“Responsibility is accepting that you are the cause and the solution of the matter.” ~~Anonymous
“Responsibility to yourself means refusing to let others do your thinking, talking, and naming for you; it means learning to respect and use your own brains and instincts; hence, grappling with hard work.” ~~Adrienne Rich
“A hero is someone who understands the responsibility that comes with his freedom.” ~~Bob Dylan
#13 I am responsible for myself and for my actions.
I am in charge of my mind, my thoughts, and my life.
In our WFS Program booklet it states “Sobriety is just the beginning. The WFS New Life Program provides a portal for personal growth. It shows us a new way of thinking.” This Statement is not a one and done or something to be checked off a list; Statement #13 is designed to be used continuously throughout our New Life. This is especially true for long term sobriety for it keeps us on the path of recovery.
In the past responsibility felt frightening since in my mind, responsible people made difficult decisions and were often reprimanded. Through years of drinking, I felt incapable of making even the smallest of decisions and unhealthily depended on others. This way of life shrunk my mind, my thoughts and my life. Yet, Women for Sobriety helped me change all that.
Today I feel a sense of freedom in responsibility and no longer fear decision making since it’s how we all learn. A favorite phrase defining responsibility is “I respond with my ability and that ability keeps evolving and growing.” There is underlying joy and contentment in embracing my own mind, my thoughts and my life.
Hi 4C Women,
Like Karen, I had no confidence in my decision-making abilities. Statement #13 had me shaking in my fear of believing all my decisions would be wrong, that my mistakes would just validate those beliefs that I was inadequate and incapable. This fearful negative self-talk brought to mind a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt, “You gain strength, courage and confidence in every experience in which you stop and look fear in the face.” Ok, sign me up! Truthfully, no was my immediate response just as drinking was my immediate response when coping with my fear of change, being in charge of my mind, my thoughts and my life.
Over the years, I have been fortunate to learn from others who have walked this path before me. While ours paths to recovery are very unique, individual and achieved in our own time frame, the life experience, insights and shared coping tools I received from other 4C women was such a gift in uncovering and discovering how I could become responsible for myself and my actions.
Here are some of the tools I used in taking charge of my life:
Positive self-talk which for me was accepting mistakes as life lessons and surviving the outcome with that knowledge. I’d like to add thriving because I started to learn that I could be successful in my decision-making which boosted my positive self-talk.
Reframing the situation – avoiding all or nothing thinking which led me to change what is the “worst” that could happen to what is the “best” that could happen in my decision-making.
Redefine my definition of who I am. This was a tremendous change as I had to let go of old messages from the past that no longer served me in the present. In fact, most of those messages were given to me by people who had their own issues that were never worked through.
Self-care and being proactive in doing that. As women, many of us place the needs of others before our own. Sometimes that might be necessary depending on the situation. In the big picture, it’s about balancing what needs to be done yet keeping yourself at the top of that list so you have the energy to do whatever else is necessary at that time.
Acknowledging my fears rather than drinking them away. This was a huge challenge because it meant I had to not only face my fears but work through them. It helped me to be aware that in facing my fears, I had to be aware of how I responded/reacted to them.
Seeking support. Reaching out to people who understand, accept and have life-changing coping tools to share. Having the input, insight and support of the WFS women I have been privileged to learn from and care about, was key in putting Statement #13 into action.
In reading over the changes above, which of these do you feel you are working on or need to work on? Please consider sharing the coping tools that have helped you up to this point. We all learn from each other.
I encourage you to remember that we are all heroines when we walk through the doors or attend a WFS virtual meeting for the first time, when we continue to attend as we learn to take responsibility for our lives and our actions, reaching out making that first phone call to ask for help, registering online seeking and receiving the much-needed support to guide us in putting Statement #13 into action. It’s all about community, taking charge of our lives and the freedom working this Statement brings into our lives.
Bonded in sharing and learning new ways to practice Statement #13. Dee
Over the years, as the holidays approached, I have asked women in my local group to give a gift to themselves by answering the questions in this document, put them in a decorative bag or box and give it to themselves on Christmas Day or any day they wish to celebrate themselves. After all, we give to others all year and this gives each woman an opportunity to think of what they will give themselves in the upcoming year (self-care) and what positive changes they have made throughout the current year and acknowledging any blessings they have received. While it’s been a challenging year, I believe we’ve learned a lot about our abilities, our resilience and what gift we deserve to give to ourselves in the upcoming year.