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Monday Thoughts 1/27/2020

“She believed she could, so she did.” ~~Unknown

“The soul becomes dyed with the color of its thoughts.” ~~Marcus Aurelius

“You are today where your thoughts have brought you, you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you.”  ~~James Allen

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#5 I am what I think.

I am a capable, competent, caring, compassionate woman.

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Do your thoughts about your New Life reflect the life that you are living today? Our founder, Jean Kirkpatrick, Ph.D. used an empowering tool to create the life she desired; self-imaging. Self-imaging can help create the shift needed and it can begin with Statement #5.

Owning our thoughts can help pave the way to create a connected life. With 2020 being a year of envisioning for so many, it begins with our thoughts. Here is an article by Jean:

The Way it is

“WFS is a program of habit breaking and behavior modification through changed thinking. We live in our minds, in our thoughts. If our thoughts are poisonous, so too, will our actions be. If our thoughts are troubled, our actions are destructive to ourselves.

The WFS program is one of positivity, a program of positive imaging. As women, our greatest problem is the lack of a working self-image. We operate from an image given to us by our parents, or one parent, and then we operate from other images provided to us from other persons we are around. Because of this, the WFS program shows how to change into a positive way of imaging ourselves. Our keynote is: I am a competent, caring, compassionate woman.” And we literally think ourselves into this image and act from it.

We must begin to repair our opinion of self. We must view our good qualities and we must see ourselves as capable. Isn’t it strange that most women raise an entire family, yet see themselves as being incapable of doing anything?”

Statement #5 Tool: Self-imaging. Summarize your positive qualities. Define SMART goals; (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-based) Confront distortions in thinking, measure yourself with your own yardstick, accept and know you are adaptable and unique. If you would like to share a helpful tool for this Statement, email karen@teamwfs.org

What do you envision for yourself?

Hugzzz

Karen

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Hi 4C Women,

Before WFS, I gave away my power, my self-esteem, self-love to the opinions of others or should I say the “judgment” of others. Most times, it wasn’t even the truth. It was my own distorted definition of who I thought I was. It may have started in childhood, bolstered by other authority figures and unhealthy relationships yet the outcome was the same – I drank because I felt unworthy, unlovable, not enough and a list of negative images. I had no idea of how to change that until WFS and much needed therapy. I am beyond grateful for learning self-love, self-worth and self-respect with the WFS Statements.

I bought a book at the WFS conference years ago entitled “The Self-Esteem Companion” by Matthew McKay, PhD., Patrick Fanning, Carole Honeychurch and Catharine Sutker. I guess it takes a group of people to teach others how to raise their self-esteem. It has wonderful exercises that I use to this day.

This is a visualization exercise. I hope you’ll give it a try.

Sitting in a chair, quietly speak these words to yourself:

I am a human being. I’m worthwhile simply because I exist and try to survive. I take care of myself. I take myself seriously. I correctly take myself into consideration in all matters. I have legitimate needs and wants. I can choose what I need and want without having to justify it to anybody. I make choices, and I take responsibility for them. I always do my best. Each thought and action is the best I’m capable of at the time.

Because I’m human, I make mistakes. I accept my mistakes without blame or judgment. When I make a mistake, I try to learn from it. I am imperfect, and I forgive myself for my mistakes. I know that others are equally worthy, equally imperfect. I have compassion for them because they are engaged I the same struggle for survival that I am.

I think this is a very powerful exercise and for me, it brings hope to working through my struggles and a measure of peace as I continue my healing process.

Think of the 4 and sometimes 5 Cs. How would you answer these questions?

I am capable of:

I am competent in:

I am caring about:

I am compassionate about:

I express courage by:

Bonded in knowing we are 4C women! Dee

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Monday Thoughts 1/20/2020

“Life is ten percent what you experience and ninety percent how you respond to it.”  ~~Dorothy M. Neddermeyer, Ph.D.

“Often it’s the deepest pain which empowers you to grow into your highest self.”  ~~Karen Salmansohn

“Inner peace begins the moment you choose not to allow another person or event to control your emotions.”  ~~Pema Chodron
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#4 Problems bother me only to the degree I permit.

I now better understand my problems.  I do not permit problems to overwhelm me.
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Statement #4 is such an empowering asset in my New Life and has helped manage and solve problems when put into action. Yet, this past week, this Statement helped me see clearly, literally.  Recently I began having trouble seeing from my left eye.  After an exam from my regular optician, it was time to see a specialist.

In the past, problems overwhelmed me to the point of denial, running away or simple non-reaction.   Over time, with the practice of Statement #4 I have become more adept at dissecting problems and examining multiple options and following through. Much like an exercise or yoga practice, my problem-solving skills are strengthening and becoming more defined.

Now what the specialist told me could have sent me running for cover but thanks to Statement #4, I was able to understand the problem and embrace the solution without fear.  Well, way less fear! Turns out the solution is a monthly eye injection.  This is a small price to pay for such a vital facet of the amazing New Life I get to live today.

Statement #4 Tool:  Focus on the solution, not the problem.  The problem is what it is, and multiple solutions may be available.  In the case with my eyes, I focused on the solution; better vision as opposed on how to get there.  Yes, it has a large squeamish factor, but the end result far outweighs the path to get there.  If you have a tool that you use to practice Statement #4 and would like to share, please email karen@teamwfs.org.

Hugzzz and clarity,

Karen
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Hi 4C Women.

This Statement has been such a tremendous guide in determining when I have an issue that needs attention (problem-solving) or just worrying about everything which in the past was a distraction from trusting my gut instincts and being in charge of my life.  I once wrote that my past does not define me, it only tells me where I’ve been.  The same can be said of how I problem-solved in the past before I was ready to admit I hadn’t been willing to consider a different approach to a real issue.  I didn’t trust my gut instincts.  It took quite a while to take risks, to let go of the fear of making a wrong decision, to reach out for input and have more of a win-win attitude than a winner-loser approach.

I believe that words are powerful, especially the ones we say to ourselves.  I started using the word “concern” rather than worry.  I felt concern expressed how I was truly feeling about a person or situation that needed my attention if I was to grow emotionally and set boundaries.  This was especially true when it came to family as I was so fearful of rocking the boat, falling out and not knowing how to get back in in a healthy way.  I learned that when I cared more about healing a relationship or issue than the people involved, I was hurting myself and denying using my energy towards self-care.   It encouraged me to search and research solutions rather than wringing my hands in needless worry with no end in sight.  I also loved the message from Karen a few years ago when she shared that she temporarily changed the word, “problems” to “changes” in her self-talk which helped her move from reluctance to understanding her fear of change, seeing it as a wonderful opportunity for growth.  She shared that change is not the actual problem but her reluctance to change was and she used that knowledge to reflect on whether she was truly stuck or fighting change.  I have always seen WFS as a path to positive change.  Yet, even positive change can be a bit scary, especially in the beginning.  It is amazing to experience the difference of letting problems overwhelm us to understanding why and learning new problem-solving skills, choosing a different approach.  It is truly a New Life!

Here are some questions we have used in our group for Statement #4.

What are the consequences of NOT changing this situation or behavior?

What do I feel I have at stake in this situation?

What am I willing to let go of?

What benefit am I getting out of keeping things the same way?

Do I need to review the boundaries I have set and whether or not I am adhering to them?

Have I reached out to my support system for input, comfort and understanding?

Do I care more than the other person in this situation?  If I do, why and how can I practice more self-care?

Bonded in understanding, changing and trusting our instincts, Dee

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Monday Thoughts 1//13/2020

“You are made to thrive.”  ~~Karlee Fain

 “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor and some style.”  ~~Maya Angelou

 “Independence is happiness.”  ~~Susan B. Anthony

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#3 Happiness is a habit I am developing.

Happiness is created, not waited for.

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What does it feel like to thrive in your New Life?  To grow, to shine, to flourish?  For many women, it is a feeling of freedom that flows through a portal of sobriety and recovery.   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.”

Alcohol or drugs numb life out and prevent meaningful connection but that is behind us today. Practicing Statement #3 encourages self-reflection which in turn encourages actions towards creating our own happiness without a reliance on what others say or do.  This opens an avenue to create depth and meaning.

Just like the above quote from one of our positive and energetic keynote speakers from our WFS Conference, Karlee Fain: Make yourself thrive.  This week, challenge yourself to thrive each day.  It doesn’t have to be anything dramatic, just small, simple actions.  You are creating your happiness, your best self, your contentment.  Send a Statement #3 tool that work for you to karen@teamwfs.org for future use in our Monday Thoughts.

Statement #3 Tool: Identifying and employing boundaries.  Knowing what belongs to me and what does not aides in the ability to thrive.  For example, in a past, conflicted relationship, I shared exactly what I needed in order to move forward.  Essentially, this put the ball in their court.  To date, these needs have not been met, yet I feel content and at ease.  I stood up for myself and my needs and am no longer exposed to emotional abuse.

Hugzzz

Karen

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Today Though

This is HUGE for me – putting myself out here!  One thing you need to know is that I’m a secret addict. My husband knows, my mom knows and my dealer knows.  That’s about the extent of it. I was in control until I wasn’t. It’s been all downhill from there. 
I have tried to stop several times, and have been sober for short spurts, but then I fell right back into my old habits. Soon it had escalated beyond my control!  About a month ago I got serious because I knew my addiction was bigger than my willpower. I’ve been feeling great, like I was gaining control of my life, but today though … today is such a tough day for me. 
I don’t know why.  Nothing has triggered me. I haven’t had a fight with my hubby, nothing traumatic has happened. Today though … today is such a tough day. I knew these days would come; so far, I haven’t let the devil in my head take control.
Today though … today is such a tough day. I’m afraid I will slip.
Today though … today is such a tough day. I need someone to lean on.
Today though … today is such a tough day. I could easily text my dealer.
Today though … today is such a tough day. I have to reach out to someone.
Today though … today is such a tough day. I am not going to give in.
Today though … today is such a tough day. I need support.
Today though … today is such a tough day. I AM NOT GIVING IN! 
Today though … today is such a tough day. I could so easily give in.
Today though … today is such a tough day. I WILL get through this.
Because today though … this tough day is what will make me stronger. I will not allow my addiction to win.
Today … I stay sober.

Women for Sobriety (WFS) is an organization whose purpose is to help all women find their individual path to recovery through discovery of self, gained by sharing experiences, hopes and encouragement with other women in similar circumstances. We are an abstinence-based self-help program for women facing issues of alcohol or drug addiction. 
Our New Life Program acknowledges the very special needs women have in recovery – the need to nurture feelings of self-value and self-worth and the desire to discard feelings of guilt, shame, and humiliation.  WFS members live by the philosophy: “Release the past – plan for tomorrow – live for today.

~Zeta
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Monday Thoughts 1/6/2020

“The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.” ~~Plutarch

“To paraphrase several sages: Nobody can think and hit someone at the same time.” ~~ Susan Sontag

“Think for yourself and let others enjoy the privilege too.” ~~Voltaire

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#2 Negative thoughts destroy only myself.

My first conscious sober act is to reduce negativity in my life.

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Statement #2 in action is empowering in that it encourages independent thought. After years of being ruled by an alcohol fueled mind, today it is possible to think with clarity, directness and simplicity. The WFS New Life Program in action revives critical thinking skills and assists in altering future landscapes.

In order to examine thoughts, a conscious awareness of thoughts is needed first. Removing mind-altering substances clears the path towards clarity and healing of the mind. Continued practice of the WFS Statements fosters critical thinking skills and reduces negativity.

In our WFS Program booklet it states: “Our overcoming is in the exact proportion to our becoming.” This is one of my most favorite Jean-ism’s and has propelled me to question even the most basic of assumptions. In the past I assumed I could never live life without alcohol, yet this Statement helped me question and disown that belief system and set new, empowering beliefs.

Statement #2 tool:

It is important to understand that the goal of Statement #2 is NOT to not feel anger, sadness or pain, but rather to work through those feelings and release any suffering that may be attached. Understanding negativity in our lives enables the release.

Email your Statement #2 tools to karen@teamwfs.org for use in future Monday Thoughts

Hugzzz

Karen
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Hi 4C Women,

I believe one of the ways to reduce negativity is to keep hope alive. Over the years I have heard from so many women about the struggles they endured and always saw something that kept them going when it would have been easier to give up and give in. I truly believe that it was the foundation of hope, that they would make it through and in doing so, become resilient and grateful for turning their negative thoughts and responses around, knowing they could cope and grow emotionally stronger. Karen recently spoke about the 5th C – courage. It takes a lot of courage to walk through the storm, not around it, and come out with the increased knowledge and understanding that with hope and courage, you build a New Life you are so deserving of having.

Nancy wrote on Statement #2 about ways to be positive. Here is a shortened version:

1. Shift your thoughts. Think about something completely unrelated to break the pattern of automatic negative thoughts/responses.

2. Find the lesson.

3. Attitude of Gratitude. You cannot be angry and grateful at the same time.

4. Positive Affirmations & Visualization. Practice seeing yourself in a positive and confident light. Positive self-affirmations are another powerful tool. Recognize your gifts rather than finding false and self-imposed inadequacies.

5. Inventory of Memories. Memories that can immediately make you smile. Occasions where you felt happy, appreciative, cheerful and at peace. Whenever you are in a negative frame of mind, consciously and deliberately pick up any memory from this inventory and dwell on it. Reminiscing about those happy moments gives a balanced perspective to your situation. You realize that what appears negative today will change tomorrow. Nothing stays the same.

These are habits to be practiced. Start small, start paying attention to your emotions, start by wanting to change. Bonded in building hope and through the practice of reducing negativity, you will empower yourself to grow emotionally stronger each day, Dee