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Monday Thoughts 5/25/2020

“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.”  ~~Maya Angelou

“Life goes on….whether you choose to move and take a chance in the unknown.  Or stay behind, locked in the past, thinking of what could’ve been.”  ~~Stephanie Smith

“I’m beginning to suspect that the second half of life is about learning to let go of everything I feverishly collected over the first half that wasn’t loving or human.”  ~~Michael Xavier

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#9 The past is gone forever.

No longer am I victimized by the past.

 I am a new woman.
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Statement #9 is a favorite for many women, myself and Dee included. Leaving the past in the past yet learning from it is an essential tool in sobriety and recovery. There is a freedom in letting go of what was to embrace what is.  Clarity, ease, and contentment can be just some of the results of practicing this empowering Statement.

Letting go begins with awareness of holding on, and this is why Statement #9 touched me so deeply when reading those words for the first time. I was simply unaware of the tight grip towards the past.  Longing for different outcomes, stuck in regret and the lack of forgiveness towards myself created an ideal situation for escapism.  Statement #9 in action changes that.

Years ago, sitting in a WFS face to face meeting, I shared the overwhelming sadness felt regarding the relationship with my adult daughter.  One woman shared one simple thought; no matter what the past held, she was my daughter and nothing would change that. It was so simple, yet this moment still feels electric years later—in a flash I grasped this fact while dropping the heavy, emotional baggage I had clung to for so long.  Immediately, relief, joy and hope settled in while feelings of shame and regret vanished.  I felt like a new woman and was able to move forward for the first time.  It was incredibly freeing and empowering.  Statement #9 continues to be a life changer today.

How has Statement #9 affected change in your life?

Hugzzz

Karen

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Hi 4C Women,

I absolutely love what Karen shared.  It is amazing how little insight I had about my living in, and clinging to, the past.  I treated myself as though I didn’t deserve to move forward, to experience joy and create a New Life in recovery.  It wasn’t easy to let go because I was use to living in pain.  It amazes me how comfortable (or so I thought) it was to be a victim of my guilt, shame and how that played into my blame game.  When I started releasing the painful memories and took responsibility for my life, I actually felt alive and joyful.  Who would have thought that was remotely possible?  Certainly not me.   I was going through photos recently and saw my life flash before me with all its ups and downs and rather than feeling sad about it, I remembered Statement #9.  I chose to give myself credit for all the hard work in learning to heal and focus on the fond memories of the past rather than the regrets or mistakes.  Perhaps that was the biggest lesson Statement #9 taught me – not seeing everything as all or nothing.  Another big lesson is accepting my role in my past which really helped in changing my reactions, responses which had become as automatic as turning to alcohol to ease my pain.  As Dr. Phil says, you can’t change what you don’t acknowledge.  That was a powerful turn around for me.  Without acknowledging my role, I would have missed out on making those inside changes which is the core of WFS – positive changes.  I would have remained stuck in the blame game and remained a victim instead of a victor over my own life.  And while I may think of my regrets or mistakes, I don’t live in them as I use to do.  They are visits, reflections and chock full of invaluable lessons.  Most of all, I no longer give my power away to what can’t be changed or who may have harmed me.  Letting go of the past taught me that while I won’t deny the hurt or harm caused by any individual, I do not have to continually punish myself by keeping it in the present.

Bonded in releasing, healing and moving forward from the past, Dee


WFS Virtual Weekend Conference

June 12-14, 2020

Self-selection Sliding Scale: $25-$75, Scholarships also available
Attend 8 live sessions, review the other 13 later! Read our FAQs here.

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Monday Thoughts 5/18/2020

“You are never alone.  You are eternally connected to everyone.”  ~~Amit Ray

“Growth is uncomfortable because you’ve never been here before.  You’ve never seen this version of you.  So give yourself a little grace and breathe through it.”  ~~Kristin Lohr

“No man was ever wise by chance.”  ~~Seneca

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#8 The fundamental object of life is emotional and spiritual growth.

Daily I put my life into a proper order, knowing which are the priorities.

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Growth?  What growth?  Before my New Life, growth was for other people; those people who wrote self-help books and did motivational speaking. Unaware that I was living in a pattern of immobility, life was something to be reacted to.  I had little to no understanding of cause and effect and felt life was basically unfair but Statement #8 and the WFS New Life Program helped me update that thought process.

Practicing Statement #8 became incredibly freeing; soon I felt free from self-limiting beliefs and expectations.  One of the first beliefs to fall from the wayside was the belief that I was stuck where I was.  In our WFS Reflections for Growth booklet it states (on Nov 1), “From sunrise to sunset, the day experiences many changes.  In fact, the changes are constant, although most of us are not continually aware of them—only the drastic difference between dawn, midday, twilight and night.  This is the way it is with each of us.  We are in constant change but we don’t notice it until after the fact.  Today I will be aware of the changes in myself.”  This is such a beautiful example to embrace and become aware of change.

Here is a helpful tool to practice Statement #8 from Lara Fielding, author of Mastering Adulthood: Go Beyond Adulting to Become an Emotional Grown-Up:

When we are distressed by a situation in our lives, we can do a quick writing exercise in which we detail:

·         What happened, what we saw, heard etc.

·         The thoughts that this provoked in us, or how we interpret the event

·         The emotions we immediately felt

·         The bodily sensations we immediately felt

·         What action we took in response

How will you practice Statement #8 this week?  How is your life different today in sobriety?

Hugzzz

Karen

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Hi 4C Women,

If there ever was a time for me to consider the above questions, it would certainly be now.  I thought it was challenging to handle life’s issues before current circumstances but now I find myself with a lot of time for self-reflection and feeling like a lost child sometimes.  Perhaps even a rebellious teenager who wants everything to be corrected to my liking and immediately no less!  Thank goodness I have the WFS Statements to pull me back to emotional maturity (I’m trying) and putting my priorities in order as best I can.  This is what I’ve learned so far – I really like helping and supporting others on this journey, it is my reward and as I recently heard, my sobriety insurance.  It centers me, makes me grateful for the opportunity and to feel others value my input.  I’ve also learned that I love ice cream way too much and I am not happy with my talking scale as she is exaggerating my weight gain during this isolation period.  It seems that priorities were easier to do when I was busy outside my home, but it also helped me realize that many of those priorities were tasks and not much to do with emotional and spiritual growth.  So, the questions Karen posed are quite relevant.  How much time do I give to spiritual growth now that I have more time?  What is a true priority that promotes my emotional growth?

I have previously shared the monthly Action for Happiness calendar as it provides a positive action for each day of the month.  Last week they launched 10 Days of Happiness, a free online coaching program which guides individuals through daily actions for happier living, all based on the latest research.  I joined and am so grateful that I did.  Each day there are 3 different actions to take to promote happiness and it has made me accountable to follow through.  The one that helped most in changing my attitude was reaching out to treat people with a little extra kindness, including myself; Asking a loved one how they’re feeling and really listen to them; Offering to help someone who might be lonely or in need of support.  I reached out to my neighbor, a women from years ago who I met through WFS and their joyful response truly inspired me.  It reminded me of what I treasure and that is the relationships I have developed over the years.  A plus to all of this is that my son called me 3 times in one month!  That’s a record so maybe he is thinking about listening, really listening, to his mom!

Bonded in developing emotional and spiritual growth, Dee


WFS Virtual Weekend Conference
June 12-14, 2020

 

Self-selection Sliding Scale: $25-$75, Scholarships also available
Attend 8 live sessions, review the other 13 later! Read our FAQs here.

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Monday Thoughts 5/11/2020

“Be softer with you.  You are a breathing thing, a memory to someone, a home to life.”  ~~Nayyirah Waheed

“Today, let this be a reminder and a permission slip to love and nurture yourself, may your self-talk be kind, patient and forgiving.  May your pace be gentle, your breath slow and full.  The next time you look in the mirror and see this marvelous creature blinking back at you, allow love and acceptance to wash over you as a parent feels for a child, love for every quirk and freckle, for every atom and attribute.” ~~ Tamara Levitt

Stop looking outside for scraps of pleasure or fulfillment, for validation, security, or love—you have a treasure within that is infinitely greater than anything the world can offer.”  ~~Eckhart Tolle
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#7 Love can change the course of my world.
Caring is all-important.
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What do you see when you look in the mirror?  Who I saw towards the end of active addiction was broken, unworthy and felt beyond repair, yet there was still something else present: love.  This small fraction within myself contained hope and the 13 WFS Acceptance Statements enabled love to grow from that hope.

Statement #7 in action changes the course of our world.  Much like when a vehicle travels off track, love can apply the brakes and foster guidance. In our WFS Reflections for Growth booklet it states, “When we are free to love, and do love, all other emotions follow in complete and total purity.  Our feelings are worthy of us.  With love first, we are able to function perfectly.  We are freed from negativities.  Today I will put love first.”

When I look in the mirror today, I see worth, healing and growth. This week, let us put action into Statement #7 by taking the time to nurture, accept and be yourself.  Schedule time for creating well-being and examine your self-talk every day.  What can you do to engage and invest in yourself?  Remember, you are a one of a kind, beautiful example of love in action!
Hugzzz
Karen
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Hi 4C Women,
Years ago, I turned to others, seeking approval and acceptance, believing that would lead to self-love and self-worth.    I was so needy and dependent on others to define my worth, my being lovable.  Learning to love myself changed my life completely.   I didn’t think it was possible yet learning to turn negative self-talk into positive self-talk, to believe I was actually worthy of loving and being loved, that I had value and worth to give and be given, was a treasured gift that this Statement and the WFS program gave me.  In this time of social isolation, it has become even more evident how caring for others and ourselves is vital to our self-esteem and well-being.

Here are a few ways to build our self-esteem:
1. Review your strengths and achievements. Celebrate your own special qualities. Make a list of qualities that you like about yourself, things you are good at such as having a sense of humor, being a thoughtful person, having patience, creative, good listener, etc. If you are having a hard time with your list, ask some close friends. You may be surprised with what they come up with. When you are having a bad day and feeling down, bring out this list and reaffirm yourself.

2. Stop comparing yourself to others. If you are focusing on people you think are “better” than you, it will only set you up for more negative thoughts and even lower self-esteem. No one is perfect. On the other hand, by noting the characteristics or behaviors of people you admire, you can try to develop those same characteristics in yourself.

3. Don’t be a doormat: Learn how to say NO. You don’t have to say yes to everything people ask of you. Start to develop boundaries and accept that it is perfectly OK to say no. If you don’t acknowledge your needs and desires, no one else will. It leaves the door open for people to take advantage of you. If you can learn to say no sometimes, you are telling yourself you have value.  (Remember that “no” is a complete sentence that doesn’t require an explanation.  Also, saying you want to think about a request gives you time to decide whether or not this is something you want or feel you can and have the time to do.)

4. Learn how to accept compliments. It’s great to receive compliments. Accept them graciously. Just say thank you and smile. If you dismiss compliments or ignore them, you are giving the message that you are not worthy of them. In the future people may be less likely to compliment you if they think you are just going to brush them off.

5. Associate with positive people. Being around people who are positive and supportive will help you feel better about yourself. If you surround yourself with negative people, they may influence your own attitude or put you or your ideas down. Find time for your friends. Stay in touch, whether by phone or e-mail. Having a network of positive, supportive friends can be a great source of support.

This list is a few years old and I’m not even sure who the author is yet I feel they are great guides and wanted to share them with you.

Bonded in learning to love ourselves and knowing that caring is all important, Dee


WFS Virtual Weekend Conference

June 12-14, 2020

 

New Addition – Open Houses!

  • Sunday, June 7th, 1-3 pm
  • Tuesday, June 9th, 9:30-11:30 am
  • Thursday, June 11th, 6-8 pm

Test your tech and make new connections during three drop-in Open Houses during the week prior to the official conference event. Practice logging in to a Zoom meeting and learn tips & tricks from our Geek Gal Squad, which will be on-call all weekend.

Self-selection Sliding Scale: $25-$75, Scholarships also available
Attend 8 live sessions, review the other 13 later! Read our FAQs here.

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Monday Thoughts 5/4/2020

“The more grateful I am, the more beauty I see.”  ~~Mary Davis

“I don’t have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness—it’s right in front of me if I’m paying attention and practicing gratitude.”  ~~Brené Brown

“I looked around and thought about my life. I felt grateful. I noticed every detail. That is the key to time travel. You can only move if you are actually in the moment.  You have to be where you are to get to where you need to go.”  ~~Amy Poehler


#6 Life can be ordinary or it can be great.

 Greatness is mine by a conscious effort.


Some days it can feel difficult to stay focused on gratitude. Many people are feeling unbalanced and uncertain during this time of global crisis. Layers of stress have generated a diversion and have added to feelings of imbalance. While we do not know what lays before us, as 4C women we know what lays within us, and Statement #6 in action encourages conscious creation.

This Statement can be one of the most overlooked of the 13 WFS Statements, but it also can be the one that shifts past perceptions into today’s presence and tomorrow’s expansion. One of the easiest ways to practice Statement #6 is to focus on gratitude. Before my New Life, gratitude was almost non-existent, or it was given with an ulterior motive. Yet sobriety and recovery have enabled continuing conscious development.

Taking even just a few moments during the day to focus on gratitude creates new portals for presence and cements feelings of contentment. One activity that jump-started feelings of gratitude was to jot down every day, 5 things that I appreciated. It could be as simple as the beauty of a blue sky to a deep conversation with a friend. In the beginning, it felt hard to name at least five things. Overtime, my brain began to consciously seek out items to add to the list, and practicing Statement #6 became a way of life.

Statement #6 Tool:

Every day write in a notebook or journal five things/events/people/moments that you are grateful for. Reread this whenever you begin to feel a sense of imbalance or fear. You can also begin a bedtime ritual of naming a few things that you were grateful for during the day. Keep this journal next to your bed and add to it every evening. If you would like to share how you practice gratitude, email your helpful hints to karen@teamwfs.org.

Hugzzz

Karen

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Hi 4C Women,

I love the idea of writing a daily gratitude list and the guidance Karen gave us in acknowledging that it’s the awareness of what you feel, big or small, that fosters the feelings of gratefulness.  In the past, I would think it had to be a huge event to even be considered.  With WFS, I have learned it is what touches our hearts that makes us pause for a moment and feel the joy of a loving conversation or a single word, the beauty of nature, finding an old photo that evokes fond memories and being grateful for the simple basics in our lives that we may have taken for granted.  As we work through these challenging times, I am reminded of how trust and patience was my focus in the beginning of my sobriety journey.  I had to learn to trust my instincts, trust my choices (that was scary) and have more patience than I ever knew I could muster if I was to have a life of ordinary greatness.  Yes, ordinary greatness is having a life without constant chaos, questioning my every decision, hating myself, blaming others… the list is quite lengthy.  Ordinary greatness is being responsible for my actions, awareness of those moments of joy, forgiving myself for my past choices which spells freedom, emotional and spiritual growth for me and learning to like and love myself.  And in this uncertain time, I am reminded that life challenges are not supposed to paralyze us, they are supposed to help us discover who we are.  I am learning a lot about myself and I am surprised to discover after all these years that there is still more to learn.  I always joked that my life would be fully determined by the age of 40 – relationship, career, family.  My goodness, 40 was just the continuation of life changes, major ones!

Consider what you are learning about yourself right now.  Is there something that took you by surprise as it has me?  Has this social distancing/isolation awakened you to the idea that this might be a wonderful opportunity to expand on your New Life, finding ways to create a life full of ordinary greatness?  I am hoping you will take the time to create a gratitude list.  My hope is also that it will help in discovering the awareness of what we have rather than what we don’t have.  Perhaps you will share your list with others to give them encouragement and support.

Bonded in discovering who we are, what we are grateful for and building a life of ordinary greatness, Dee

WFS Virtual Weekend Conference

June 12-14, 2020

We are excited to offer a keynote address on Saturday, June 13, 2020, by Dr. Dawn Nickels for conference attendees. Dr. Nickels is the creator of SHE RECOVERS, currently the largest online platform dedicated to supporting women in recovery from behavioral health issues and related life challenges. The topic of the keynote address is Recovery as a Practice. In this address Dr. Nickels will discuss how women need to be supported to find and follow individualized pathways and patchworks of recovery. In this lively talk, she will explain how creating our unique sobriety practice – even if we follow a specific program – can actually help us deal more effectively with just about anything that life throws our way. Even a global pandemic.

 

Self-selection Sliding Scale:
  • $25 – Compassion Rate
  • $50 – Sustaining Rate
  • $75 – Benefactress Rate (Deductible portion: $25)
  • Scholarships also available
Attend 8 live sessions, review the other 13 later! 
  • Recorded presentations available through June 21, 2020
  • Only presenters will be recorded – your privacy is important to us!
Use any device to connect to live sessions – even a touch-tone phone! Geek Gal Squad will be on the job to assist attendees. Read our FAQs here.

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