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“Learn to differentiate between the sound of your intuition guiding you and your traumas misleading you.”
“The only people who get upset when you set boundaries are the ones who benefited from you having none.”
“We often hold a grudge because we don’t want to let the other person off the hook. But who’s really hooked—the one who’s holding on or the one who’s moved on?”
#2 Negative thoughts destroy only myself.
My first conscious sober act is to reduce negativity in my life.
It wasn’t until finding WFS and jumping into sobriety and recovery that I learned about the impact of negative thoughts. Of course, I could identify moods and emotions but what I was lacking was the awareness of negative thinking. Sobriety and Statement #2 in action help to first identify and then diminish negative thought patterns.
Initially, it was difficult to identify negative thoughts since I was so accustomed to swimming around in them. I hadn’t realized how alcohol had impaired my thinking; everything seemed bigger than it was, worse than it appeared, and constantly out of reach. With a clear mind, thinking started to become increasingly balanced while awareness took hold. Sobriety was the goal and I needed to make changes to cement recovery. Statement #2 led the way.
Noticing what I was thinking opened the door to changing my thoughts. Learning new tools like reframing or self-imaging reduced the negative thoughts. I also began to look at the grudges holding my thinking captive. Could I reduce those? Yes, but some took a greater amount of time than others did but I kept at it. This is still true today. Working through a particular negativity, I needed professional help while at other times it was the connection of our weekly WFS meetings that saw me through. In our WFS Program booklet, it states, “Our overcoming is in exact proportion to our becoming.” I love becoming my authentic self!
Here are 4 ways to help move through negativity:
1. Identify: Daily inventory of thoughts can help to identify negative thought patterns
2. Replace: Challenge the validity of the negativity and replace it with more realistic positive thoughts
3. Use Mindfulness: Ask if this thought is helpful. One question I love to ask is “Is this thought taking me deeper into my sobriety and recovery or further away?”
4. Self-compassion: What would you tell a friend who has the same thought? Be gentle yet consistent
Dear 4C Women,
When I first read Statement #2, I wasn’t quite sure what it meant in saying negative thoughts destroy only myself. How was my usual way of thinking hurting only me? Weren’t the people I was thinking of hurting just as much? This is how alcohol confused my logical thinking. Those people had no idea to what I was thinking or even if they remembered me. I was hurting myself by thinking all these negative thoughts about my past, the negative identity that I created, and a myriad of painful thoughts that no longer served me. Those negative thoughts held me back from learning how to love myself and build the New Life I yearned for. Over the years, I have shared my Stop Negative Thoughts index card with others. I keep it in my purse so whenever negative thoughts start to crowd my mind, I take it out. On one side is STOP (negative thoughts) and on the other side is my positive list to remind myself of all the emotional and personal growth I have achieved in my sobriety. I recently added “staying sober in my grief”. I said last week that I believe negative thoughts are here to teach us and while I open the door to hopefully gain some understanding of their visit, I send them away once I reflect on why they are visiting. I may not have the answer then yet I do not permit those negative thoughts to stay for an extended visit. In living authentic lives, it is important to not fear negative thoughts. They come from a place of letting us know that we are feeling a deep emotion that needs our attention. I hope you will consider creating your own Stop card as one of your coping tools when negative thoughts start to knock on your door.
All of Karen’s tips are very effective in moving through negativity and I especially relate to #2.
I have also learned that negative thoughts are usually old messages from the past that I have not worked through in my healing. It is my Inner Critic and I have named him/her so when those old negative messages start whispering in my ear, I look on my shoulder, say a few direct words (like shut up, you’re lying, you don’t know me now, who do you think you are?) and flick the Inner Critic off my shoulder. It’s effective for me and a bit of fun flicking that past negative person off my shoulder.
Since Alisha passed, I have been feeling guilty about what I didn’t do to help her. So, the old message that if I had been a better mother, she would still be here is, I learned, a very common response to grief. Through the WFS program and the tremendous support I have received, I have been able most of the time to challenge that negative thought. This is why I am so grateful for Statement #2 at this time in my life. My recovery is strong but I am also human and practicing this Statement helps me process my grief, and my anger and realize that the positives on my STOP card matter. They stand for hard work, determination, gratitude, and continuing to keep this New Life strong. I want to always honor the women who have held me up and especially my daughter being proud of her mother.
Bonded in reducing negativity, speaking up to that Inner Critic, and learning to love and heal, Dee
We have extended access to the conference recorded sessions!!!
You have until July 5th at midnight to register for ($75) and view keynotes and workshops from EnJoy the Journey.
Thank you for your support of the 2023 WFS Annual Virtual Conference!!