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“The path to your success is not as fixed and inflexible as you think.”
“Our very survival depends on our ability to stay awake, to adjust to new ideas, to remain vigilant and to face the challenge of change.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.
“A wise woman recognizes when her life is out of balance and summons the courage to act to correct it.”
#4 Problems bother me only to the degree I permit.
I now better understand my problems.
I do not permit problems to overwhelm me.
Sobriety and Statement #4 have enabled change in my thinking when it comes to problems. In the past, much of how I viewed the world was through black-and-white or all-or-nothing thinking; there were rarely any gray areas. This was especially true of feelings pertaining to right vs. wrong or good vs. bad. Frequently I put myself into the wrong category thanks in part to alcohol.
Learning about problems and how to manage them comes from the wise and competent women in the WFS community. It is here that Statement #4 is being put into action every day in every imaginable way. Each of us has problems, they are a part of life but seeing how other women faced a problem helped me to understand my own. Soon the black and white thinking evolved into a colorful avenue of opportunity.
There are times in recovery when life seems to sail on without any rough waters and then as our founder, Jean Kirkpatrick, PhD, writes “There seem to be cycles in our lives when chaos reigns and all hell breaks loose in every area.” Through the clarity of sobriety, we can move through these difficulties instead of escaping with alcohol or drugs. We are competent women!
Are you aware of all-or-nothing thinking when it comes to problems in your life? How do you shift your thoughts?
Dear 4C Women,
Such a great question. I have said over the years that there are ordinary, everyday problems and then there are concerns. I now tend to focus on concerns as those can hopefully be resolved with new skills. When drinking I tended to focus on ordinary problems as I didn’t have the confidence to tackle major concerns. Solving a concern seemed out of reach for me. WFS has taught me to be ready and willing to change. Really, ready and willing! I love the quote by Dr. King saying to face the challenge of change. That is what we are called to do. That is what WFS is all about – positive change with new coping skills. For me, it became learning how to problem solve, and face conflict rather than ignore my fears by drinking. How was I to learn anything if I was unwilling to face the challenge? I read that rather than focusing on your fear of resolving conflict or a major issue, stop and think about what you have to gain by learning ways to problem-solve. Changing that mindset paved the way for my willingness to learn how to tackle major concerns.
Part of my fear was setting boundaries. If I was to learn conflict resolution and problem-solving, how could I actually speak my voice if I feared being ridiculed for my ideas or being challenged when I lacked confidence? I knew that I wanted to be in charge of my life. In fact, through WFS, I was beginning to feel empowered, ready to learn how to be a 4C woman. This unknown quote spoke to me – “You can’t be behind the scenes in your own life.” So, if I was to practice Statement #4, I knew I had to be open to the consequences while learning to gain confidence. I certainly wasn’t making progress when I was drinking and I didn’t want to stay stuck. I wanted to learn how to stand up for myself, to feel confident as best I could while learning to speak my voice. Jean Kirkpatrick, Ph.D., understood that even when we learn all these fabulous problem-solving skills, life will still fill us with chaos. When this happens, and I find myself not up to the challenge, I tell myself that it’s okay. I see this as a temporary retreat, a time to refresh, to reflect, and use those skills when I am emotionally and spiritually ready. With my daughter’s passing, I feel I have had to tackle many battles that I wasn’t prepared for. Yet, WFS and the supportive 4C women, have kept me on track. I applaud myself for what I am able to do and I hope you praise yourself as well for how you are handling problems and concerns at this point in your recovery. You are a problem-solver just by making the commitment to sobriety!
Bonded in gaining confidence, learning problem-solving skills, and facing the challenges of change, Dee