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Monday Thoughts 6.27.22

women for sobriety decorative image statement number 1 wellbeing

“Sometimes we can only find our true direction when we let the wind of change carry us.”

Mimi Novic

“Every moment is a fresh beginning.”

T.S. Eliot

“With change comes the chance to fall in love with yourself again.”

Gemma Troy


#1  I have a life-threatening problem that once had me.

I now take charge of my life and my well-being. I accept the responsibility.


The 2022 WFS Conference this past weekend brought women together from across the map and continued creating a lasting foundation of joy, connection, and love. A heartfelt thank you goes out to all the women who helped make this wonderful experience possible, from our WFS staff to the generous volunteers who brought this year’s event to life. It begins with our founder, Jean Kirkpatrick, Ph.D., and Statement #1.

Jean envisioned women coming together to support each other in recovery and brought the 13 Statements to life. While she could not see the future, Jean did however understand that women had different needs in recovery. From the beginnings with pen-pals, phone calls, and small face-to-face meetings, WFS is now reaching women every day through our robust online forum, virtual meetings, chats, email, face-to-face, and of course this past weekend, our annual Conference.

If you were like me this year and unable to attend, set your intention for next year! One way to get and stay motivated is to volunteer your time, talents, and skills to the WFS Planning Workgroup for Conference 2023.  It is also a FABULOUS way to put Statement #1 into practice, ensure your sobriety and work alongside other 4C women! (Plus, you get exciting firsthand knowledge of what’s up and coming!)

This week let’s put action into Statement #1:

What are my triggers? Remember a trigger is something that activates that part of your brain that starts to yell at you about drinking or using. Is one trigger standing out more than another? Why? How can you create more balance in your life?

How will you respond to those triggers? Always have a 5-point plan when the urge to drink or use hits hard. List a minimum of five things you can do to prevent relapse such as texting or calling someone, jumping on the WFS Online Forum, doing something physical like a brisk walk (if able), or keeping your hands busy with crocheting, drawing, journaling, weeding a garden. Meditation or repeating a mantra can ground you while you learn the root cause of a particular trigger. Lastly, you can always grab your WFS Program booklet and find a Statement that resonates with you.

Hugzzz

Karen


Hi 4C Women,

A plan is so crucial in preparing yourself when a triggering thought starts shouting to drink or use. While it may be a person or situation, it comes down to a feeling that triggers these thoughts. It’s a message that what you are feeling is uncomfortable and numbing or running away from that feeling would make it all go away. That is an old message and yet familiar message which is why having plans in place before a trigger happens will give you a life-changing lesson that you need and deserve. What is that life-changing lesson? To know that you are worthy of being in charge of your reactions/responses, that you are growing stronger with each no to those triggers and each yes to YOU! The key is to know what your feeling triggers are. It is different and yet similar in many ways for each of us. It also changes as we change.  What triggered me in the past was feeling less than… That is no longer my trigger as I have worked really hard at believing in myself, speaking my voice, and learning to value who I am today. As you successfully handle triggers, you are building a strong toolbox of coping skills that support your recovery and also others as you share those successes.

I am including a list of triggers that I have used in my meetings to help identify triggers in order to create your 5-point plan.

What feeling/s triggered me? (From the Gottman Institute)

  1. I felt excluded
  2. I felt powerless
  3. I felt unheard
  4. I felt scolded
  5. I felt judged
  6. I felt blamed
  7. I felt disrespected
  8. I felt a lack of affection
  9. I felt uncared for
  10. I felt lonely
  11. I felt ignored
  12. I felt like I couldn’t be honest
  13. I felt like the bad guy
  14. I felt forgotten
  15. I felt unsafe
  16. I felt unloved
  17. I felt disconnected
  18. I felt frustrated
  19. I felt a lack of passion
  20. I felt trapped
  21. I felt like that was unfair
  22. I felt like I couldn’t speak up
  23. I felt manipulated
  24. I felt controlled

I added:

I felt a lack of compassion

I felt a lack of caring

I felt invisible

What would you add to this list?

The goal is to be able to develop your personal 5-point plan to protect your recovery and most importantly to say YES to you with love and compassion.

Bonded in accepting responsibility and building a strong toolbox to support your recovery journey, Dee


Thank you for blooming with us in Portland 

to our volunteers, presenters, and attendees!!!

women for sobriety annual conference bloom logo

You can still register for on-demand access to key moments from the 2022 Conference for $25

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Monday Thoughts 6.20.22

women for sobriety decorative image responsibility

“Take responsibility for yourself; it’s very rewarding.”

Amanda Green

“The secret ingredients to true happiness? Decisive optimism and personal responsibility.”

Amy Leigh Mercree

“Taking responsibility for oneself is by definition an act of kindness.”

Sharon Salzberg


#13 I am responsible for myself and for my actions.

I am in charge of my mind, my thoughts, and my life.


Statement #13 in action is the culmination of dedication, change, and perseverance. By investing in self, we bring ourselves to life in new and rewarding ways. Drugs or alcohol severed this connection to life and it is through sobriety and recovery, that life becomes vibrant and fulfilling.

In her book Goodbye Hangovers Hello Life, our founder, Jean Kirkpatrick, Ph.D. writes, “There is a power deep in us that we have never before touched. We have never taken the time to find it, even if we knew it was there. Now we are going to find and use it. This is the power of our mind and the power of our thoughts, through the use of which we can significantly change our lives.” It begins within us and with Statement #13, continues our evolution.

How each of us practice this Statement is individual, for each of us responds with our own abilities. What works for one may not work for another and vice versa. We get to grow into ourselves and our New Life. Of course, there are times when life can feel stagnant and unmoving, but there are also those times when life feels like it’s moving in a blur and everything in between. Through it all, we are in charge of our minds, our thoughts, and life!

Here are 4 ways to aid in living responsibly:

  • Prioritize YOU: As the old airline adage says, “put your own oxygen mask on first.” What area of your life do you need to make yourself a priority?
  • Release blame and pause before complaining: Before responding in intense emotion, pause. Take a breath. There is no need to knee-jerk react. Ask yourself questions to dive deeper into understanding and compassion.
  • Be accountable: When you say you will (fill in the blank) …. follow through. If it seems overwhelming at first, break it down into manageable pieces. Embrace the flow.
  • Mind your mind: Focus on balance, manage thoughts, release negativity/fear and set realistic goals. You are in charge of yourself.

Hugzzz

Karen


Hi 4C Women,

When I finally learned to release total blame on everyone and everything that I believed was wrong in my life and focus on taking responsibility for my role in a situation, I learned many life lessons from it. This also included accountability for the other person who may have caused harm or hurt. Big difference from putting the entire blame on someone or something. It is a two-way street and that helped me to understand how important it was to find and speak my truthful voice while acknowledging my part. This is why prioritizing ourselves helps us to react/respond in a healthier way to achieve change – our inside change. Yelling, screaming, blaming, remaining silent, keeping it all inside or even feeling it’s all our fault resolves nothing and teaches nothing. Accountability and responsibility are the best teachers in creating authentic change. I blamed my father, teachers, bosses, and toxic relationships for my life as I thought I had no choice. Well, my choice was to drink away the feelings as I accepted the pain and hurt thrown at me. Zero lessons, zero change. This is not to say that it was okay to be harmed by anyone! Thanks to WFS and this Statement in particular, I realized my responsibility is how I took that situation, the hurt, and the pain, and learned to do something different. I reacted differently (which was a huge challenge and confused the people who expected the usual reaction). I felt so empowered being in charge of my thoughts and how I found a way to express my voice in a competent, responsible, and may I say, a calmer manner. I was no longer behaving like a victim of my circumstances but a strong voice in my choices.

Here’s another lesson I learned and that is it’s not always a straight line to being in charge of my mind, thoughts, and life. I have faltered and succeeded. Many times, it depends on the person, the situation, and even my level of confidence at that given moment. Knowing that stops the personal judgment when I falter and gives myself credit when I succeed. It goes back to Karen’s point of setting realistic goals. Perfection does not exist and is a roadblock to personal growth, life lessons, and authentic change. Something I realized as I practiced this Statement is that the word fault started dropping from my thoughts and was replaced with the empowered word, “responsibility.” That one-word change had a great impact on how I started viewing a situation. For me, it meant I had options and was willing to try those options. I sought input and didn’t see that as a weakness but as a strength. I was previously fearful of seeking help, believing that I would be judged for not having problem-solving or decision-making skills. I was learning gratefulness as well for those who were willing to patiently share their life experiences to support me in building my coping toolbox.  This is the outcome of being part of such an empowering program where we can be authentic and grow emotionally without fear of judgment.

Bonded in being empowered, responsible, and willing to learn, Dee


Late registration for in-person attendance is available!

On-demand registration will continue through July 31st.

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Monday Thoughts 6.13.22

“I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.”

Rosa Parks

“Always do your best. Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.”

Don Miguel Ruiz

“Each of us must confront our own fears, must come face to face with them. How we handle our fears will determine where we go with the rest of our lives. To experience adventure or to be limited by the fear of it.”

Judy Blume


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

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


Sobriety and Statement #12 in action pave the way through fear. Until my mind cleared, it was impossible to comprehend overcoming any anxiety or fear held within. I was in complete denial regarding fear, my mouth said one thing while my actions spoke another. Today, thanks to practicing Statement #12, the support of the WFS community, and some therapy, I know I am a competent woman.

Yet I also accept and understand that I am not competent in everything, and more importantly, there is no need to be! Brain surgery is something I will never relate to, nor expect to understand yet I am grateful for those that do. No one has to know it all, and no one ever will. We each have abilities and skills that we engage in and develop. It is up to each of us to pave our own way and Statement #12 helps us do that.

A wonderful example of this begins with the WFS Forum. Reading post after post, experiencing the joy of sobriety and recovery firsthand, I warily began to share some thoughts online.  After pushing through fears of the unknown and using Statement #12 as my new mantra, it felt exhilarating to hit that ENTER key. Connection! Our own 4C sister, Zeecha encouraged me to reach out further to share with our (former) paper newsletter, “Sobering Thoughts.” Fast forward to today…. now Dee and I write Monday Thoughts together. Even though I felt doubt and uncertainty, Statement #12 helped me move through the fear and do it anyway, and it still does, after all, I am a 4C woman!

Hugzzz

Karen


Hi 4C Women,

I’d like to brag about Karen’s writing and leadership skills. Karen has been writing Monday Thoughts for several years and has written books on the Statements for WFS. She has been encouraging and supporting women through the WFS program as a facilitator and served on the WFS Board as president as well as other board positions. She is the epitome of a 4C woman. What’s even more wonderful for me is that we both live in Alabama where, before I arrived, there weren’t any meetings here. I share this to highlight how Statement #12 can make an incredible change in a woman’s New Life and inspire others to rise to the challenge.

I love how Karen expressed that we can be competent in diverse areas, not in everything. Thank goodness for that. If I had to base my competency on technology, I would be back to the days of extremely low self-esteem. No more measuring my competency by what I can’t do or what others can do. My competency is based on my skills, my talents, and my abilities.
I like repeating questions as you may have noticed. I date my answers and it’s fascinating to see the changes I’ve made in my current answers. So here we go …

1. I am worthwhile because…
2. I deserve…
3. I practice Statement 12 by doing…
4. Do I purposely take action to promote my own well-being? What action plan have I put into practice to do so?
5. Am I truly open to learning new ideas/change? What would be an example of that?
6. Do I make my own decisions or do I count on the opinion of others more? What is the last major decision you made and what led you to that choice? (It is fine to get input from others as there are times when a situation is overwhelming and we need encouraging support and insight from others who won’t judge or criticize – 4C sisters for sure.)
These questions need time and thoughtful reflection. I hope you will take that time. Remember, this is about you and your worth, your definition of who you are, and what might need to change or even remain the same. Personal growth takes place throughout our lives and there are times when we need to acknowledge our hard work and others to gain insight into what needs our attention.

Bonded in knowing we are willing and open to becoming the most competent woman through practicing this empowering Statement, Dee


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Conference excitement continues to build! It isn’t too late to join us in Portland.
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Monday Thoughts 6.6.22

women for sobriety decorative image enthusiasm

“Gratitude paints little smiley faces on everything it touches.”

Richelle E. Goodrich

“Walk as if you are kissing the earth with your feet.”

Thich Nhat Hanh

“Life is a series of thousands of tiny little miracles. Notice them.”

Roald Dahl


#11 Enthusiasm is my daily exercise.

I treasure the moments of my New Life.


When first starting to use the WFS Statements I thought “How am I supposed to practice Statement #11 when feeling so empty?” Early sobriety felt blank. Like some giant eraser had come along and scrubbed away any feelings, especially excitement or enthusiasm. While I didn’t understand it at the time, this was completely normal. It was like my sober brain and body were rebooting and it simply required a bit of time and a shift in thinking to feel enthusiasm again.

The 4C women on WFS Online talked about how they practiced gratitude, and this became a starting point. After just one sitting of writing down what I felt grateful for, it was amazing to see how much I had taken for granted. Alcohol had prevented me from experiencing a fullness of life but Statement #11 in action had me engaged and eager to learn more.

Soon I began to notice feelings of enthusiasm again, and this was especially noticeable with the little things. Practicing gratitude by listing tangible things, like home, vehicle or treasured possessions got me started and it became easier the more I noticed. Then going deeper, the intangible things came into view like ideas, connections, or simple kindness. Today, experiencing gratitude is a way to treasure life and feel all the feels.

  • Begin each day determined to note gratitude. Set a timer each hour to simply note something to be grateful for, even being sober for one-hour counts.
  • Write a list of people you know, from casual to long-term. Next, write down something you know about each person. Your neighbor is a dog person. This friend loves the color purple. Maybe that person, you only know their name but nothing else. You are creating a connection to life and this simple exercise demonstrates your ability to concentrate and look for commonality. The more similarities there are the less judgment and the more treasure to be found.
  • Practice mindfulness. This takes us into the now where the past and future cannot enter, releasing past guilt or fear of the unknown. The present really is a gift.
  • Find patterns. Whether it be in nature, or your own thoughts or behaviors, notice patterns. Recognizing patterns can create comfort and provide insight.

Hugzzz

Karen


Hi 4C Women,

Karen’s words always inspire me and provide me with new ways to look at the Statements, including Statement #11. I love the idea of creating a list of people I know and what I know about them to feel that strong connection no matter how small. Just thinking of doing that creates enthusiasm in my heart.

I also appreciate being reminded of gratefulness and mindfulness. When I find myself feeling stagnant, I think about what I do have in my life that brings me joy. This past birthday gave me a huge dose of love and gratefulness. I found myself feeling enthusiastic about my connections with people, the lives I have touched, and vice versa. Feeling that was the best gift of all.

Sometimes when I think of enthusiasm, I think of being proactive. That approach pulls me up from that stagnant feeling and helps me focus on what I can do and will do! Along with being proactive, I also try to be patient. Patience has taught me to appreciate the process, to enjoy the moment when it arrives, to be in it fully.

Years ago, I wrote that I thought of enthusiasm as “hope.” When I was drinking, hope didn’t exist. In recovery, I began to look at enthusiasm as sprouts of hope in creating treasured moments in my New Life. Jean Kirkpatrick always said that we have moments of enthusiasm and happiness, we just need to be aware of them. Karen’s suggestions will certainly create that awareness.

Sometimes it’s challenging to get started, especially with writing about enthusiastic/happy/joyful moments. I encourage you to carry a small notebook with you and jot down the treasured moment and be sure to date it. On my birthday, I went to get my favorite cake – ice cream – at Dairy Queen. The young woman behind the counter showed me the cakes and described what was in them. She asked me how old I was and then blushed as she said she was sometimes socially awkward and apologized for being inappropriate. I told her I wasn’t offended at all and that I was 77. She asked if I wanted happy birthday written on it and I decided yes! She brought the cake to me when it was finished and asked if she could give me a hug. It was a spontaneous request and I said yes again! I think she needed that hug perhaps more than me but what she doesn’t know is that she gave me a beautiful moment to treasure.

These are my 5 favorite questions and I usually include them with Statement 11.

  1. I love the taste of:
  2. I love the sight of:
  3. I love the feel of:
  4. I love the smell of:
  5. I love the sound of:

Think of any questions you might add. I love the smell of the air after it has rained. Knowing that makes it easier to remember to step outside once the rain has stopped and just breathe in the air.

Bonded in awareness of treasuring the moments of your New Life, Dee


women for sobriety teddy bear challenge and blooming sale decorative image
The Blooming Sale starts this Friday, June 10 at 11am Eastern US and closes Saturday, June 11 at 9pm.

Last day to donate to the Teddy Bear Challenge is Tuesday, June 14!  Over $17,000 in matching funds available.