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“When I got sober, I thought giving up was saying goodbye to all the fun and sparkle, and it turned out to be just the opposite. That’s when the sparkle started for me.” ~~Mary Karr
“Well-being cannot exist just in your own head. Well-being is a combination of feeling good as well as actually having meaning, good relationships and accomplishment.” ~~Martin Seligman
“Take a shower, wash off the day. Drink a glass of water. Make the room dark. Lie down and close your eyes. Notice the silence. Notice your heart. Still beating. Still fighting. You made it, after all. You made it, another day. And you can make it one more. You’re doing just fine.” ~~Charlotte Eriksson
#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.
New Life. Two simple words. Words that are packed with change, with possibility, and with being. It is choosing to try something different. Alcohol or drugs did not work. That was messy, complicated, and painful, even dangerous. New Life is not threatening and much like the above quote, it is quite the opposite. It is the beginning of fully living. It begins with a willingness and Statement #1.
Questions can zip through the mind when contemplating sobriety. When will I have any fun? How will I manage __________? What about the holidays? Ruminating on questions like these can be a way to stall and avoid taking charge of your life. Answers will come, along with understanding. Early sobriety is a critical time for self-care. You are beginning New Life, be gentle, adaptable, and curious.
Sobriety and recovery is a time for unlearning and becoming. Create a real/virtual toolbox or folder and add helpful examples, empowering quotes or articles. Avoid isolation and stay connected. Give yourself permission to slow down and experience every hour differently. Treat yourself like you have the flu. Rest, eat small meals including protein and avoid sugar. (Sugar can dramatically increase cravings) Be active. Get up 15 minutes earlier and begin your day by reading the Statements. Choose one to focus on for the week. Spend a few minutes either mentally reviewing moments of gratitude or write them down in a journal. Learn about addiction; it is not a moral failure. Notice your thought patterns. Connect with other women in recovery. Join the WFS Online Forum, or find a local face to face WFS meeting, many are getting closer to gathering in person again. If there is not one in your area, make it a goal to start one. Expand your interests. If you are established in sobriety and recovery, now is a great time to examine your progress, create new goals or push through uncertainty. Unleash the sparkle in your New Life!
Hi 4C Women,
Since the pandemic, the question most asked is how will I remain sober in this isolation? The next question, as many establishments re-open, is how will I be able to maintain my sobriety when I am back out interacting and doing activities with others? It’s as though we’ve been out of practice in sober socializing and it can be scary. These are unusual times yet practicing Statement #1 has not changed when it comes to being in charge of our lives no matter the circumstances. It might be more difficult yet it needs to remain a top priority as we learn new ways of coping.
My favorite philosophy of WFS, as Karen mentioned, is that substance abuse is not a moral failure. It is how we coped with life, our feelings. Now we have and are learning to use positive coping tools to choose a better, healthier, life-changing way to create our New Life. One thing I never considered initially was to discover what I enjoyed in life, what brought a smile to my face, a giggle that made me feel like a kid again. I was so serious, which wasn’t a negative thing, yet I didn’t have balance. I was in a fight for my life and while achieving abstinence was rewarding, I realized I wasn’t having much joy in the celebration of recovery.
So, one day I decided to re-discover what joy meant to me in the present. It took a while as I started to focus only on what brought me joy in the past until I finally realized that I had this wonderful opportunity to explore new things. I could build up my “fun, joyful” bank by searching out new ways of bringing that much needed balance into my New Life along with a few fun things from the past such as dancing, decorating my house with snowmen in the winter and bunnies in the spring. I was still decorating but it almost seemed like a stagnant, joyless chore. What a beautiful awakening the first Christmas I unwrapped each ornament and knickknack. The memories started flooding in and my heart was full with an enormous surge of happiness.
When I went to a family wedding, there was a question on the invitation – What song will make you get up and dance? I said, “Sweet Home Alabama.” Well, it was played and I danced with pure abandon. All of this while sober!
As we hopefully move toward being with others on a more consistent basis, it is important to have your well-being, responsible tool box ready and accessible to use. The transition will be different for each of us depending on our current situation. Healing and adapting to change is a process and this is the time to practice self-care, reaching out for support as this is a sign of strength, and knowing you have the ability, capability and willing heart to be in charge of your life.
And a problem is telling us there’s something that needs solving. Accept this part of the statement and move on to finding your personal solution to change from a problem to a resolution that leaves you in charge of your life and well-being.
Are you ready to be in charge? What and how do you plan to solve the problem that once had you? It may seem obvious to stop drinking or using drugs but it goes much deeper than that. WFS was written to create a New Life beyond just not drinking or using drugs. It is about the inner change that will sustain our recovery.
I took a WFS workshop years ago and I will always remember the facilitator saying, “We will no longer be manipulated by our addiction. We have free will and are able to make decisions. We have control over ourselves even if it now seems almost impossible. You can choose to have control.” I encourage you to keep this thought close in mind when you feel triggered. We may have manipulated ourselves and others when we were in active addiction yet we can use that same energy to choose differently, to be in charge.
Be encouraged, be a warrior, be willing! Dee
WFS Virtual Conference
June 11-13, 2021
Look out for registration opening this week!