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Monday Thoughts 1.17.22

hand holding seedling

“Walls turned sideways are bridges.”  ~~Angela Davis

“Fear builds its phantoms which are more fearsome than reality itself.”  ~~Jawaharlal Nehru

“Success is sometimes the outcome of a whole string of failures.”  ~~Vincent Van Gogh


#4 Problems bother me only to the degree I permit.

I now better understand my problems.

I do not permit problems to overwhelm me.


 Sober life tends to move through different stages much like the seasons. From the increasing daylight of spring and new life into summer days full of energy and brightness. Followed by fall, unfurling itself to where we are right now, wrapped up in a slower pace of hibernation and stillness, we can be reminded of how Statement #4 in action goes through the very same process.

Active addiction makes it impossible to reap a harvest of growth and blossoming relationships.  It can remove any sense of connection while digging a deep hole of loneliness.  Imbalance sets in like overgrown weeds and chokes off new seedlings.  Life and love cannot flourish without nourishment.

Sobriety and Statement #4 in action create a garden full of hope, resilience, and growth. Beautiful tall blooms of optimism, opportunity, and overcoming stand tall while layers of peace, love, and patience fill in underneath.  Covering the ground level, a vast curtain of contentment and connection fills in any bare spots, bringing a sense of balance and ease into view.  It is a garden of you, growing and evolving with the changing seasons.  What will you plant today for your future harvest?

Hugzzz

Karen


Dear 4C Women,

I love every word of Karen’s message.  I could visualize the seasons, the garden and finally, the hope experienced in recovery.  My drinking mostly hurt the relationship I had with myself.  I made unhealthy choices and everything – I mean everything – was a problem.  I could not discern the difference between a problem and a genuine concern that needed my attention. I lacked problem-solving skills and decision-making abilities.  Because I saw everything as a problem, I was constantly overwhelmed.  Learning to understand authentic concerns was such a gift in teaching me those skills of problem-solving that drinking took away.

As I began to think clearly, I also learned to seek input, to be vulnerable, and yet know that the final decision was mine to make.  Mistakes were made yet learning was taking place.  I realized how much time I wasted on non-issues and how much more energy and time I had to tackle the real concerns facing me.  I also realized that I was using everyday problems to stop me from facing the important decisions to be made.  I was fearful of making more mistakes.  A big lesson for me was that mistakes were just that – a learning curve for the next time and that success was possible.  In fact, I probably learned a lot more by being open, willing, and vulnerable, to accept mistakes and keep moving forward.

Jean Kirkpatrick had such a clear understanding of women’s roles when she created this program back in 1975.  She understood the societal expectations of women and how that created overwhelming pressure for women who sought relief by drinking or using substances.  There was a double standard and not much support but lots of judgment.  We were expected to be the best in everything, take care of all relationships, put others before ourselves and not complain.  That certainly created a lot of overwhelming pressure.  Jean knew this and it guided her to write this empowering WFS program.  Of course, pressures still exist as women’s roles expanded.  Fortunately, through WFS, I have seen women learn to value themselves, speak their voice, practice self-care, learn coping skills that include problem-solving and decision making.  The most important thing is that there is support given and received.  We share our journey, women strong, compassionate and caring.

Bonded in planting our future harvest of hope, resilience, and supporting each other along the way, Dee


CALL FOR PRESENTATIONS

Do you have a particular interest or expertise that you can share with the WFS community during our 2022 Annual Conference?

WFS is planning for our in-person conference and seeking workshop presenters for the event.  The conference theme of “Bloom” opens up a very wide range of potential workshop topics related to recovery and emotional and spiritual growth.

Please consider giving back to WFS by designing and presenting a workshop. We have so many talented and knowledgeable women in our community that the possibilities are endless for topics and content.

Proposals for workshop topics are due January 31st, 2022.

https://womenforsobriety.org/community/#


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Monday Thoughts 1.10.22

“There is an amazing power getting to know your inner self and learning how to use it and not fight with the world.  If you know what makes you happy, your personality, interests, and capabilities, just use them, and everything else flows beautifully.”  ~~Juhi Chawla

“I wanted a perfect ending.  Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end.  Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment, and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next.  Delicious Ambiguity.”  ~~Gilda Radner

“So many people waste time waiting for good things to happen to them.  But sometimes we need to make good things happen.  And when we finally start doing that, we often see there were good things in our lives all along.”  ~~Caroline George


#3 Happiness is a habit I am developing.

Happiness is created, not waited for.


“What makes your insides smile?”

Another 4C woman asked that question on the WFS Online Forum some years ago and it struck me deeply.  First off, I could not recall that kind of joy or happiness before sobriety and recovery. Alcohol had altered my thoughts and mind to the point that everything felt like a struggle.  I fought against seemingly everything. Statement #3 immediately became a welcome new concept.

Our founder, Jean Kirkpatrick, Ph.D. understood this need and created Statement #3.  In fact, Jean knew this so well that she wrote in our WFS Program booklet “For many years, I was convinced that some people were just naturally happy and others were not.  And most of the time, I was not happy.  I was too deep into my feeling sorry for myself, waiting for the time when everything in my life would miraculously change, and then instant happiness would follow.”

Happiness is not instant like oatmeal or grits, but it can be created.  When I was growing up, the sound of racecars at a local track rumbled through my bedroom window while drifting off to sleep.  My brother even raced there for a time.  Yet when I became an adult, I waited for race tickets to magically appear.  They never did. As my interests continue grow and evolve, I know that thanks to sobriety and Statement #3 in action, I have the greatest ticket there is …. a ticket to my beautiful 4C life!

Hugzzz
Karen


Dear 4C Women,

My first thought was how much can be purchased online these days, how easy and convenient to get practically anything we desire delivered right to our front door.  Yet, as Karen describes, we have the ability to obtain, free of charge, no shipping costs, the ticket to creating our own happiness.  The big difference is that we have to know what to include in that ticket to happiness.

It can start with the question Karen presented, “What makes your insides smile?”  I must admit that what makes my insides smile, in addition to facilitating WFS meetings and writing the Monday Thoughts, is connecting with family and friends in person up North and the hope of eventually seeing my son who moved to CA over 2 years ago.  That is not possible for me right now so I have to dig deeper to create that personal ticket to happiness in the present.  I believe the pandemic has left many of us questioning how to create happiness in uncertain times.  Yet, uncertain times have been around for centuries and I’m sure our ancestors had to cope with this very issue of creating happiness in difficult times.

I researched on the internet for a list of things to make you happy.  As I was searching through a myriad of lists, I came across one that had answers from children.  It was so authentic, some material things that kids love and others were deeply caring feelings from the heart.  So, I was thinking that’s what I need to do; create a list of gratitude for what I have, appreciating those heartfelt and material things.  I love my DVR because I can watch my shows whenever I want.  Believe it or not, years ago I would stay home to watch a favorite show rather than attend an event.  I’m grateful for Zoom and Facebook where I can access people I love, people I have lost contact with.  My brother-in-law passed away in April and I was able to virtually attend his funeral in PA through the internet.  I wish I could have been there yet what a gift to be a part of it virtually.  I wrote a memory letter that was read, watched as my nephew, who is a pastor and conducted the service, walk over to my sister/his mom and asked her if she wanted to dance to one of my brother-in-law’s favorite songs.  My sister has Parkinson’s so just seeing that smile on her face as my nephew helped her stand and dance in place is a beautiful memory I will treasure always.

I am grateful for electricity and that became so apparent when we experienced power failure during the 2011 tornadoes.  I can’t tell you how many times during the week that I flipped on light switches, the microwave, and tv.  I’m also grateful for modern medicine, researchers, and scientists that continue to search for answers to help heal or at least improve people’s health. Most of all, I am grateful for WFS and how it changed my life and has given me the opportunity to share it with so many women over the 33 years I’ve been a part of it.  I have support, I’ve given support and the reward is, as they say, “priceless.”

I encourage you to create your list of gratefulness and perhaps as you do so, you’ll uncover what authentically creates happiness in your life, both materially and in the heart.  Hopefully, this list will also help you to include more of what brings you joy into your everyday life or add it back in.

Bonded in developing happiness, joy, and gratefulness, Dee


CALL FOR PRESENTATIONS

Do you have a particular interest or expertise that you can share with the WFS community during our 2022 Annual Conference?

WFS is planning for our in-person conference and seeking workshop presenters for the event.  The conference theme of “Bloom” opens up a very wide range of potential workshop topics related to recovery and emotional and spiritual growth.

Please consider giving back to WFS by designing and presenting a workshop. We have so many talented and knowledgeable women in our community that the possibilities are endless for topics and content.

Proposals for workshop topics are due January 31st, 2022.

https://womenforsobriety.org/community/#

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Conference 2022 – CALL FOR PRESENTATIONS

Do you have a particular interest or expertise that you can share with the WFS community during our

2022 Annual Conference?

WFS is planning for our in person conference and seeking workshop presenters for the event.  The
conference theme of “Bloom” opens up a very wide range of potential workshop topics related to

recovery and emotional and spiritual growth.

Please consider giving back to WFS by designing and presenting a workshop. We have so many talented
and knowledgeable women in our community that the possibilities are endless for topic and content.

Proposals for workshop topics are due January 31st, 2022.

Learn more about presenting here.

Posted on Leave a comment

Monday Thoughts 1.3.2022

Monday Thoughts

Negative thinking is contagious.  Do your best not to dwell on negativity, it will consume you and prevent you from becoming your best self.”  ~~Germany Kent

“Believing in negative thoughts is the single greatest obstruction to success.”  ~~Charles F. Glassman

“Don’t ever stop believing in your own transformation.  It is still happening even on days you may not realize it or feel like it.”  ~~Lalah Delia


#2 Negative thoughts destroy only myself.

My first conscious sober act is to reduce negativity in my life.


What? Me? Negative? Uh, no way. Never.  These are some words that were frequently a part of my vocabulary before New Life.  Denial kept me locked in active addiction for years, yet moving into sobriety was the beginning of CHANGE, an acronym for Choose Having A New Growth Experience.

Sobriety and Statement #2 in action create a sense of balance and can offer ease and contentment.  Starting with awareness of thoughts, which can feel overwhelming at first, opens the door to identifying, understanding and lastly, managing thoughts.

In our WFS Program booklet it states “Negative thoughts can destroy us in many ways.  An important aspect of negative thoughts for us is that such thoughts often precede using or drinking.  A state of “what’s the use?” or “who cares?” can initiate an attempt to escape from reality.”

Here are some examples of negative thinking along with opportunities to change them:

1.      All or nothing, or black/white thinking:

“I will never be able to _______.”  Instead, “I may or may not achieve ______ the first time I try, but I will do my best and can learn along the way.”  What is in the gray area in between?  Will this line of thinking help or hurt me?  Or take me further towards or further away from sobriety?

2.      Catastrophizing:

“It will be a disaster” or “It will never work.” Instead, “I am open to experiencing what is in front of me.”  Or “I have everything I need within me to succeed or move through this.”  Challenge these thoughts and embrace growth.

3.      Shoulding or blaming:

“They/he/she/I should do/don’t/be__________”.  Instead, let go of judgments or blame and focus on compassion “They/he/she/I am trying to understand and they/he/she/I am not their/my behaviors and/or embrace that you do not have all the answers.

4.      I’m not good enough:

“I don’t measure up.” Instead, name your strengths.  No one but you has your set of insights and understanding.  You are an important part of the human experience and you are worthy of receiving what you want in life.  You are capable, competent, caring and compassionate.

Hugzzz

Karen


Dear 4C Women,

Negative thoughts are a natural thought process.  It is how we hold onto them, how they cloud our thinking/decision making and hinder our ability to learn not only how to stop them from becoming harmful but also ways to change our thinking process.  It is what I appreciate about WFS.  We are given tools to help us achieve a positive attitude when it seems impossible.  I mention this often because I feel so strongly about it and that is how critical it is to acknowledge our feelings.  How can we learn to change our thoughts, our actions, if we don’t acknowledge authentic feelings?  If I am angry, disappointed, sad or a myriad of other feelings, how can I gain insight as to why if I pretend they don’t exist?

I have been struggling with anger and disappointment over a family issue and it’s taking a lot of digging deep to figure out why I am so affected and what is within my control to change it.  What I’ve discovered is the only control I have is how I approach it after I uncover the deepest feeling.  That feeling is fear.  It would be so much easier if it were my personal issue because I have control over my response, my willingness to be proactive and do what I feel needs to be done.  Thankfully, even though I am filled with fear, I have learned to speak my voice, to be heard.  And therein is the most challenging issue of all – to be heard when I speak my truth, to be understood. Yet I won’t let that possibility of being dismissed or ignored stop me.  My words may not be received as I hoped yet if I say nothing, then nothing changes, no seed is planted for a better communication and a path towards healing.   As I look at Karen’s examples, I realize I have experienced all of the negative thoughts and gratefully, have been able to put into action many of the empowering suggestions she made.

This is from the Inner Critic (known also as our inner dialog, scripts or tapes) workshop Nina and I presented at a WFS conference:

Watch your thoughts; they become words.

Watch your words; they become actions.

Watch your actions; they become habits.

Watch your habits; they become character.

Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.

Patrick Overton

To stop the inner critic, the negative thoughts, start creating an awareness when the inner critic begins its attack and change the message asap!  You can name your inner critic as I have and when it appears, I look over my shoulder and flick it off with a few strong words.  I have the ability to reduce its impact but only if I am aware of its presence.  Old messages, old tapes are a big clue that this is no longer your truth in the present.

This is from the Inner Critic (known also as our inner dialog, scripts or tapes) workshop Nina and I presented at a WFS conference:

Watch your thoughts; they become words.

Watch your words; they become actions.

Watch your actions; they become habits.

Watch your habits; they become character.

Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.

Patrick Overton

To stop the inner critic, the negative thoughts, start creating an awareness when the inner critic begins its attack and change the message asap!  You can name your inner critic as I have and when it appears, I look over my shoulder and flick it off with a few strong words.  I have the ability to reduce its impact but only if I am aware of its presence.  Old messages, old tapes are a big clue that this is no longer your truth in the present.


2022 Women for Sobriety Conference – Call for Presentations