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Monday Thoughts 9/20/2021

“Just believe in yourself.  Even if you don’t, pretend that you do and at some point, you will.”  ~~Venus Williams

“Life can go in many directions but the belief in yourself is the map to the unknown.”  ~~Anne Neil

“You may be the only person left who believes in you, but it’s enough.  It takes just one star to pierce a universe of darkness.  Never give up.”  ~~Richelle E. Goodrich


#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 Reflections for Growth booklet our founder, Jean Kirkpatrick, PhD writes “Do you have faith in yourself?  Do you have faith in your ability to accomplish?  More importantly, do you have faith in your sobriety?  Faith is belief.  To stay sober, we must have faith in ourselves.  We must believe, trust, and have faith in our ability to accept our self-responsibility.”  This is an eye-opening way to examine faith in our New Lives and put action into Statement #13.

Addiction removed the ability to accept, believe or feel confidence in myself.  My belief system had become misplaced, and I unconsciously allowed others to make decisions in my life.  Faith in others came way before faith in myself.  Because of the WFS New Life Program, sobriety and recovery helped change direction and feel a sense of balance.

Challenging myself became a way to practice Statement #13 and feel responsible, which definitely increased belief in myself.  For example, knowing I wanted to get involved with WFS, becoming a Certified Facilitator was a route available.  I could either start a F2F meeting or one online.  Being more comfortable online, I chose to start a F2F.  This cemented faith, growth, and responsibility.  Today I know and have faith that I am a capable, competent, caring, and compassionate woman!

Hugzzz

Karen


Hi 4C Women,

In the beginning, I was like a rebellious teenager when it came to Statement #13.  I wanted to say, I am NOT responsible for myself and my actions.  I mean if I’m responsible, that means I have to actually stop my blame game and learn to make my own decisions, cope with the mistakes I would and did make, change my entire way of thinking and it was scary.  So much easier to blame others and just sit back and do nothing.  In totality, the 13 Statements are building blocks, a phenomenal guide to taking responsibility, to feel completely in charge of our minds, our thoughts and our lives.  I eventually began to feel empowered.  I didn’t have to hide my power; I could speak my voice.  It felt fabulous.  And mistakes, well it was shocking that the world didn’t stop turning when I made mistakes.

I am sure the people in my life were delighted with this change.  No more constantly complaining how horrible my life was because of others.   I was no longer an emotional victim of life’s situations or other people nor did I want to play that victim role anymore.  There are still times when I feel overwhelmed with being in charge yet I would rather work through those times than be stuck and fearful of a challenging situation or person.  And knowing I am in charge of my responses, my choices, provides a strength and courage I hold on to tightly.

Here’s the best part – I no longer deny my authentic feelings of fear and confusion at times.  I am fortunate to have the tools and the support of my WFS sisters to hear without judgement, provide insight from their own life experiences and space to make my own decisions.

Nancy Cross once shared a message with some questions from Iyanla Vanzant as it related to this Statement.  These questions helped me define how willing I was to practice Statement #13 in earnest.

1.       Are you willing to be a free and independent thinker?  (This one truly spoke to me the loudest.  When I was married, I didn’t realize how much I repeated my former husband’s point of view on everything.  One day, a co-worker asked me if I realized that I started every sentence with, “Ed said.”  He asked if I had thoughts or opinions of my own.  Wow!  That was a wake-up call.)

2.       Are you willing to stand up for yourself?  To speak up for yourself?

3.       Are you willing to be the one who calls the shots?

4.       Are you willing to walk away from the people who will be very upset when you stand up and speak up?  (This occurred during my separation when I found my voice.  It is challenging especially if we hold onto guilt from the past and feel we don’t deserve to speak our wants and needs.  Oh, but we do!  Remember that your past does not equal your future. We used alcohol or drugs to cope and practicing the WFS program teaches us to value ourselves as we work towards a New Life in recovery.)

5.       Are you willing to have fun and joy in total peace all by yourself, if necessary?

6.       Are you comfortable with saying no and realize it is a complete sentence?

7.       In learning to be responsible for yourself, have you set healthy boundaries to achieve your wants and needs?

Bonded in learning, growing, reaching out for support and being in charge!  Dee

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Monday Thoughts 9/13/2021

“Talk to yourself like you would someone you love.”  ~~Brene’ Brown

“You are an amazing person with unique talents  Have faith in your abilities.”  ~~Lailah Gifty Akita

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”  ~~Eleanor Roosevelt


 #12 I am a competent woman and have much to give life.

This is what I am and I shall know it always.


When I was little, my dad would sometimes ask me to retrieve a tool or item from the basement.  My dad was super organized and his instructions would be specific about where to find this requested gizmo.  Yet looking upon the wall of tools, I drew a blank.  There was so much stuff there, I felt overwhelmed and stood there silently staring, struck with feelings of failure.  My dad didn’t chastise me for not being able to find it, but I certainly did. Then I carried this thought process into adulthood.

Sobriety and Statement #12 in action lay the groundwork for growth and ability.  Addiction removed recognition of worth or value and this translated into my capabilities as well.  At some point feelings of “why even bother” became the norm but thankfully sobriety and WFS helped me change that.  I am a capable woman, I am a competent woman, I am a caring woman, I am a compassionate woman. Rinse and repeat (like the shampoo bottle reminds us).

Who I am today is a direct result of living Statement #12 and yet there is so much more to discover and embrace.  This past week, I metaphorically gazed at that giant wall of tools that once had me perplexed and was able to grab the Statement that I needed to get the job done.  To the regular world, it looked like no big deal.  However, I felt a surge of satisfaction and respect.  I am a 4C woman!

Hugzzz

Karen


Hi 4C Women,

I imagined Karen looking at the wall of 13 Statements and recognizing how much she gained, learned new and positive ways to cope, believed in her capabilities and understanding there is more to discover.  I felt applause rise up and wishing I could be standing next to her to acknowledge all that she has accomplished as a 4C woman.  I relate so much to what she has shared; the feeling of not being enough, unworthy, lacking respect and for me personally, stupid, therefore not trusting my instincts or decisions.  So, to call myself a competent woman at first felt uncomfortable and definitely an unfamiliar phrase.  Just like Karen, once I started to say Statement #12 again and again, it started to feel authentic.  I learned to gradually reduce my abundance of negative self-talk, stopped apologizing for anything and everything that went wrong as I used to believe it was all my fault regardless of the situation, learned to accept compliments (that was a huge change) and yet the biggest change of all was acknowledging that I wasn’t stupid.  My self-esteem was so low that I truly believed I had nothing to offer.  It took a while to believe in myself and it was the WFS Statements that changed my life completely.  When I took the time to reflect on my competency over the years, I realized I had accomplished a lot in spite of myself.  Yet, it was this Statement that allowed me to believe and accept that I am a smart 4C woman.  It felt awkward at first and now it feels right to say it out loud.

How do you internalize and practice Statement #12?

As you go through your day, focus on what you tell yourself, the words you use to define who you are.

My all-time favorite question is:  I am worthwhile because…

Bonded in accepting, acknowledging and trusting that you are a competent woman and have much to give life, Dee


Hear more about Statement #12 in this video!

Statement 12: Giving Back
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Conference Planning Kickoff

Have some great ideas for next year’s conference events? We will be kicking off the planning process for both our usual in-person Annual Weekend Conference *and* a fall Virtual Conference in 2022, so we will need more help, ideas, and organization than ever before! Please be a part of this exciting process that provides hope and support to hundreds of women around the globe.

Conference Planning Kickoff
Join in on the fun!
Sept. 11, 2021
12 pm US/Eastern

https://us02web.zoom.us/s/82122543445
Passcode 109561

Check for your Time Zone at https://everytimezone.com/s/c603b7e6

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Monday Thoughts 9/6/2021

“The treasures of the heart are most valuable of all.”  ~~Nichiren

“Stop looking outside for scraps of pleasure or fulfillment, for validation, security or love—you have a treasure within that is infinitely greater than anything the world can offer.”  ~~Eckhart Tolle

“Treasure the things about you that make you different and unique.”  ~~Karen Kain


#11 Enthusiasm is my daily exercise.

I treasure the moments of my New Life.


Treasure?  That is a verb (and a noun) that felt completely opposite of sobriety and recovery.  Initially fighting against a new way of life much like our founder Jean, I began to understand the devastating effects of addiction. Yet my emotions and feelings felt flat and nonexistent. How on earth would I possibly treasure anything after quitting drinking?  The answer was simple. Another verb…Practice.

It is comforting to know that Statement #11 is a direction and not a destination.  Each day there are a myriad of opportunities to treasure moments.  In our WFS Program booklet it states “Pause at random times throughout the day and identify something to appreciate about that moment.  Learn which things make you smile and feel excited.  Reflect on your life and find things to be thankful for.”  Jotting down a few things to be grateful for each day got my mind searching for even more things to practice gratitude on much in the same way shopping for a red car makes you see all the red cars around you.  It’s always been there, now it’s just easier to see.

Jean treasured her New Life by sharing what she was learning and putting it into practice.  Finding key ingredients for a splendid New Life, the WFS Statements were brought into existence. This week, take note each day and find something to treasure.  Inside or out, no matter the size, it is there for you.

Hugzzz

Karen


Hi 4C Women,

Indeed, treasuring the moments and feeling enthusiasm daily seemed a high order to accomplish.  Yet, as Karen shared, it is a direction not a destination.  Each day is a new day to practice this Statement.  At first, I thought I had to live up to other people’s definition of a sober woman.  I needed to immediately and with great enthusiasm, show how much better my life was.  While it was definitely much better, I thankfully began to understand that I had to be authentic, to go through the stages of emotional and spiritual growth to learn what brought me joy and enthusiasm in order to genuinely feel it.

Initially, my reluctance to explore new avenues had a lot to do with my expectations.  They were way too high and I would not try new things or explore other options for fear of disappointment.   I began to reflect on how many times I had been disappointed in my life and most of it had little to do with seeking joy.  It had to do with my unhealthy decisions, being rejected which with low self-esteem only enhanced my fear of being vulnerable, rejected once again and running away from feeling any positive emotion.  So, what if I tackled this feeling of enthusiasm and I was disappointed?  The bigger question was, what if I chose enthusiasm in something new, something I knew I enjoyed and it was a treasured moment?  Why would I pass that up?  I had to let go of fears surrounding the risk of not feeling that uplifting joy of enthusiasm.  As I discovered what brought a smile to my face, laughter in my soul, I began to experience enthusiasm.  What I also learned is that practicing the WFS Statements becomes a habit just as turning to alcohol had become a habit for coping.

I found a few articles on enthusiasm and a few suggestions really stood out for me.

Take 15 minutes a day to do something you love (perhaps start smaller with 5 minutes).  To start, make a list of everything you love to do.  What’s calling you right now?    At the end of the day, jot down a few thoughts in a journal so when your enthusiasm is waning, you can read the joy you felt doing something you love.

Practice self-compassion.  It is the practice of noticing what you’re feeling, remembering that you’re human (and therefore fallible, just like everyone else on the planet), and treating yourself with the same kindness you’d give to a beloved friend.  More often our response is to beat ourselves up when we stumble, but research has shown (and your own experiences may echo) that self-flagellation is counterproductive.

Avoid energy drains.  Negativity is also contagious.   If you feel drained or badly about yourself with certain people or situations, it may be time to set personal boundaries and practice that self-compassion.

Learn to say no.  Notice where your time is going.  Is it nourishing you or are you acting out of a sense of false guilt?

Flex your “what’s going well” muscle.  It’s sometimes easy to notice what’s not going well.  This goes back to practicing self-compassion, discovering what you love and doing it, working through fears of disappointment, surrounding yourself with positive, encouraging and supportive people.

Bonded in practicing enthusiasm and treasuring the moments coming from this practice, Dee


Women for Sobriety, Inc., is excited to announce that our WFS Online community will be moving to a new, more user-friendly and feature-rich platform in the coming months. READ MORE

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New Platform for WFS Online

Women for Sobriety, Inc., is excited to announce that our WFS Online community will be moving to a new, more user-friendly and feature-rich platform in the coming months.

Many of you know that WFS Online was migrated from a forum-based platform to a mixed platform (forum and feed) about two years ago. Since then, we have learned so much about the needs of our online community and identified many opportunities for improvement.

We know what an important lifeline the WFS Online community is to so many women, so we have been hard at work identifying and vetting a more sustainable and intuitive option. We are thrilled to report that we have found a fully-managed solution that we believe will meet our needs now and far into the future!

Some exciting things about the new platform include:

  • Easier navigation & search functionality – find what you want, when you need it
  • More content on the Home Page that will improve the experience for new and existing users
  • Improved activity feed capabilities
  • More functional calendaring system for our many online meetings
  • Better Group functionality – both for our ongoing Connections groups and for coordinating the activities of our many volunteer groups
  • Interactive video library
  • And more

One of the best things about the new platform is that it is fully managed by the vendor, meaning that WFS staff and volunteers will need to spend less time on worrying about the technical stuff and more time on what’s truly important – building community and supporting women as they overcome addiction!

Please keep an eye out for more information as it becomes available. If you are interested in being involved in the configuration and testing of the new platform, please email [email protected] to volunteer.

Onward!
Adrienne and the WFS Website Team