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New WFS Meeting – Elizabethton, TN

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

Elizabethton, TN

Fridays – 12:00 pm

Start Date: 4/26/2019

Please email 1089@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 4/22/2019

Monday Thoughts

“Either I will find a way or I will create a way; but I will not create an excuse.” ~~Anonymous

“Running away from a problem only increases the distance from the solution. The easiest way to escape from a problem is to solve it.” ~~Unknown

“When you first start off trying to solve a problem, the first solutions you come up with are very complex, and most people stop there. But if you keep going, and live with the problem and peel more layers of the onion off, you can often times arrive at some very elegant and simple solutions.” ~~Steve Jobs


Statement #4
Problems bother me only to the degree I permit.
I now better understand my problems.
I do not permit problems to overwhelm me.


Thinking about it, a solution is the last part of a problem. Sometimes they can be difficult to see at first, but as in the above quotes, solutions can be simple and not some extraordinary math conglomeration that needs a large whiteboard to be solved. Sobriety and recovery can be similar, the solution is to not do something, yet sometimes we can complicate the process in a number of ways.

Statement #4 is empowering. It conveys strength by stating the problem can only bother me to the degree I permit. It rests the responsibility right where it belongs. While no one can control their entire being, each of us are responsible for our reactions. Excuses are no longer needed. This is truly liberating!

Jean writes in our WFS Program Booklet “Learning that I didn’t have to react to everything with upsetting emotions was an important part of my recovery.” Instead of knee-jerk reactions, there are options. Instead of black and white rigidity, there are gray areas in-between. Have you been conditioned to respond in a certain way to a problem? What if you responded differently? How has Statement #4 helped on your journey of New Life?

Hugzzz
Karen


Hi 4C Women,

Before WFS, I saw most everything as a problem and immediately became overwhelmed. I complained, felt life was unfair and drank to avoid seeking any solution. I didn’t realize it at the time but I was unwilling to react in a proactive manner or consider that I was making a mountain out of a molehill. Everything felt like a disaster so when real issues arrived, I was completely unprepared to handle them. I was too busy worrying about the problem of my life when I could be the solution to my life. It was eye-opening to finally get it that I was able to understand my problems and actually learn problem-solving skills and decision-making when it was necessary. Not everything was an earth-shattering problem.

I learned something else along this journey – I am a competent woman and can usually handle 1-2 major concerns but even a competent woman can be overwhelmed when perhaps a 3rd or 4th concern arrives at the same time. It’s okay to be overwhelmed and even more okay to ask for help when needed. I am not the only 4C woman who has learned invaluable lessons from WFS. I have a whole sisterhood with life experiences, great ideas and love to help me in a time of need. What a gift and relief! It also helps to discern what is truly a concern or even a crisis or perhaps an ordinary problem that does not require my time, an immediate decision/response or, for that matter, any decision at all. Sometimes things have a way of working themselves out. It’s knowing if that’s the situation and that’s part of learning from your life experience as well as the input of others in a non-judgmental way.

I appreciate Karen’s questions and hope you feel encouraged to answer them in order to make full use of Statement #4 as you grow and learn about your strengths, wisdom and abilities.

Bonded in better understanding our problems, learning to seek help and becoming proactive decision-makers,

A beautiful 4C woman

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Organization Update – 4/19/19

Hello Competent Women!

Thanks for checking in! My apologies for being MIA – first I was in Florida at the ASAM conference, and then I got sick – again, ugh (I think I might be allergic to spring in PA). It’s late and I’ve been working on financials all day so I don’t have a lot of time, but I didn’t want to let you down 3 weeks in a row! So here is the whirlwind tour of what’s up at WFS:

ASAM Annual Conference

I had a great weekend with our Volunteer Coordinator Lisa – that’s her stuffing packets in our booth! (Sorry for the blur – I am terrible at taking pictures.) She picked things up so quickly and we were unstoppable telling all the addiction medicine specialists about our great program. They were very excited to hear about our free option for their patients and our extensive online support.

We also stood out for being abstinence-based but also medication-friendly. That’s right: for those of you who aren’t aware, WFS is somewhat unique in this way. We believe that addiction is tough enough to overcome, and if women and their doctors’ think medication will help, then by all means it should be used.

We gave away all 47 of the physician Professional Sample Kits that we brought, and got a mailing list of 25 more to send out.

WFS Annual Weekend Conference

For our own annual conference, Early Bird Registration closed strong with 89 registrants – that’s up 15% from last year’s Early Bird period. The number today is up to 102 – wow!

Those of you on our postal mailing list may have noticed on this year’s conference flyer that we mentioned that WFS is on the move. This year will be our last year at the beloved DeSales University. Now don’t worry, because we have a great place picked out for 2020. Keep an eye on your inbox for the big announcement!

I’m also very proud to report that we were able to offer a work scholarship to every woman that applied this year. That’s right, we’re bringing 14 women to conference who might not otherwise be able to attend. It helps them, it helps me because I have more hands on deck, and it helps everyone in WFS because we are stronger together!

Teddy Bear Challenge

We received our first 2 bears in the mail today! They will be lovingly stored until conference, when a drawing of all our Teddy Bear Challenge donors’ names will be completed and the bears re-homed. The latest totals are 52 donors and $6,530 donated – that’s almost as much as we raised in all of last year’s challenge, and we still have over a month left!

New Literature Coming

One of our office volunteers has been hard at work getting our new Men’s Collection formatted for printing. Thanks to the hard work of one of our Men for Sobriety groups at Above and Beyond Family Recovery Center in Chicago, IL, four of our seminal pieces have been adapted for men. These include the Program Booklet, the Beginner’s Booklet, the New Life Diary, and the Levels of Recovery. These great guys have truly gone above and beyond in this task. They didn’t just change the pronouns; they also provided some male-specific examples to make the material even more relevant. Let’s hear it for the boys!

Next up is our Reflections for Growth daily reader series. Part of our strategic plan is to outsource our production and fulfillment services. To accomplish this, we need to combine some of our smaller booklets into bigger pieces. Members of the Materials & Literature Management Team have been hard at work reviewing the daily reflection booklets and adding a Statement for each day. The edits are in, and now our trusty volunteer is formatting away. We can’t wait to premiere this updated work at this year’s conference!

 

Alright, folks, that’s it for me today. Please let me know what you think of these exciting changes and feel free to share your ideas on how we can bring the WFS to even more women! (And a few good men, too!)

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

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Monday Thoughts 4/15/2019

Monday Thoughts

“I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery—air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, ‘This is what it is to be happy.’” ~~Sylvia Plath

“For every minute you are angry, you lose sixty seconds of happiness.” ~~Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions.” ~~Dalai Lama


Statement #3
Happiness is habit I am developing.
Happiness is created, not waited for.


Before sobriety and New Life, happiness felt evasive and fleeting. Like a rare butterfly, happiness would land without any idea of how or why it came to be. Not knowing how to create happiness created feelings of lack and insufficiency, and alcohol came to be an easy solution to fill life with fun. It didn’t last.

Of course, over time, alcohol became the problem and not a solution to feeling happy. The practice of Statement #3 and embracing the WFS New Life Program creates a foundation for happiness to not only emerge but to flourish. In our WFS Program Booklet, Jean writes “Happiness never came to me until I learned the secret of making it for myself, of finding an inner glow that somehow made all other things right.”

Here are 4 avenues to assist in developing happiness:

  1. Define what happiness means to you: This is not your family/friends happiness, it’s yours. What does happiness feel/look like to you?
  2. Release expectations: Letting go of the “I should’s” and of strict time-frames……”I’ll be happy when (_______)” sets up an illusion of future happiness. Happiness is felt only in the present.
  3. Invest in experiences: Instead of collecting artifacts, collect experiences. (note to self here…been collecting an overabundance of art supplies”)
  4. List making/journal: Simply listing 3 good things each day can cement a positive outlook and change perspective.

What other ways help you to create happiness?

Hugzzz
Karen


Hi 4C Women,

I have a book on happiness titled, “Field Guide to Happiness” by Barbara Ann Kipfer. It is mostly comprised of lists, which I am inclined to use to keep me on track. There are 206 lists which is pretty overwhelming and when I first saw it, I thought this is not making me happy! However, I realize that as a previously unhappy person, sometimes there is a bit of work to be done for real change and it doesn’t have to happen immediately as we wish it could.

I’ve decided to choose a few in a shortened version and leave it up to each of you to decide what speaks to you in uncovering and discovering what happiness means to you and how to reach for it.

Happiest Moments/Situations List: It is helpful to reflect on happy moments and situations you have already experienced. This serves to remind you to be grateful. The list gives you a chance to remember important stories or people in your past as they define who you are in the present. You can gain tremendous insight into the person you are today. Open to the happiness of the list and expand your awareness of the overall themes involved. I like this one in particular when I am feeling sad and realize that I as look at the list, I have happy memory moments to be grateful for in my life.

Make a list of what makes you happy in your life roles: We wear so many hats in our hectic lives that just making a list with all the different roles we play will be enlightening. At first, I thought this was more like labeling which goes against my core beliefs. I realized as I started this list that I was smiling as I wrote the roles that bring happiness–being a moderator, volunteering, writing this message.

Make a list of the 5 most pleasurable experiences of your life: Then describe “one” and try to reawaken your feelings. I remember the pure joy I felt when I first saw my granddaughter. I can still feel it in my heart.

Describe your favorite songs and how they make you feel: Music stirs powerful emotions in all of us. Choose ten favorite songs. Are there events or people attached to them? Were you of a certain age? I went to a wedding last year and they asked me to write down what song would get me on the dance floor. My answer was “Sweet Home Alabama.” It was played and I danced. It was a happy moment that might be on the list of Happiest Moments.

Create an “Alter” on your desk or by your bed: Alter is just one word for a collection of family photos, trinkets or a vase of flowers. The idea is that the place where you work or spend a lot of time, should be cheering and inspirational. A desktop or bedside “alter” can help create a sense of calm. Stick to simple objects that are linked to a specific memory, belief or goal. What makes your collection in your intention, which can be as simple as your desire to return to the present moment and become aware of it each time you see your special collection. I alternate between different photos, quotes, special books I receive as gifts that bring a smile to my face each morning and evening. It truly is a gift of happiness to me.

Bonded in developing happiness,
A beautiful 4C woman.

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Monday Thoughts 4/8/2019

Monday Thoughts

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” ~~Maya Angelou

“Doubt yourself and you doubt everything you see. Judge yourself and you see judges everywhere. But if you listen to the sound of your own voice, you can rise about doubt and judgment. And you can see forever.” ~~Nancy Lopez

“Have you recently been through a challenge, disappointment, break up or disloyalty with somebody in your life? If so, it’s important after you’ve been hurt, to take some time to think like a lion tamer about your pain, so you can tame the possibility of more negativity coming back to bite you again!” ~~Karen Salmansohn


Statement #2
Negative thoughts destroy only myself.
My first conscious sober act is to reduce negativity in my life.


Statement #2 can sound impossible to put into action when feelings of doubt, sorrow or emotional turmoil appear but the WFS New Life Program can help relinquish negativity, embrace balance and growth while laying a foundation for a sense of contentment.

Our WFS Program Booklet states “Our overcoming is in exact proportion to our becoming.” How this is achieved is different for every woman, since each of us have different life experiences but the outcome is the same; overcoming equals becoming.

Identifying negativity is the first action towards employing Statement #2. Being able to recognize how, where, when and why negativity appears provides an avenue to overcome it. Notice there is no “who” in the previous list. While there may be a “who” factoring in the negativity, (he/she said/did/didn’t) the responsibility belongs where?  My first conscious sober act is to reduce negativity in my life.

What does negativity feel like in your life? Fear? Doubt? Anger? Guilt?

What small actions can you take today to reduce negativity?

Hugzzz
Karen


Hi 4C Women,

Negativity usually appears as anger or frustration for me. When I experience or see an injustice, I am angry. When I feel invisible, I feel angry. The difference is I have learned to be as proactive as possible so rather than staying in negativity, I work on creating an action plan. I also feel a huge difference between the foundation of negativity that I previously built my life on and the awareness now that deep negativity hurts myself, damages what could be healthy relationships and changes nothing unless I change my response and attitude.

It’s important to note that the statement says to “reduce” negativity. It’s an ongoing process as we learn about ourselves, change and grow. I don’t know if any of you have watched the show, Hoarders, but the one thing I have learned from that show is that the only way to change our thinking or behavior is to work through it ourselves, to take responsibility. If someone else does it, we still have the same thinking and behavior and will need to be rescued again. I use the word rescue because that is how I viewed my “blame everyone else” life. As long as they were all responsible for my miserable lot in life, I just sat back and waited for them to take care of me. That belief left no space or opportunity to grow and take charge.  I am not talking about supporting, caring or helping others because we all that need at times. Goodness knows I have been blessed to have that kind of loving support. I am talking about being so negative that no life lesson has a chance to break down the wall of negativity.

I am grateful to have discovered that blaming others, which I became very good at doing, damaged me more than anything. This doesn’t mean that others don’t impact our lives, hurt us and cause pain. For me, it means I have to learn how to react differently and let go of toxic people. I just don’t want me to be one of those toxic people that others want to let go of! Thank goodness for this life-changing Statement. It certainly became one that has made the biggest change/impact on my thinking, attitude and behavior.

Bonded together in building a positive, healthy outlook on our 4C life,
A beautiful 4C woman

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Monday Thoughts 4/01/2019

Monday Thoughts

“For many years before leaving on Safari, I carried the same old map around in my pocket. The map was torn and faded from so much use, but it was always there like a comfort to me when I needed to know where to go. The map had lands on it that might appear strange to some, but to others on our Safari, they are familiar places: The Republic of Resentment, the Nation of Negativity, the Icy Fjords of Fear, the Dark Seas of Self-Doubt, the atolls of Apathy. Numerous times I would tell myself that I wanted to journey to a different destination, but each time I pulled out that map, I wound up in the old familiar places.

“In a supreme act of faith, I began looking for a new map. One day, when I feared there were no more places to look, I saw a light on in a quiet little place and small sign said simply, WFS. The women were leaving on safari and said I was welcome to travel with them. But, in order to go, I had to surrender any maps I already had, as they would not serve me in the place I was going. I solemnly placed my map onto the warm fire and could see the ashes of the other maps that had been placed there…..it gave me courage. No one person had all of the pages, but together they were complete. I gathered together all that they have given me and, as if by magic, the separate pieces came together to form a single map. There were many choices of ways to go, but no matter which path I chose, they would all lead to the destinations I had been seeking: The Hallowed Hills of Happiness, the Estuaries of Enthusiasm, the Glaciers of Growth and Greatness and the Lands of Love.”

~~LC, An empowered 4C Woman


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


The quote this week came from a retired WFS pamphlet, the WFS Sobriety Safari Series which was submitted by Nancy Cross and compiled by many, many, incredible 4C women. Below, you will find each section that was used in the series. Feel free to discuss and answer the questions in each section. (slightly edited for space)

  1. Preparing for Departure:  We all came to a point where our addictions became an issue. What was it like for you? What prepared you to want to change your life? What will you take with you and what will you leave behind?
  2. Arriving in New Territory: What is it like as you touch down and land in this new place called Recovery? Why do we sometimes feel like we don’t fit and can’t understand the foreign language of love? What was the excitement/fear like for you?
  3. Exploration: Mapping Your Journey: How did you find you way around? What did you use to get and keep your bearings? Do you dare go out among the lions, tigers and unfamiliar territory without some advice or map?
  4. Obstacles & Unknown Dangers on the Recovery Trail: How will you respond to different obstacles in this new land? How will you respond to feelings of fear?
  5. Survival in the Wild: What tools do we need? How can we keep from being eaten or getting lost?
  6. From Darkness to Light: Sometimes the jungle is dark, or lands go on forever and we become tired. What keeps the sun at your back and hope in your heart on your sobriety safari?
  7. Treasures Discovered: What have you found? What will you carry forever? How will you decide what to keep and what to leave for others to discover and see?
  8. Understanding Our Discoveries:  What does this trip mean to you? How will your legacy be changed by your adventure here? What are you learning about yourself and the world you live in?
  9. Leaving a Trail for Future Travelers: How will people know where you have been? What legacy are you going to leave behind?
  10. Returning to Civilization: What can we do to fit ourselves back into the world from which we always tried to escape? How will our families, friends, and co-workers benefit from what we have learned on this sobriety journey?

Hugzzz

Karen


Hi 4C Women,

I have the pamphlet of the “Safari” series and used it at the WFS meeting a few years ago. The questions provided a great deal of discussion and a lot of personal insight was gained from sharing and uncovering our journeys in sobriety/recovery. My favorite question was from Chapter 9 regarding the legacy I am leaving behind.

It brought back the memory of a member in the group from several years ago who had one year’s sobriety when she sadly passed away from an undiagnosed heart problem. However, what she did in that one year was phenomenal. The legacy she left behind was one of resilience, courage, commitment, fearlessness, loyalty and a trusted wife, mother and friend.

That has stayed with me all these years and it has kept me grounded when the tough times have confronted me, as it does each of us. Amid the struggles, I keep that question in my mind – how will I be remembered? Even with the mistakes I’ve made, I hope I can show that I am learning from them, that I didn’t collapse completely and am still willing to learn more about my reasons for my current choices.

While I have remained sober, I know there is still emotional and spiritual growth that needs to take place. That’s okay with me because in my heart, that is the legacy I want to leave behind – that no matter what, I am willing to continue on this learning and healing journey.

I am feeling very melancholy today as I have been packing my daughter’s house and coming across so much wonderful history and realizing how much has changed. I yearn for those fun times yet that is not what today, this time, is bringing. While the tears flow, I am grateful for having those fond memories and always hopeful for better times ahead. This is what WFS has taught me and mostly that I am not alone and will make it through with the support, encouragement and love of my WFS sisters.

We are bonded together in taking responsibility for our lives and our well-being on this journey.

– A beautiful 4C Woman