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“The beginning is always today.” -Mary Shelley
“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for your senses to grow sharper.” -W.B. Yeats
“The beginning is the most important part of the work.” -Plato
#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.
Welcome to your New Life! Today is a brand-new day, filled with endless possibilities and it does not matter if you are 20 years sober or less than 24 hours sober, your New Life starts right now. This day can be anything you want it to be; you are taking charge of your life and well-being. You are accepting the responsibility.
Today, embrace this beginning. It states in our WFS Program booklet “New Life begins with recognizing that we have a life-threatening problem and accepting the responsibility to be in charge of our own lives. By acknowledging our reliance on alcohol or drugs, we can begin to explore why we sought to escape.” In balanced and long-term recovery, escape is not an option, but responding with our ability is.
No matter where you are on your journey, begin today. If today is your first day sober, connect with the women on the WFS Online Forum. Write your first post and introduce yourself. A simple hello is enough! If you are cemented in sobriety, how about reaching out to someone who has just said hello. During a Zoom meeting this week, share how you moved through your first month sober. What did you do? What didn’t you do? How did your body feel? Name some feelings and share your most often used recovery tool. As our Motto says, we are bonded together!
Hi 4C Women,
With the pandemic and alcohol sales skyrocketing, I am grateful for Statement #1. This Statement helped me tremendously, especially in the beginning when I felt so intimidated to be in charge of my life. For so long, I had been made to feel incompetent, inadequate and unable to make the right decisions. I was honestly quite scared to be in charge of my life, however, I persevered and I survived my mistakes as WFS taught me to view these as life lessons. I’ve had a LOT of life lessons yet knew and know I would never again give up accepting responsibility for my life and well-being. It’s a pretty empowering place to be.
Last year our group did a Relapse Prevention Plan while acknowledging that there may be slips and relapses during the recovery process (process is the key word).
Here’s a sample list of things that may cause slips and relapses:
· Dealing with the underlying issues in therapy
· Becoming overwhelmed by feelings and emotions
· Death of a family member, friend or other significant person in your life
· Marital and family problems
· Feelings of loneliness, shame, guilt, anger and abandonment
· People’s reactions to changes you are making in your life
· Fear of change and/or living without alcohol
· Habits – familiarity
What would you add to this list?
This is where coping tools come in once you can identify what could cause a relapse or slip. What would be a healthy way to cope with any of the above situations/feelings? Do you have a plan A, B, C or whatever It takes to be in charge of a healthy choice? There are costs (risks and disadvantages) and benefits (rewards and advantages) to our choices in active addiction. I have expressed many times that we need to be honest with ourselves and the costs/benefits. I was reluctant to do this exercise as I saw no benefit in my uncontrolled drinking. However, my answers explained why at one time I did see the benefits (short term). An example was drinking gave me an excuse for nothing being my fault, forgetting my problems, the feelings of rejection and being unlovable, immediately numbing pain. When I did the costs, it became clear how short term and destructive the benefits were. I didn’t realize how much until I wrote it down. Long term costs became so obvious, i.e., hangovers, harming relationships, no room for personal growth, no problem-solving skills, health issues, legal issues. So, while I was more than reluctant to do this exercise, I am glad I did. There is something about seeing my life in words that has a greater impact on me. I would encourage you to do this for your own well-being and benefit.
Lastly, the final part of the exercise was to list the cost and rewards of NOT drinking or using drugs. I found the list of benefits much longer than the costs. The list of costs was losing drinking friends, no quick fix for emotions and coping with intense feelings – all risky challenges for me at one time. Yet, the list of benefits became obvious and long term. They included improved health, memory of what I said or did, saving money, saving reputation, freedom from fears, building or rebuilding friends and relationships, and very important to me, being available. The freedom of being available, whether it was to pick up my children or listen quietly and respectfully to another’s hurt and needs, was the best gift I received in my sobriety. I treasure it to this day.
What is your gift that you treasure in being in charge of your life and your well-being? I hope you decide to take on the challenge of these exercises and share it with your WFS group or a trusted friend. It is one way to start the process of understanding your personal costs and benefits. The answers will provide coping tools in moving forward as you become more empowered in your life choices and well-being.
Bonded in accepting the process of being in charge of our lives and well-being, Dee