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“Stop comparing where you’re at with where everyone else is. It doesn’t move you farther ahead, improve your situation, or help you find peace. It just feeds your shame, fuels your feelings of inadequacy, and ultimately, it keeps you stuck. The reality is that there is no one correct path in life. Everyone has their own unique journey. A path that’s right for someone else won’t necessarily be a path that’s right for you. And that’s okay. Your journey isn’t right or wrong, or good or bad. It’s just different.”
“The past does not define me.”
A 4C woman
“Be the person who breaks the cycle. If you were judged, choose understanding. If you were rejected, choose acceptance. If you were shamed, choose compassion. Be the person you needed when you were hurting, not the person who hurt you. Vow to be better than what broke you—to heal instead of becoming bitter so you can act from your heart, not your pain.”
#9 The past is gone forever.
No longer am I victimized by the past.
I am a new woman.
A recent question asked on a social media site was “What is the number one destroyer of happiness?” and two answers took top billing. One answer was comparison and the other was the difference between expectation and reality. While both can shrink contentment and/or happiness, comparison oftentimes flies under the radar, seemingly unremarkable yet most often ensuring painful results in the form of inadequacy. Sobriety and Statement #9 in action can ease that discomfort and instill a fresh and unparalleled outlook.
Each time I compared my life to another, it was a reduction in self-worth. By not acknowledging my own path, however short or long, opened up an excuse to drink. This line of thinking took a deep hold during my teenage years, became a habit, and grew until sobriety and recovery. By first embracing and then practicing the WFS Statements, especially Statement #9, I learned to view and examine the past with my own yardstick, and not someone else’s.
As I examined my past with this new insight, it allowed me to look at experiences without needing to judge or negate them. Now they were simply updated chapters. By approaching the past with a growth mindset (and my own yardstick), I was able to learn something that creates value and allows regrets to fall by the wayside. So, my history or past simply morphed into another chapter of life instead of a tangled mass of rivalry.
Do you recognize when you are measuring yourself against others? What does it look like? How will you change that habit?
Dear 4C Women,
Jean Kirkpatrick said that our recovery path is not a competition and that always stuck in my mind. It is one of the reasons I appreciate and understand that we don’t share drinking/drug stories as they can either make you feel less than or question your choices/decisions as you practice the 13 Statements. When asked by someone if they are practicing the WFS program correctly, I say there is no right or wrong. There are life lessons to be learned from our choices. I’ve made mistakes along the way and they became powerful teachers. I also learned to cherish my successes as well.
Karen talked about regrets and I find that this is when I begin to victimize myself. As I work on my grieving and the” what ifs” pop up, I let it sink in and thank WFS for knowing that this is an authentic feeling that needs expressing but it is not a forever thought. I learned to not deny my feelings through WFS and the Grief Group I am attending on Zoom said that grief needs to be expressed. It does not help to keep it hidden. I already knew that because of WFS. I have done the inside work and while the past keeps coming back at this stage in my life, I also know when I need to reach out, do journaling, write the Monday Thoughts, and even retreat, shedding tears when it becomes overwhelming. After all, I am a new woman coping with the passing of my daughter and using every tool in my WFS toolbox. I hope you think about how judging and dredging up the past serves you. Can you change it? Of course not, but we can learn so much from it and use those invaluable lessons to grow emotionally, and make different choices. It is the focus of healing from the past that helps me the most. When I reflect on my past, I am honest about my role in my choices. It is how I grow and learn because judging myself is doing harm rather than moving forward. Think about that when you find yourself stuck in a place that hurts you rather than building the life you desire and deserve.
I absolutely love the quote by Lori Deschene. It is beautiful and speaks directly to the 4Cs. Know you can break the cycle of living in the past, harshly judging yourself by using those experiences and feelings to give love, compassion, and caring to others and especially to yourself.
Bonded in no longer victimizing yourself in a past you cannot change but learning and growing with self-esteem, self-love, and self-respect, Dee
Giving Tuesday provides us with a unique opportunity to extend our support and compassion to those who may be struggling. By making a donation to Women for Sobriety, you are directly contributing to the building of bridges for women seeking recovery. Your generosity will help us continue providing resources, programs, and a safe space for women to connect, heal, and thrive.
Dr. Michelle Shaivitz