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Monday Thoughts 2.28.22

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“True love is inexhaustible; the more you give, the more you have.”
Antoine de Saint-Exupery

“Love is like the sea.  It’s a moving thing, but still and all, it takes its shape from the shore it meets, and it’s different with every shore.”
Zora Neale Hurston

“All that you’ve loved is all you own.”
Tom Waits


#10 All love given returns.

I am learning to know that I am loved.


Over the weekend, love took many forms as our youngest was married. This beautiful, one-syllable word wove through the smallest of moments and into the largest of pictures. Love stood strong and unmistakable, as well as silent and serene. Love returned again and again, and again.

Sobriety and the WFS New Life program laid a path to experience this past weekend with increasing gratitude, clarity, and of course, love. In the past, active addiction severed relationships and created deep divides but Statement #10 in action offers healing and hope. It creates a portal for forgiveness and introspection all the while cementing depth.

Amid beauty and the bride, love was a wellspring, refreshing corsages and connections. From each precious moment came the knowledge that love was present and was the present as well. Love danced, delighted, and I felt content embracing all love given returns….

Hugzzz and love

Karen


Dear 4C Women,

Even though I wasn’t at this beautiful celebration, my heart swelled with the love being experienced and expressed as Karen described the many moments of love at her daughter’s wedding.

As Karen talked about severed relationships during active addiction, I thought of all the women who have shared similar situations over the years. It is so important to understand that self-forgiveness and forgiveness from others is the path to all love given returning. We need to learn how to forgive ourselves so we can seek forgiveness from others. It is this authentic forgiveness that sets us free to give love and learn to know we are loved.

At the beginning of my recovery journey, I have to say that my negative attitude blocked feeling loved by anyone, including myself. I was giving love in hopes of receiving it yet I built a wall so impenetrable that nothing felt believable. As my negative attitude decreased thanks to Statement #2, I chipped away at the wall of being unlovable and slowly let love, self-love, and forgiveness/self-forgiveness enter into my sober life. As my marriage ended, I also realized that love comes in many forms. It wasn’t always about romantic love.

As I looked closely at my relationships in recovery, I realized that my life was filled with love in so many ways. I was one of the fortunate people who loved the work I did at the YWCA, learned to develop deep friendships, had a new life purpose in facilitating WFS meetings, more time to spend with family, learning self-care, and so much more as time passed. I saw a plaque the other day that had a familiar phrase – Bloom where you are planted – yet this one said “Grow where you are planted.” I thought about emotional and spiritual growth in Statement #8. As personal growth was blooming, I was growing! I was growing where I was planted – single, working mom, responsible, forgiving myself for what I could not change, and learning to forgive and seek forgiveness.

The end result was that love given does return and I finally believed that I was loved! Before that, when love was expressed, my self-talk was oh sure, you love me but my heart said it couldn’t’ be true because I didn’t love myself so why would anybody really love me. It was lonely. So, it goes back to learning to love and forgive ourselves so we can grow where we are planted right now. And for me, the most important lesson was, as I mentioned before, love comes from many different sources. Embrace what brings you joy, what makes you smile when you are in that space. There is love in volunteering, friendships, family, pets, hobbies, travel, nature, groups that support our joy such as WFS, book clubs, hiking, and lots more. Seek it, be vulnerable to it, love it, and be loved in return.

Bonded in practicing the WFS program with all its phenomenal statements and learning to give love, knowing you are loved, Dee


Get excited & start making plans: 2022 WFS Conference!

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Curious about becoming a Certified Facilitator?

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Our Certified Facilitators (CFs) run the best meetings and chats! Don’t you agree?

Have you ever wondered how to become a CF?

Our CFs and OMAs (Online Meeting Assistants) are women in recovery who volunteer to host our meetings and chats. They provide valuable support to so many women in our program, and we are looking to expand our CF/OMA cadre.

If you’d like to learn more, please join us for an informational meeting on Tuesday, March 1st at 8:00 PM US/EST in the WFSOnline Zoom room (log in to WFSOnline, click meetings, click go to Zoom room). We will discuss requirements, commitments, and supports related to being a CF or OMA. See you there!

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Monday Thoughts 2.21.22

“Stepping onto a brand-new path is difficult, but not more difficult than remaining in a situation which is not nurturing to the whole woman.”  ~~Maya Angelou

“Step out of the history that is holding you back.  Step into the new story you are willing to create.”  ~~Oprah Winfrey

“Regrets only apply when we don’t learn from a situation.  No sense looking back; look forward with new knowledge and no regret.”  ~~Catherine Pulsifer


#9 The past is gone forever.

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


For some women, myself included, fear of the unknown kept me in an unhealthy cycle and locked into active addiction. It seemed like an endless circle of emotional turmoil, then an attempt to escape the pain and right back into chaos with even more turmoil. It was an exhausting way to live and it took a heavy toll. Yet sobriety and the WFS Statements, in particular Statement #9, open the door to balance while leaving fear and regret behind.

I defined myself by the past, and with the clarity of sobriety, I began to open up to possibility with Statement #9. Instead of beating myself with regret, I examined past moments with today’s eyes. What I found was growth. When I learned something from a past painful situation, I stopped defining myself by it. This was a new way to process information and I began to heal parts of myself that had been hurting for a very long time.

Understanding that my old views kept me in a victim position, I looked for ways to reframe, adjust and learn. The weight of many years of suffering began to dissipate and I felt a fresh sense of invigorating freedom. Breaking the cycle of trauma and pain opens a portal for purpose and possibility. As our WFS Program booklet states “By releasing the past, the present comes alive and we can experience life with fullness and hope.”

Hugzzz

Karen


Dear 4C Women,

Every word Karen has written resonates with me, especially lifting the weight of many years of suffering by understanding and changing my internal dialogue.  I could feel that weight lift as I recall the moment when I realized that I was victimizing myself by living in the past rather than healing from it. The self-punishment I placed on myself was relentless. I am grateful for Statement #9. It became my favorite Statement and literally changed my outlook which impacted my recovery in a phenomenal way.

If I had to describe it in one word, it would be “freedom.” I never imagined that I could look at past regrets and immediately tell myself that it can’t be changed and instead ask what I can do for myself today, what life lesson have I learned to use in the present? That is my current self-talk. No more wasting precious time by heaping pain on my heart but leaving the past where it belongs and bringing the empowering life- lessons into the present.  People talk about red flags and that is one big lesson I learned from the past as healing isn’t only about our actions, our behaviors but also how we have been treated. It’s part of the healing process to recognize hurt comes in from others. There are times when I reflect on the past and feel sad or angry yet it is a temporary reflection and I believe a healthy one. It is a reminder that I have worked darn hard on healing and creating my New Life. I recognize when I am being treated in a disrespectful manner, begin feeling unheard, invisible, and less than. What a relief to know this and respond accordingly to protect my well-being. I am a new woman!

I encourage each of you to forgive and heal from your past, relish your ability to learn life lessons and grow from them, set boundaries for those who tend to keep bringing your past into the present to cause you to hurt, know you are worthy of a New Life and cherish the woman you are and are becoming.

Bonded in healing and nurturing your well-being, Dee


Be part of the 2022 Teddy Bear Challenge!  Support WFS with a donation at https://womenforsobriety.org/donatetbc online or volunteer to help by sending an email to [email protected].   Learn more about the TBC here!

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Facebook Live Tuesday Talk: Medication-Assisted Treatment

Medication Assisted Treatment Tuesday Talk Facebook Live February 16 1-2pm Eastern

The Department of Justice has recently found discrimination in the court system against people who use MAT. Read more here:  https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/justice-department-finds-pennsylvania-courts-discriminated-against-people-opioid-use-disorder

And join Adrienne on Facebook Live Tuesday Talk to learn more.

Medication Assisted Treatment Tuesday Talk Facebook Live February 16 1-2pm Eastern

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Cigna Health Webinar W/ Adrienne 2.16.22

Webinar Releasing negativity to make way for recovery February 16 1-2pm US/ET

Webinar Releasing negativity to make way for recovery February 16 1-2pm US/ET

You’re invited to the February Substance Use Disorder Seminar with Adrienne Miller from Women for Sobriety: Releasing Negativity to Make Room for Recovery.

Life with an addiction is no fun – it often colors everything in our lives with a negative hue. If we stay in this negative mindset, recovery becomes a chore rather than a joy. Come learn pragmatic, real-life, time-tested strategies to move past this negativity in early recovery in order to make room for a more positive life.

Wednesday, February 16th 1-2pm US/Eastern

Call-in number: US/CAN Toll Free: 1 (866) 770-3260 Int’l Toll: 1 (509) 844-9004

Powerpoint: https://www.cigna.com/static/www-cigna-com/docs/individuals-families/health-wellness/topic-substance-use-disorder/2022/february-substance-use-disorder-handout.pdf

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Monday Thoughts 2.14.22

dictionary image of the word "growth"

“That is what learning is.  You suddenly understand something you’ve understood all your life, but in a new way.”  Doris Lessing

“We go through life.  We shed our skins.  We become ourselves.”  Patti Smith

“We have to continue to learn.  We have to be open.  And we have to be ready to release our knowledge in order to come to a higher understanding of reality.”  Thich Nhat Hanh


#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.


When in school, graduation to the next grade was the goal. I lived life seeking a reward for my efforts.  Like a carrot on a stick in front of me, I blindly moved through life without really being in it.  Goal, reward, another goal, then missing reward.  Ut oh. Life began to feel like when Charlie Brown tried to kick that football that Lucy was holding.  Alcohol became the goal and I was flat on my back.  Growth stopped.

 Sobriety paired with the WFS New Life Program, and especially Statement #8, paves the way for growth to return.  Emotional growth was held back in active addiction, as well as mental, physical, and spiritual growth.  Statement #8 is about development instead of a destination.  This was a new and exciting concept to embrace and I still feel enthusiastic about learning.

Statement #8 has taught me that the ball wasn’t the point but the experience is.  Growth is ready and available anytime or anywhere.  Even the most accomplished continue to learn and grow, and there is a vast universe to delve into.  Begin where you are and expand learning.  The world is wide open!

Hugzzz
Karen


Dear 4C Women,

Learning is a never-ending journey and I am glad to have accepted that.  I use to be so hard on myself if I made a choice that didn’t support my emotional and spiritual recovery even when I thought it did.   When I finally decided to view my choices as learning tools, I experienced a whole new attitude about “me.”  I began to feel that emotional/spiritual growth and threw away that beating me up tool and started building a toolbox of “great try, wonderful acceptance of learning and growing emotionally and spiritually, positive change in attitude, keep going, you’re worth it.”

Why do we need emotional and spiritual growth? It guides us in recognizing our feelings as teachers and allies that are there to tell us what our needs are, whether our needs are being met, and what circumstances in our lives may require change in order to meet those needs.   That was hugely challenging as I was such a people pleaser that it seemed selfish to consider my needs first or at all.  Emotional growth taught me that I matter, that loving and respecting my value was what I needed in order to have compassion for myself as I had for others.  The biggest lesson was that quitting drinking was not the complete answer to recovery – not even close.  It became clear to me that it was about changing my thoughts which began to change my actions and reactions, making myself a priority in meeting my needs, uncovering my spiritual path, learning to be proactive, speaking my truthful voice and loving, respecting and forgiving myself enough to make these changes.

When you think about where you are at this moment in your emotional and spiritual growth, are you aware of your needs?  If not, what actions do you feel are important to take to know and meet your needs, to put yourself on your priority list?  I encourage you to start small and work through any fear of creating your personal path of emotional and spiritual growth if you realize that it becomes confusing, difficult, or uncomfortable.  For those who have been working on setting priorities, can you share with others how you were able to dig deep and discover your needs and follow through with actions to accomplish them?  We are together on this path.   This is the beauty of the WFS community.  We support, share and encourage each other.

As you go through this week, I hope you will consider setting priorities that are personal to you. In other words, not what you think or you are told you “should” do but what you discover matters to you.  May you discover and uncover your wants, needs and value, finding a way to meet them.  You deserve it!

Bonded in continuing to be open to learning and growing emotionally and spiritually, Dee


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Monday Thoughts 2.7.22

“Loving yourself isn’t vanity.  It’s sanity.”  Katrina Mayer

“This life is mine alone.  So, I have stopped asking people for directions to places they’ve never been.”  Glennon Doyle

“Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we’ll ever do.”  Brené Brown


#7 Love can change the course of my world.

Caring is all-important.


Sobriety and recovery are acts of love that we give ourselves each day.  In the past, I could not have imagined that not doing something would be considered an act of love, yet putting action behind Statement #7 does exactly that.  Love changes the course of my world minute by minute, day by day.

In our WFS Program booklet, it states, “Practice of Statement #7 leads to understanding love and the importance of self-care.”  For many women, self-care had been considered selfish and can feel foreign.  Embracing a sober New Life is an act of self-care and opens a portal to self-love.  You need and deserve your love!

How can we begin to love ourselves?  Taking small mindful steps forward like the ones listed below can create healthy habits.  What else can you add to change the course of your world?

  1. Instill trust in yourself: You are your best advocate and know what your needs are.  Give yourself your trust.  List your actions/decisions/choices that changed your life positively, no matter how small.  Release doubt.
  2. Embrace your value:  Your value is not contained in your looks, possessions, achievements, etc.  You have value because you are YOU!
  3. Let go of comparison:  Comparing yourself to anyone else cannot be fair, ever.  It only serves to elevate/diminish.  Instead, highlight your journey.  No one else can ever live your life!
  4. Bring in boundaries:  If someone will not take responsibility for their actions, a firm healthy boundary is an act of courageous self-love.  You are deserving of respect, you are deserving of love.

Hugzzz

Karen


Dear 4C Women,

The 4 ways to learn to love yourself are spot on and I am thankful to Karen for sharing them.

1.   We talk about rebuilding trust so others will have faith and confidence in our commitment to abstinence and personal growth.  How true that learning to trust our instincts and our decisions in recovery is of utmost importance as well.  It was initially one of the most difficult changes for me to make.  Yet, it is absolutely possible and necessary for moving forward, for building self-esteem.   Listing our positive actions reminds me of sharing positives in our meeting.  It can be challenging even for those who have been attending meetings for a long time.  I used to joke that if we were asked to share negatives, it would be much easier.  What stood out for me in this 1st guidance tip was the key phrase, to “release doubt;” that love, loving ourselves especially, can release the doubt of feeling unworthy, unlovable, and all those “uns” that we cling to when working on developing love and self-care.

2.   What do you value about yourself?  It took a while for me to acknowledge and answer this question.  I learned to value my loyalty, my empathy, and compassion for others.  It seemed strange at first not to list my accomplishments no matter how small as that was how I defined myself.   Through WFS, I was able to uncover and share my values. It was the inside work I feared to face as I lacked the self-confidence to believe I had anything to offer other than what I did.  So grateful to learn the truth of my authentic value and feel comfortable about expressing it.

3.   Jean spoke often about not comparing ourselves to others. You either feel superior, which removes compassion, or you feel less than and that negates supporting your recovery and well-being.  I sometimes felt triggered by the success of others, whether material possessions or achievements.  I judged myself by a standard that was unrealistic or damaging.  Which goes back to tip #2 in learning to value ourselves, the inside feeling work we do.  That cannot be taken away and is immeasurable.

4.   Oh, boundaries!  This might be the biggest challenge of all and still is at times when it comes to family. There’s so much emotional history attached to creating those boundaries.  In the beginning I felt guilt and shame for a long time and didn’t think I could set boundaries as I was so intent on appeasing/pleasing everyone, never saying no and remained a shell of the 4C woman I wanted to be.  On the outside, I appeared differently than I felt inside.  Once I slowly began setting boundaries, I felt such a sense of freedom and self-love.  I found and spoke my voice with that compassion I felt inside but was afraid to be seen as weak to express.  Goodbye toxic people, condescending people, feeling invisible and undeserving of respect.   I came across this quote:  Accept people where they are, but place them where they belong.  You are the CEO of your life.  Hire, fire and promote accordingly.   A good quote for setting boundaries.

Many times, we discuss the negative baggage we bring into the present.  I believe that practicing Statement #7 is one of those statements that begins the unpacking of old messages that no longer speaks our present truth or serves our recovery journey.  It teaches us to reclaim our power, our self-worth, our deserving of love and self-respect.  Grab it, practice it, unpack the baggage and fill it with love, caring. self-respect and self-care. Dee