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Monday Thoughts 7/20/2020

“There’s nothing more intimate in life than simply being understood.  And understanding someone else.”  ~~Brad Meltzer, The Inner Circle
“You should never view your challenges as a disadvantage.  Instead, it’s important for you to understand that your experience facing and overcoming adversity is actually one of your biggest advantages.”  ~~Michelle Obama
“Sometimes it’s not enough to know what things mean, sometimes you have to know what things don’t mean.”  ~~Bob Dylan
#4 Problems bother me only to the degree I permit.
I now better understand my problems.  I do not permit problems to overwhelm me.

Sobriety and the continual practice of Statement #4 have enabled me to soar to new heights and experience life in a fresh and constructive perspective.  At the core of this Statement is understanding.  Yet, before my New Life, understanding was something that was unconsciously avoided; more often than not, I was actively seeking ways to expand difficulty or victimhood.  Additionally, I tried to get others to pile up on “my side.”

In our WFS Program booklet it states “The value of this Statement is in learning that we can control our reactions.  There are times we permit ourselves to be bothered by people, things, events, actions, but we can utilize new tools.  By increasing understanding of our problems, we can better choose how and when we respond.”  The New Life Program in action and fellow 4C sisters continue to assist in moving towards understanding by listening and reflecting back balance and introspection.

One of the simplest tools is talking about the problem.  I recall knowing that I had a problem with alcohol for a very long time, but I said nothing about it to anyone.  This exacerbated the problem and created additional problems.  Once I began to understand what the problem was, solutions and choices came to light and I took action.  Today, I find that by talking about problems or something that is bothering me, creates space for solution.  Oftentimes just getting it out of my head is enough for creative answers to begin to appear.

What tools empower you in your New Life to move into solutions?




Hi 4C Women,

Thinking a lot about problem solving which was always difficult for me.  I was afraid of making mistakes, looking foolish in my decision-making so I focused more on everyday problems (which weren’t really problems) so I could distract myself from taking charge of creating necessary change in my life.  My fears kept me from personal growth and learning to get up and try again when I made a mistake in my decision making.   Thank goodness for WFS in guiding me to at least try, to learn, to get up and try again, to not see myself as a failure but a resilient woman taking charge of her mistakes and her successes.  I have used this problem- solving worksheet and I’d like to share it with you.  It is for personal decision making as well as brainstorming if you choose to follow that path.  Hope it helps you as much as it has helped me.  I bolded the part where it described me before sobriety and WFS.

Productive Problem Solving:

What are some barriers to productive problem solving?
What essential things are needed for productive problem solving?
Problem solving model diagram
Tips for productive problem solving
Some barriers to productive problem solving include:

· A “Yes – But” attitude

· Intellectual defensiveness closed to new ideas

· Fear of being perceived as being incompetent

· Fear of one’s ideas being unaccepted

· Inability to be objective about problem

· Fear of being wrong

· Inability to be creative, imaginative or “off the wall” in developing alternative solutions

· Being inflexible or too serious to have fun while problem solving

· Not tuning into one’s “inner child”

Being so chronically immersed or emotionally “stuck” in problems that no feelings or emotions can be elicited

· Believing that one’s emotions and feelings about a problem are “wrong” and should be discounted in problem solving

· Resentment about having to solve the problem; blaming others for causing the problem; no desire to own up to the problem yourself

· Believing that problems are the concerns of others, not me; therefore, why waste my time in trying to solve them

· Mental and/or physical fatigue from trying to cope with problems and finding no fruitful solutions; burnout

· Feeling so stressed, anxious, or tense in the face of a problem that your body systems shut down

· Getting so angry about the problem that all energy and attention is drawn to the anger rather than to the problem

·  Feeling sorry for oneself so much that the “self-pity” overwhelms and obstructs all creative thinking on the matter

·  Getting so down or depressed about the problem that it is impossible to come up long enough to deal with the problem

· Denial that the problem exists

· Bargaining in dealing with the problem; e.g., agreeing to perform certain steps only as long as the solution to the problem benefits you

What essential things are needed for productive problem solving?
A clear description of the problem.

A description of the limiting (or negative) factors involved in the problem.

A description of the constructive (or positive) factors involved in the problem.

A clear delineation of the “ownership” of the problem. Whose problem is it: mine, yours, the other guy’s, my boss’, my spouse’s, my child’s, my parents’, my teacher’s?

A clear description of the scope of the problem: How extensive a problem is it? How long has this problem existed? How many people are affected? What else is affected by this problem?

A clear description of the consequences if the problem were not solved: What is the possible impact on my family, job, marriage, school performance, life in this community, etc., if this problem isn’t solved? What is the worst possible thing that could happen if this problem isn’t solved?

A list of brainstormed solutions to the problem, with each alternative analyzed as to its reality, its benefits, and the consequences for following each one.

A system of ranking each solution to finalize the decision-making process. A rating system for analyzing each solution is developed, e.g., 100% chance of success, 75% chance of success, 50% chance of success.

A clear description of myself as a problem solver when it comes to this problem. Am I procrastinating? Am I avoiding the problem? Am I in denial? Am I shutting down or blocking my creativity on this problem? Am I ignoring it, hoping it will go away? Am I using magical and/or fantasy thinking in addressing the problem?  (This was me before WFS and while I was learning to trust my instincts, accept mistakes and acknowledging successes!)

Determination to follow through on the solution decided upon jointly. This involves full motivation to “take the risk” and pursue the solution to its fullest

Tips for productive problem solving

1.     What is the size or extent of the problem?

2.     How would realty be affected if the problem was left unattended or unsolved?

3.     How are you functioning in handling the problem-solving process?

4.     What have your five senses to tell about the problem, i.e., what you see, hear, touch, smell, and taste?

5.     What does the world of reality look like from within the problem?


When brainstorming solutions to the problem, follow these rules:

1.     Express all ideas.

2.     Deem no idea too wild to be considered.

3.     Quantity is important; every idea that comes to mind should be included.

4.     Getting together with others to brainstorm is desirable.

5.     Criticism or negative evaluation regarding any idea is forbidden until brainstorming is completed.

When ranking alternatives, rate each alternative on (1) possible consequences, then (2) probability of success.

Alternatives              Possible Consequences                  Probability of Success

Behavioral actions   Positive or negative                        Expressed in percentages

Bonded together in learning, sharing and becoming 4C problem-solvers, Dee

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