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Monday Thoughts 9/30/2019

Monday Thoughts

“Never forget how far you’ve come. Everything you have gotten through. All the times you have pushed on even when you felt you couldn’t. All the mornings you got out of bed no matter how hard it was. All the times you wanted to give up but you got through another day. Never forget how much strength you have developed along the way.” ~~Tiny Buddha

“Change how you see and see how you change.” Zen proverb

“If you’re facing challenges, think of yourself as an ‘OVERCOMER.’ Make this your identity, that you’re the type of person who ‘OVERCOMES’ challenges.” ~~Karen Salmansohn


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.


Jean Kirkpatrick, Ph.D. often remarked about “white knuckling sobriety” and developed the WFS New Life Program’s 13 Statements of Acceptance to enjoy life in recovery while taking charge. Statement #1 in action enables a sober and balanced life.

On page 3 of the WFS Program Booklet, it states: Use the Acceptance Statements daily. Read them each morning, then choose one and practice it all day for a week. After that, select another and use it for a week. In time, the actions resulting from the use of these Statements will become automatic and your life will change for the better.” The simplicity of how to use the Statements insures manageability and ease of use.

Jean also encouraged daily meditation. In Goodbye Hangovers Hello Life, she wrote “Meditation need not be complicated. There are some complicated methods, if one wishes to delve into them, but the kind of meditation I found effective for me and others at this stage is merely to set aside twenty minutes each morning for absolute silence.” Today, with life filled with electronic gadgets and social media, those twenty minutes are like absolute gold.

How do you begin each new day?

Hugzzz
Karen


Hi 4C Women,

Statement #1 always reminds me of Independence Day. The day we celebrate freedom from our addiction and take charge of our lives. How do we begin this new journey of responsibility? It could be as simple as taking a new route home to avoid the urge to buy alcohol or as difficult as deciding you need to go to treatment. Whatever decisions you make to create a healthier, more joyful New Life, it is important to recognize that this is how we learn to let go of guilt and shame, to learn new ways of coping with all the challenges and obstacles that will occur in our lives. It is a beginning of empowering you to be the 4C Woman that’s always been there and most of all, to remember this is a process, not a giant leap! Be gentle with yourself as you go through the process.

  1. Where do you start? What’s your plan A, B or C?
  2. What changes have you already made? How challenging were they to make?
  3. What’s your greatest fear/stumbling block to change?
  4. Do you have a strong support system in place when you may start doubting your capabilities?

Bonded in accepting responsibility to be in charge of our lives and well-being,
your 4C sister

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New WFS Meeting – Maplewood, MN

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

Maplewood, MN

Wednesdays – 7 pm

Start Date: 10/02/2019

Please email 1103@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 9/23/2019

Monday Thoughts

“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.”  ~~Alice Walker

 “Incredible changes happen in your life when you decide to take control of what you do have power of instead of craving control over what you don’t.” ~~Steve Maraboli

“The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.”  ~~Ralph Waldo Emerson


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 offers continuing empowerment throughout New Life.  It is a natural extension of forward movement and aides in feelings of balance, contentment and strength.  Jean understood exactly how important progress is and developed the WFS New Life Program for life-long sobriety and recovery.

For some women, self-blame can feel overwhelming.  Releasing this destructive habit takes effort, and Statement #13 in action encourages empowerment.  Here are some effective ways to lessen self-blame by Maria Moraca:

  1. Re-frame how you question yourself. We all have patterns or tendencies, in how we communicate. In a tough situation, there is probably an automatic question or two that you usually ask yourself. When it pops up, write it down. It might be, “What did I do wrong?” or, “Why do I always eff up?” Ask yourself if you would ask someone you care about the same exact question. Chances are, the answer is no. Let that sink in.
  2. Change the question. How would you ask the question if it was directed at someone else? Pretend you are playing the role of trusted friend to someone you respect, love, and whom you hold in the highest regard. Would you have more compassion for their experience? Would you want to be supportive? Would you desire to assist them by being able to offer a more detached view? (Spoiler: Yes!) The new question you ask will depend on the situation. One that fits almost any experience is, simply, “What can I take from this?” I also like, “What do I want to learn from this?” which can remind us to consider in a more empowering direction. Also, “How do I want this to be different in the future?” can help us to formulate a plan to make that future happen.
  3. Now ask yourself that question. How does your altered question feel? Does it cause you to clench up, or do you begin hearing a litany of crappy internal dialogue? If so, change the question again. Keep changing it until you come up with a version that you’re comfortable hearing, that assists you in actually coming up with an introspective response.
  4. Remember, there is not one “right” way; there are just ways of being. I think many of us believe there is only one right way or one correct path. With this belief, there are many chances to consider that we are wrong or that we’ve failed. This is simply not the case!

There are many ways to do most tasks, just as there are many ways to live our lives. Having a difficult experience doesn’t mean we’ve done anything wrong; it means we are on a tougher road to learning, for the moment.

Opportunities are infinite; our options are boundless, and we always have the power to change our perspective on any life event, large or small.

We have just as much energy for self-compassion and exploration as we do for self-punishment. It’s up to us to direct it.

How do you shift the energy when you realize you’re beating yourself up?

Hugzzz
Karen


Hi 4C Women,

I love the part of this message when Karen says there are many ways to live our lives. Having a difficult experience doesn’t mean we’ve done anything wrong; it means we are on a tougher road to learning, for the moment.

It is amazing how many of those challenging experiences present themselves throughout our lives.  What I have learned from these WFS Statements is that even when I make a mistake, it is my choice to reflect and learn how I will handle it if it happens again and to forgive myself.  Beating myself up for a mistake achieves nothing but pain.  Learning from it is empowering.  This is what I cherish about WFS meetings.  We share our experiences and teach each other.   This is how we learn that we are in charge of our lives.  We make choices, gain insight and pick ourselves up and move forward.  We take responsibility and learn to trust our decision-making.  That’s empowerment!

Bonded in taking responsibility for meeting the challenges of life and becoming empowered,
your 4C sister

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Monday Thoughts 9/16/2019

Monday Thoughts

Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.”  ~~Zig Ziglar

“I’ve learned that fear limits you and your vision.  It serves as blinders to what may be just a few steps down the road for you.  The journey is valuable, but believing in your talents, your abilities and your self-worth can empower you to walk down and even brighter path.  Transforming fear into freedom—how great is that.”  ~~Amit Kalantri

“Ability means all of us finding our strengths and putting them to full use.”  ~~Kathleen Wynne


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.


This week in our face to face group, we had a wonderful discussion about the Statements.  One of the comments made was that the WFS Statements give us permission to do and be who we are. Being able to acknowledge and accept oneself encourages growth and ability.  Every single person has a different ability and no one individual can do everything.

Before my New Life, I tried to do it all and failed at everything.  Instead of living in my strengths and reaching out for help when I needed it, I became overwhelmed and remained stuck.  This shook my core and I lost self-worth and esteem.

The continued practice of Statement #12 insures healthy awareness with continuing education.  We learn about where our strengths are and where more attention can be paid.  Affirming our ability, we move into feeling value and feeling secure.

How do you insert effort into Statement #12?

Hugzzz
Karen


Hi 4C Women,

Statement #12 for me is all about self-esteem, believing in ourselves and having confidence that when we say we are competent women, those words are our truth.  Last year I listed 3 questions and I’d like to list them again.  I always ask women in the group to date anything they write about.  For me, it helps to see how much personal growth I have obtained and what additional work I need to do to gain the strength, insight and courage I desire.

  • I am worthwhile because…
  • I deserve …
  • I practice Statement #12 by doing …

Part of gaining competence is the willingness to change and here are 3 additional questions:

  • Do I purposely take action to promote my own well-being?
  • Am I truly open to new ideas/change?
  • Do I make my own decisions or do I allow other people to direct the course of my life? That last question was how I lived my life before WFS. I depended on my ex and those who intimated me to make my life choices. Drinking quieted the noise in my head that nagged at me to speak my voice yet I thought I was inadequate so who was I to give my opinion, my ideas, my differing thoughts? Karen wrote a powerful message a while back and it has stayed with me: “Fighting for myself instead of against, feelings of competency emerged.”

We are bonded in fighting for ourselves to be the competent woman we really are and believing in our hearts that we have much to give life and ourselves!
Your 4C sister

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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