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Monday Thoughts 8/30/2021

“To be fully seen by somebody, then, and be loved anyhow, this is a human offering that can border on miraculous.”  ~~Elizabeth Gilbert

“Love is always bestowed as a gift—freely, willingly and without expectation.  We don’t love to be loved; we love to love.”  ~~Leo Buscaglia

“You are loved just for being who you are, just for existing.  You don’t have to do anything to earn it.  Your shortcomings, your lack of self-esteem, physical perfection, or social and economic success—none of that matters.  No one can take this love away from you, and it will always be here.”  ~~Ram Dass


 #10 All love given returns.

I am learning to know that I am loved.


Statement #10, the second of the “Love Statements” can feel uncomfortable to practice at first but understanding that I was deserving of love for simply existing opened up a whole new way to live.  Before sobriety and recovery, I was under the assumption that love needed to be earned…. from family and even friends.  This created a seemingly never-ending cycle of “receipt chaos” in my mind (why, who needed payback and when).  Turning to alcohol for relief, I simply shut down and love was lost.

Our founder, Jean Kirkpatrick, PhD, put some missing puzzle pieces together and brought the WFS New Life Program to life.  Built with exploration and insight, every woman who embraces the 13 Statements today receives love directly from Jean.  That love continues on through each of us, weaving together a strong and vibrant tapestry that continues to flow outward.

Loving without expectation creates a portal for life to simply be and releases a need for receipts.  Relationships and experiences begin to feel genuine and authentic, while cementing healthy self-awareness.  Love is a powerful force and like our WFS Program booklet states “Love is the wellspring of a New Life.”

Hugzzz

Karen


Hi 4C Women,

I relate to what Karen has shared.  I have found that giving love was always easier than accepting that I was loved just for being me.   I belittled myself over and over again to prove I was lovable.  I found myself making choices that only validated my feelings of unworthiness, feeling invisible.  Thank goodness for therapy and the WFS New Life Statements.

I read an article a while back that touched my heart and expressed clearly what I have learned from rejection from others and even rejecting myself as a lovable person.

It starts with “Remember this” –

Remember this when you are in familiar territory and someone new walks up looking for guidance

Remember this when you see someone on the outskirts anxiously holding her own hand

Remember this when someone approaches you and asks a question – see the bravery behind the words

Remember this when you see someone stop trying – perhaps she’s been rejected one too many times

Remember this when you see someone being excluded or alienated – just one friendly person can relieve the painful sense of feeling invisible.

Remember the deepest desire of the human heart is to belong…to be welcomed…to know you are seen and worthy of kindness.

These are the lessons I learned in WFS, how becoming a 4C woman could change my life and others who want to be accepted, cared about, listened to and knowing they belong just as they are.

As you go through the week, think about how you welcome people into your life based on the “Remember this” comments above.  I do know that WFS was and is a place of acceptance and it was how I learned to love myself and know, while challenging at times, that others love me just for being me!

Bonded in giving love and receiving love for who you are at this very moment, Dee


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Monday Thoughts 8/23/2021

“What day is it?’ asked Pooh.  “It’s today,” squeaked Piglet.  “My favorite day,” said Pooh.”  ~~A.A. Milne

“Time is like a river.  You cannot touch the same water twice, because the flow that has passed will never pass again.  Enjoy every moment in life.”  ~~Unknown

“If you’re always racing to the next moment, what happens to the one you’re in?  Slow down and enjoy the moment you’re in and live your life to the fullest.”  ~~Nanette Mathews


#9 The past is gone forever.

No longer am I victimized by the past.

I am a new woman.


Trying to relive the past was a way to avoid the present before my New Life.  I was unaware of how this made life feel miserable and increased the desire to escape into addiction.  It was a cycle of pain and avoidance, but sobriety and especially Statement #9 helped free me from that painful circuit.

Understanding that the past is really gone forever allowed me to recognize that each moment is fleeting; it will never appear again and I can either embrace what is and process the emotions that accompany it or I can fight against it and prolong imbalance and discomfort.  This line of thinking allowed me to embrace choice and the feelings of being a victim began to fade away.

Our founder, Jean Kirkpatrick, PhD, states in our WFS Program booklet “When I was drinking, I was forever looking forward to something in the future, or I was reciting something from the past.  I was never in the present.  I was escaping that.”  Each day this week, focus on being present in the moment.  How often does your mind cling to the past?  What is holding you to that particular moment?  Did you expect a different outcome?  What would happen if you changed how you define what happened?  How can you incorporate Statement #9 more into your daily life?

Hugzzz

Karen


Hi 4 C Women,

As I get older and sometimes feel the strong pull of reflecting on the past, I am even more grateful for Statement #9, my all-time favorite.  I have begun to understand that, for me, there is the painful past and the joyful past.  With time and emotional growth, I have come to let go of the painful past because I have worked through the pain, not ignored it or dismissed it.  It has given me insight and understanding for a lot of my choices and most importantly, to learn to make healthier choices in my recovery and forgive myself as well as others.

Forgiving others has been the biggest challenge yet it frees up so much energy to embrace the action part of this Statement – no longer am I victimized by the past, I am a new woman.  Do I regret some of my past decisions?  Of course, that makes me human.  Do I dwell and beat myself up for those decisions?  NO.  When my thoughts start going in that direction, I repeat Statement #9 over and over, knowing I cannot change the past, only hopefully “learn” from it.  And then there is the joyful past.  There was a time when I only focused on the painful past as though my whole life was nothing but a negative, painful, joyless life.  Even my former marriage had joyful times and while the painful times outranked the joy, I learned so much about myself over the years.  It was Statement #9 that gave me guidance in letting go as I worked through the past, learning how to forgive, and bringing balance to my memories by also remembering the joyful times.

I have a plaque that reminds me to bring balance into my painful memories, “When you stumble, make it part of the dance.”  I stumbled, still do, yet I can make those stumbles a part of my dance in balancing the pain with the joyful memories.  Last week, Karen talked about her grateful journal.  It helped me to see that grateful journaling can be part of how I continue working through the pain to focus on the gratefulness of sobriety, the healed relationships of which the most important one is the one I have with myself.

As you continue to heal from the past, ponder these questions:

Have you learned to trust your instincts as you heal from the past?

Is forgiving yourself and others still extremely difficult or getting easier?  If difficult, do you know why?

What strengths have you gained from healing?

Are you open to acknowledging there are joyful memories and how do you celebrate them?

In answering these questions, consider this quote:

“You’re more than the mistakes you’ve made.  You are the wisdom, strength, compassion, and growth you’ve gained from all you have been through.” ~~ Karen Salmansohn

Bonded in learning from the past and becoming a new 4C woman, Dee


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New WFS Meeting – Albany, OR

WFS is proud to announce the start of a new face-to-face meeting!

Albany, OR

Friday at 12:00 pm

Start Date: 9/17/2021

Please email [email protected] with questions and to obtain the exact location of the meeting.

Please join us in extending our gratitude to the volunteer Certified Facilitator who has made the commitment to bring the New Life Program to her local community!

If you are feeling inspired to bring WFS to your local community, please review the requirements for becoming a Certified Facilitator and contact [email protected] for assistance.

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Monday Thoughts 8/16/2021

“If nothing ever changed, there’d be no butterflies.”  ~~Unknown

“You have done all you can on a physical level, and now must enter sacred waiting.  The hardest most integral step is turning all over to the grace of life and the coming transformative powers born from the steps you have already taken.”  ~~Sarah Blondin

“Growth demands a temporary surrender of security.”  ~~Gail Sheehy


#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.


Learning that sobriety is the beginning of New Life, and recovery is the discovery of New Life, keeps me focused on moving forward.  In the beginning, it took all of my energy to just stay sober and during this time I felt like a sponge; absorbing information from all around me.  As I began to feel more comfortable, growth became more focused and directed inwards. This is where Statement #8 in action opens a portal for exploration.

Beginning to practice this Statement, I felt like an adult and thought why do I need to grow?  Yet as I traveled down the road of recovery, I soon realized that even though I was physically mature, my thoughts and mind tilted towards immaturity.  Yet, there was something quite positive in that knowledge: I was starting with a clean slate and was in charge of the chalk.  A masterpiece was ready to be expressed and created.

For me, Statement #8 will always be in motion and it is not a destination.  It is a road to define, explore and discover.  The WFS Program offers the starting direction and it is up to each 4C woman to set out and chart her own path.  I absolutely love that Statement #8 simply opens the door, yet we get to build and design our New Life.  This week, reflect on where you started and note where you are right now. How does it feel?  Do you feel content or satisfied?  What do you need right now? Where do you see yourself in 5, 10 or 15 years?

Hugzzz

Karen


Hi 4C Women,

Karen has presented some thought-provoking questions.  Thinking about what I feel right now, I find myself fluctuating between contentment and uncertainty.  And these fluctuating feelings are why I am so grateful to know that Statement #8 is all about accepting where we are at the moment, being able to grow emotionally and spiritually as we discover and uncover our needs, creating our own individual path.  Most important to me has been my willingness to change, to step out of my comfort zone at my own pace.  In the past, change was a scary place for me to even consider.  Usually, my fear of change was like most, the unknown, not being able to control an outcome, unrealistic expectations and wondering if I was making choices that would actually support my personal growth.

In our meeting, we talk about our authentic feelings of that day, and it has been a great source of understanding and comfort. The comfort is accepting and acknowledging all of our feelings.  It is teaching me that, with Statement #8 guiding us, there is so much insight to gain.  We not only acknowledge what we’re feeling but also why.  What happened that we are feeling sad, angry, joyful, content?  If our goal is to gain emotional and spiritual growth, understanding the reason for those feelings is key to learning the direction we want to go and to fill our tool box with impactful resources and knowledge of our inner needs to do so.  It helps us to consider whether we need to dig deeper into our needs and find a way to move forward or celebrate and even repeat the action of that joyful and contented feeling.  It’s like a puzzle that needs to be solved putting the pieces together, creating the big picture.

The action part of Statement #8 can be daunting – daily putting your life into a proper order and knowing what those priorities are. For me, it depends on what is happening in my life on any given day.  Sometimes it’s survival and other days, it’s exploring new directions.  I used to think priorities were the tasks that needed to be accomplished.  While I am a list maker and love to just check off those tasks, I do understand that a priority needs to match the genuine purpose of my emotional and spiritual growth.  This is how it was explained at a workshop I attended: A priority is whatever has first claim on your time, energy, and resources.  That one sentence stopped me in my tracks.  How do I spend my time and energy and resources?  Does it truly match my core values, what I consider the essence of who I am and want to be?  If my answer was giving back for what I have received in this New Life, does my priority reflect that?  One way to know your core values is to think about what feeds your spirit, what emotional needs are left unattended to begin the practice of self-care so that your core values become clearer.

Bonded in creating a huge tool box of understanding our emotional and spiritual needs and ways to support them, Dee


Hear more about Statement #8 in this video!


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Monday Thoughts 8/9/2021

“Most people, it seems like they’ve only got one part of the equation down.  Caring for themselves, or caring for someone else.  And I’ve learned how important it is to have both.”  ~~Deb Caletti

“My mission in life is to be kind, compassionate, caring, and loving in order to find and feel the deepest joy of life.”  ~~Debasish Mridha

“To often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”  ~~Leo Buscaglia


#7 Love can change the course of my world.

Caring is all-important.


Caring is all-important.”  Whoa.  Such a simple sentence in the action part of Statement #7, but it encompasses everything.  Our founder, Jean Kirkpatrick, Ph.D., was ahead of her time and wise beyond her years in understanding the power of love for women in recovery.  On her own journey, Jean began to jot down important observations, ones that could lead to changing course and the WFS New Life Program was born.  Born from love and shared with love.

Addiction can alter perceptions of love. What may seem like loving words or actions can oftentimes feel manipulative or controlling.  Alcohol denied the ability to understand this, and I clung to denial for ease and comfort, but the WFS New Life Program can help change course.

In our WFS Beginner’s Collection booklet it states “Our culture has taught us to be over-dependent on others—by attaching our self-esteem to our relationships and to approval from others.  Our value as a person often depends on our relation to others and not on our own intrinsic worth.  On the other hand, we fear and dread rejection and hurt.  Now is the time to take risks—be open about our feelings—be vulnerable—balance giving and receiving.  Mature, loving relationships can bring us the greatest happiness of all.”  This week, take time to express your love and to practice balance and openness. Notice the emotions and feelings that arise.  How do they differ from last year or even from before your New Life?

Hugzzz

Karen


Hi 4C Women,

Karen’s question reminded me of how much this Statement changed my life, how I learned to love myself without needing the approval of others.  Rejection was my greatest fear and acceptance my greatest need.  Through WFS, I learned that the best way to find acceptance was through my own acknowledgement of my worth and not the opinion of others.  After all, I will always be with me so it’s absolutely imperative that I nourish the caring of me and this is how love can, and did, change the course of my world.  Loving myself opened me up to receiving and giving love to others authentically.

Being vulnerable can be quite scary yet it is that vulnerability that opens doors to genuine relationships.  If sharing who we are, what our needs are, chases someone away, that only leaves more room for those who embrace and encourage our vulnerability in developing caring relationships.  I try to look at relationships as interdependent, the balance of giving and receiving as Karen shared.  We need each other in this life.  The balance is the healthy feeling of enjoying being alone and also spending time with others.  Imbalance is depending solely on others to bolster our self-esteem, to fill our empty love tank, being fearful of expressing our needs for fear of rejection.  For me, this past year created an imbalance with the isolation I experienced.  I realized how much joy I felt being “with” others.  For some, it became comfortable to be isolated to the point where the fear of future interacting in person became a concern.  Initially the isolation became a welcome change from my overly hectic scheduled life.

Further into the pandemic, I understood that too much time alone, not interacting on a more personal level, was creating a void that could be a trigger.  Don’t get me wrong, it took years, but I did eventually learn to enjoy my own company but I also love being with others.  It motivates me, inspires me, brings me great joy – loving the course of my world with wonderful people.  I even missed chatting with people in the grocery store!   However, it is this Statement that made me realize that whether in person, zoom, phone or text, I am grateful for the circle of love in my life.  Even in physical isolation, I had so much love from the women I have been privileged to know through WFS.  I believe I could write that on my gratitude list every night.

Love, caring is an action, not just a feeling.  Are you aware of how you fill your own personal love tank, showing love to yourself, how you show caring to others?   Is your love and caring in balance?  This is an important question as I have found many women with addictions tend to be people pleasers, neglecting their own needs.  It’s exhausting!  So, Statement #7 is practicing self-care, self-love and having the energy to be caring about others.

Bonded in a balanced, loving, caring, sober life to enjoy, Dee


Hear more about Statement #7 in this video!

 

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New WFS Meeting – Toms River, NJ

WFS is proud to announce a new In-Person Meeting!

Toms River, NJ

Mondays at 7:00 PM

Please email [email protected] with questions and to obtain details for the meeting.

Please join us in extending our gratitude to the volunteer Certified Facilitator who has made the commitment to bring the New Life Program to her local community!

If you are feeling inspired to bring WFS to your local community, please review the requirements for becoming a Certified Facilitator and contact [email protected] for assistance.

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Monday Thoughts 8/2/2021

“Life is like a coin. You can spend it any way you wish, but you only spend it once.” ~~Lillian Dickson

“Live each second without hesitation.” ~~Elton John

“When we do the best we can, we never know what miracle is wrought in our life or the life of another.” ~~Helen Keller


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

Greatness is mine by a conscious effort.


It is easy to get caught up in the fast-paced moments of the day, from 24-hour news cycles to binge watching favorite shows, each day can morph into an entire week and a week into a month. Before our eyes, a new year is upon us and we wonder where did all that time go? Sobriety and Statement #6 encourages us to slow down and grow in conscious awareness.

In our WFS Program booklet it states, “Sobriety is a rewarding experience for those who invest in the moments of each day.” What does that mean? How do we invest in each day? This was not hard in early sobriety; it simply felt amazing to be sober! Being able to close my eyes at night knowing I had made it through another day without drinking made every day feel special. Life felt great, yet like an iceberg, I was just touching the surface. Underneath held new discoveries and uncharted waters.

What does it mean to invest in our day? Of course, each day is different for everyone, but we have the ability to devote conscious effort into those 24 hours. I see Statement #6 as a type of Relapse Prevention. By making small conscious efforts each day, we can gain healthy returns in our lives. For instance, I begin the day by journaling one page and close the day by jotting down something I feel grateful for. Another 4C woman sets a chime to go off at the same time every hour so she slows down and takes a conscious breath, while gardening and connecting to nature works for another fabulous 4C friend. The key is to make Statement #6 fit and work for you. Find greatness in each day, even in the ordinary and everyday moments.

What will you discover in your uncharted waters?

Hugzzz

Karen


Hi 4C Women,

I absolutely love how Karen described the beginning of her sobriety journey, feeling how great life was each day and then recognizing she was just touching the surface underneath the iceberg. What a beautiful time to reflect on, to be grateful for, when as she shared, she was just beginning to find new discoveries about life, about herself as a sober woman amid the unchartered waters. I sometimes feel that way when a new situation or challenge enters my life. How will I respond? Will I forget all that I have learned, all the changes I made by a conscious effort or will I invest wisely in my ordinary, yet fulfilling, life I have worked so hard to create? Will I seek input to keep me on track, to remind me how much I have learned? I definitely know that my life is enriched immensely by the positive support of my WFS sisters. They provide me a listening ear, compassion in times of my personal conflict or confusion. It goes back to knowing that we are not alone, that we can seek support without judgment. I use to journal quite a bit in the first years of my recovery. I am glad that I did as each time I read my written word, I can visually see and recall the major changes I made in my thinking, my responses/reactions, my ordinarily great life!

I came across this question: If they wrote a book about your life, what would the title be? The more I thought about this question, the more I realized that the title wasn’t nearly as important to me as the chapter titles. Oh, that would be such a fun and yet frightening roller coaster ride as roller coasters tend to be just that in real life.

Here’s the best thing about those chapters – they are the unchartered waters I traveled, the paths I chose and learned from, the guide to making the ordinary great by living each day clear minded, less fearful, more forgiving (especially of myself) and most of all, loving myself more each sober chapter I lived. While my sobriety was the beginning goal, my emotional and spiritual growth is what kept me going, kept me breaking through the iceberg in bits and pieces, sometimes large chunks.

How would you answer the original question as to the title of your book?

I decided to create my chapters based on my recovery rather than my whole life. I did this to see my personal growth, how WFS changed my life so drastically. If you were to choose the same way of creating your recovery book, what would you title the chapters of your life today? It doesn’t matter if you are at the very beginning of sobriety or years down the road, the gift you give yourself is that you are moving forward. Perhaps that could be the title of Chapter 1.

How do you appreciate the ordinary? (Waking up remembering the night before, being available when needed, pursuing a dream, healing relationships, creating authentic bonds – so much more!) For me, when I feel unsure, distraught, I go back to gratefulness. I like how Karen ends each day with writing in her grateful journal. There is something about seeing it in writing that is a beautiful reminder of how our ordinary life has moments of joy and when times are tough, just having that reminder can provide a sense of balance, that in this unchartered path, we have experienced greatness even in the ordinary.

Bonded is recognizing and appreciating the ordinary and greatness in our lives, Dee


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