a straight line because life doesn’t work that way. For me, enthusiasm is more of a surprise and I love that. I have been in pain recently and that hinders my enthusiasm but I actually accept that and it’s okay for now. I still have those enthusiastic moments and it could be as simple as an email from someone I haven’t heard from in a while, catching up on what’s happening in their lives; a call from a friend that is a deep conversation scattered with a belly laugh or two; an unexpected card in the mail saying someone is thinking of me. All of that brings joy to my heart. It makes the pain or other challenges bearable. It’s a balance that I treasure. In looking over old messages regarding Statement 11, I came across two that couldn’t be further apart. I shared how I decided to make calls to friends on one Sunday after I experienced a youth service in church on “Where is the Love?” I also decided to call my daughter-in-law and ended up crying for a couple of hours from the hurtful things she said. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a date on the message and fortunately I don’t recall what she said that hurt me so much. They were married in 2011 so I’m sure it was in that year. Then I found a message that described the most wonderful moment with my granddaughter when she was 8 years old, visiting me in NJ. She asked me to dance while blowing bubbles. I hesitated but put the music on, twirling around and blowing bubbles all around the room. She started laughing and said, “I always knew there was a kid inside of you, Grandmom.” I learned in that moment to let go of hesitation and express childlike joy.

It is comforting to know that I can remember that moment and forgot the unkind words that hurt me. I choose to recall joyful moments as best I can and create more awareness of those enthusiastic ones that surprise and delight me!

A few questions regarding enthusiasm/joy:

  • What puts a smile on your face?
  • What do you find easy? (Fun leads to happiness and that leads to joy)
  • What sparks your creativity?
  • What would you do for free?
  • What do you like to talk about? (Ask your friends what topic makes your eyes brighten up)

Bonded in learning what brings enthusiasm/joy to our lives,
your 4C sister

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New WFS Meeting – San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico

WFS is proud to announce the start of a new face-to-face meeting!

San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico

Wednesdays – 10:00 am

Start Date: 10/16/19

Please email 1101@womenforsobriety.org with questions and to obtain the exact location of the meeting.

Please join us in extending our gratitude to the volunteer Certified Moderator who has made the commitment to bring the New Life Program to her local community!

If you are feeling inspired to bring WFS to your local community, please review the requirements for becoming a Certified Moderator and contact the Face-to-Face Management Team for assistance.

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New WFS Meeting – Everett, WA

WFS is proud to announce the start of a new face-to-face meeting!

Everett, WA

Thursdays – 6:30 pm

Start Date: 11/7/2019

Please email 1099@womenforsobriety.org with questions and to obtain the exact location of the meeting.

Please join us in extending our gratitude to the volunteer Certified Moderator who has made the commitment to bring the New Life Program to her local community!

If you are feeling inspired to bring WFS to your local community, please review the requirements for becoming a Certified Moderator and contact the Face-to-Face Management Team for assistance.

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Monday Thoughts 9/2/2019

Monday Thoughts

“True love has a habit of coming back.” ~~Unknown

“Life is an echo. What you send out, comes back. What you sow, you reap. What you give, you get. What you see in others, exists in you. Remember, life is an echo. It always gets back to you. So, give goodness.” ~~Zig Ziglar

“Love is the greatest refreshment in life.” ~~Pablo Picasso


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


The tiny acorns have begun to fall in the yard and on our home over last couple of weeks. Picking one up, I was struck at the depth and immenseness of this small seed. Planting this one acorn, it could grow into a majestic oak tree, bearing untold numbers of little acorns who again in turn, would bear more acorns. This reminded me of Statement #10; when I plant love, it blossoms again and again.

Addiction has a way of disconnecting our ability to love and be loved. Perceptions are clouded and confusing. Under the influence, what feels like love can often be disguised as enabling behaviors, and an act of actual love can often be perceived as hurtful. One example comes to mind; when my husband simply wanted to see fall colors on a drive, I went into an intense panic thinking I was secretly being taken to a rehab unit. This shows how distorted my thoughts had become.

Sobriety and Statement #10 in action gives power for love to grow and flourish. One act of love has the potential to grow into untold ripples of love. With continued practice, Statement #10 enables us to learn to know we are loved and challenge any thought that says otherwise.

What act of love will you plant today?

Hugzzz
Karen


Hi 4C Women,

It’s Labor Day and I’m thinking about self-care being a labor of love. While some of you might have the day off from work or not, learning to love others and knowing that we are loved is a job I highly recommend. For me, it took a lot of work to believe I was lovable. For many, our idea of love started with our families and then extended to the adults throughout our youth. Add to that, friendships that inspired us or hurt us if we felt left out, unaccepted. For some, these were painful times. Not everyone has the same experiences growing up yet there is a commonality that we chose alcohol or drugs to cope with life as an adult. That adds up to a lot of healing work.

As a young adult, I narrowly defined love as only romantic love. That left the door wide open to rejection which I had no coping skills to deal with it. I became full of self-loathing, feeling worthless and devastated. It took me a long time to realize that love is experienced in many ways and each is as valuable as any other.  WFS has taught me to take the risk of loving others, embracing love in all its many ways, letting go of the fear of rejection and accepting that I am loved. I believe that turn around happened when I finally learned to love myself and not depend on others to continually build my self-esteem. I felt a huge burden lifted from my shoulders when I finally understood that. I was in charge of loving myself enough to set boundaries, build healthy relationships and love me! This is another one of those times that I connect Statement #3, Happiness is created, not waited for and this Statement #10.  I’ve also heard and believe that hurt caused by others tends to be more about them and how they see the world. We unfortunately are the recipients of their unhealed and unresolved pain. That is another lesson I learned. We all bring our history into relationships and fortunately for us, we have the WFS program to teach us how to heal and bring a healthy person to the table.

Bonded in understanding all the ways to give and receive love and learning to believe we are loved,
your 4C sister

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Monday Thoughts 8/26/2019

Monday Thoughts

“When you let go of the things that no longer serve you, you make space for the things that do.”  ~~Unknown
“Letting go is even more important than adding.”  ~~Marie Kondo

“These mountains that you are carrying, you were only supposed to climb.”  ~~Najwa Zebian


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


For over a week, my daughter has been visiting.  We have had such fun adventures; quietly fishing on the pier, chatting endlessly about deep topics and paper crafting.  It has been time spent simply being together and enjoying our relationship, but it wasn’t always so.

In the past, alcohol influenced my behaviors and attitudes.  I emotionally hurt the ones I cared for and loved the most.  It was initially difficult to process the pain that I had inflicted, but as I owned my actions, I moved from feeling like a victim into the new woman that Statement #9 affirms.

Putting continued practice into Statement #9 enables everyone to move forward from the past and live today.  Here are 4 ways to put action into Statement #9.

  1. Make a commitment to let go: Realize and understand what you are holding onto.  Does it do you any good to maintain the pain?
  2. Express and own your hurts: Give the pain a portal to be released. Share it in an online or F2F WFS meeting, journal, do a physical activity (I pick up sticks in the yard) but give it an outlet as well as ownership.
  3. Let go of blame: Blame removes the ability to move through or change something by placing ownership with someone else and keeps us in victim mode. Choose to be a victor instead of a victim.
  4. Be present: You have been hurt in the past, but you are living today.  Embrace this moment with mindfulness. Examine where you are emotionally and physically.  Employ forgiveness; it is for your benefit.

Hugzzz
Karen


Hi 4C Women,

All of the tips Karen shared are powerful ways to go from victim to victor, from survivor of past hurt to thriver of a New Life. It took a long time for me to go from blame to acceptance of my role in past behavior/actions. What I learned by acknowledging my role is that it helped me to recognize the changes I needed to make. It put me in charge of “my” life changes so that I would have a healthier present and learn from my past, making choices that supported my well-being. It didn’t mean that I wasn’t hurt by the past, it just meant I would not dwell in it, especially since the persons who hurt me were not dwelling on how they hurt me. It was me keeping the chains of pain wrapped around my soul and mind. And the most powerful change was that I forgave myself. So often we work on forgiving others, which I feel is important to move forward, yet we forget how crucial it is to forgive ourselves.

As you move away from your role as victim, releasing the control and power the offending person and situation have had in your life, wishing you could change the circumstances, perhaps your role in that hurt, it will become clear how important Statement #9 is in changing how you view your past. No matter how much we may wish, history cannot be rewritten. However, we can now create a new history that is based on lessons learned, pain that is healed, nourishing of self-esteem, setting healthy boundaries, embracing the time and energy we can now devote to rebuilding self-love, self-worth, self-respect.

And remember, there are positive memories from the past. Choose to recall those when the hurtful past starts to tap you on the shoulder. Close your eyes and focus on even one precious, joyful past memory. Sort of combining Statement #2, Negative thoughts destroy only myself and Statement #9, The past is gone forever. Quite a powerful combination.

Bonded in the freedom that self-forgiveness provides in healing from the past!
your 4C Sister

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Noticing the Joy

‘When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,’ said Piglet at last, ‘what’s the first thing you say to yourself?’

‘What’s for breakfast?’ said Pooh. ‘What do you say, Piglet?’

‘I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?’ said Piglet.

Pooh nodded thoughtfully. ‘It’s the same thing,’ he said.”

                                                                                  — A. A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh

 

I have fond memories of reading Winnie the Pooh stories when I was young. What I love about Pooh, and the Hundred Acre Wood stories, is the childlike honesty they possess. There is no pretense except by Rabbit ~ but then, he represents adult behavior with all of its constraints. Eeyore, with his absolute lack of enthusiasm, is accepted by the others exactly as he is. I love that Tigger, as a newcomer and a troublemaker, is folded in with all of his faults and included as well.

Winnie the Pooh and his friends speak to the happiness, greatness, and especially the enthusiasm that we come to appreciate through our acceptance of Statements 3, 6, and 11. 

All of the (WFS) Acceptance Statements spoke to me in some way when I first found Women for Sobriety, but Statements 3, 6, and 11 were the least accessible for me as a newcomer. I did NOT feel happy, enthusiastic, or that life could be great again. I was at the bottom of a black hole. Frankly, the only statements I could easily grasp were Statements 1 and 2.  I clearly had a life threatening problem and negativity was rampant in my thinking. Whenever Statement 11 was discussed, I put on my sarcasm hat and participated with my tongue-in-cheek: “I will enthusiastically try to survive my cravings.” “I am enthusiastically trying to fix my failing marriage.”

My inner cynic was strong… and it took a long time to soften to the happiness/joy statements enough to begin to work on them. Even then, I had to focus on the very small. I found joy in a sunrise or the smell of the desert after rain. I found enthusiasm for Earth on walks with my dogs and in the silence and beauty of my surroundings. I’ll come back to the smell of freshly baked bread and how a beautiful loaf could put a smile on my face like nothing else. Waking up without shame ~ yes, I could embrace that enthusiastically, but I could not face the rest of my sober days with the same level of joy and acceptance until I finally turned the corner on what, how, and why I was doing this. 

My “sober firsts” were a mixed bag. I was in a good place on my birthday and on the 4th of July.  I did my first Wimbledon finals and birthday weekend without alcohol. It was just lovely. My first vacation was a nonstop struggle ~ I could see the beauty of the coastal Carolinas, but I could not feel it. My first sober holidays were filled with fear, but ultimately became full of pride for devising a plan and sticking to it. 

The first time I realized that someone didn’t like me, and I neither needed to change nor feel badly about it, was eye opening. 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!

The big events are easy to treasure. Who would argue with the birth of a first grandchild? But the small ones ~ the little stuff ~ well they are the yeast. They fill my life and lift it to voluminous proportions. I simply have to take the time to notice. 

I had an epiphany at about six months. I was walking my dogs in the desert where the sunrise is almost always glorious. I noticed that day that I was walking under pink clouds. I had been focused on the ground ~ rattlesnakes are real and some focus on the path in front of me is always necessary ~ but I had stopped to look around and take in the clouds. Sobriety is like that. The pink cloud is always there. I just have to pause and appreciate it. That is Statement 11 in a nutshell for me… noticing the joy.


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


Emily K.

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New WFS Meeting – Patterson, CA

WFS is proud to announce the start of a new face-to-face meeting!

Patterson, CA

Saturdays – 10:00 am

Start Date: 9/14/2019

Please email 1100@womenforsobriety.org with questions and to obtain the exact location of the meeting.

Please join us in extending our gratitude to the volunteer Certified Moderator who has made the commitment to bring the New Life Program to her local community!

If you are feeling inspired to bring WFS to your local community, please review the requirements for becoming a Certified Moderator and contact the Face-to-Face Management Team for assistance.

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New WFS Meeting – Chandler, AZ

WFS is proud to announce the start of a new face-to-face meeting!

Chandler, AZ

Saturdays – 10:00 am

Please email 1080@womenforsobriety.org with questions and to obtain the exact location of the meeting.

Please join us in extending our gratitude to the volunteer Certified Moderator who has made the commitment to bring the New Life Program to her local community!

If you are feeling inspired to bring WFS to your local community, please review the requirements for becoming a Certified Moderator and contact the Face-to-Face Management Team for assistance.

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Monday Thoughts 8/19/2019

Monday Thoughts

“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

 “Confidence isn’t thinking you are better than everyone else, it’s realizing that you have no reason to compare yourself to anyone else.” ~~Maryam Hasnaa

 “When I take good care of myself, it lifts my spirits, boosts my confidence, and makes me feel strong. When someone tries to throw me shade, it bounces right off. I look those haters straight in the eye, keep my chin up and shoulders back. Because I know I’m a fierce queen—and they know it too.” ~~Alyssa Edwards


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.


For years I lived life through a lens of comparison, which only fueled feelings of escapism and drinking. I hadn’t realized how limiting it was when looking at side by side accomplishments, physical appearances or abilities. Instead of measuring myself with my own yardstick, I fell short every time; it became a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Statement #8 is a deeply personal Statement; it focuses on individual growth. When creating the WFS Program, Jean understood that growth was an essential part of recovery. Learning who we are from our core to outside relationships assists in managing each aspect of life. It lays a healthy foundation of being.

Emotional and spiritual growth instills confidence in addition to each of our other 4C’s. By measuring ourselves with our own yardstick, we open a portal for self-assurance and satisfaction. Life can feel upbeat, instead of feeling beaten down with the continued practice of Statement #8. Here are a few ways to jump start this empowering Statement:

  1. Understand your strengths and weaknesses: Each of us crawled before we walked, so start where you are. Where do you excel? Where would you like to improve?
  2. Trust yourself: You can do anything that you set your mind to. If you fall short, understand you will get closer next time. Keep going.
  3. Step out of your comfort zone: Sure, our comfort zones feel safe and secure, but there is more out there. Being vulnerable opens unknown rewards. It’s worth the discomfort to get there.
  4. Receive positivity: Do you cringe when you receive a compliment? Embrace it instead. Try not to discredit praise when it comes your way. For the most part, each of us has earned the compliment, receive the gift that it is.

Hugzzz
Karen


Hi 4C Women,

I am learning that self-care is a top priority. Being a former extreme people pleaser, I usually was at the end of my priority list if I was on it at all. I realized that I actually love helping people. It is rewarding and brings me joy. What I also realize now is that I must balance that with taking care of me, putting me at the top of my priority list. That became evident with the recent chronic pain I have been having. I tried everything to relieve it and finally decided to go to a pain clinic to get an epidural/steroid shot in my spine, at the source of the pain. As I looked around the room, I saw so many people with that look of severe pain on their faces, in the way they walked (hobbled) around in the waiting room. I wondered how long it had taken them to be a priority. I am feeling so much better today and wished I had taken this step sooner. However, it brought me right back to how long it took me to realize that I was worth having a new life in recovery. More than not drinking but changing my priorities, my negativity, my way of handling life’s challenges – all of which I learned to do through the WFS Program. Statement #8 might have been one of the hardest to tackle because I had lost my emotional bearings and my spiritual life was non-existent. I felt empty. The longer I sat in the waiting room, the more I pondered how many women are denying themselves a new life, waiting for the right time to make the decision that they deserve to feel strength in their emotional and spiritual well-being. I guess the answer might be found in Karen’s 3rd question – to step out of our comfort zone, work through the pain of change to a life of emotional and spiritual growth. It is so worth the journey.

In 2008, Nancy Cross shared this from Volume III, “A Year of Sobering Thoughts” written by Jean Kirkpatrick. It focused on giving ourselves space to figure out how to make ourselves a priority: “When we give ourselves space, we give ourselves a chance to grow. Space can be a vacuum or it can be a growing place. Assess the time you give yourself. Is your space a vacuum or a growing place? Is it a time for you to think, to plan, to dream, to grow… to just simply be you? Make a time each day for growth!” All of this takes courage, being vulnerable, creating confidence, having faith in ourselves that we can do it, and most of all, learning to love ourselves as we are at this very moment, no judgment or comparing to others.

Bonded in making ourselves a priority,
your 4C sister

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Monday Thoughts 8/12/2019

Monday Thoughts

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

“There would be no need for love if perfection were possible. Love arises from our imperfection, from our being different and always in need of the forgiveness, encouragement and that missing half of ourselves that we are searching for, as the Greek myth tells us, in order to complete ourselves.” ~~Eugene Kennedy

“Imperfections are not inadequacies; they are reminders that we’re all in this together.” ~~Brene Brown


Statement #7
Love can change the course of my world.
Caring is all-important.


Being human means being imperfect. Imperfection offers a portal for love to flow and Statement #7 lays that foundation for love to flourish. It is a path paved with caring, expansion and change. In our WFS Program booklet it states, “Giving and receiving love can change our world. They change how we feel about ourselves—we feel increasingly alive, appreciated, important, necessary, wanted and worthy.”

Alcohol slowly invades the body and mind; beginning to eliminate the ability to understand and/or feel love. Under the influence, acts of love can feel uncertain and even threatening but this is simply an illusion. Sobriety and continuing recovery cement caring and understanding.

Statement #7 implores us to look within. What is underneath, and at your core? Are you able to embrace the woman who looks at you in the mirror? Do you see your strength? Do you feel your compassion? Are you able to provide self-care and know that you are worthy of love? How do you respond to your imperfections? What can you do differently to breathe additional life into this Statement?

Hugzzz
Karen


Hi 4C Women,

Years ago, I cared more about what others thought of me and very little about how I viewed myself. Perhaps that’s because I thought I was so unlovable that seeing myself as anything else seemed impossible. Drinking helped me to ignore the work I needed to do – as the saying goes, healing is an inside job. Once I started the process of healing, I not only learned to love myself but to also accept and believe that I was lovable. I was so fearful of rejection that I was the biggest rejector of them all! This is how I learned that love is probably the most powerful, life-changing feeling that can break down the highest wall that we think is protecting us. It is doing just the opposite. It is keeping us from experiencing the most wonderful part of any “healthy” relationship. Yes, healthy. It is an important factor in caring for ourselves and for others. My love relationship with myself was not a healthy one but a judgmental one. Authentic love brings forgiveness, peace and joy to ourselves and to those we trust and care for in our new lives.

What do you love about yourself? This is a time to abandon the idea that complimenting or praising your positive qualities/characteristics is conceited. That is an outdated sentiment, one I grew up with but realize is detrimental to self-love.

What do you value about yourself?

What are you holding onto that isn’t serving you anymore? Old resentments, regrets, people pleasing, saying yes when you mean no.

What do you need to be more at peace with yourself? Maybe it’s setting healthier boundaries or making changes to your self-care.

All of these questions deal with self-love and from that comes the ability to genuinely care about yourself and others.

Bonded in knowing that love can change the course of our world and practicing the importance of caring for ourselves and others,

a 4C Sister