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Monday Thoughts 3/30/2020

“It’s good to do uncomfortable things; it’s weight-training for life.”  ~~Anne Lamott

“The day she let go of the things that were weighing her down, was the day she began to shine the brightest.”  ~~Katrina Mayer

 “It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.”  ~~Confucius
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#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.

_______________________________________________________________

In our current state of world events, it is critical for women in recovery to keep sobriety as our number one priority.  Yes, the daily, ever-changing news can invoke intense feelings of uncertainty, unease and fear but with Statement #1 in action we take charge of our lives and well-being.  We accept the responsibility.

Now is the perfect time to examine what your triggers might be.  Emotional triggers can change and evolve in our lifetimes, investigating what activates these feelings is essential.  When we identify what bothers us, we can take responsibility for our balance and well-being.  From Kerry Campbell, founder of the Academy of Well-Being:

“When we don’t recognize our triggers and our unhealthy reactions to them, it can lead us down a long, tortuous path.

Part of my recovering from a debilitating substance abuse problem involved understanding how triggers work and also learning healthier ways of responding to them. This is why now when I feel dismissed or rejected, I give voice to those emotions. I open my mouth and say, “You know, that hurt my feelings because…”

I have found that by giving my pain a voice, I no longer have to turn it inward upon myself and suppress it with alcohol. This helps keep me sober to this day.

Let’s go over a few other emotional trigger examples:

  • A person who felt ignored and dismissed growing up might start yelling whenever they feel they aren’t being heard.
  • A person who had emotionally unavailable parents (or partners) may get insecure whenever someone isn’t there for them.
  • A person who felt controlled in the past might get angry when they think they’re being told what to do.
  • A person who felt helpless for years might panic when they’re in a situation over which they have no control.

Do any of these emotional triggers resonate with you? Ask yourself, “How do I handle it when this occurs?” Many of us turn to food, alcohol, or other substances to dull our pain when faced with unresolved anger or other emotions.

A trigger is simply a stimulus that evokes upsetting feelings, which may lead to problematic behaviors. We all have triggers, and we all have unhealthy ways in which we deal with them. But we have the power to stop our automatic responses and re-route. The challenge is learning to identify our triggers and then recognizing them when they are happening.

“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” ~Viktor E. Frankl

Often, our triggers are experiences, situations, or stressors that unconsciously remind us of past traumas or emotional upsets. They “re-trigger” traumas in the form of overwhelming feelings of sadness, anxiety, or panic.

The brain forms an association between the trigger and your response to it, so that every time that thing happens again, you do the same behavioral response to it. This is because what fires together, wires together.

This means when neurons fire in the brain, they wire together the situation, emotions, and responses that caused that firing of the neurons in the first place. Sensory memory can also be extremely powerful, and sensory experiences associated with a traumatic event may be linked in the memory, causing an emotional reaction even before a person realizes why he or she is upset.

Habit formation also plays a strong role in triggering. People tend to do the same things in the same way. For example, a person who smokes might always smoke while he or she is driving; therefore, driving could trigger an urge to smoke, often without the smoker’s conscious thought.

Because our responses to triggers usually occur at the subconscious level, and we are completely unaware of the firing and wiring we have created, we are doomed to repeat self-destructive behaviors until we identify our triggers.

Once we know our triggers and begin to recognize them when they happen, we can see them for what they are—over-reactions to a perceived threat. Then, we can learn to respond in ways that are more life affirming, useful, and healthy for us.

There are two different types of reactions to triggers:

Emotional

We get stuck in negative emotions such as anger, sadness, or anxiety and react in extremely emotional ways—getting violent, yelling and screaming, withdrawing completely, etc.

Physical

We crave certain substances (food, sugar, alcohol, drugs, etc.) This happens because the emotional pain triggers our habitual way of indulging in some kind of physical activity that we are using to suppress the emotion or dull the pain.

When it comes to physical reactions, it helps me to create space by doing something else, for example, taking a walk.

For emotional reactions, it helps me to clearly communicate my feelings. Mostly I had to learn to understand my emotions, acknowledge them, and then give them a voice.

Instead of unconsciously reacting to a trigger/stimulus, you can learn to consciously respond to them by doing what I call The Trigger and Response Exercise.

Start by taking a sheet a paper and creating three columns. Title them: Trigger, Current Reaction, and New Response.

In the Trigger column, write each one of your triggers. You can think of these as things that “push your buttons.”

In the Current Reaction column, list how you normally react when this button is pushed.

In the New Response column, write what you could do as a conscious response instead of your normal knee-jerk reaction.

Below are a few examples:

Example 1

Trigger: When I feel that my spouse dismisses my comments or feelings about something

Current Reaction: I get angry and yell at him.

New Response: I’ll tell him my feelings were hurt.

Example 2

Trigger: When I feel insecure about my body

Current Reaction: I eat a bag of cookies.

New Response: I’ll go for a walk around the block.

Example 3

Trigger: When I get overwhelmed and stressed

Current Reaction: I binge drink.

New Response: I’ll practice deep breathing.

Now that you’ve written your list of triggers and changed how you’ll respond; you’ve got to learn to make these responses your habitual way of being.

Keep this list handy and use it as a guide. You can add new ways to manage your triggers as they come to you.

Don’t get discouraged if you falter, as it takes time to learn new ways of being. Just keep practicing them, until over time, they become your new habits. In this way, you are powerful in that you consciously own and choose how you respond to people, situations, and circumstances. You aren’t blindly reacting anymore.

Life is full of triggers, know this. But, also know you have the choice and the power to respond to those triggers in ways that are healthy and achieve better outcomes. In this way, you transform your life for good.”

These are excellent suggestions to practice Statement #1 while moving through our triggers and increasing our well-being.

Hugzzz

Karen

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Hi 4C Women,

Such great suggestions for learning healthy ways of coping in uncertain times.  It reminded me that it’s not enough to know our triggers but to have new ways of responding.  As Dr. Phil says, you have to replace an old habit with a new one.  It’s finding the new healthy one that requires introspection and a plan.  I was thinking of all the lists I have made over the years of what gives me joy and perhaps I need to incorporate those joys into my action plan. Of course, then there is the time I now have to clear out my office and closets but somehow those were not on my joyful lists!

I will say that I am grateful that we live in a day of technology where we can speak and see each other on many devices.  I grew up in a time of only landline phones, no face time, zoom or google meetings or echo devices. Heck, we didn’t even have computers, answering machines or more than 3 tv stations.  Yes, I am that old!   So, as we wait patiently or impatiently (depending on the moment), there are ways to cope as we uncover and discover those ways that are individually ours.  I wish for each of you to find your path and always remember that we are definitely in this together, supporting and encouraging when we have the strength to do so and to ask for it when we don’t.  Bonded in accepting the responsibility for our lives, Dee

 

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Monday Thoughts 3/23/2020

 

“The best way out is always through.”  ~~Robert Frost

‘Morning is an important time of day, because how you spend your morning can often tell you what kind of day you are going to have.”  ~~Lemony Snicket

“Of all the liars in the world, sometimes the worst are our own fears.”  ~~Rudyard Kipling
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#13 I am responsible for myself and for my actions.

I am in charge of my mind, my thoughts and my life.
_______________________________________________________________

Every day the news changes which can feel quite overwhelming.  Uncertainty can play into fear, and fear can play into our states of balance and awareness.  Statement #13 in action can alleviate some of that imbalance by shifting our thoughts and actions into what we can do instead of what we cannot do.

In our WFS Program booklet, it states, “Through the New Life Program, we learn we are competent women, trusting our ability to make decisions.  It teaches us to be in charge of our minds, our thoughts and our lives.”  Each day we trust ourselves to remain sober and to make decisions in life that propel us forward.  We are 4C women after all!

Being able to put aside fear or panic allows for responsibility as well as adaptability.  Shifting into what we can do during this time of uncertainty can fill us with feelings of control in what seems uncontrollable.  As we continue to shift our lives with every new day, look for and embrace what enlivens you; maybe it is time spent with children, family or pets, or maybe it is contemplating the solitude of a passing spring afternoon. Right now, your life in sobriety and recovery is an act of love, and more love is what we can use right now.

Statement #13 Tool:  Begin and respond to your day with what you can control.  You have many things that are in your control, beginning with your thoughts.  Feeling anxious?  Examine your thoughts and respond with care.  It’s quite easy to feel overwhelmed right now when watching the news so make sure you disconnect from the shows and plug into your mind.  Take a moment to sit by a window and focus on nature.  If you are able, sit outside and turn your face to the sun.  Breathe.  Be.  Reach out by adapting to virtual connections.  Together we will overcome!

Hugzzz

Karen
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Hi 4C Women,

So many thoughts going through my mind as I read Karen’s words of encouragement.  One thing I know is that I am grateful for my sobriety.  Mostly I am grateful that I have learned to make major changes through applying the 13 Statements over the years and while I am currently experiencing fear and some anxiety, I am also feeling hopeful.

This is a time of change when Statement #13 implores us to acknowledge and accept that we are in charge of our minds, thoughts, and lives.  There is fear in the world today and perhaps for the first time in a long while, we are not alone in this experience.  It is a collective feeling.  For me, that is the good news.  I don’t need to hide my fear, be silent about it.  The benefit is that when fear isn’t hidden, it creates an atmosphere of clarity in facing our challenges and allows for each of us to extend our caring, compassion and much needed support and reassurance to those around us as we understand these feelings from the depth of our hearts.  This shared spoken fear keeps our feelings authentic and that is a gift that supports us emotionally and spiritually.

It is said that people usually adapt one of 3 behavioral styles during times of change:  Victim, Survivor, Navigator.  I hope to be a Survivor and Navigator, finding my strengths, maintaining my sobriety, avoiding all or nothing thinking, being proactive in taking care of myself while still being available to those in need as I am able.

If you are feeling vulnerable, putting your recovery at risk, I strongly encourage you to seek help asap.  You are not alone.  Your work thus far means something – it means that you value yourself, you are worthy and deserving.  There are many coping tools that can help during this time.  Please reach out to a member of your group, the online community or a close, trusted friend or partner. Keep aware of your self-talk.  If you hear negative thoughts tumbling around in your mind, perhaps your positive self-talk can be that your sobriety/recovery is your guide in making healthy choices, that you are willing to keep moving forward even when it’s feeling so challenging, that you will seek help and provide help to others if you are able.  In other words, acknowledge your feelings, create a plan to work through them, reach out if you need support, make your hard earned sobriety/recovery a priority and perhaps write a letter to yourself as to what you have done so far in support of your sobriety, how much positive change has taken place and why it is of utmost importance to remain the 4C woman you have created through WFS, hard work, determination, courage and what a resilient woman you are because of it!

 

Dear ________________ (your name),

I am worthy and deserving of my sobriety/recovery because:

These are the actions I will take if I feel my recovery is at risk:

 Inline image

 (your name)

 

 

Bonded in being in charge and supporting each other with care and compassion, Dee

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WFS Policy & COVID Updates

Women for Sobriety

POLICY & COVID UPDATES

 

Dear Competent Women,

I know it’s been a tough week. No matter where you are in the world, I can’t imagine that you haven’t been touched in some way by the current pandemic. As always, WFS and a whole community of 4C women are here to support and encourage you.

Competent Women Getting Stuff Done

Here’s an update on our major service areas and how 4C women have been coming together to keep each other supported during this time:

  • Face-to-Face Meetings – Our Administrative Assistant III, Suz C., has created about 40 free G Suite accounts for our Certified Moderators to use so that their local communities can continue to stay connected during social distancing measures – thanks, Suz! The best thing about the meetings being hosted on Google Hangouts Meet is that women may choose to join by video or by phone, which is a great option for those who may not be comfortable with videoconferencing software. We have confirmation that approximately 40% of our in-person meetings are now meeting virtually. Wow! Thank you to our myriad Certified Moderators who are stepping out of their comfort zones in order to continue supporting their local communities.
  • WFS Online – Our peer-support forum at https://wfsonline.org continues to provide 24/7 support for any woman with an internet connection. The Certified Chat Leaders rallied this week and held the very first WFS Online Video Meeting on Friday – great job, CCLs! In addition to facilitated Video Meetings, the videoconferencing room is available for informal peer-support whenever a facilitated meeting is not being held. I will also be holding a new morning check-in meeting every weekday for a couple of weeks to help explore the new software. The “Great Start Girlfriends” will meet at 9 am Eastern/8 am Central/7 am Mountain/6 am Pacific M-F for half an hour from Monday, March 23rd to Friday, April 3rd. Join us at https://wfsonline.org for a brief pick-me-up to brighten your day!
  • WFS Bookstore – The state of Pennsylvania has ordered all non-life-sustaining businesses to close, but luckily this doesn’t include Electronic Shopping and Mail-Order Houses. This means the WFS online bookstore continues to operate, with shipping frequency slightly reduced to 2x weekly (from normal 3x weekly) due to decreased demand and to reduce travel of valued staff.
  • WFS Office – It is deeply important to me that we continue to empower women and not add to the growing number of laid off workers due to the current health crisis. I am so proud to say that no WFS staff have lost any income due to recent events – in fact, we are busier than ever implementing new solutions to keep women connected and supported during this time of increased need!
  • Annual Weekend Conference – The WFS Board of Directors has made the difficult but necessary decision to make some changes to conference plans this year. In the interest of everyone’s health and safety, we are postponing our physical event to 2021. I am currently in contact with Hamline University to negotiate rolling our current reservation over to next June – we appreciate everything the local Twin Cities community has done to prepare for the big event, and we want to honor their work by visiting next year. We will follow up again once the new dates are set. The Board also voted to waive the 10% Cancellation Processing Fee for women who already registered for 2020 and do not wish to roll their registration over to 2021 – please join me in extending my thanks to the board for their care and compassion of women who may be struggling financially in these uncertain times.
  • Virtual Conference 2020 – We know that many women need support, connection, and inspiration like never before, so we are still going to have conference 2020 but in a new way – virtually! We’re busy contacting our presenters, exploring software, and revising plans to bring the conference experience home to you. I’m optimistic that with a lower registration fee and no travel needed, we’ll be able to reach so many more women. The event will still be held the weekend of June 12-14, 2020, so keep it on your calendar! Please keep your eye on your inbox for more announcements as those plans develop.

Triple Your Donation with a Double Match

I was brought to tears yesterday when an angel donor pledged to match this year’s conference season donations 2-to-1 for up to $40,000 in matching funds! You read that right: for every $1 you donate, they will donate $2, effectively tripling your money. Please help us get the full $40,000 by reaching the $20,000 goal by June 14, 2020. As a bonus, receive an entry in our Teddy Bear & Bunny Drawing by making your donation through the Teddy Bear Challenge. This year, drawing winners will have the option of receiving the stuffed animal personally or donating it directly to someone in need who has been affected by the COVID pandemic. It’s a win, win, win!

DONATE NOW

Mr. Rogers’ Mom Said to Look for the Helpers

I realized last night that, for me, spotting helpers is not enough. I am comforted so much more when I am actively doing what I can to make things better. I’m challenging you, too, to take it one step further and be a helper. WFS needs you now more than ever!

  • Not struggling with your sobriety during this tough time? Great! Please rejoin your local f2f group (most are meeting online or by phone) or the WFS Online peer-support forum and lend your strength and knowledge to those that need it. You are a competent woman, and you have much to give your Sisters.
  • Comfortable with Zoom and/or virtual conference software? The Conference Management Team could really use your expertise as we work toward implementing our first ever virtual conference. Please email conference@womenforsobriety.org if you are interested.
  • Have at least one year of continuous sobriety? Help us expand our online peer-support services by volunteering to lead one of our new Video Meetings. Fill out the Volunteer Application and select 07. Certified Chat Leader. The software is easy to use and we are trying to pair up facilitators so one can run the meeting and one can run the tech.
  • Passionate about supporting the fiscal health of WFS? Join the ranks of bear & bunny creators or help promote the Teddy Bear Challenge and other conference season fundraising activities by emailing fundraising@womenforsobriety.org. Help us meet our 20k match goal!
  • Know something about digital literature or media publishing? With sales of physical items dropping dramatically, we are feeling a new urgency to support the organization by releasing our literature in downloadable formats. If you have experience with converting literature, workbooks, audio, or video materials for downloadable sales (Kindle, iTunes, e-Pub, etc.), please email admin@womenforsobriety.org.

A MESSAGE FROM BUNNY, PEER LEADER OF THE TBC WORKGROUP
It is not just about the money…
It is not just about the bears and the bunnies…It is a time of great concern over health and well being for all.

As you read this, the volunteers in WFS are responding with support for you. In posts on the WFS Forum, in Chat meetings, in their response to setup Video meetings in areas that have had to cancel face-to-face sessions.

Rest assured that you have an army of sisters you can reach out to… via the WFS Forum messages or phone or email. If you are having anxiety… take the leap and contact one of us or join a meeting! If you see this message, you can find us! We are Chat Leaders, Certified Moderators, WFS Board of Directors, Phone Support Volunteers, and sisters on the WFS Forum!

Take care of yourself and your family. When you have time, consider a donation to The Teddy Bear Challenge. Funding the services and tools that this volunteer army uses to help the WFS community, in part, comes from The Teddy Bear Challenge.

CLICK HERE to donate to the Teddy Bear Challenge

Hugs and Aloha,
BunnyH
bunny@womenforsobriety.org

Have a Listen

Check out the latest episode of the SoberSoul Recovery Podcast where Lynn Matti interviews yours truly (I still haven’t listened to it!) about WFS and the upcoming conference. It may be bittersweet hearing about the upcoming event which has now been postponed, but take comfort in the fact that Lynn has already agreed to join us at our Virtual Conference 2020!

A Friendly Reminder

Here are some resources put together by experts to help with difficult emotions during this time:

I send you all deep appreciation, care, and love as you move through recent challenges and maintain personal, emotional, and spiritual growth. Again, please join us on our online forum 24/7 or call the office at 215-536-8026 during business hours (9 am to 5 pm US Eastern, M-F) if you need support or encouragement, or to support and encourage others.

Bonded in Compassion,
Adrienne Miller
President/CEO
Women for Sobriety, Inc.

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Self-Imaging in Recovery – Free Webinar Tomorrow!

Stuck at home with social distancing? Hop on the phone and join WFS President/CEO as she delves deep into the topic of self-imaging in recovery.

Workshop Description: Due to the impact of addiction on multiple areas of life, many people with a substance use disorder feel a strong loss of identity when they try to make changes to their substance use. We will explore why this is so, and share some simple methods to help the recovering person redefine their self-image to one of an empowered, capable, and sober individual.

Date & Time: Wednesday, March 18, 2020, 1:00 – 2:00 pm ET

Presenter: Adrienne Miller, Women for Sobriety

Link to Seminar: cigna.com/substanceuse

Call-in number: US/CAN Toll Free: 1 (866) 770-3260    Int’l Toll: 1 (509) 844-9004

Read the handout [PDF]

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Monday Thoughts 3/16/2020

She remembered who she was and the game changed.”  ~~Lalah Deliah

“Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story from the one women are told.  I decided I was safe.  I was strong.  I was brave.  Nothing could vanquish me.  Insisting on this story was a form of mind control, but for the most part it worked.”  ~~Cheryl Strayed

“I can be changed by what happens to me.  But I refuse to be reduced by it.  ~~Maya Angelou


#12 I am a competent woman, and I have much to give life.

 This is what I am, and I shall know it always.


Everywhere you look it seems as if Covid-19 is taking over every conversation.  This can instill a sense of fear, especially of the unknown.  As our society takes measures to contain and continue on, Statement #12 can be effective in maintaining a sense of balance, strength and ability.

Statement #12 affirms that we are competent women.  Jean knew of our strengths; that we are fierce women and able to do what we set our mind to.  It begins with a daily repetition of “I am a competent woman.” These empowering words assist in focusing our minds and abilities. No matter the challenge we can rise to meet it.

You are encouraged to focus on self-care during this time of imbalance.  Pay attention to what you are feeling and takes steps to self-soothe in ways that instill hope, well-being and comfort.  Our WFS Online Forum is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  You can access it by clicking on the Community tab on our website or click here https://womenforsobriety.org/community/

Statement #12 Tool: Bring fear to the surface.  Is there something that you are afraid of?  Bring it out, whether on paper, on the phone or in person.  With our tech advances, it can feel uncomfortable to look someone straight in the eye and tell them about our fear.  Overcoming this fear begins with examining it under a microscope. Share with someone you are comfortable with. Dive deep into where it originates and be sure to take breaks from the news or social media and spend time outdoors.  Find a comfortable spot and inhale.  Smell the late winter winds or early spring breezes.  Connect with the moment and remember to savor each of your successes.  Here are additional resources:

Hugzzz

Karen
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Hi 4C Women,

Karen expressed so well how to redirect our fears in ways to create hope, well-being and comfort.  It is wise to take precautions yet it is important to develop a balance in order to utilize our competency to our best advantage.

The tool for bringing fear to the surface was something I have experienced in the WFS group.  I feel safe because I know I won’t be judged or told I “shouldn’t” have done that or what I “should” do now.   Sharing in a safe environment is sometimes all we need, to say it out loud, to give pause and consider why we made certain choices, and most importantly, to learn from our experiences.  This is true for both mistakes and successful outcomes.

A while back, I was reading Dr. Phil’s “Self-Matters” book and he had some insightful questions that reflect Statement #12:

I am best in situations that…

What keeps me going is …?

I changed the wording on this question a little bit to reflect more of Statement #12:

How do your thoughts and attitudes advance and protect your well-being?

Do your thoughts and beliefs get you what you want?

In order to practice and believe that you are a competent woman, I have found that questions which have a more positive slant, work best for me.  In the past, it was easy to expound on my faults and mistakes and quickly explain how my negative thoughts and beliefs somehow protected me.  To say what I was best in took forever to think of even one, yet alone, two things.  It also felt conceited, wrong and false to share out loud.    Again, practicing Statement #12 took me out of my comfort zone into finally acknowledging that I am good at many things, that my beliefs and thoughts can get me what I want.  It’s knowing what I want that changed my negative thoughts.  It’s hard to have a healthy recovery if I kept thinking I was unworthy, a nothing, invisible, unimportant to this world and definitely unlovable.  Those thoughts got me nowhere.  I wanted to be that competent woman who had much to give life. WFS got me on the road to healthy self-esteem, worthiness, self-respect and self-love.  Big lesson is that no matter where you begin this recovery journey, no matter your age, your history, it’s what you are willing to do to be that 4C woman that’s been there all along.  Rather than numbing your pain, running from fear, it’s the freedom of creating a New Life that tells you each and every day that you are a competent woman and have much to give life.  This is who you are and you shall know it always.  Love, Dee

WFS Annual Weekend Conference
June 12th – 14th, 2020
Hamline University
Saint Paul, MN
Pre-Conference Activities Begin June 11th

Registration Open Now!

2-night registration fees cover:
  • Friday & Saturday night lodging (except Day Pass)
  • 6 meals – Friday dinner through Sunday lunch at noon
  • 3 large group sessions
  • 4 breakout periods – choose from 16 amazing workshops
  • WFS meetings, icebreakers, informal activities, and workshops Thursday through Sunday
Residence Hall Lodging 2 nights Add Thursday night lodging
Double room** $275 +$50
Single room $350 +$70
Apartment Lodging  
Double room $350 +$70
Single room $430 +$90
Day Pass (No Lodging) $200 $220

Read more about lodging options, agenda, workshops, and more on the 2020 Conference webpage!

DON’T MISS .O’S WORKSHOP – FREE THIS YEAR
Love Can Change the Course of my World. Caring is all-important. – Friday Morning (9:00 a.m. to Noon)

We are all in need of healing! Television, Movies, News, Politics, Scandals in the Church, Climate Change, negative reinforcement abounds!!! Is healing even possible in a world that is so wounded? Because I choose to believe in miracles, I lean in the direction of “YES! Healing is possible!” The ability to receive and give love is an art form rooted in healing that is our birth-right. Together, we will practice sharing the vision of our hearts longing and uncover and discover the transformative power of self-love. As we learn to love ourselves, we heal from the inside out.

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WFS & COVID-19

Dear Competent Women,

I am writing today to address the current coronavirus pandemic and its implications for the services of Women for Sobriety, Inc. First and foremost, I wish to share my love and compassion for any difficult feelings you are experiencing in this uncertain time. My brother and his family live in China, and I am originally from Seattle, so all phases of this outbreak have hit incredibly close to my heart. All feelings, whether they are frustrated because you feel like this is all overblown, or fear for the health of yourself and/or loved ones, are valid. Indeed, I have probably felt them all myself over the past couple of months.

Here are some resources put together by experts to help with difficult emotions during this time:

The Women for Sobriety Board of Directors will be developing a more detailed policy response to the current outbreak at their regular meeting next week. In the meantime, the WFS office is making the following adaptations and recommendations related to our services:
  • Face-to-Face Meetings – Since WFS in-person meetings are held in a wide geographical area, there is no single recommendation at this time for whether or not local meetings should be continued. We refer to the competent women of each area to decide what is best for them, based on WHO and federal CDC recommendations, that of their local health authorities, and their own personal needs and health considerations. You may wish to contact the Certified Moderator in your area before making the drive to your local meeting. Please do not attend meetings if you are experiencing symptoms or have recently been exposed to someone who is sick.
  • WFS Online – Our online peer-support forum will continue to operate and be available to women 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at https://wfsonline.org. Online chat meetings will continue daily as scheduled. I am working with our online volunteers to expedite the implementation of online video meetings in light of recent events. Check in on the forum regularly as that project develops.
  • WFS Bookstore – WFS will continue to take online bookstore orders and fulfill them on schedule, unless local health authorities require the closure of local businesses or restrict local travel. I consider our life-saving work to be essential and I am committed to continuing to bring hope and New Life to the women seeking it.
  • WFS Office – Fortunately, WFS has made many updates to procedures that will allow most operations to continue through telecommuting by all employees. Emails and phones will continue to be answered during normal business hours.
  • WFS Annual Weekend Conference 2020 – Since the situation is rapidly-developing, it is uncertain what affect this might have on our annual event in June. The Conference Management Team is continuing to plan for the event, and we are also exploring a number of contingency plans. The Board of Directors will be evaluating special policy adaptations that may be indicated in this area.
I wish to extend caring and compassion to all as we navigate this health event. Please reach out via our online forum for support as needed, or call the office at 215-536-8026 during business hours (9 am to 5 pm US Eastern, M-F). You do not have to go through this alone.

Much Love to All,
Adrienne Miller
President/CEO
Women for Sobriety, Inc.

Posted on

New WFS Meeting – St. Louis, MO

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

St. Louis, MO

First Saturday of the Month at 9:00

Start Date: 3/7/2020

Please email 1116@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 3/9/2020

“I still get wildly enthusiastic about little things……I play with leaves, I skip down the street and run against the wind.”  ~~Leo Buscaglia

“The possibility of the dream gives strength.”  ~~Lailah Gifty Akita Pearls of Wisdom: Great Mind

“It’s faith in something and enthusiasm for something that makes a life worth living.”  ~~Oliver Wendall Holmes
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#11 Enthusiasm is my daily exercise.

I treasure the moments of my New Life.

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Early on my sobriety and recovery journey it was difficult to identify enthusiasm.  Everything felt flat, in fact, one of the first times being conscious of a lack of enthusiasm came when I was riding in a race car at 190 MPH.  With my helmet snuggly down on my head and my fire suit on, I knew something was missing.  I didn’t feel anything.  No excitement, no enthusiasm and no fear.

I wanted to feel enthusiastic; here I was, doing something on my bucket list.  Statement #11 in action helped my awareness and I began to look deeper into what I was feeling and when.  Daily writing in a journal helped me identify patterns and assisted me in finding simple joys and contentment.  I became aware that it was unrealistic to feel enthusiasm all the time.  (If every day were the 4th Of July, the meaning would be lost)

Statement #11 Tool: From our WFS Program booklet “How can you increase your enthusiasm today?  What energizes you naturally?  How can you enjoy what you currently have?

Pause at random times throughout the day and identify something to appreciate about that moment.  Learn which things make you smile and feel excited.  Reflect on your life and find things to be thankful for.”  (if you would like to share a tool that assists you with Statement #11, email karen@teamwfs.org

Hugzzz

Karen
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Hi 4C Women,

How challenging to create enthusiasm when you might be feeling flat.  I give Karen a lot of credit for acknowledging that something was missing and finding a way to change it.  I, too, struggle with Statement #11 at times.  What helped me was to practice being still and take in what was happening at that moment.  For me, that is what treasuring the “moments” of my New Life means to me.  I also see it in appreciating what I do have, especially loving and supporting friends, being able to take care of my responsibilities, being creative in decorating for the seasons (that’s when my pure joy and enthusiasm takes wings) and being proactive in standing up for myself and my beliefs.  There was a time when I lived in fear of speaking my voice.  WFS taught me to be strong and confident even when I didn’t actually believe it.  Practice helped and it created an enthusiasm for feeling authentic and free.

I have a list on how to create enthusiasm which I reflect on whenever I need a reminder that there is enthusiasm in my life.  It helped me in writing this message and I hope it will inspire you to make your own list of how enthusiasm shows up in your life.

Be passionate                                                     Be proactive

Be grateful                                                          Be reasonable

Be positive                                                          Be patient

Be proud                                                             Be enlightened

Be creative                                                          Be evolving

Bonded in creating enthusiasm in our daily lives, Dee

 

WFS Annual Weekend Conference
June 12th – 14th, 2020
Hamline University
Saint Paul, MN
Pre-Conference Activities Begin June 11th

Registration Open Now!

2-night registration fees cover:
  • Friday & Saturday night lodging (except Day Pass)
  • 6 meals – Friday dinner through Sunday lunch at noon
  • 3 large group sessions
  • 4 breakout periods – choose from 16 amazing workshops
  • WFS meetings, icebreakers, informal activities, and workshops Thursday through Sunday
Residence Hall Lodging 2 nights Add Thursday night lodging
Double room** $275 +$50
Single room $350 +$70
Apartment Lodging  
Double room $350 +$70
Single room $430 +$90
Day Pass (No Lodging) $200 $220


Read more about lodging options, agenda, workshops, and more on the 2020 Conference webpage!

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Monday Thoughts 3/2/2020

“The best thing to hold onto in life is each other.”  ~~Audrey Hepburn

“To be deeply loved, means a willingness to cut yourself wide open, exposing your vulnerabilities…hopes, hurts, fears and flaws.  Hiding behind the highlight reel of who you are, is the real you and that person is just as worthy of love.  There is nothing more terrifying or fulfilling, than complete love, it’s worth the risk…reach for it.”  ~~Jaeda DeWalt

“What we have once enjoyed we can never lose.  All that we love deeply becomes a part of us.”  ~~Helen Keller


#10   All love given returns.

I am learning to know that I am loved.


In our WFS Program booklet there is a beautiful quote from our beloved Nancy Cross (fourcwoman) that states “All recovery roads lead to the ability to love and be loved.”  While it is true that in active addiction it can be difficult to comprehend or experience love but with the continued practice of Statement #10 love can flourish in our sober New Life.

Last week was a shocking and difficult week for our family.  We suddenly lost my sister’s husband and as I waited for my flight, I recalled and cherished precious moments together, from their wedding just a few years ago to our most recent phone calls.  Instead of trying to fix anything, I sat in stillness with my sister.  Amid our family’s grief, love connected us along with all of the lives he touched.

Allowing ourselves to feel our vulnerability can be a way to extend feeling loved.  When we are open, the real woman we are is open and our authenticity shines.  We show we are human beings in need of love and that we are capable of loving another.  Embracing rawness and vulnerability, a certain contentment arises, allowing a portal for love to expand.

Statement #10 Tool:

Brene Brown, a vulnerability researcher and author of The Power of Vulnerability, (as well as TED talks and numerous other titles) encourages being with someone who is in pain, whether it be ourselves or a loved one.  Be with someone in their darkness and not “race to turn on the light so we feel better.”  This includes ourselves.  Be with uncomfortable emotions and experience each moment.  If you have a Statement #10 tool that you would like to share, email karen@teamwfs.org

Hugzzz
Karen

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Hi 4C Women,

Being vulnerable can be scary yet as Karen shared, it can open the way to authentically giving and feeling loved.  Another component of vulnerability is to accept ourselves where we are at this very moment.  Sometimes we put such restrictive boundaries on what we deem as lovable that we build a wall so high that when love is climbing up to meet us, we make it impossible for love to reach us.  Some people call it perfectionism.  We’ll be lovable enough if we always do the right thing, don’t ever make mistakes, let anybody down, say yes when we mean no, forgo our own happiness to please others – the list could go on and on.  Acceptance of who we are now does not mean we can’t embrace emotional and spiritual growth.  It means we accept there will be change and while that is the work to be done, we love ourselves along the journey.  All love given returns and perhaps it starts with loving ourselves and the gift we give to ourselves besides self-love is believing and knowing we are loved by others.

Bonded in knowing we can give love and are loved, Dee

WFS Annual Weekend Conference
June 12th – 14th, 2020
Hamline University
Saint Paul, MN
Pre-Conference Activities Begin June 11th

Registration Open Now!

2-night registration fees cover:
  • Friday & Saturday night lodging (except Day Pass)
  • 6 meals – Friday dinner through Sunday lunch at noon
  • 3 large group sessions
  • 4 breakout periods – choose from 16 amazing workshops
  • WFS meetings, icebreakers, informal activities, and workshops Thursday through Sunday

Read more about lodging options, agenda, workshops, and more on the 2020 Conference webpage!