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Organization Update 3/29/19

Hello Competent Women!

Quick post today to show you the beautiful full-color brochures that just came in this week. This is a real milestone for WFS. Can you believe that in over 40 years, WFS has never before had an official color brochure? I can’t wait to give these away to all the addiction doctor’s at next week’s outreach event, the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) National Conference.

Our office volunteers have done an amazing job helping me get ready for the event, stamping free copies of literature and preparing our special Professional Sample Kits as giveaways. Thanks, volunteers!

WFS Annual Weekend Conference

Conference plans continue to move along quite nicely. Don’t forget to register this weekend before the Early Bird registration period ends – automatically save $20 when you register before midnight (Eastern time) on Sunday night, 3/31/19!

Check back next week for a photo of our exhibit booth at ASAM!

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

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Monday Thoughts 3/25/2019

Monday Thoughts

“I like to think of ideas as potential energy. They’re really wonderful, but nothing will happen until we risk putting them into action.” ~~Mae Jemison

“The universe doesn’t give you what you ask for with your thoughts—it gives you what you demand with your actions.” ~~Steve Maraboli

“Have a bias toward action—let’s see something happen now. You can break that big plan into small steps and take the first step right away.” ~~Indira Gandhi


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


Statement #13 encourages responding with ability, but it is the taking of action that results in empowerment, confidence and stable sobriety. As the final Statement in the New Life Program, practicing this Statement everyday leads to enhanced recovery and feelings of a full 4C life.

Alcohol eliminates ability and zaps action. It is the opposite of taking charge and often leads to lowered self-esteem and worth when others come to the rescue or use enabling behaviors. Action, no matter how small, is movement towards dreams and goals. In our WFS Program Booklet it states, “The purpose of the New Life Program is self-acceptance and being responsible for ourselves and all that we do. By accepting responsibility, we can break away from unhealthy dependencies.”

  • Here are some ways to assist in taking charge of our lives.
  • Eliminate blame. This allows for a shift from victimhood to victor and enables change.
  • Be present. This moment is the only moment there is. Yesterday is gone, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet. Refuse to ruminate on what happened or what will happen.
  • Try and try again. Take any small action toward goals. Movement forward changes your energy and it can begin to snowball, increasing ability. Keep trying!

Own every thought, feeling and action. No one can make you think, feel or do anything.

Hugzzz
Karen


Hi 4C Women,

Such wonderful ways to work on being empowered, to be the “director” of our lives.

The most challenging one for me has always been that no one can make me think, feel or do anything. I certainly agree with that yet there are times when I find myself questioning my decisions, feeling enraged at an injustice to me or others I care about and every once in a while agreeing, when in my heart I do not. Here’s the good part – I am quickly aware of my reactions, responses and start doing a lot of introspective thinking about why and what can I do to correct the situation, if anything, but especially my feelings about it. Without WFS and the 13 Statements, I know none of this would be possible.

I wanted to share this because I believe we can be very hard on ourselves or fear we are back where we started when we feel we have failed or made a mistake. Nothing can be further from the truth. Whether it is one day or 30 years, we are not the same woman once we have started to make those authentic inside changes. Yes, there is always work to be done. That would be the case no matter where we are in overcoming our addictions because life is full of challenges yet remember we are full of positive changes. The more we are willing to learn, to trust ourselves, to work through the tough times, the more we can embrace the empowered, resilient, smart 4C women we are!

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

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Organization Update 3/22/19

Hello Competent Women!

Here’s this week’s happenings at WFS:

Teddy Bear Challenge

BunnyH shared that we are up to 28 bears being customized and donated to this year’s Teddy Bear Challenge drawing. But we only have 13 donors so far! I guess everyone is just going to get 2 bears each… unless you donate today! We are off to a great start financially with $2,600 of our $10,000 goal already collected. But what about the bears? BunnyH reminds us that we have…

  • 834 WFS Online members who have logged on to the forum in the last month and over 2,000 in the last 6 months.
  • 72 in-person WFS meetings across the US and Canada
  • 13 weekly chat meetings
  • over 100 WFS Online members who take the Daily Pledge to stay sober every day

She has challenged us to spread the word to find 100 donors. (Our most fruitful year of the Teddy Bear Challenge we had well over that many.) Will you help us get there?

American Society of Addiction Medicine

Our office volunteers have been hard at work this week helping me get ready for my upcoming trip to the ASAM national conference in early April. We are putting together some great Professional Sample Kits to hand out. These will contain sample literature and provider education articles to improve physician knowledge of what the New Life Program is all about. They will also contain a variety of outreach items like brochures, business cards, and bookmarks that the providers can give to their patients when they tell them about WFS.

If you are planning to attend the ASAM conference, please stop by booth 529 to get your goodies!

New Software

The WFS Board of Directors met this week and, among other things, approved another major software migration for WFS. NeonCRM is an all-inclusive software solution for non-profits. The things that it will be helping us with include donor and volunteer management, task automation, and event registration. My favorite part about it is that it will allow us to track service delivery at a level that we have never done before.

I know I am showing my true nerd colors (I consider “nerd” a compliment, don’t worry), but I can’t wait to get the new system implemented. It will make us much more efficient so we can focus our energy where it really counts – helping women! And it will help us demonstrate the effectiveness and growth of our program, too.

 

Well that’s all I have to report this week. Time for me to head off to a Management Team meeting!

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

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Monday Thoughts 3/18/2019

Monday Thoughts

“Believe in yourself. You are braver than you think, more talented than you know, and capable of more than you imagine.” ~~Roy T. Bennett

“The only person who can pull me down is myself and I’m not going to let myself pull me down anymore.” ~~C. Joybell C.

“Believe it can be done. When you believe something can be done, really believe, your mind will find the ways to do it. Believing a solution paves the way to solution.” ~~David J. Schwartz


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.


Years ago, a teacher told me, and my parents that I didn’t have what it takes to achieve the goals that I wanted. For a long time, those words echoed in my mind whenever I wished to try something. I usually quit before even getting started. Looking back, I lived down to those comments. Then I got sober and Statement #12 became my new mantra.

Alcohol and/or drugs crush the ability to think, be and overcome. Instead of feelings of competence, feelings of lack, insecurity and fear tend to take over. With the practice of Statement #12, a new history can begin to be constructed.

In our WFS Program Booklet it states “Begin each day with an unshakable belief in your own competency. First the thought, then the reality. Believing you are a competent woman is giving to life. Know you are a competent woman.” Here are some helpful questions related to Statement #12:

  1. What are your strengths? Make a list and continue to add to it.
  2. Review moments in your life in which you felt competent. What was the process and what did it feel like?
  3. Did someone in the past influence you negatively? Take charge and know you have much to give life.
  4. Set realistic goals. Be persistent in your pursuits and break down the process into manageable pieces. Think of eating an elephant one bite at at time.

 

Hugzzz
Karen


Hi 4C Women,

I, too, had a guidance counselor who told me I wasn’t college material at age 15. I accepted that definition and was convinced that I was stupid and had nothing to offer. I lived that lie for many years. Even when my former boss told me how she trusted me to handle things when she was on a business trip and how insightful I was, it didn’t compute in my mind that she may be right. It really wasn’t until I was in my mid 40s that I felt a glimmer of hope that I actually was competent, smart and had a lot to offer this world. I love how Karen says we can construct a new history. It is up to us to know our truth, not the lies we might tell ourselves based on another’s opinion or the guilt we are holding onto from our past that cannot be changed. What we can do is change our self-concept. In fact, I consider it our responsibility to do so and create a new uplifting, current and truthful mantra, one for the women we are today.

Dr. Phil talked about our 10 defining moments in his book “Self Matters.” I considered the one with my guidance counselor to be in the top ten as it changed or perhaps confirmed my low self-esteem definition of how I saw myself back then. A person in authority validated my erroneous definition of who I thought I was.

There were questions Dr. Phil posed for each defining moment and it was followed by asking the participant to identify the “before” and the “after” in their self-concept. It was enlightening to realize that while I clung to the negativity of that one moment, I learned through WFS and life experience, that I was in charge of rejecting that moment and creating a new one that was empowering. I also learned that the 10 defining moments can be positive ones as well. I remember my stepfather staying home with me when I was very ill as a grade school-er and teaching me to read with his great patience and love. Dr. Phil also said that we all need thousands of kind, loving and caring remarks to erase one hurtful, painful comment. This is why we repeat that we are competent women at our meetings until we believe it in our gut and why we need to wake up each morning with a positive mantra that highlights our remarkable selves as Statement 12 expresses.

What would be your mantra?

Bonded in being competent women and knowing it ALWAYS!
4C WFS Member

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Hello Happiness!

Image - Hello Happiness - smiley face

I am a sober woman and I am happy! There was a time in the not too distant past when I believed those two words – sober and happy – were mutually exclusive.  How would I ever socialize without my beloved wine? How could I relax after work, without sipping my cocktail? In my pre-sober mind, alcohol and happiness were so tightly linked that their connection held me hostage. I believed that I absolutely needed to drink to be happy. It was precisely that strong association between booze and happiness that prevented me from exploring a life without alcohol.

I spent years knowing that wine was not my friend, but my alcohol dependent brain was highly adept at overriding my sensible thoughts, assuring me that sobriety was boring, and that I’d never fit in without alcohol.  Sadly, I fell for those lies. For the most part, it was fear that kept me from even considering sobriety. We tend to make blanket judgments about the unknown, and I did just that with sobriety. I knocked it because it wasn’t glamorous, tsk tsk-ing those who declined alcohol, conjuring images of them grasping their brown bag bottles. Yet for many of us, substance dependency robs us of our health, our relationships and yes, even the simple happiness of everyday life.  

But can happiness really be synonymous with sobriety? Absolutely! Some experts suggest that people in recovery are happier than their non-alcoholic peers. According to Christopher Murray, a New York-based psychotherapist, “folks in recovery have learned to manage their emotions without reaching for a substance in order to let loose.” He suggests that our recovery work has taught us how to better access our feelings, including happiness, with greater ease. I would agree.

William Berry, a Psychology Today contributor, explains that recovery leads people down growth paths they might not otherwise travel. While personal discovery, emotional growth and supportive peers are available to everyone, he asserts that we in recovery deliberately expose ourselves to more opportunities for happiness. It’s a process of our recovery, and yes ~ our lives DO depend on it!

When I stopped drinking, I chose Women for Sobriety (WFS), an organization dedicated to helping women discover happiness in recovery from substance use disorders. The WFS  New Life Program has as its foundation thirteen Acceptance Statements. Unlike a step-based program that is hierarchical in nature, these statements may be applied to recovery as they are needed.  Embracing the Statements has helped me discover my true self. I have gained so much knowledge simply by sharing experiences, hopes and encouragement with other women who are walking in my shoes. Their advice, support and compassion make a difference in my recovery every single day! WFS helps me learn behaviors that enhance my happiness and well being, while at the same time, makes me feel empowered!   


Happiness is a habit I am developing.

Happiness is created, not waited for.
Acceptance  Statement 3

One of the WFS statements tells us that Happiness is created, not waited for, suggesting that happiness is ours for the making. Some think that we are either eternally happy, or that happiness is fleeting or elusive. They believe they will find happiness when they meet the right person, land the perfect job or find their forever home.  The New Life Program suggests that happiness springs from inner peace and contentment. It comes from within us ~ happiness becomes ours as we nurture it. Once I realized this, I decided that I wouldn’t wait for happiness to find me!  

I’ve discovered a new kind of happiness on my sober journey. Sometimes I experience happiness that is as sharp and crisp as the brightness of the sky on a cold winter morning, or the brilliance of the sun sparkling off freshly fallen snow. Happiness might also be cozy and soothing, like the easy smile that lights up my colleague’s face when I greet her in the morning, or the warmth of a familiar hug as I welcome an old friend. I find happiness in ordinary things like freshly laundered sheets or a hearty cup of homemade soup. I am mindful of happiness in everyday occurrences ~ waking with energy and anticipation to face the day ahead or simply appreciating the scent of freshly brewed coffee. Don’t even get me started about snuggling with my old pup!

The best happy moments are those that catch me unaware ~ like glimpsing a group of toddlers during story hour, or busting some killer moves on the dance floor ~ without a drop of social lubricant. I’m actually a much better dancer sober! There’s some subtlety in my newfound happiness, as if it’s always been there, but now I am the new addition to the equation. All of a sudden, I’m an active participant in my own life, gratefully aware of my happy surroundings. My body is happy, too ~ feeling the satisfying tension in my muscles after a great workout, or sensing the rhythmic pulse of my heartbeat while meditating.  I’m content and comfortable with the person I’m becoming. My sober happiness is normal, yet extraordinary!

If you’re a woman who suspects that you have a substance use disorder, but you worry that you won’t lead a happy life without alcohol or other substances, I hope I’ve given you something to consider. Recovery and happiness don’t live in separate hemispheres; in fact, it’s the genuine happiness I’ve come to know through my recovery that has fortified my sobriety. Yes, I’m sober, but I’m anything but somber! I encourage you to check out the WFS New Life Program!  Be assured that happiness is a habit you can develop!

This is the first in a new blog series sponsored by Women for Sobriety (WFS).  Your thoughts and ideas are important to us, so please take a moment to comment on this post.  What are some examples of happiness that you have discovered in your recovery?

Stay tuned for our next blog post to be submitted by another sober sister from Women for Sobriety.  

If there is a specific topic you would like to read about, please let us know!

If you enjoyed this post, please share by emailing it to a friend or sharing on social media:

 

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Organization Update – 3/15/19

Hello Competent Women!

Here’s just a few of the things that we have done this week.

Materials & Literature Management Team

The team met this week and reviewed our first ever Personal Stories category post. Yes, we are expanding this blog and trying to incorporate more of your voices! Who better to inspire women to start their journeys on the New Life path than the women who are already walking it? The post premiers tomorrow morning and shares our 2019 conference theme… how apropos!

We also delved further into plans for a new comprehensive WFS handbook/workbook. I put both words there because we couldn’t quite decide what it will be yet! Should we make one big, more comprehensive handbook that introduces WFS concepts and gives enough “meat” to really work through them? Or should we make one smaller handbook that introduces basic concepts, and then supplement that with additional, more involved workbooks for each Level of Recovery? Decisions, decisions!

We decided to look at what some of our peer organizations are offering, as well as our own extensive catalog of items, and circle back next month to make a more informed decision. What do you think? Tell us in the comments below! (Comments can be left with a pseudonym!)

WFS Annual Weekend Conference 2019

Registration is still going strong. Best news of all? We have collected $950 in Scholarship donations! We finalized some plans for the Silent Auction and the Paddle Raise, as well as the joyous surprise during the 11 am and 3:30 pm break periods on Saturday. I touched base with the volunteer who has agreed to design this year’s conference program, and another who has agreed to be my right hand women for the Joy of Transformation event – talk about #12 in action!

Office Volunteers

Now here are some very special women that I sometimes forget to mention here… my intrepid office volunteers! One woman stops by every Wednesday to help with cleaning, office tasks, and errands. She is so great and does everything I suggest to her with a smile! She has been coming for a little over a month now and is quickly becoming an important part of our team. Another regular office volunteer recently retired. Her work’s loss and our gain, I guess! She was here on Wednesday, too, and even treated us all to lunch. What a sweetie! And another 4C woman who has been with WFS for quite a while has been stopping by more lately, and has agreed to help with some computer tasks. How did I get so lucky?

Annual Report

You may not have noticed, but just today I posted WFS’s very first Annual Report! The Board of Directors has been so hard at work ensuring that this corporation is running smoothly and in line with best practices and legal guidelines. It is exciting to have this opportunity to brag on it! Now that we have our first report under our belt, we are sure that we will be able to continue this important practice in the future!

Don’t forget to share your thoughts on our handbook/workbook conundrum below!

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

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Monday Thoughts 3/11/2019

Monday Thoughts

“If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you, if the simple things of nature have a message that you understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive.” ~~Eleonora Duse

“Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.” ~~Greg Anderson

“When you start using senses you’ve neglected, your reward is to see the world with completely fresh eyes.” ~~Barbara Sher


Statement #11
Enthusiasm is my daily exercise.
I treasure the moments of my new life.


Not long ago, a friend shared with me that if you want to get good at playing the piano, you need to practice every day and don’t just rely on what you learn at the piano lesson. Applying this sentiment to sobriety and the WFS New Life Program helps put motion into the Statements. Instead of just reading the Statements every day or attending a face to face meeting or online chat, it becomes more about living the Statements each moment.

Putting life into the Statements each day is living with enthusiasm. Before sobriety it was easy, if not normal to push through the day in search of something else more colorful, interesting or exciting. While this is a way to move through each day, it eliminates the ability to “treasure the moments” of New Life.  Then, at the end of the day or week, an emptiness can settle in along with wondering “what on earth am I missing?”

Statement #11 in action is the answer for slowing down, experiencing and treasuring the moments in life. In our WFS Program Booklet, answering the three questions below can add fullness, motion and contentment to each day.

How can you increase your enthusiasm today?

What energizes you naturally?

How can you enjoy what you currently have?

Hugzzz
Karen


Hi 4C Women,

For me, the key word is “treasure.” I am extremely sentimental and have a difficult time letting go of so many things I treasure from my past to the present. There’s a lot about decluttering on the internet and one suggestion is to keep only items that give you joy. That presented a dilemma for me. For example, I just redecorated my Christmas tree to a Spring tree and I could feel myself smiling ear to ear as I put each ornament and creative item on the tree. Even the physical pain of carrying those heavy containers diminished as I pulled out each colorful Spring, bunny, chick, needlepoint item to display on the tree and in my living room. My daughter always asks why I go to so much trouble each season to change the decorations and it all comes down to joy. I couldn’t even begin to throw away any of these cherished, treasured, smile-producing items!

Enthusiasm, joy and treasuring moments is such a personal choice. It is more than words, it is a feeling with action propelling it. Think about the last time you were filled with enthusiasm. When you share that with others, it is amazing to discover the many diverse ways we feel and experience enthusiasm. It goes back to the awareness of the joy in our daily lives. When I reflect on my drinking days, I can now appreciate the simple yet powerful moments of enthusiasm that I am so aware of today, no matter how small. It’s a gift to be able to experience, acknowledge, treasure and be in that moment.

I encourage you to answer Karen’s questions along with when was the last time you were filled with enthusiasm?

Bonded together in enthusiasm,
4C WFS Member

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Organization Update – 3/8/19

Hello Competent Women!

Sorry, 4C women, I was out with the flu this week and most of my time since returning has been playing catch-up, but here are a couple tidbits for you:

WFS Annual Weekend Conference 2019

Registration opened with a boom with 30 women registered in the first week! I saw some familiar names and some new names on the list. My favorite part of this annual event is making real life connections with the amazing women of this program. We are a pretty awesome bunch.

Quite a few women have stepped up to volunteer to lead informal activities on Thursday and Friday before the official conference kicks off. Volunteers are also starting to step up to help with wake-up and wind-down activities. There are still a few slots left, so let us know if you want to coordinate a morning jog, evening meditation, or anything in between. Together, we are making this conference one to remember!

Also, I made some progress in my plans for a super fun surprise at the event… you will just have to show up to find out what it is!

Teddy Bear Challenge

Total collected so far is $1,190! Keep checking back on the WFS Online forum Everyday Living category for weekly updates and watch that fundraising thermometer fill up.

Cigna Webinar

Don’t forget to set a calendar reminder for Wednesday, March 20, 2019 at 1:00 pm EST for my webinar, Closing the Gender Gap: Women and Addictions. It used to be that men were significantly more likely than women to experience problems with drugs (including alcohol). However, these differences are quickly diminishing. We will explore how and why these numbers are changing, as well as how gender-specific needs of women can be addressed in recovery.

Attendance is by telephone, so no need for any fancy software! Simply call the number provided on the Cigna Substance Use Disorder web page.

 

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

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New WFS Meeting – Arlington, VA

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

Arlington, VA

Thursdays at 7 pm

Start Date: March 21rst

Please email 1087@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 3/4/2019

Monday Thoughts

“Our rewards in life will always be in the exact proportion to the amount of consideration we show toward others.” ~~Earl Nightingale

“To feel the love of people whom we love is a fire that feeds our life.” ~~Pablo Neruda

“A great relationship doesn’t happen because of the love you had in the beginning, but how well you continue building love until the end.” ~~unknown


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


Recently, a 4C woman shared how she alternates using the word “love” with “trust” when using Statement #10. This helps her move through the sometimes-difficult association that she has had with the word love. She explained that for her, love held negative connotations, especially emotional chaos, and the word trust helps her see and feel more clearly.

For some women, the second of the “Love Statements” can initially feel confusing and complex. In our WFS Program Booklet, Nancy Cross states, “All recovery roads lead to the ability to love and be loved.” Sobriety and recovery open a nourishing pathway for love to expand and foster meaningful relationships.

Statement #10 is not solely related to romantic relationships but can encompass any relationship as our Program Booklet notes. Many of us have more relationships than we imagine. At the core is a relationship with the self. Learning to know that love or even trust, is ours for the taking and can lay a mighty foundation for this empowering Statement.

Hugzzz
Karen


Hi 4C Women,

I have always felt that rebuilding trust with others and re-learning to trust our instincts were two important factors in creating healthy relationships in our sobriety/recovery. Being trustworthy is gained by our actions and our patience with ourselves as well as with others. For me, this is where I began to experience the love I yearned for. It went beyond my words, my desire to be loved – it was the action behind my words. No more broken promises that left me feeling alone and lost again. Most of the promises were those I made to myself, bargaining that if I did this, I wouldn’t do that anymore. It took quite a while to finally decide that I needed to keep those promises if I was to survive and then thrive.

As for all love given, I thought I was giving love unconditionally. What I learned is that my love was given in order to fill the huge gap of feeling needed, important, accepted and cherished. Through WFS and therapy, I realized that I had to give that to myself first. I had to fill that deep hole of emptiness. The difference is astounding. I give and feel authentic love. I truly believe that I am loved. It seems amazing at times to recognize and acknowledge it. And it doesn’t feel conceited as I was taught as a young person. It feels extraordinary and I am deeply grateful!

Dr. Phil wrote a book several years ago called Self Matters. One of the questions always stuck with me and it was—If I could learn anything, I would choose to learn…and today the answer would be Statement #10–All love given returns and I am learning to know that I am loved. How would you answer this question?

Bonded in knowing we are loved,
4C WFS Member