Posted on Leave a comment

Monday Thoughts 5/31/2021

“There is always a light.  If only we’re brave enough to see it.  If only we’re brave enough to be it.”  ~~Amanda Gorman

“All recovery roads lead to the ability to love and be loved.”  ~~Nancy Cross

“Have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time.”  ~~Maya Angelou


#10 All love given returns.

I am learning to know that I am loved.


Last week I had a meaningful conversation with my sister over the phone. I had reached out to her after hearing some sad news about her eldest and crankiest felines.  After we hung up, I paused, took a deep breath, and reflected on our relationship over the years.  Tears welled up and feelings of gratitude overwhelmed me.  I had just felt Statement #10 running through my senses, touching both our lives.  Without sobriety and recovery, that expressive conversation would not have taken place.

Statement #10, the second of the “Love” Statements in the WFS New Life Program can feel foreign or unfamiliar.  Before sobriety, it can be easy to justify or excuse disconnection and move away from love. Alcohol or drugs become a roadblock to sending love out and swiftly curtail the return of love. Yet, at our core, love is simply who and what we are, and love takes us further into expansion.

As I hung up the phone it occurred to me that love in action; from living in sobriety and recovery to relationships coming full circle is launched and held steady with love.  What love is can look different from every angle, and as it states in our WFS Program booklet, “Love is multifaceted.  It can be shared in many ways.  We can receive love from friends, family, partners, colleagues, spouses, and even pets.  We can experience it through nature, companionship, romance or a sense of loving connection to the world.” Sometimes love looks like openness, and also boundaries.  Love can be tiny, or all encompassing.  Love takes courage, and love needs each of us to bring it to life.

In what different ways do you experience love?

Where has love taken you?

What do you need right now to experience love?

Hugzzz

Karen


Hi 4C Women,

My sister recently sent me letters that I had written her over the years, starting in the late 60s.  Ever since my brother-in-law passed away last month, she has been clearing out stuff.  At first, I did not understand why she was returning my personal letters and yet as she will soon be turning 80, I realize that she wanted to remind me of the loving relationship we shared and honestly, it was such a blessing to read the chapters of my life in my own words.  I wrote a LOT!!!  Some were handwritten and others typewritten.  She included a small note apologizing for not recognizing my sadness as she read every one of those letters before she mailed them. Truthfully, I was lonely.  I missed my family, my friends, my co-workers, my hometown.

I had been married 3 months when my ex and I moved to AL for the first time.  No more going home in a short 2–3-hour drive, no more working in a job that I treasured.  My ex traveled a lot, so it made the isolation even harder to deal with.  We moved often and when the children came along, I sometimes felt I was a single parent.  One time I was so lonely that I put the kids in the car, nothing packed and was ready to drive 15 hours to PA to be with my family.  Fortunately, I regained my senses and we just took a short drive!

When I read those letters, I realized two pivotal changes occurred that turned my life, my loneliness around.  Changes that gave me my voice.  The first was working for the YW whose mission was and still is to eliminate racism and empower women.  If it wasn’t for the YW, I am not sure I would have discovered WFS when I did.  The empowerment I was gaining helped me to learn to love myself and acknowledge that I was worthy of self-love.

I am so grateful for WFS and the dear friends I have made and the strong support system I built and so desperately needed.    I found life changing sobriety and a passion of caring for those women I have been privileged to meet and watch their emotional and personal growth.  I can say I have embraced the knowledge of experiencing Statement #10 to its fullest.  I have given love and truly feel that I am loved.

Who is part of your support system?

Bonded in giving love and knowing that you are loved, Dee


Please donate online at https://womenforsobriety.org or you can mail a check to WFS, P.O. Box 618, Quakertown, PA  18951 with a note that the funds are for the Teddy Bear Challenge.

All donors thru June 8, 2021, will be entered into the drawing for a doll, unless otherwise noted.

Posted on Leave a comment

WFS May 2021 News & Announcements

 

Two Weeks Until Conference

conference logo

June 11-13, 2021

Pre-conference activities begin June 6
Post-conference replay period through June 27

Connect with hundreds of 4C women from around the world at this year’s virtual conference!

  • 3 keynote addresses
  • 18 breakout sessions – attend 4 workshops live, watch recordings of the rest during our popular Replay period
  • 6 pre-conference live icebreakers
  • Video lounges, WFS meetings, fundraising, and more!

$75   ~   $50   ~   $25

Self-select the sliding scale rate that best suits your current economic situation or apply for one of our Work Scholarships

REGISTER NOW


After you’ve registered, use this handy checklist to help you get ready!

conference checklist


Strategic Plan

Release the past – plan for tomorrow – live for today!

The WFS Board of Directors was happy to release our new Strategic Plan in May 2021, which included our new, modernized Vision, Mission, and Values statements.

In case you missed it, READ THE PLAN HERE.

 


In Memory of a 4 C Sister

On April 20, 2021 after a short illness at age 90, Patricia St. G from RI left this earth for her heavenly home. Pat was a long time member, joining WFS in 1987. After two years of sobriety in 1989 she became a Certified Facilitator.  In 1992 she joined the Board of Directors. In 2011 she resigned from the Board and in 2017 resigned as Certified Facilitator. She served 19 years on the Board and led her group for 28 years. Pat attended many conferences, was an active contributor to Sobering Thoughts and organized many fundraisers for WFS. She dedicated over 30 years to the WFS organization helping women in recovery. We lost a beautiful 4C woman.
Read memories of Pat shared by several 4C women


New! WFS Videos

WFS Online now has a new journal category for WFS Videos!

If you aren’t a member of our WFS Facebook group New Life Program Connections, you can catch up on Adrienne’s Tuesday Talks series, which is currently being rolled out. Recordings of previous conference workshops are also being released periodically, and when we have the proper releases on file, they will also be publicly accessible on Vimeo.

 


Conference Season Giving

 

Only a few days left to donate to the Teddy Bear Challenge!

Bid on a one-week stay in this beautiful beachfront condo and more at the WFS Annual Auction – online!

Or attend our Celebrate the Possibilities event on Saturday night at the conference, and give during our fun virtual “paddle raise” fundraiser!


Diversity, Equality & Inclusion

(WE)covery: Exploring Equity

 

WFS has learned a lot through this weekly hybrid group since it started last August. Read Adrienne’s recent blog post to learn more. Come join us at our new day and time through WFS Online

Mondays 6:30-8:00 pm US/Eastern

 

Healing Recovery Spaces – An Anti-Racism Training

This new training has been implemented for our Certified Facilitators (CFs) and is being offered throughout the year. A special open workshop is also available as part of the conference for anyone who wishes to attend. Watch this video of WFS President/CEO Adrienne Miller interviewing training consultant Shari Hampton about this new offering:


From the Web

The 17 Best Online Sobriety Support Spaces for 2021Soberish.com

WFS is ranked as one of the best women-centered sobriety support resources! Read the full article

Treatment Interventions For Women with Alcohol Use DisorderAlcohol Research Current Reviews

Women with alcohol use disorder (AUD) experience more barriers to AUD treatment and are less likely to access treatment than men with AUD… Research has suggested that outcomes for women are best when treatment is provided in women-only programs that include female-specific content. To date, research on treatments tailored to the individual needs of women is limited, but research on mechanisms of change has suggested the importance of targeting anxiety and depression, affiliative statements in treatment, abstinence self-efficacy, coping skills, autonomy, and social support for abstinence.  Read the full article

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Monday Thoughts 5/24/2021

“There is always a new beginning.”

~~Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”

 ~~Seneca

“You may have a fresh start any moment you choose.

 For this thing that we call ‘failure’ is not the falling down, but the staying down.”

~~Mary Pickford


#9 The past is gone forever.

No longer am I victimized by the past.  I am a new woman.


Sobriety and Statement #9 in action can bring about lasting change and can instill feelings of a fresh start or new beginning.  Oftentimes for women in recovery, the past can hang over us like a dark cloud, limiting our ability to enjoy a fulfilling life.  WFS and in particular, Statement #9, create a portal for a New Life that feels fulfilling and life affirming.

Connected to the past are two emotions: shame and guilt.  Both are challenging to move through yet Statement #9 in action helps to progress through them.  Yet what are they exactly?  It is easy to lump both of them together, yet they are two separate emotions.  According to Kristalyn Salters-Pedneault, PhD:  You may sometimes confuse shame with guilt, a related but different emotion.

Guilt is a feeling you get when you did something wrong, or perceived you did something wrong.

Shame is a feeling that your whole self is wrong, and it may not be related to a specific behavior or event.

When you feel guilty about the wrong thing you did, you can take steps to make up for it and put it behind you. But feeling shame or being convinced that you are the thing that’s wrong, offers no clear-cut way to “come back” to feeling more positive about yourself. That’s one difference between shame and guilt.

Guilt

Feeling remorse or responsible for something you’ve done wrong or perceived you did wrong.  Relating to a specific action like making a mistake, committing an offense, or hurting someone (intentionally or unintentionally)

Shame

Feeling that you are bad, worthy of contempt, or inadequate as a person.  Relating to our behavior or self, often in relation to other people’s opinions, not necessarily about a specific behavior or event

How Shame Happens

From the day you were born, you were learning to feel that you were okay or not okay, accepted or not accepted, in your world. Your self-esteem was shaped by your daily experiences of being praised or criticized, lovingly disciplined or punished, taken care of or neglected.

People who grow up in abusive environments can easily get the message that they are undeserving, inadequate, and inferior—in other words, that they should feel ashamed.

Over time, intense feelings of shame can take hold of a person’s self-image and create low self-esteem. Feelings of shame often stem from what other people think. The person may become super-sensitive to what feels like criticism, even if it isn’t, and may feel rejected by others. Inside, they feel painful self-contempt and worthlessness.”

This week, embrace new beginnings and examine your feelings. Identify guilt or shame that you have felt in the past or recently.

What behaviors are linked to guilt or shame?

How did you move through these difficult feelings?  What tools did you use?  Is there an area in your life that needs a bit more attention?

Hugzzz

Karen


Hi 4C Women,

In healing from the past, I have learned that using shame or guilt as a motivator to cure addiction is an absolute myth.  I read an article online from The Clearing which addressed this and clearly stated that shaming only reinforces the intense feelings of unworthiness.  The one sentence in the article that spoke to me was, “Shame doesn’t heal addiction, it only does damage.”  For myself in early sobriety, I struggled to release the painful past of shame.  I felt I deserved to punish myself and couldn’t quite grasp the concept of no longer victimizing myself.  My life experience was filled with rejection so I obviously was flawed.  Another article I read from NICABM talks about Guilt vs Shame and how we need to learn the difference as we heal from the past.  There is helpful guilt which directs us to “learn” from hurting or harming ourselves or others.

Unhealthy guilt leads us to emphasize self-punishment over behavior change, trapping us in guilt.  I was stuck in the guilt trap and yet was determined to become a new woman in my New Life.   As I practiced releasing the past, I also had to acknowledge that there were times of acceptance, being loved but I didn’t trust it to be real or lasting in the past.  The feelings of rejection took over.  This is why I value the WFS program.  It wasn’t just about not drinking, it was about digging deep to uncover the hurt I was unnecessarily causing myself and to discover ways to love and forgive myself.  After all, I cannot change the past.  I can learn and heal from it with a lot of introspection and truth finding.  Forgiveness empowered me.  As Dr. Phil wrote in “Making peace with your past: Choosing Forgiveness: The pain of what happened is inevitable but continuing to suffer is optional.  The only person you can control is you.  By constantly reliving the pain of what happened, you are giving your power away.  You can’t change the things that happened in your life, but you can decide how you interpret and respond to them.  If you didn’t receive support when you needed it, give it to yourself now.”

All of these bits and pieces from what I have read and learned from over the years is all because of the WFS program, the supportive women I have met and choosing to heal from the past.  If pain knocks on my door, I will let it visit, giving me time to regain my power and forgiveness.  I no longer let it stay and sometimes, I don’t even open the door!  Where are you on the journey of releasing the past, healing and empowering yourself?

Bonded in releasing, healing and being empowered, Dee


 

Speaker Highlights for the WFS Virtual Conference 2021 include some familiar names: .O – Sharon Salzberg –  Dr. Rebecca Ray – Ester Nicholson – Mary Beth O’Connor.

Full Presenter Bio’s and Workshop descriptions are available now! To read more, visit:  conference.womenforsobriety.org/

Register today!

Posted on 1 Comment

Monday Thoughts 5/17/2021

“I’ve come to believe that each of us has a personal calling that’s as unique as a fingerprint—and that the best way to succeed is to discover what you love and then find a way to offer it to others in the form of service, working hard and also allowing the energy of the universe to lead you.”  ~~Oprah Winfrey

“The problem, often not discovered until late in life, is that when you look for things in life like love, meaning, motivation, it implies they are sitting behind a tree or under a rock.  The most successful people in life recognize that in life they create their own love, they manufacture their own meaning, they generate their own motivation.  For me, I am driven by two main philosophies, know more today about the world than I knew yesterday.  And, lessen the suffering of others.  You’d be surprised how far that gets you.”  ~~Neil de Grasse Tyson

“Always go with the choice that scares you the most, because that’s the one that is going to require the most from you.”  ~~Caroline Myss


#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.


Before New Life, there was a feeling of lack, fear and immobility that overwhelmed many aspects of my life. Yet who I am today is a direct result of choice, meaning and growth. Thanks to WFS and the 13 Acceptance Statements, I am able to enjoy a life of sobriety and recovery filled with dimension, opportunity and fulfillment.  Sobriety paired with Statement #8 in action is the core of inner growth.

Starting with the WFS Online Forum, I found my tribe.  For so long, feelings of being alone pervaded life but 4C women welcomed me with open arms and hearts.  It was so refreshing and I immediately felt connected.  Beginning to practice Statement #8 I felt unsure but decided to do the opposite of what my brain said and proceeded to walk into my fears and become unstuck.

After growing into Women for Sobriety and wanting to share the WFS Program, I thought about starting a chat meeting since I felt comfortable being online.  Yet starting a face-to-face group felt uncomfortable.  So, naturally I applied to become a F2F facilitator. Over 10 years later that decision, to look fear in the face and start a group, has been one of the most rewarding decisions.    What I absolutely love about this Statement is that it does not tell us how, where, why or when to grow, it simply encourages growth.  Forward progress, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant is still progress.  It moves us from one point to another and in the space in-between is where growth takes shape.  Oftentimes I am not even aware that growth has taken place, it simply appears as motivation, accomplishment or deeper connections.  It feels fulfilling and helps prevent relapse.  Growth is always evolving, shifting and changing and here are 4 helpful ways to engage with Statement #8:

  1. Define your own meaning:   You get to decide what meaning to give something or anything. Families, institutions, or social constructs can influence what something means to you, but you get to live with the meaning you assign something.  If it does not fit your heart and bring you balance, redefine it.
  2. Use trauma to grow:  When a dear friend of mine lost her life due to domestic violence, her brother, a policeman, began speaking in front of groups to educate about safety, options and agencies.  This helped him move through his grief, allowed him to give the trauma new meaning and he continues to help others 20 years later.  The lives this has saved is impossible to comprehend.
  3. Challenge fear:  Sometimes our fears prevent us from moving forward and growing.  Is there something that you can do this week that challenges a fear you have?  Move towards it.  (Unless it’s a grizzly bear in front of you, then of course run the opposite way!)
  4. There is no destination:  There is no end to growth, and it is different for everyone.  There is no finish line, to rush to win a race, it is a process that ebbs and flows.  Some years are filled with growth (2020 comes to mind with all the changes) while other times in life, growth is something that is felt long after it actually happens.  Enjoy the journey.

Hugzzz

Karen


Hi 4C Women,

Such great suggestions on how to develop emotional and spiritual growth.  I honestly thought my emotional growth would be completed by the time I turned 40!  Through WFS, I learned It was just the beginning and continues to this day as I get close to turning 76 in a couple of weeks.  I remain amazed and grateful that I have been open to change.  There was a time that I tightly closed the door, sealing it shut on change due to my fear of making unforgivable mistakes, having to live in continual regret or accepting responsibility for my choices.  That was a huge obstacle for me.  I have shared this often about being the queen of the blame game.  So, if I chose to practice Statement 8, I would have to be responsible for my emotional and spiritual growth.  Thank goodness, I unlocked the sealed door and walked through it with enthusiasm that I never dreamed possible.  I found spiritual growth a bit easier for me as I chose the path of faith to support me.  The emotional growth was quite a bit more difficult, yet my perseverance kept pushing me forward.

I found a message written by Nancy Cross in February 2013 in which she wrote about why we need emotional sobriety.  Among the reasons she listed, this one hit home:  To develop the confidence, satisfaction and resilience that comes from dealing with your emotions directly and effectively, rather than self-medicating to avoid pain.

Those words helped me realize that I did learn to challenge fear, heal and grow from some traumatic events, chose my path from all those who influenced me both positive and negative and learned that emotional and spiritual growth is full of timeless, powerful self-discovery.

Are you making time to reflect and discover what you need for emotional and spiritual growth?

Bonded in uncovering, discovering and setting priorities based on your personal emotional and spiritual journey, Dee


2021 WFS Virtual Conference “I’m Possible” Toolkits are shipping TODAY!

There are only 100 of these left so be sure to register by clicking here!

Posted on Leave a comment

Monday Thoughts 5/10/2021

“Can you remember who you were before the world told you who you should be?”  ~~Danielle LaPorte

“Just because love don’t look the way you think it should, don’t mean you don’t have it.”  ~~Leslye Walton

“I will not try to convince you to love me, to respect me, to commit to me.  I deserve better than that; I AM BETTER THAN THAT…. Goodbye.”  ~~Steve Maraboli


#7 Love can change the course of my world.

Caring is all-important.


In our WFS Program booklet it states from our own Dee, “Love yourself, love others, free yourself from the fear of rejection and let that be the way to fill your heart, your soul, and your spirit.” Statement #7 in action offers an ever-widening portal for love to grow and even flourish in our New Lives.  Sobriety and recovery is an act of love that begins with ourselves and radiates outward as we transform and thrive.

Before New Life, I tolerated and even excused painful behaviors from myself and from others.  It eventually took a heavy toll, losing sight of any sense of self or authenticity creating a woman I no longer liked or even recognized.  It was a painful way to exist, yet the solution lay within…love.

This 4C journey is an act of love, one that grows and evolves.  Beginning with ourselves, we can widen our circle of love like ripples on the water.  At the start of sobriety, each time we say NO to alcohol or drugs we say YES to ourselves. This is the center and most focused of ripples that sets another in motion and we learn that we do indeed have the ability to reduce negativity and manage our thoughts.  Another ripple outward sees us creating and living our new view of ourself while the next has us directing our thoughts.  Love continues to cascade outward in the next ripple where we work on our relationships and recognize priorities, grow emotionally/spiritually, and continue to take responsibility.  The wonderful thing about these expanding ripples of love is that as they enlarge, they touch countless other ripples out there and make a difference, creating waves of love that are infinite.

Here are 13 ways to practice love:

  1. Learn who you are right now:  You are beginning fresh this day, this week.  What do you like, believe or value?
  2. Be present:  Focus on the here and now.  It is the only moment available.  The past is gone and the present is in the future.
  3. What are your strengths?  Write them down and continue to add to this list.  You have skills and talents, acknowledge them.
  4. Release comparison:  Observe yourself (not judge) with your own yardstick.  It is not fair to you to compare to someone else.  We are all different and have different experiences.
  5. Embrace your feelings:  They are temporary and always changing.  Even the uncomfortable is temporary.
  6. Set boundaries:  Say NO when you feel you need to.  Boundaries let others know that you deserve and expect respect.
  7. Embrace assertiveness: You matter.  Stand up for yourself in small ways first.  If you don’t, who will?
  8. Reserve time for just you:  Your morning meditation time to read the Statements and/or journal is a great start to schedule yourself as a priority.
  9. Release the past and forgive yourself:  Treat yourself the way you would treat a friend, including all the big stuff.
  10. Honesty: Be truthful with yourself and others.  Building trust begins with honesty.  Start with yourself.
  11. Carve out time for nature:  Something magical happens when we can spend time outdoors.  Get your hands muddy in the garden or walk without headphones.
  12. List your accomplishments no matter the size:  Make the bed today? Finish a project?  On the list it goes.  Create a notebook of your efforts.  Watch yourself grow!
  13. Get physical:  Yoga, walking, weights, cycling?  What moves you?  Get your body moving, set a routine.

Hugzzz

Karen


Hi 4C Women,

I love the analogy of ripples of love cascading from self-love to loving, caring friendships and relationships.  Someone once told me that we touch more than one life when we share the WFS program.  We touch the lives of each women that ripples out to their families, friends, co-workers, all their relationships!  That is a powerful image of how important love and caring for ourselves and others can change the course of our world and theirs.

Here is a love challenge:

With a person you love/care about, (spouse, partner, sibling, child, friend, parent/grandparent, etc.) write down 5 things you love/value about them.  You could even invite that person to share 5 things they love/value about you.   Share your list with them.

Find a photo or write down a memory when you felt great affection for another.  Write down how you felt at that moment.  Spend time sharing about and reliving this experience with this person.

Reach out to someone who has been on your mind with either a phone call or card.  There has been a lot of isolation this past year and it would be such a caring, loving act to let someone know you are thinking of them.

Practice active listening, showing you care about that person’s feelings and needs.  It is amazing how doing this can be a teaching and learning experience for all.

Thanks to Karen for sharing my quote from the Program Booklet.  I was so filled with the fear of rejection from past experiences that it was extremely challenging to accept and practice Statement #7.  That fear built a very tall, strong wall.  And while I did work through my fear of rejection, I sure wish I had Karen’s 13 ways to practice love back then.  It would have made my transition a bit easier to say the least.  I encourage each of you to hold on to the list and with practice and perseverance, love can change the course of your world and caring will become all important.

Please check the Meaningful May calendar that was in last Monday’s Thoughts.  It is all about Statement #7.   Lots of love and caring to share, Dee



In case you missed it, read the official WFS Strategic Plan announcement here. This was sent to our entire News & Announcements email list – if you didn’t receive it, please be sure to sign up for that email list at womenforsobriety.org/email

Posted on 1 Comment

Monday Thoughts 5/3/2021

“The older I get, the more I’m conscious of ways very small things can make a change in the world.  Tiny little things, but the world is made up of tiny matters, isn’t it?”  ~~Sandra Cisneros

“Make a conscious effort to surround yourself with positive, nourishing, and uplifting people. —people who believe in you, encourage you to go after your dreams, and applaud your victories.”  ~~Jack Canfield

“If you don’t make a conscious effort to visualize who you are and what you want to become in life, then you empower other people and circumstances to shape your journey by default.  Your silence makes you reactive vs. proactive.”  ~~Shannon Alder


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

Greatness is mine by a conscious effort.


Consciousness, or mindfulness felt like some far-out mystic proposition before sobriety and New Life.  It was something that other people did or were into and I couldn’t relate to or recognize the benefits at the time.   Today, better understanding how consciousness plays an important part of sobriety/recovery, Statement #6 in action encourages us to create the lives we desire.

In our WFS Program booklet it powerfully states, “Although we only get a one-way ticket through life, we speed through our days as if planning to enjoy them at another time.  We live as if we have an endless number of tomorrows.”  Anyone who has ever watched a child, grandchild or even pet grow up can relate; those moments of unsteady toddling babies or the silly antics of a kitten or puppy seemingly disappear right before our eyes, gone in a flash and we long to return one more time.  So how do we enjoy those fleeting moments?  Mindfulness is key.

Where do we start?  If you have been sober for any length of time you have already practiced mindfulness or consciousness; any time you challenged a thought about drinking or using, you were using mindfulness.  You were aware of what your mind was thinking and took action to stay sober.  You were present in that moment and probably noticed Statement #1.  Yet Statement #6 is an extension of that; it is being present for everyday ordinary moments.  Being fully present in any given moment allows the fleeting to be experienced in ways unavailable when under the influence.  It grants us the ability to recognize the temporary, enables gratitude and creates lasting connection.  Here are four ways to help introduce or practice more mindfulness/consciousness:

  1. Slow down and pay attention to right now:  Try to take time to notice things in this often-busy world.  Use each of your senses, sight, sound, taste, smell, and touch.  For example, when you step outside, notice the coolness or warmth in the air, the fragrance of rain or freshly cut grass, listen to birds chirping, lawnmowers, feel the breeze or sunshine.
  2. Accept who you are right now:  Each of us is learning and growing.  If there is something that you do not accept or like about yourself, embrace it and know that you can grow into who you wish to be.  This moment is not the final you. Each of us is a work in progress.  You get to create and grow into yourself every day.
  3. Connect to your breath:  When things feel overwhelming, we each have a tool that can center and bring us back to the present.  Usually, we pay no attention to something so automatic, but when we pause and focus on a breath, we are slowing down and using mindfulness to create a greater feeling of balance.
  4. Look for ways to become mindful/conscious:  Utilize the WFS Online forum where you will find groups, posts and insightful responses which can jump start a mindful practice or engage in a discussion in a WFS face to face group. There are websites and apps which have excellent information much like our forum; Calm and Insight Timer are two favorite apps as well as the website mindful.org.

This week, practice mindfulness for a set moment each day and by the week’s end, reflect on how it influenced your days.  What did you notice?  How does it feel?  How does it compare to your life before sobriety and recovery?

Hugzzz

Karen


Hi 4C Women,

This moment is not the final you!  All I can say is, thank goodness.  I love the fact that learning and growing emotionally is always a path we travel, not a destination.  I have found that as I age, I experience life in so many different ways.  I am still learning from the women in WFS meetings and I embrace that.  Recently a group member said that she chose alcohol over feelings.  While I experienced that, I had not heard it expressed in such a succinct way.

Over the years, I have heard women say that they were accused of caring more about themselves, their addiction, than their family or other relationships.  Truth is, it’s the relationship we have with ourselves that we have a hard time accepting.  So, we choose alcohol or drugs to not feel.  Not because we don’t love others, we don’t love ourselves.  At least that was the case with me.  I hid, numbed, escaped my feelings of worthlessness by using alcohol.  It worked but what a price I paid.  When I think of all the positive qualities I finally acknowledged when I became sober, I was so grateful to have been given the WFS program to discover and uncover what I would have never believed while drinking.  And so, life can be ordinary or it can be great by a conscious effort!

Here is the effort – to practice the mindfulness as Karen described, to view the ordinary as great, to pause and reflect during the day and view the moments as small pieces of treasures to keep in your memory box.

I came across a question in the New Life Diary from a while back.  It asked what new thing have I tried in the past 6 months.  Considering this past year and the isolation many of us experienced, I thought I would answer with a bit of honest humor so here goes:  I tried brand new flavors of ice cream, tried not to annoy customers in the grocery store as that became my social outlet for conversation, tried just about every fast food place in the area even though I’m not too keen on drive-throughs, tried to pretend I now enjoyed cooking, tried to motivate myself to clean out my clutter with all the time I had on my hands, tried to sign up for virtual exercise classes (thought about would be a better word to describe my actions or non-action),tried to convince myself that I would be much healthier when I made a conscious effort to eat more fruits and vegetables.

Now for the serious changes:  I reconnected with people that I had lost contact with, did a bit of soul searching as to what matters to me and it’s still the same – friendships and loving relationships – made a conscious effort to always thank those who have helped me in so many ways, learned I could speak my voice respectfully and even be heard sometimes, worked through loss in a more healing way, felt authentic joy for celebratory events, worked on practicing more self-care, forgave myself when I felt I disappointed someone or even myself, became more conscious of all that I am grateful for and not being great with technology,  let go of my technology fear and learned zoom so that I could continue to provide WFS meetings!

Yes, life can be ordinary or it can be great by a conscious effort.  What have you consciously been made aware of this year through reflection as to how life can be great? Click here to view the May Action for Happiness calendar that I feel relates to Statement #6.

Bonded in creating a life that is ordinarily great!  Dee


Click here to donate now to the Teddy Bear Challenge!

Posted on Leave a comment

Women for Sobriety Strategic Plan

Release the past – plan for tomorrow – live for today!

The WFS Board of Directors is happy to release our new Strategic Plan, including our new, modernized Vision, Mission, and Values statements. We hope that you will join us as we continue to develop the New Life Program and reach even more women in the future!

READ THE PLAN HERE


Vision

Mission

WFS envisions a world where individuals live mindful lives and take responsibility for their thoughts and actions Through the New Life Program, WFS supports women seeking a sober life in recovery from problematic substance use

Values

Compassion: WFS promotes empathy and caring for self and others.

Connection: WFS creates safe spaces where women support the expression of thoughts, feelings, and needs.

Empowerment: WFS encourages and celebrates women and their right to be their own unique individuals.

Love: WFS commits to authentic relationships defined by mutual value and worth.

Respect: WFS acts with integrity, honoring every woman’s experiences and ideas.

READ MORE


What about the old Mission Statement?

Let us know what we should do with the 2011 version of the Mission Statement by taking this brief survey.


Image of a phoenix rising with the words "I'm Possible!

 

Learn more about the strategic planning process and how we are putting it into practice at the Celebrate the Possibilities event on Saturday night at the WFS Virtual Conference 2021!

Posted on 3 Comments

Remembering A WFS Sister – Pat St G

On April 20, 2021 after a short illness at age 90, Patricia St. Germain from RI left this earth for her heavenly home. Pat was a long time member, joining WFS in 1987. After two years of sobriety in 1989 she became a certified facilitator.  In 1992 she joined the Board of Directors. In 2011 she resigned from the board and in 2017 resigned as certified facilitator. She served 19 years on the board and led her group for 28 years. Pat attended many conferences, was an active contributor to Sobering Thoughts and organized many fundraisers for WFS. She dedicated over 30 years to the WFS organization helping women in recovery. We lost a beautiful 4C woman.

Several 4C Sisters share their memories of Pat and her service to WFS:

I met Pat in 1990 at the WFS Conference in PA.  She was so welcoming, had a great sense of humor and was a huge supporter of WFS.  She and I joined the WFS Board the same year in 1992. She retired from the Board in 2011 and it was quite a loss.  She had a lot of creative ideas and was always willing to help in so many ways.  I loved seeing her at the conference.  One year in the fall, a group of us took a weekend trip to Rhode Island.  What a blast.  We laughed, shared encouraging words and felt pure enthusiasm in being together.

I have so many fond memories of her kindness and thoughtfulness.  When I moved to AL, she decided each year that she attended conference to give me $20 gas
money.  She was so sweet in the way she wanted to help me without my ever asking.  It was just her own special way of giving back.  I loved her humor.  One year at the WFS Conference she was part of a group who decided to do a unique type of auction, all dressed in costumes and masks.  It was hilarious and raised a decent amount of money for WFS.

So much kindness, caring and love shown through Pat in her actions, her words.  I will always be grateful for her devotion to WFS and how much of a difference she made in my life and so very many others.  She was indeed that one in a million woman who brought joy and especially hope to the lives she touched.  I will miss her deeply.
Dee


I met Pat at the WFS conference in 1996. From that first moment we bonded. I would have the honor of sharing many conferences with her. What I remember the most and will carry with me is her love, encouragement, support and humor. She was one of the women I really looked forward to seeing every year. I enjoyed our time attending Saturday afternoon mass together. That became a tradition for us at conference.

One of my fond memories of Pat is when one year a group of 4C women went to dinner before opening ceremony and Pat’s humor was in full swing. She acted like she couldn’t read the menu and had one of the women actually read the menu to her. We all were laughing so hard I feared we would be kicked out of the restaurant. At the end of that weekend when Pat and I were saying “see you next time” (as we never said good bye) she made the comment to me, “Who would have thought we could have so much fun sober?”
Lisa L (lilbear)
Cinti, OH


Pat I am going to miss you so much. What you taught me, shared with me on the recovery journey has left an impression on me. Though I am sad and hurting I too have the belief that you are now resting comfortably in Heaven. Until we met again sister, We are Capable, Competent, Caring and Compassionate. Always willing to help another. Bonded together in overcoming our addiction.

My first memory of Pat St. Germain was at my first conference.  I had gone by myself; no one from the group I was attending was able to go.  Pat came up to me and introduced herself to me and welcomed me with open arms. From that moment on I felt so comfortable and not alone. Pat was so friendly and the word grace is what I think, when I think of her. I shall miss her as will so many other women.
Susie

P.S. Yes Pat sobriety is fun.


A giant in the WFS community has passed and Heaven is one Angel richer. I was both shocked and saddened to hear that Pat St. Germain has passed away. Pat was a woman who couldn’t be defined by just calling her a “daughter”, a “mother” or a “woman in recovery”. Pat transcended all of those monikers and none of them scratched the surface of who Pat was and how valuable she was to WFS. When I think of Pat, my immediate image is of her smiling face. What a smile that lady had. I consider myself both blessed and lucky to have served with her on the WFS Board of Directors. It was there that I was able to witness first hand her passion for WFS. Pat loved WFS and wanted each and every woman to experience the joys of recovery.

Every June, at the annual WFS gathering in Quakertown, I looked forward to the meeting of the Board of Directors. It was Pat’s smile that was a constant. Her energy and love for each and every one there in Quakertown was infectious. She was the role model for doing whatever was necessary to benefit WFS. While I didn’t now Pat as well as many in the organization, I found a soul sister in her approach and dedication towards the cause. I remember one year the conference was ending and I saw a bunch of suitcases sitting beside a couch in the lobby. It was Pat’s luggage. She was so busy making sure that she said “thank you” and “farewell” to every woman that she could find. She was so busy connecting to the women…..she forgot her luggage. Her dedication was incredible.

Rest in peace, Pat. You were a role model, a teacher, a cheerleader and a friend to everyone who you met. You probably never knew how many lives you affected and how many people looked up to you. You embodied the best of WFS and in that, made me want to be better. In both my sobriety and my life. I am in my 21 st year of sobriety and I owe much of that to you and the members of WFS. You, my dear, shall truly be missed. Our loss is certainly Heaven’s gain.
Renee F
Maggieskid66/Bassafranklin