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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


women for sobriety on demand conference registration
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.

 

 

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Monday Thoughts 5.30.22

women for sobriety decorative image love

“You always gain by giving love.”

Reese Witherspoon

“Your self-worth grows when you fight for something you love.

Maxime Legacé

“Have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time.”

Maya Angelou


#10 All love given returns.

I am learning to know that I am loved.


One of the greatest moments in life was walking away from something that was painful to me. Though inundated with fear, I also felt something akin to exhilaration; freedom that I had not known before. Although I could not understand it at that moment nor feel it………what I was doing was an act of pure love. It was Statement #10 in action.

In our WFS Program booklet, there is a wonderful quote from Nancy Cross, who foresaw the need for an online forum and made sure WFS would always be there. It states, “All recovery roads lead to the ability to love and be loved.” So insightful and empowering. Nancy’s insight and awareness of the need for women to connect online adds to her legacy daily.

When you attend a face-to-face meeting or online meeting/chat, write or respond to a forum post and/or donate your time, talent, or finances, you are practicing a form of Statement #10. As 4C women, we are capable of giving and receiving love. This week, note all the ways love touches your New Life.

Hugzzz

Karen


Hi 4C Women,

These past several weeks, I have felt love so deeply from the WFS sisters who attend my zoom and face-to-face meetings along with those who have reached out to me, needing support and giving support. I often wonder how different my life would be if I had not found WFS so many years ago. I find it difficult at times to express the pure joy I feel at the friendships I have formed, the love I experienced at the WFS conferences presenting workshops with Nina, dancing with abandon in a large circle at one of the WFS conferences, facilitating meetings and having lunch with a dear friend to celebrate a special occasion. I can say those moments, those memories, I feel that I am giving love and feeling loved.

I find it easier to give love and yet have come to understand that receiving and accepting love is important to my emotional well-being. I still have those moments when I find it difficult to believe that I am loved. It is at those moments that I stop, take a deep breath, and let the love into my heart. My fear of showing my vulnerability, to be authentic and perhaps to be rejected, no longer holds me hostage. While I felt unlovable for so long, to say Statement #10 out loud brings a smile across my face and the acceptance is palpable. Plus, I have learned that giving love and being loved are not confined to romantic love. That was a huge revelation. I have loving friendships, love of my dog, family love, love of decorating, writing, and showing compassion for myself and others. Through Statement #10, I have discovered that there is so much to love in this world. I read that if you want to be loved, start loving others who need your love. I feel that WFS has taught me that, to see others with caring and compassion, to listen, to support and encourage their path in recovery, and to acknowledge their fearlessness and willingness to survive and thrive. That is how we see them authentically, without any judgment, and for them to see us in the same way.

Do you believe love changes you? If so, in what way?
What’s one thing about love that scares you? How are you working to change or lessen that feeling/fear?
Define love in 5 words.
What is the most vulnerable way you let someone into your life?
Who do you love and who loves you?
Who do you have trouble loving and why?
What do you love doing that brings loving feelings into your life and endless smiles?
How do you know that you are loved?

Bonded in love given and returning, Dee


women for sobriety jolene park conference 2022

 

 

 

 

 

We’ve got some great keynote speakers and workshops lined up for the 2022 WFS Conference! You can find more information about conference presenters at womenforsobriety.org/conference

women for sobriety ebony jewel sears conference 2022

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Monday Thoughts 5.23.22

women for sobriety decorative image the past is gone forever

“Fall seven times, stand up eight.”

Japanese Proverb

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated.  In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”

Maya Angelou

“Recovery is not a race.  You don’t have to feel guilty if it takes you longer than you thought it would.”  Unknown


#9 The past is gone forever.

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


Grief was one of the most difficult feelings for me to understand in sobriety and recovery. In fact, grief was the biggest thing that drove my need to escape. I had no clue how to process this intense emotion and carrying a lengthy list of painful moments slowed life down to a standstill. Yet, through WFS and action into Statement #9, I am a victor and not a victim.

I felt well versed in grief, having taken courses in it, and knew the 5 Stages from Elizabeth Kübler-Ross, but when it overwhelmed my life, I was lost like a ball in weeds. Not knowing how to put it into practice only intensified the discomfort and isolation eased in. The smaller my world came, the bigger my addiction grew. Even though sadness and uncertainty ruled, I needed something different. I stood up to my fears and past. 

Statement #9 is freeing for many women, and I felt it gave permission to let go. When I examined past situations or thoughts, I saw that replaying the same story kept me stuck. I didn’t realize I was clinging but when I chose to clean the slate so to speak, something shifted. I began to define myself with a fresh set of sober eyes (and brain). A portal for insight was opened and Statement #9 became my daily go-to phrase. Guilt, shame, and fear didn’t stand a chance against my growing voice and today I feel better equipped to manage intense feelings. 

Here are 4 ways to add practice to Statement #9:

1. Ask yourself how the past is impacting your life today: What habits or thought patterns are driving you? What/why are you clinging to? Is it positive or negative? These answers may take time to learn and understand and can change over time. 

2. Your feelings are valid, practice self-compassion: Give yourself time and space, if need be, yet set a deadline. You may need more information to process something, giving yourself one month or six months can ensure you focus here and now while working towards a healing goal.

3. It’s ok to forgive, including yourself: No one is perfect. Forgiving does not erase or change what happened. In fact, there is a practice in Japan called, Kintsugi, which is the repairing of broken pottery with gold. Or a metaphor for embracing flaws and imperfections. You can heal with effort and awareness which adds incredible value and beauty.

4. Responsibility for yesterday and tomorrow: This is NOT self-blame, rather, it is understanding your role in the moment. Acknowledging and owning past actions, allows a chapter to be closed and helplessness to fade away. This constructs the ability for future growth and 4C development.

Hugzzz

Karen


Hi 4C Women,

Forgiveness was possibly the most difficult feeling to work through. Once I understood that forgiveness was to heal me, and give my time and energy to the healing changes of my personal and emotional growth, I felt the most empowering feeling of all – freedom! It took a bit of research to understand what forgiveness is not and that was a tremendous help. 

Forgiveness is not the same as reconciliation

Forgiveness is not forgetting

Forgiveness is not condoning or excusing

You may need to forgive the same person more than once

Forgiveness is not always justice if serious harm has been done without consequences. Again, it is giving peace to yourself. 

Forgiveness is a powerful choice you can make when it’s right for you that can lead to greater well-being and relationships (especially the one you have with yourself). 

 

While it was difficult to accept my role in past behaviors, I began to understand that it was part of making important emotional, behavioral, and spiritual changes to create a New Life. As Dr. Phil says, we can’t change what we don’t acknowledge. That acknowledgment took me out of the blame game and empowering changes began to happen. I learned what I needed to work on, to heal so I would take both responsibility for my reactions/responses in the past and, importantly, in the present. I was and am in charge of my choices and my responses. Again, empowering freedom.

Another change that I have become more aware of as each year passes is focusing on the positive past. I believe that sharing our positives at the meetings as it relates to one of the Statements, has provided that awareness that I previously ignored. Recalling and focusing on the negative past was so easy yet it left me stuck, hating myself with each recollection. The best gift of recalling the positive past is that I greatly reduced that hurtful, harmful feeling of shame and guilt. While I get melancholy when reflecting on the wonderful memories of the past and miss those times, I have learned to turn that feeling into gratefulness. While much has changed in the past 34 sober years, my gratitude for experiencing healthy friendships, new adventures, learning to be spontaneous (a huge change for me), finding and speaking my voice, acknowledging my achievements with pride, expressing my feelings through writing, creating conference workshops with Nina, admiring the courageous women I have met through WFS, making authentic life changes, all bring a smile to my face.

My life has changed a lot as it has for many yet I cherish the ability to view it with gratitude, natural sadness at times, and best of all, the major reduction of shame and guilt which never served me well. Of course, there is the guilt that is a life lesson when it teaches us what not to do or say that is hurtful or harmful to others and ourselves. The other guilt, which I call useless guilt, is when it hampers or holds us back in forgiving ourselves and moving forward with love and compassion. We cannot change what has happened but we can change how we view it and no longer victimize ourselves by what cannot be changed. The important thing is to learn, change our inside self-talk, and most of all, change our behavior and responses. This is the best outcome of practicing Statement #9. 

I encourage you to think about what you have learned from exploring your past. 

Have you learned forgiveness for yourself and others? 

Can you reflect on your positive past and feel grateful for the experiences? What are those grateful moments?  

In accepting your feelings, and reactions to exploring the past, can you remember what Karen shared – that your feelings are valid? How does that feel to say it, to believe it? 

Bond in forgiving, healing, and learning from the past to no longer be victimized but become a new woman, a 4C Woman, Dee


Open your invitation and take a look at the Blooming Sale Catalog and register to be ready to purchase or bid June 10-11!  The catalog at womenforsobriety.org/bloomingsale is online now.

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Monday Thoughts 5.9.22

“I’ve always had the feeling that life loves the liver of it. You must live and life will be good to you, give you experiences.”
Maya Angelou

“The choice to love is the choice to connect—to find ourselves in the other.”

Bell Hooks

“Actually, being able to exercise your own choice can bring about greater opportunity. I think it’s just as important what you say no to as what you say yes to.”
Sandra Oh


#7 Love can change the course of my world.

Caring is all-important.


Love… as a choice? It has taken sobriety and practicing Statement #7 as well as a life examined to begin to understand that love is a verb. Love is not static or fixed, but rather an action, or the center of expression. Sure, love “makes the world go round” yet I had difficulty comprehending the concept of love as a choice. Alcohol had blurred the lines of everything, including love.

The WFS New Life Program and the Statements are about choice. Learning to live without alcohol is the beginning of the journey, discovery is then unleashed and choices abound, including love. Saying “NO” to alcohol says “YES” to you. This one choice opens up a whole world, one that was hidden away behind the pain of substance use.

Today, everyday experiences are examples of choice and love in their purest form. Instead of escape, sobriety and recovery offer a way to transform into the living of life and love. Choice expands and so does our insight. In our WFS Program booklet, it states “Practice of Statement #7 leads to understanding love and the importance of self-care. Our New Life depends on establishing healthy, loving relationships, first with ourselves and then with others.” Choose love today.

Hugzzz

Karen


Hi 4C Women,

I had been talking to a friend about helping a family member who was resistant to helping themselves and it was wearing me down. I was exhausted and frustrated. My friend looked at me with concern and said, “You can’t care more than they do.” It was one of those light bulb moments!  I understood that while it is compassionate to care about others, leaving myself out of the equation of caring and self-love can empty my own love tank. And when the well is dry, it is next to impossible to give what you don’t have. This is not a new theory yet it felt brand new to me in recovery. Statement #7 was going to the well, filling my bucket with self-love, and sharing love with others –creating a beautiful balance.  It is self-love and self-care that provided me the vulnerability to be open to loving others authentically while still taking care of my needs. I always thought it was one or the other. Sacrifice was the way I lived yet it was at the expense of my own peace and contentment. It was through WFS, Statement #7, that taught me my world could encompass loving myself and others without sacrificing either. The only difference was that I began setting boundaries when I felt I cared way too much than they did. These boundaries were and still are, at times, challenging for me depending mostly on with whom I am setting them. Family is definitely the most challenging because of the emotional history and roles we have played for many years. My need for acceptance was way out of proportion to the point of being emotionally unhealthy, even unattainable. I was in such fear of rejection. Who would love me if I didn’t ignore my needs and focused only on the needs of others? There was no balance, no recognition that I mattered.  Being a facilitator taught me more about caring than I ever dreamed possible. I began to feel cared about as I cared about the women who courageously walked into a meeting, searching for a New Life. My heart, my love tank, was no longer empty. It is incomprehensible at times to reflect on the woman I was – fearful, self-loathing, believing I was unlovable, unworthy of love. This Statement offered a real opportunity to change my negative self-talk. The more I let go of my fears, the more I let love in, knowing and believing that I am truly worthy of giving and receiving love.

Was there a time in your life when love changed the course of your world? What were the circumstances?

How do you practice self-care?

Do you struggle with being a people pleaser? If so, have you considered setting boundaries to create a balance between giving to others and also getting your own needs met?

How difficult is it to set boundaries? Do you find it depends on the person or situation?

Do you know when you’re giving too much? What are the signs?

How do you speak to yourself when it comes to self-love and self-worth?

What is your greatest fear of being vulnerable?

Authentic love truly changes the course of your world when a balance is created and the choice is made to love yourself as well as others, Dee


Here is where the Teddy Bear Challenge is on May 2:

92 donors have collectively donated $9,975!

Plus we have a pledge of $50,013 in available matching funds!

Including matching funds … we are now at $19,949!!!

20% toward our goal of $50,013 from the community

59% towards our participation goal <— can we blow this out of the water?

women for sobriety teddy bear challenge thermometer 2022

Donate to the TBC online!

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Monday Thoughts 5.2.22

woman smiling in sunset from window life is great

“The best way to find out what we really need is to get rid of what we don’t.”

Marie Kondo

“I am beginning to learn that it is the sweet, simple things in life which are the real ones after all.”

Laura Ingalls Wilder

“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

J.R.R. Tolkien


#6 Life can be ordinary or it can be great.

Greatness is mine by a conscious effort.


Statement #6 can sometimes get pushed out of the way while more focus is spent on the seemingly larger Statements like S#4 or S#7. Yet, it is the simplicity of this delightful Statement that can make my day shine like a brand-new penny or bring about comfort like a favorite worn sweatshirt. All it takes is a little “conscious effort” and daily practice.

Before sobriety and my New Life, days were filled with trying to out-do everything previous or an attempt to escape. Unaware of my thoughts, it was impossible to use conscious effort in anything. Lacking the tools to manage feelings and emotions, I bounced off everything like a pinball, blaming or lashing out at others then sliding into isolation. It felt so chaotic, and it was incredibly exhausting.

Sobriety and practicing Statement #6 paved the way to experience life from an unfamiliar perspective. Through WFS face-to-face and online meetings, I began to learn new ways to actively participate in life. Moments became meaningful, and simplicity started to become the norm. I felt contentment ease in, while chaos decreased. Additionally, I no longer felt attached to drama. Such a gratifying way to live!

Here are four ways to add mindfulness

  1. Sit in stillness each morning after reading the Statements. Give yourself an extra 5 or 10 minutes to simply enjoy being. No pressure to do, give, or make anything, simply be.
  2. Focus on being present multiple times during the day. Maybe set a timer for each hour, notice how you feel, what you are thinking or doing, and just breathe for 1 minute.
  3. Shift into gratitude. List five things that you are grateful for each day. Jot in a journal or notebook. Reread when feeling uncertainty or fear.
  4. Trust and let go. Something weighing you down? Is holding on helping? What will it take to release?

Hugzzz,

Karen


Hi 4C Women,

As I read Karen’s message, I was thinking of how much the pandemic taught me to be okay with my ordinary New Life in recovery. It’s been many years since I discovered and began to practice the 13 WFS Statements yet I am so grateful for the coping tools I have learned. The isolation was the most challenging during the pandemic as I feel such joy being “with” people. I laughed when I saw a post on social media that said going grocery shopping was now considered their social outing. That was me! I wasn’t escaping through alcohol to cope with loneliness or belittling myself for not taking better advantage of my free time. I learned how to zoom, continued writing, calling, or emailing my family and friends and women inquiring about WFS. I felt peace among the challenges. When I didn’t, when the loneliness would kick in, I reached out. I have gone back to f2f meetings every 2nd and 4th Monday of the month. This past Monday I had 4 new women attend. My heart was exploding with joy and thinking of the courage it took for each of those women to walk through the door. I actually felt nervous as I love WFS so much and hoped the women could feel that love coming through, especially the hope of having a New Life in recovery.

I also had women there who have been consistently attending, supporting and encouraging each other. They absolutely made the meeting a welcoming place for the new women, perhaps recalling their own bravery in coming to a meeting for the first time. I felt the greatness of their compassion and caring for every woman there. Talk about life being ordinary or great!

I came across a message I wrote about the great moments I had with my granddaughter when she was a teenager. She is now 25. It is amazing how I had forgotten how much I treasured those moments and am so grateful I wrote about them. Something as simple as clothes shopping or big as watching her compete in barrel racing. It is being aware, being in the moment, that helps us to understand and appreciate those fleeting moments, those enormous moments and have them bring the ordinary into greatness.

I hope you will put into practice what Karen has suggested. Writing about gratefulness can be a place to visit when we need a personal reminder of what is positive in our lives – a wonderful balance.

Bonded in creating balance as we experience the ordinary and the extraordinary, Dee


 

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS

jolene park

Jolene Park

Author of Gray Area Drinking
Functional Nutritionist, Health Coach

eboni jewel sears

Eboni Jewel Sears

Peer Recovery Support Specialist
Recovery Advocate
Ph.D. Student in Transpersonal Counseling

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Monday Thoughts 4.25.22

women for sobriety decorative image 4cs

“It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.”
William Shakespeare

“We are no one else.  We are ourselves.  We must be that, with no regrets, if we wish to be happy.”
Donna Goddard

“Sometimes it takes a wrong turn to get you to the right place.”
Mandy Hale


#5 I am what I think.

I am a capable, competent, caring, compassionate woman.


The WFS New Life program, and especially Statement #5 opened my eyes to how I was living life for everyone else.  Over time, the child I once was easily morphed into the thoughts, ideas, aspirations, and goals of those around me.  Desperately trying to fit in, I quieted my own thoughts and feelings which left me as a version who fit others.  Who I was disappeared and alcohol easily became an emotional escape mechanism.

Learning my own thoughts in sobriety felt overwhelming at first, but quickly became a journey of discovery.  Exploring what I thought of something was like building an updated version of myself.  Writing thoughts in a journal or even simply jotting down quotes that I related to was exciting and refreshing.  My outlook shifted and I began to find my voice.  I even learned how to say no without regret and the learning continues every day. It’s no wonder why our founder, Jean Kirkpatrick, Ph.D. made Statement #5 the center of our program.

In our WFS Program booklet, it states, “Since we no longer choose to drink or use as an escape, repairing our sense of self becomes essential.  We can do this by learning new tools for changing our thinking, to help guide us into a rewarding sobriety.”  Each day this week, examine your thoughts.  Do your thoughts bring you deeper into sobriety and recovery or further away from it?  Is there a part of you ready to be uncovered?  What tools do you use to create and live your authentic life?

Hugzzz
Karen


Hi 4C Women,

I say very often that I have found my voice and I know it was found through the WFS program and especially Statement #5.  Before recovery, what I thought of myself was not exactly self-esteem building or empowering.  It was challenging enough to introduce myself as a competent woman at a meeting yet to add more positive adjectives/nouns to describe and define myself seemed an impossibility.

These questions helped me to think about how I see myself:

What do I do consistently well?

What are my strongest traits/characteristics?

What do I respect about myself?

How do I feel about speaking my voice?

I feel empowered when…

One of my favorite songs about self-realization is “Here I Stand” by Karen Drucker on her “The Heart of Healing” album.  I listened to it many times and shared it with my WFS group as it truly expresses my journey to living Statement #5.  I emailed her letting her know how much this song represented me and WFS with its emotional and spiritual growth, empowerment, and belief in self.  She was happy that I shared it with other WFS 4C women and hoped I would continue to do so.

“Here I Stand.”

Here I Stand Words & Music: Karen Drucker & Sloan Wainwright This song was written with another one of my favorite singer/songwriters, Sloan Wainwright. We got together and talked about what was going on in our lives and realized that we were both finally feeling that we had let go of the old stories of not enough, and giving our power away. This song is a celebration for anyone who is willing to stand up and claim their power.

“I was a little girl who never spoke her mind.

I wouldn’t rock the boat, I couldn’t cross the line,

but every step that I’ve taken, every pain, every tear,

has led me to the woman who’s standing right here.

I got so tired of giving myself away,

always looking for someone to tell me I was okay.

I got to a place where I could trust my heart,

it was the perfect place for a brand- new start.

Chorus: Here I stand in my power.

Here I stand in my power.

Here I stand in my power.

Here I stand. (Here I stand) Here I stand.

I am a warrior. I am invincible.

I am as strong as steel and I am capable,

and I am soft as a feather light and free,

and the truth that I know, healing begins with me.

Chorus Bridge: Here I stand. Here I stand. Here I stand.

With all that I’ve been through, there ain’t nothin’ I can’t do…

Chorus

 

©TayToones Music BMI 2015 & Derby Disc Music SESAC From Karen’s CD: “Joy In Our Hearts” and “The Heart of Healing 2″

So empowering and so … me from not speaking my mind growing up to the woman standing in her power and knowing that healing began with me!

Bonded in loving ourselves, healing ourselves, and being empowered to define ourselves in a positive light, Dee


Every dollar is important.

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Monday Thoughts 4.18.22

women for sobriety decorative image problem

“There’s no such thing as running away from the problem.  They’re very patient and will wait a lifetime for you.”

Darnell Lamont Walker

“If you choose to not deal with an issue, then you give up your right of control over the issue and it will select the path of least resistance.”

Susan Del Gatto

“The important thing about a problem is not the solution, but the strength we gain in finding a solution.”

Seneca


#4 Problems bother me only to the degree I permit.

I now better understand my problems. 

I do not permit problems to overwhelm me.


In our WFS Program booklet our founder, Jean Kirkpatrick, Ph.D. writes “My running away helped me to deny my problem. Denial became my biggest problem.” I can relate very well to these words; denial was a well-worn ploy that created even bigger problems than what lay ahead. Then everything was compounded by my drinking, which was simply another form of denial.

Sobriety and Statement #4 in action offer a pathway to first recognize, accept and move through problems. No matter the size of an issue, being able to recognize a problem as a problem is essential to discovering solutions. Once it is in view, options are available. Obviously, there is no one size fits all solution but there are many ways to overcome instead of being overwhelmed. Avoidance of alcohol never fixed anything and only served to further complicate everything.

This week, take a few minutes each morning to reflect on any issues that may be in front of you. Instead of seeking out an immediate solution, sit with it for a few minutes and allow options to come to mind. If something feels incredibly large, reach out and express any unease. Simply sharing what the problem is with a close friend can create a sturdy foundation and you may have a cheerleader to encourage you along.

Hugzzz
Karen


Hi 4C Women,

Learning to problem-solve supports decision-making when there is a true concern. The key is to know the difference between an ordinary problem and a real issue that needs resolution. I agree with Karen that sometimes taking a few minutes to reflect rather than expecting an immediate solution is a wonderful route to take. Sharing it with a trusted friend can bring about a whole different perspective when a fresh set of ears listens.

I have had many concerns over the years and while I sometimes felt incompetent to make a sound decision, I also learned that I could make a mistake and survive, even learn from it, could reach out for input, be successful, and most importantly, build my confidence in problem-solving. I learned that focusing on ordinary, everyday problems, was just really distracting me from handling the real concerns in my life. In the beginning, I only saw the mistakes I made. Learning a lesson from mistakes – no way! I tended to punish myself which hurt my self-esteem even more and put into question any possibility of trusting my instincts or learning better problem-solving skills. Feeling overwhelmed led to numbing those thoughts. Numbing led to disappointment, discouragement, and again, self-punishment. What a profound difference in learning the lesson! Wow, I actually started trusting myself, seeking help from those who supported me, and building a toolbox of coping skills that provided me a path to becoming a 4C woman. I was certainly learning how to not let problems overwhelm me so I could focus on the real concerns. That gave me time and energy for tackling what needed my attention.

Who would or do you turn to for input?

What’s a lesson you have learned from a mistake and a success?

If your concern is about a relationship, what would you gain from resolving that conflict in a healthy, compassionate, and honest manner? Conflict is about having a problem to solve. That’s important to remember as we come to relationships with our own histories and values. I learned a lot about myself in working on conflict in relationships. I gained a sense of worthiness that before was not even a word in my vocabulary. I began to know what I needed, what I deserved, and what was a deal-breaker in dissolving or maintaining a relationship. That was powerful information. I actually put a value on myself! What is the value you put on yourself (deserve, need)?

Finally, the fear of presenting my ideas in problem-solving kept me stuck until I found my voice, spoke my voice, and felt the empowerment of doing so. And, again, I survived, thrived, and learned more lessons than if I had kept my fear in expressing my thoughts. Are you ready to learn? Give It a try as Karen suggested in reflecting, reaching out, and doing what feels right for you and your values.

Bonded in letting go of everyday problems, focusing on concerns, and learning invaluable lessons along the way, Dee


While we hope to see you in person in Portland … Early Registration savings of $50 is available until 4/22 …

Please note that on-demand registration is now open and only $25.