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Monday Thoughts 11.28.22

“Love does not need a receipt.”

WFS Sister

“One of the most important things you can do on this earth is to let people know they are not alone.”

Shannon L. Alder

“As we work to create light for others, we naturally light our own way.”

Mary Anne Radmacher


#10 All love given returns.

I am learning to know that I am loved.


Our founder, Jean Kirkpatrick, Ph.D. gave from her heart. Jean shared her insights, shared her thoughts and she shared her life. Through Jean, Women for Sobriety was first a thought, then a reality and WFS flourished through her love. Jean was a beautiful living example of Statement #10 in action.

As we close out the month of November, it is important to acknowledge Giving Tuesday, which happens to be tomorrow. WFS exists because of donations from you. For the past 45 plus years, we have been self-supporting, meaning having received no grants, large corporate donations, or government support. WFS is here today because of the love from the women who embrace this life-changing and life-saving organization…. All love given returns!

Take a moment to estimate the amount of money you spent on alcohol/drug of choice each week. It can be astonishing to grasp the sum, then shift that to how sobriety and recovery have changed your life. Women for Sobriety is available to all women, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Take a moment to acknowledge the depth of your New Life and put action into Statement #10. Maybe you would like to make a monthly donation, which is one of the ways I love to give back, or maybe you would like to give a single donation. You can also give in honor of someone, or in memory of someone as well. Every little bit helps and keeps this empowering organization available to women just like you.

Hugzzz

Karen


Hi 4C Women,

I absolutely love how Karen expressed that Jean’s heart gave us the most wonderful opportunity to both create our own New Life and experience authentic love in the process. Try to imagine doing this in 1975 in the midst of the women’s rights movement! Women were struggling for their place in this world and for their rights to be equal. I have a feeling that motivated Jean even more as she understood the unique needs of women in recovery, thus pioneering a recovery program of empowerment through building self-esteem, self-love, self-worth. I recognize now that while I was learning to love myself, I was already loved due to Jean’s devotion and understanding of women’s needs through her own life experiences.  It amazes me and brings me great joy when I think of her determination, resilience, and courage to create such an empowering program so many years ago.

One of my greatest gifts from WFS is compassion. I learned to not judge but to listen, to see the willingness of women to keep moving forward after experiencing great sadness, disappointment, pain, loss, and so much more. While our histories are diverse, our way of coping through alcohol or drugs is the path we chose. Statement #10 is how we bond and support each other in love, caring, and compassion as we seek a New Life. This is why all love given returns is felt deeply and it is the path to knowing we are loved.

Remember to give compassion to yourself as you would a dear friend. Remember to sing your own praises – list the things you like/love about yourself. Nurture yourself and reflect on how it felt. Importantly, there are all kinds of love – hobby love, nature love, team love, bff love, family love, online friend love, pet love, book love, self-love. Can you name a few others?

I encourage you to consider a tax-deductible donation to WFS on Giving Tuesday as Karen suggested. We stand strong when we stand together and this is one way to show that. It is a way of saying thank you to Jean, and to those who continued to make sure WFS was and is still there for any woman seeking a positive approach to recovery.

Bonded in loving, being loved, and compassion for those in need, Dee


At Women for Sobriety, we have a goal to offer lifesaving resources to women overcoming substance use disorders. With your help, we can make this a reality! 

On the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, November 29th, you’ll have the chance to:

  • $25 can deliver valuable WFS resources to professional providers to share with their clients
  • $75 can provide at least 3 women the gift of a New Life with free program materials
  • $100 can distribute monthly email newsletters
  • $250 can support the maintenance of WFS Online (reaching more than 4,000 women) per month
  • $360 can cover the WFS office phone service for one year
  • $500 can support the storage, preparation, and shipping of materials to providers and women in need 

Will you help us unlock the gift of a New Life?

DONATE NOW!!

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Monday Thoughts 11.21.22

women for sobriety decorative image the past is gone forever

“The butterfly does not look back at the caterpillar in shame. Just as you should not look back at your past in shame. Your past was part of your own transformation.”
Anthony Gucciardi

“Do not waste time thinking about what you could have done differently. Keep your eyes on the road ahead and do it differently now.”
Karen Salmansohn

“Whatever you’re feeling, it will eventually pass. You won’t feel sad forever. At some point, you will be happy again. You won’t feel anxious forever. In time, you will feel calm again. You don’t have to fight your feelings or feel guilty for having them. You just have to accept them and be good to yourself while you ride this out. Resisting your emotions and shaming yourself will only cause you more pain, and you don’t deserve that. You deserve your own love, acceptance and compassion.”
Lori Deschene


#9 The past is gone forever.
No longer am I victimized by the past.
I am a new woman.


Guilt and shame were overwhelming emotions for years, yet I was unaware that they had become part of my lifestyle. Focusing on the “what if’s” kept the present locked away and hidden from view. It wasn’t until finding WFS and practicing Statement #9 that I began to understand how I kept getting in my own way.

Sobriety and Statement #9 offer a shift in perspective. In our WFS Reflections for Growth booklet, our founder Jean Kirkpatrick, Ph.D. writes, “The only thing we can change about those memories that make us feel guilty is the way we think about them. Today I will begin changing my perception of the past and I will overcome the negative feelings.”

Reframing is an excellent tool to move through feelings of guilt or shame. It is a technique that consists of first identifying and then changing the way situations, experiences, emotions, or ideas are viewed. It is a way of challenging a restricted perspective to one that has an alternative, constructive viewpoint. For example, instead of reminding yourself of a mistake you made many years ago, simply agree that it was an error and that you did the best you could with the information that you had. Remind yourself of what you learned from that mistake. Affirm that was then, this is now. When we can learn or grow from a past experience, it allows us to receive value, which enhances our New Life.

Hugzzz
Karen


Hi 4C Women,

I am grateful for Statement #9. It changed my perspective in reflecting on the past and has become my foundation when guilt and shame start calling my name. I remind myself that I am not the same person, I do not react or respond to life’s challenges in the same way. I do, however, acknowledge that I still make mistakes in my decision-making at times. That’s being human.

Acknowledging is definitely different than living in my mistakes. Thanks to Statement #9, I understand that learning from my mistakes is the path to healing. I CANNOT change the past but I can forgive myself and make healthier decisions from the life lesson of any mistake. In the past, I held myself hostage to my mistakes, victimizing myself for what could not be changed while those who were part of that past aren’t thinking about it or me. So, why am I? This is the message of Statement #9 – Give myself credit for moving forward, forgiving myself, healing, and building a strong coping toolbox for living in the now. It is pure freedom for me. I once wrote that practicing this Statement moves us from victim to victor, survivor to thriver. It released the chains of pain wrapped around my soul and mind. I am creating a new history and I am the author. So are you!

Have you forgiven yourself for a past you cannot change?
If not, what is holding you hostage, preventing self-forgiveness?
What do you say to yourself to help release the past and be in the present?
What coping tools do you use when reacting/responding to a current situation/person?
What life lesson have you learned in your recovery?
As the author of your life today, what would you title the current chapter?
What are the positive parts of your past?

Listing them was helpful to me when I got stuck in the negative past. I realized that I focused way too much on the pain rather than the joy of the past.

Bonded in self-forgiveness, creating a new history, and being a thriver, Dee


Giving Tuesday

We invite you to kick off the holiday season by joining this global day of giving back. #GivingTuesday

On the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, November 29th, you’ll have the chance to:

*join people around the world in giving
*support a cause close to your heart
*help WFS bestow the gift of a New Life to women across the United States and around the world.

DONATE NOW!!

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Monday Thoughts 11.14.22

“Stepping onto a new path is difficult, but not more difficult than remaining in a situation which is not nurturing to the whole woman.”

Maya Angelou

“A part of me wants to keep my eyes closed and pull the covers over my head, block out the light trying to be turned on in my room….a part of me is so afraid to open my eyes because the very nature of waking up is to be aware, to be accountable, to be responsible for the healing of my life.”

Sarah Blondin

“You have the power to heal your life, and you need to know that. We think so often that we are helpless, but we’re not. We always have the power of our minds…Claim and consciously use your power.”

Louise Hay


#8 The fundamental object of life is emotional and spiritual growth.

Daily I put my life into a proper order, knowing which are the priorities.


Sobriety and Statement #8 are a portal for hope and healing. Before New Life, it was difficult to understand how anything could change, and I certainly had no concern about growth. Everything was a reaction to situations and alcohol only fueled the fire of already intense drama.

This Statement lays the foundation for growth, which is what sobriety and recovery are all about. The WFS Levels of recovery can identify movement and progress and can offer direction where development may be needed. It is important to remember that recovery is not necessarily a straight line like in this image, but more often than not it is all over, bouncing from one level to the next.

As your sobriety and recovery journey evolves, note where you are at the moment and embrace your growth. You have worked hard to be where you are. Keep aware of progress, set manageable goals, and set your priorities. Stay flexible and savor your 4C journey!

Hugzzz

Karen


Hi 4C Women,

Jean Kirkpatrick was so wise in having us identify ourselves as 4C women; that substance abuse was not our identity but how we coped. In recognizing recovery, I have always focused on the positive changes made. This is how I have practiced Statement #8 with sobriety as my priority and working towards emotional and spiritual growth and healing. My first priority was to become a facilitator. It gave me purpose, direction, and meaning. It still does.

After all these years, I am still learning from the women in the meetings and the friends I have made along the way. I think about all the WFS conferences I have attended (28) and the phenomenal information I gathered in helping me to move forward, heal, uncover, and discover my worth. One of the women in the group I facilitate said that she adds “discard” to those two words. And it dawned on me how true that is! I learned to discard the untruths that I formerly used to describe me, let go of the past filled with pain and discarded the blame game in taking responsibility for my mind, thoughts, and life. That’s quite empowering and I hope you each recognize and give yourself credit for the positive changes you are making.

Whether you are sober one day, one year, or several years, I hope you will take the time to consider all the changes you have made, including discarding those that no longer serve your well-being and writing them down.  When you begin to doubt yourself, your changes on that list will be the applause you deserve. As Karen said, “embrace” your growth whether you have one positive change or several on your list. Always remember that it is the change that matters and how it is impacting your life, and your recovery.

To better understand your priorities, how do you define emotional growth, and what that feels like?

How do you define spiritual growth and what that feels like?

Bonded in healing and growth in your emotional and spiritual journey, Dee


WFS Levels of Recovery


Level 1 –
Acceptance of having a substance use disorder, one that requires the cessation of substance abuse.
Statement 1

Level 2 –
Discarding negativity, releasing guilt, and practicing new ways of viewing and solving problems.
Statements 2, 4 & 9

Level 3 –
Creating and practicing a new self-image.
Statements 5 & 12

Level 4 –
Using new attitudes to enforce new behavior patterns.
Statements 3, 6 & 11

Level 5-
Improving relationships as a result of our new feelings about self.
Statements 7 & 10

Level 6 –
Recognition of life’s priorities; emotional and spiritual growth plus self-responsibility.
Statements 8 & 13


Donate While You Shop – At No Cost To You!

Did you know you can donate to worthy causes like Women for Sobriety while you shop for holiday gifts when you use AmazonSmile?

AmazonSmile is a website operated by Amazon with the same products, prices, and shopping features as Amazon.com. The difference is that when you shop on AmazonSmileyou can elect to donate 0.5% of your purchase to the charity of your choice – at no cost to you. This includes WFS!

If you already shop on Amazon, or if you’re looking for the perfect holiday gift for your loved one, we invite you to shop at smile.amazon.com and select Women for Sobriety as your charity of choice.

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Monday Thoughts 11.7.22

“You are not selfish for wanting the same energy and love you give.”

Unknown

“It’s okay to let go of those who couldn’t love you. Those who didn’t know how to. Those who failed to even try. It’s okay to outgrow them, because that means you filled the empty space in you with self-love instead. You’re outgrowing them because you are growing into you. And that’s more than okay, that’s something to celebrate.”

Angelica Moone

“The people you will always remember are the ones who made you feel loved when you were at your lowest.”

Brigitte Nicole


#7 Love can change the course of my world.

Caring is all-important.


Staying was easier because I didn’t know how to leave. Unaware that I could trust my decisions, or believe in myself, I stayed. Then, somehow, deep down within, love said “Leave. Leave now.” I left. The world as I knew it was shattered and in pieces but I was alive. Love changed the course of my world in an instant.

Sobriety and Statement #7 create a portal for love to expand and grow. Love is always there, sometimes covered up and hidden from years of pain yet that love exists. By practicing the WFS Statements each day, giving special attention to Statement #7, I uncovered and discovered the healing and beauty of love.

Embracing sobriety is an act of love. Affirming self is an act of love. Enforcing boundaries is an act of love. Maybe you are afraid to believe it or trust it, but love makes a difference every day. In our WFS Program booklet, it states “Giving and receiving love can change our world. They change how we feel about ourselves—we feel increasingly alive, appreciated, important, necessary, wanted and worthy. There are no words as therapeutic as ‘I love you.’” You are deserving of love!

Here are 4 ways to begin to love yourself from Maria Stenvinkel from Tiny Buddha

Focus on being someone who loves.

If you’re in a place today where you don’t love yourself, it’s hard to take a quantum leap and become someone who does. Just like when you’re building muscles, self-love takes consistent practice.

Instead of loving yourself, focus on being someone who loves. That is, allow love to flow through you as often as possible. Focus on what you love about the people you meet. Focus on what you appreciate while going to the store, sitting in a meeting, or speaking to someone. Simply, adjust your body to positive emotions by finding as many things to love and appreciate as possible.

2. Tap into what it looks and feels like to be loved.

It’s easy to be loving toward ourselves when things go as planned, when we succeed and people like us. Not so much when stuff falls apart, we screw up, or get rejected. When we struggle the most, that’s also when we tend to be the hardest on ourselves.

In those moments, ask yourself how someone who loves you deeply would act. What would they say? What would they do? How would they behave? Odds are, they wouldn’t criticize, judge, and berate you. They’d offer you kindness, compassion, and acceptance. If you can’t think about a specific person or memory, imagine how the most loving human on this planet would be toward you. Then practice being that toward yourself.

3. Stop comparing yourself.

Comparison is a killer to self-love. And we aren’t usually very nice when it comes to comparisons, right? Instead, we take our greatest flaws and compare them to someone else’s greatest success. In short, you’re doomed to fail.

Instead, realize that you write your story. Realize that you can’t compare your life to someone else’s because no matter how well you know them, you never know how they feel or how they perceive their life. Instead, spend your time and energy nourishing and building your path.

4. Take baby steps to create the life you long for.

Desires are powerful. And so, to take action to turn those dreams into reality is to honor and care for yourself. By taking daily actions, you signal that you’re worthy of living the life you desire.

It doesn’t have to be big action—just small and consistent steps in the direction that stirs joy, care, and excitement. This demonstrates that you care and respect your dreams and thus yourself. Has there ever been a better time to do that than now?

Hugzzz

Karen


Hi 4C Women,

Powerful, phenomenal message from Karen. Wonderful tips for learning how to begin the journey of self-love and accepting love from others. Living in pain, feeling unworthy, and never feeling that you are enough is more than challenging to overcome yet it is absolutely possible, actually necessary, and deserving. I was so fearful of rejection in giving love yet I was rejecting the most important person in my life – me! It took a while yet I learned to turn off the negative messages from the past. The messages we received growing up and into young adulthood – even adulthood. As empowered women, we now get to choose the words we speak to ourselves. I have an inner critic that I have named who sometimes sits on my shoulder, spewing nasty, old, outdated messages that I no longer accept. So, when he/she appears, I turn my head and flick the critic off as I tell them to shut up and stop lying. I am in control of my thoughts which in turn makes me in charge of my behavior. I will not allow these negative messages to make me question who I am today. I will no longer punish myself by believing even slightly that these are truth-based messages. I will instead continue to work on healing.

I have a 3×5 card in my purse that has STOP on the front as an alert when negative messages start to ramble through my mind. On the back is a listing of positive characteristics, changes I have made, what I value about myself, and whatever challenges I have gone through and stayed sober. I get that card out whenever I question my worth and the negative messages start creeping in. I encourage you to do that as self-love will change the course of your world in amazing ways.  I’ve been blessed to see so many women turn their lives around in self-love when they thought it was impossible. Be courageous – practice self-love every day and see what happens.

I hope you will take the time to reflect on the questions Karen has asked and begin or continue the journey of self-love. You deserve it.

Bonded in learning to love yourself and accept/give love to others, Dee


Virginia Tech is recruiting adults in recovery from addiction, including alcohol, for a long-term online study to learn about diverse recovery pathways. Participants in this research study (IRB# 21-697) will complete 4 surveys per year over 3 years and will be compensated for their time (up to $1,280 over 3 years).

 

Help us help others (Phone: 540-315-0205 | Email: [email protected])!

https://www.quitandrecovery.org/long-term-study

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Monday Thoughts 10.31.22

“The world needs dreamers and the world needs doers. But above all, the world needs dreamers who do.”

Sarah Ban Breathnach

“Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic within it.”
Goethe

“Be brave and create the life of your dreams. Dare to strive for the spectacular.”

Amy Leigh Mercree


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

Greatness is mine by a conscious effort.


Many dreams before sobriety and recovery were all about wanting the anxiety and emotional pain to end. Life did not feel ordinary at all, and forget great, life felt scary and downright unfair. Why did other people seem to have all the luck? As I drank at the imagined unfairness of it all, my brain could not begin to dream of anything but escaping the mental anguish. Sobriety and Statement #6 open a pathway to building aspirations and living a conscious life.

Dreams are important because they give an inside look at what can bring inner joy to life. A dream can be as simple as learning a new skill or visiting a long-awaited place. A dear friend always wanted to visit Disney when she was younger. As an adult, she gave that dream a deadline and took small actions toward her goal. It took time, yet she became the hero of her own story with conscious effort.

Our WFS Program booklet states “Sobriety is a rewarding experience for those who invest in the moments of each day.” Learning to invest or be consciously aware of moments can build a base for dreams to take hold. A useful tool here is visualization: forming a mental image to create a pathway toward a dream, or it can even help move through difficult feelings or situations. Imagining myself on a beach, smelling the salty air, and listening to the ebb and flow of the waves helped me move through intense cravings, plus motivated me to make that dream a reality. How will you practice Statement #6 this week?

Hugzzz

Karen


Hi 4C Women,

As I read Karen’s thoughts, I wondered how my dreams have changed over the years. I am not sure that I dreamt a lot while drinking for fear of being disappointed. What if I put all that effort into creating a dream I visualized and I failed? Actually, failing felt familiar. I anticipated it. Over time, through the WFS Program, I realized that I learned many life lessons and coping tools in unmet dreams. I began to appreciate the ordinary – being clear-minded to recognize how peaceful life could be without the drama or fear of failing. I realized I was resilient in dealing with unmet dreams. After all, I could dream another dream and that became greatness. I sometimes would change the word dream to goal, desire, vision, or yearning. It’s amazing how they all have a similar meaning yet feel somewhat different.

What I love about the WFS program is that it is a process that gives me the opportunity to learn, and appreciate the joy I had ignored for so long. That awareness took away a lot of my fears, and disappointments, and guided me to be willing to embrace change, to learn, and to be realistic about what I needed and how to survive the outcome, even successful outcomes. Now that may seem odd but when you’re used to failing or being disappointed, it might be uncomfortable or awkward to accept and enjoy a successful outcome. So, now I survive and thrive each outcome. What a huge difference Statement #6 made in my recovery. The awareness, and acceptance that great things, big and small, do and will happen, is a life changer. While life will always present struggles, it also gives joy. I have been blessed to acknowledge the struggles and the joys. It’s made my life more balanced and prepared me to cope without using alcohol to numb, escape or pretend everything is okay. This is the progress of the process I wish for each of you.

How would you describe greatness in your life?

What is your current dream, goal, vision, desire, or yearning?

Do you have a plan/plans to work towards it?

What coping tools do you use when disappointment is the outcome?

Do you feel a balance, understanding that there will always be struggles along with joy?

Are you aware of your joy? How do you celebrate joy?

What is the greatest life lesson you have learned so far?

 

Bonded in awareness of joy, and learning coping tools as you grow and change, Dee


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Monday Thoughts 10.24.22

women for sobriety decorative image 4cs

“If you take care of your mind, you take care of the world.”
Arianna Huffington

“Trust yourself. Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all of your life. Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.”
Golda Meir

 “Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.”
Anne Lamott


#5 I am what I think.
I am a capable, competent, caring, compassionate woman.


My mind, thoughts, and life were not anything that I gave attention to before sobriety and recovery. Most of the time, I bounced from one particular drama to another, never really stopping to consider how or why things happened the way they did. Yet Statement #5, the center of the WFS New Life Program opens the door to mind our minds.

Active addiction removes the ability to think clearly and short circuits or hijacks the reward center. This can lead to feelings of anxiety, irritability, and paranoia. Yet the human brain is remarkably resilient, and can create new pathways (neuroplasticity) in sobriety and recovery, and here is where Statement #5 comes in. By taking charge of and managing our thoughts, “We create a new self in our mind first” as our WFS Program booklet states.

I recall feeling overwhelmed when first beginning to recognize my thoughts. It was so LOUD in my head! So many ramblings, and constant conversations about negativity or dread, and fear. LOTS of fear! I felt like I was afraid of everything. I judged myself, then judged the judgments. It felt like I was caught in a loop of meandering wild thoughts. There was no order, only chaos. But through this wild zoo, I became the gatekeeper. Writing down thoughts enabled me to stick them on paper instead of having them fly through my brain. Guided meditation taught me how to lengthen the pause between thoughts, and the women in our WFS face-to-face group and WFS Online Forum shared their techniques for managing their thoughts. Some days are easier to manage, and others more difficult, depending on factors like energy levels or time of year. With continued practice of Statement #5, we are capable, competent, caring, and compassionate women. What is your go-to tool to manage your thoughts?

Hugzzz
Karen


Hi 4C Women,

I love how Karen gained awareness in understanding that she was the gatekeeper of her thoughts.  Being the gatekeeper is a powerful position and Statement #5 directs us to use that power wisely for our own well-being and personal growth in recovery.  I hid my power because I was afraid of being rejected and ridiculed as was my experience. That history I carried within my thoughts was stronger than my ability to see I was truly in charge of changing history going forward. Becoming sober gave me clarity and when I initially began saying positive words to describe myself, it was a huge challenge.

I remember the first time I asked the group I was facilitating to describe themselves using 50 words. There was laughter and horror being expressed. As I looked around the room, I saw women staring at the blank piece of paper with an incredulous look that I would expect them to have 50 words when they could barely provide 2 or 3. The laughter was the unease of writing any positive words about themselves as that would be considered conceited, something they grew up hearing. When I said they could use authentic words as to how they saw themselves on that day, they seemed relieved. It is amazing how many of us have been taught that saying and believing positive descriptive words was not ladylike! I asked them to date their responses and the next time we did this exercise; they could visually see their personal growth in how they viewed themselves. Today, when I start doubting my belief in myself, I tend to go back to Statement #9 and remind myself I am not the same person, I am a new woman. I have worked hard for positive change and built my self-esteem, self-love, and self-worthiness with all the tools the WFS program has provided. It is a continuing process and knowing that, gives me peace.

I now realize that asking anyone to provide 50 words to describe themselves is daunting. In reflection, I keep asking myself, “What was I thinking?”  So below are questions I feel are more doable.  And remember that this is a process of personal growth and being authentic is a wonderful way to see how we have grown and where we need to focus to keep the process going in a positive direction.

Questions:
This makes me unique:
I feel strong/empowered when:
I accept myself for:
A quality I am proud of:
Today I am grateful for:
I did my best to overcome:
The most significant positive change I have made:
Date: _________________

Bonded in awareness of becoming your empowered 4C self, Dee


Save the Date: Volunteer Orientation Opportunity!

Date: Tuesday, November 1th 2022 at 8:30 pm US/Eastern

Learn more about the History of WFS, join other 4C women looking to volunteer, and hear about all the wonderful work our current volunteers are doing!

To receive the Zoom meeting information email: [email protected]

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Monday Thoughts 10.17.22

women for sobriety decorative image problem

“Being challenged in life is inevitable, being defeated is optional.”

Roger Crawford

“Learn from the stories of people who faced challenges you haven’t yet experienced.”

Joanna Barsh

“Look at a day when you are supremely satisfied at the end. It’s not a day when you lounge around doing nothing; it’s a day you’ve had everything to do and you’ve done it.”

Margaret Thatcher


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

I now better understand my problems.

I do not permit problems to overwhelm me.


Don’t do that! Don’t even try. Why bother?

These were just a few responses my mind went to when facing a problem before my New Life. This led to an increase in problems that I either ignored or blamed on someone else. Denial of my problems was another tactic, yet it took time and awareness to grasp and understand this. Sobriety and Statement #4 in action allow for continued growth and feelings of accomplishment.

In our WFS Program booklet, it states, “The value of this Statement is in learning that we can control our reactions.” This is a powerful response for it places trust within ourselves which is usually absent in active addiction. One of the first places I saw this being modeled was in our WFS Online Forum. Here I found women learning to grow through their experiences, all the while sharing their joys and their sorrows yet continuing to invest in their New Life. This in turn helped me to realize I could do the same.

The first way I put action into Statement #4 was to create a sobriety plan to prevent relapse. Listing five different actions that I could take before turning to alcohol has kept me sober and focused on recovery. Additionally, two of the actions needed to include others, such as calling or texting a 4C sister or getting together with a friend. Journaling and physical activity such as walking or sitting in nature were added along with reading our WFS Program booklet (Number One on the list!) Using this basic framework for maintaining sobriety, we can focus on identifying a problem, creating an action plan, and moving forward. Now I have rephrased those sentences to “Give it a try! I can do it! I am worth it!” This week, identify people in your life who model empowering problem-solving behaviors. What can you learn from them? How can you apply that to areas of your life?

Hugzzz

Karen


Hi 4C Women,

Creating a plan for times when we are triggered, indecisive, fearful, or disappointed is key to being in charge of our responses/reactions. As I mentioned last Monday, I was so disappointed that my plans to travel home had to be canceled, yet WFS taught me to work through those feelings and have a follow-up plan. That’s exactly what I did.  I was able to put Plan B into the hopeful possibility of traveling in the Spring. If I didn’t, the cancellation would continue to be a problem that kept me in those negative feelings when there is a solution. I am a big proponent of acknowledging all my feelings. However, if they are hurting my well-being, I let them visit but not unpack their bags for a long stay.

I found that in the past I worried about everything, those everyday things so when a real issue appeared that needed a plan, input from those I trusted, and various solutions, I remained stuck. I didn’t trust my instincts and was so afraid of failure that I pretended the issue didn’t exist and went back to the comfort of worrying about everything and accomplishing nothing! It’s wonderful now to have the energy and coping tools to work on the concerns that need my attention. If I make a wrong decision, I have learned to look at it as a life lesson that I can add to my coping toolbox.

Just as I felt fear, I learned to feel confident. I also changed my thought process from what is the worst that could happen to what is the best that could happen. Just changing that one word changed my attitude which changed the way I approached an issue.

Below is a combination of questions I found on Statement #4 regarding concerns/issues that need attention. I found that in looking back at my previous answers to these questions, I have added new coping tools and lessons and areas that still need change. I like to date these types of questions so when I do them again, I can see what growth I have made and where I need to perhaps focus my attention in the present.

1.    What are the consequences of NOT changing this situation or behavior? Sometimes issues get resolved on their own yet if it is affecting our well-being in recovery, knowing the consequences will be a guide in deciding what to do or not do.

2.    How have things resolved themselves in the past? I always looked to my failures as proof that I wasn’t capable of making positive decisions. Now I include my successes as well, otherwise, it would be disrespectful to any growth I have worked hard to attain.

3.    What do I feel I have at stake in this situation? Is it the loss of a relationship, the embarrassment of speaking your voice (I related a lot to this question in the past), or the fear there will be no resolution? The answers will hopefully give you insight as to what matters most, and what you are willing to risk for your well-being, and your recovery.

4.    What’s within my control?

5.    What benefit am I getting out of keeping things the same way? (My previous answer was an eye-opener as I never thought of any benefit I was getting).

6.    Who else can help? Who is part of your support system?

7.    What’s the worse best that could happen?

8.    Do I care more than the other person in this situation? If I do, why?

9.    Do I need to review my boundaries or create boundaries that I can adhere to?  This is the follow-up to question 8 to protect your recovery and well-being.

Bonded in not letting everyday problems overwhelm you and learning to work through issues that need your attention, Dee


Virginia Tech is recruiting adults in recovery from addiction, including alcohol, for a long-term online study to learn about diverse recovery pathways. Participants in this research study (IRB# 21-697) will complete 4 surveys per year over 3 years and will be compensated for their time (up to $1,280 over 3 years). Help us help others (Phone: 540-315-0205 | Email: [email protected])!

https://www.quitandrecovery.org/long-term-study

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Monday Thoughts 10.10.22

“Courage is like a muscle. We strengthen it by use.”
Ruth Gordo

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
Eleanor Roosevelt

“It took me quite a long time to develop a voice, and now that I have it, I am not going to be silent.

Madeleine Albright


#3 Happiness is a habit I am developing.

Happiness is created, not waited for.


Choice? I have… a…. choice? This was new. For years I was under the assumption that people were born lucky and enjoyed all that there is to life. In my eyes, they seemed to have it all yet the cynicism (and alcohol) within kept me from understanding or seeing the development and progression of true happiness. WFS and Statement #3 in action changed that.

It has taken a long time to understand what “happiness” feels like to me and it continues to evolve. Oftentimes I pursued the happiness of others or what society (or advertisers) said “should make me happy.” This left me feeling unfulfilled. It also felt like happiness was always just out of reach and gone before I could enjoy it. Most often the feeling of happiness was paired with alcohol. Needing to learn how to experience this emotion with a clear mind, discovering happiness became a process of reflection. Statement #3 provides the answer; It’s an inside job.

In our WFS Program booklet, it states, “Our attitudes are the result of our past and present experiences.” How would I be able to create a shift toward happiness? By creating new habits like Statement #3 mentions. One of the first things I learned in sobriety was the ability to say the word NO. I said NO to alcohol every day and now I could use this short word in other areas of my life. It took courage to say it initially, then with practice, it became a habit. Now I was feeling happy because I was sober. It felt fabulous!
I was also learning that the feeling of happiness is as individual as we are and it lies on a spectrum of different emotions from thrilling excitement to inner peace and calm with many things in between. This week, take a few minutes to jot down where you are on the “Feelings Wheel” for greater insight into where you may need to make changes or adjustments toward happiness. Why not make this a habit and watch for or identify patterns in your life?

Hugzzz
Karen


Hi 4C Women,

I love the feeling wheel and have used it in identifying many of my feelings at a deeper level. When I reflect on fear, anger, and sadness (what I call surface feelings), I see how those deeper feelings expressed on the wheel block my path to personal happiness. Those predominant negative feelings were like a brick wall. I thought I could never be authentically happy if I was sober. Would I even recognize happiness if I felt it? The answer is a resounding yes! The word that helped me on the Happy feeling part of the wheel was “trust.” I began to trust the process and eventually I was laughing out loud, feeling playful and optimistic. It was as though this Statement #3 was meant to follow Statement #2 in recognizing that negative thoughts were destroying my willingness to learn how to create my personal happiness.

Every time I read Statement #3, I think of Jean sharing that happiness comes in moments. We need to be aware of those moments. This for me was part of the process – creating awareness. I was so absorbed in questioning if I had experienced a happy moment that the moment was gone. Now I stop, take in a wonderful feeling and before I know it, I have a big smile across my face.  Jean never meant for us to be happy every moment of every day. That would be impossible and a burden. What I have is a foundation of contentment, hope, and gratitude for what I have learned through the WFS Program Statements.

I was planning a trip up north to see my family and friends as it’s been over 3 years. Unfortunately, I developed severe pain in my back and both legs. The pain has become a lot less in my legs but not much change in my back. I scheduled an appointment for an epidural injection but they can’t see me until Nov. 18. Since it’s a 15-hour drive up north, I had to cancel. To say the least, I was so sad and disappointed. Because of WFS, I realized I needed to make plan B. My hope is to visit in the Spring of 2023 as I don’t want to drive in the winter. Before sobriety, I would not have had that response. I would have soothed my disappointed feelings with alcohol which I know would have only made me sadder and feeling hopeless. I am so grateful to WFS for giving me coping tools, and friends I can share my feelings and receive support and understanding.

I encourage you to take a look at the feeling wheel and uncover what is holding you back, what is moving you forward, and where you are in the process of developing happiness.

Bonded in creating awareness and learning the process to achieve your personal happiness, Dee


 

Coming your way soon!  The new WFS Online is being prepared for you and will soon be available.  We can’t wait to give you great new features such as fast navigation to your own personal content!

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Monday Thoughts 10.3.22

“Saying no to others is saying yes to yourself.”

Jack Canfield

“No is necessary magic. No draws a circle around you with chalk and says, ‘I have given enough.”

McKayla Robbin

“No is a complete sentence. It does not require an explanation to follow. You can truly answer someone’s request with a simple No.”

Sharon Rainey


#2 Negative thoughts destroy only myself.

My first conscious sober act is to reduce negativity in my life.


NO is a powerful word with two simple letters, yet the desire to add something afterward can feel like a natural extension. Growing up, I felt the need to validate any NO uttered with something…. anything. The word NO hung in the air, and the silence following it felt distressing. The more I tried to soothe someone else with my NO, a part of myself was lost along with personal boundaries. However, sobriety and Statement #2 in action changes that.

Learning to adjust to a New Life without alcohol or drugs begins with NO. This is a healthy boundary that gets stronger each time it’s used. NO can challenge negative thoughts, reducing anxiety and/or fears. NO announces that you care for yourself. NO begins to feel more comfortable and settles into a routine. NO engages trust in ourselves. In our WFS Program booklet, it states, “Our overcoming is in exact proportion to our becoming.”

Here is a brief excerpt from Dr. Zoe Shaw on boundaries:

“Boundaries are internal—and sometimes external—lines that separate yourself and your will from someone else’s. People with healthy boundaries value themselves as much as they do someone else. People with unhealthy boundaries either undervalue or overvalue themselves in comparison with others.

A physical boundary clearly communicates: This is how close you can get to me, and this is how much of my body I will allow you to engage with.

A professional boundary clearly communicates: This is how I will communicate with you, and these are my lines for connection and negotiation.

An emotional boundary clearly communicates: This is how deeply I will share my world and feelings with you, and this is how much of yours I will entertain.

A personal boundary clearly communicates: These are the actions I will tolerate in my relationships, and these are the ones I will not.

Expect people to impinge on your boundaries. Your self-care goal this month is to learn to better set and communicate your boundaries and to hold strong when others push against them. Although boundaries may feel like a series of noes, every time you say no to something you are really saying a resounding yes to yourself and any opportunities that will better serve you both in the now and in the long run.

A boundary is not a rule that you impose on someone else. It is a line that you draw for yourself.”

Hugzzz,

Karen


Hi 4C Women,

Boundaries – a skill to promote our self-care in a powerful way. I appreciate the descriptions of specific boundaries that Karen shared. It helps to define the goals for a particular situation and guidelines on how setting boundaries impacts relationships once the boundaries are clearly defined.

It was quite difficult to start setting boundaries as I was such a people pleaser. I love how Karen ended her message with what a boundary is and is not! I am going to keep that in mind when I question why boundaries are so challenging to set and keep, to remember that boundaries are a line I draw for myself. It seems the most difficult is with family because there is emotional history and sometimes complicated, conflicting feelings.

I have learned so many life-changing lessons through WFS. I have learned that sometimes boundaries need to be re-established, and reset. I know this when I feel my boundaries have been invalidated by another person’s words or actions. I used alcohol to escape my feelings of inadequacy and believed I was not entitled to set boundaries. I just wanted to keep the peace and that only led to more self-destructive behavior. I forgot what my needs were in this downward spiral and truly lost my voice. WFS provided a way for me to take back my power in small increments until one day I realized that I had not only uncovered my needs, I was able to express them. That was my first adventure into risk-taking and it felt so empowering. I also learned that if I permitted negative thoughts to be the predominant message I spoke to myself, speaking my authentic needs became intimidating and kept me stuck.

WFS helped me discover that I was worthy of meeting my needs and Statement #2 reinforced that negative thoughts about who I am truly hurt me more than anyone. I began to recognize that I had it within me to meet my own needs. It doesn’t mean that I stop expressing my needs. For me, it means that I can move on, and love myself enough to meet my needs as best I can. I am all about healing relationships whenever possible unless the relationship has become so toxic, it is harmful to my well-being. I also realize how important it is to set boundaries that promote healing. So, again, I go back to the most difficult boundary setting for me – family. These are the boundaries I keep revisiting, work on keeping the communication open, and listening to understand how my boundary is being perceived. Nothing changes without being able to communicate our feelings, our needs, and our path to achieve positive change in developing healthy relationships. I feel expressing my needs is how I show self-respect and honor myself.

What is the most challenging boundary you have set?

What was the outcome? How did it change your relationship with that person?

How would you describe a “healthy” relationship when it comes to your boundaries?

Have you been able to identify toxic people causing harm to your well-being? Have you been able to let go of those relationships? If not, why? This is a deeper question for greater introspection.

Are you open to listening to another’s perception of the boundary you set?

Are you willing to revisit or reset a boundary? This question is important, especially if you learn that the boundary you originally set is not clearly understood by the recipient of the boundary.

What have you learned about yourself in setting boundaries?

Bonded in setting boundaries that reduce negativity in our lives, put our well-being first, and create healthier relationships, Dee


 

Aloha Rock Stars!

We would like to invite you to the third event sponsored by The Creative Crew!

A glorious, autumn showcase of handmade items by our sisters are for sale. There will be knitted items, pine needle baskets, quilted items, a glass piece, greeting cards galore, and other delights.  Buy something for a gift and at the same time support Women For Sobriety, Inc. (WFS)!

Some items will be auctioned and others are offered at “Buy It Now” for a set price. All funds (100%) support WFS.

What you need to do: 
·Register or Sign In to the Holiday Sale Catalog at The Creative Crew Holiday Sale.
TIP:  If you registered for prior events like The Creative Crew Blooming Sale, your login is still active. If you do not remember your password, you can request an email to reset the password.
·You may now preview items online as they are added to the catalog!

The Creative Crew Holiday Sale opens at 11am Eastern US, on Friday, November 4 … and closes with the auction ending at 10 pm Eastern US, on Saturday, November 5.

The Creative Crew
Enthusiastic Creators
Women For Sobriety, Inc.

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Monday Thoughts 9.26.22

“How many times did I ask myself what I found so thrilling about drinking when it only brought unhappiness, loneliness, sickness, depression? I wasn’t ‘living,’ I was only breathing to feed an addiction.”

Jean Kirkpatrick, PhD., Turnabout

“To change requires a decision, a conscious decision to end all the misery you endure and that which you create for others. It is the beginning of accepting responsibility for yourself and your actions. Just thinking about it won’t work.”

Jean Kirkpatrick, PhD., Turnabout

“Exercise your mind and direct your thoughts. The effects will demonstrate to you that your thoughts are responsible for what happens to you.”

Jean Kirkpatrick, PhD., Turnabout


#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.


Just like a garden, Statement #1 is the soft, fertile soil upon which to plant New Life. Yet nothing can grow or bloom from a center of intense drama, emotional turmoil, or regrets…which is the same as addiction. Our founder, Jean Kirkpatrick, Ph.D. cleared the land, prepared the soil, and planted the WFS 13 Statements. Today, each of us can revel in this beautiful garden of life much like the Greek proverb reminds us, “A society grows great when old (wo)men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.”

If you are new to Women for Sobriety, welcome! We are so happy you are here. Jump right into Statement #1 and plant your recovery. Embrace the Statements and connect with other women on the WFS Online Forum, during video/chat meetings, or in a face-to-face group, and know that you are never alone. Live, grow and seed your garden. Choose from a sturdy variety of trust, acceptance, and balance. Be sure to include lots of love. Pull and discard those pesky weeds each week and watch your garden blossom.

Maybe you aren’t new to recovery but are noticing feelings of disconnection or just ‘blah’ in your garden. It’s been a tough couple of years, and it’s common to hear that women are feeling unmotivated or isolated lately. This week, examine your garden so far. Do some self-comparisons, remember to measure yourself using your own yardstick, not someone else’s. How is your life different in sobriety and recovery? What was the most surprising thing that you have learned about yourself? Do you need to encourage growth in different areas of your garden? Are you seeing any pests? How will you care for your garden this week, this month, and next year? What was the one thing that you learned that made a difference in your garden?

Hugzzz

Karen


Hi 4C Women,

I love that Karen shared Jean’s quotes in her message. It is a wonderful reminder of how courageous and insightful Jean was at a time when there was such a double standard for women. Rather than remain stuck, she took her life lessons and created a New Life for all of us. She is the master gardener! I am grateful that I am able to keep a close eye on my garden and it is all due to Jean’s vision of encouragement, empowerment, and accepting responsibility for how our garden grows.

This Statement completely changed my attitude and how I viewed myself and my substance abuse. I was more addicted to wanting people to like me than I was to learning to like and eventually love myself. The word “problem” was so profound to me as a problem meant there could be a solution. This is where I learned and understood that coping, problem-solving, and decision-making skills were of utmost importance. This is the answer to the question Karen asked about the one thing I learned that made a difference in my garden. If I wanted a beautiful garden, a New Life, it was my responsibility to learn the tools to do that. The most challenging part was identifying my triggers and having a plan to cope with those feelings. I soon discovered that some of my triggers were attached to not just the person or event that was occurring at that moment but almost like a compilation of anyone who hurt me. This was an eye-opener and helped me to respond when I was ready and not automatically react or completely shut down. I learned to reflect rather than react. I found that when I was in a calmer state of mind, I could think more clearly and have a conversation where I was heard and neither party would become just defensive. If I felt condescended to, I learned a one-word response – Ouch! It’s a universal understanding that what was said or done truly hurt. Without getting into a defensive mode, I made myself understood with just that one word.

Another coping tool was using positive words to define me. Those words led to self-worth, self-love, and self-respect. I have written lists over the years about my positive qualities and when I feel myself going back into negative thinking, wanting to escape, I get those lists out and realize a person who speaks a mean-spirited word or a triggering event has lost its power over me. I am in charge of my well-being and that means being gentle with myself. I encourage you to make a list of your positive qualities and keep it close.

I have shared this many times to write why you want to be sober. We all know why we don’t want to drink or use but knowing why we want a New Life is crucial to practicing Statement #1. Think about what you are doing that supports your well-being, helping you to be in charge of your life. What are new coping skills you have learned?

Remember in anything you do, ask yourself if it is good for your sobriety/recovery. And above all, know that while you are responsible for your life, you are not alone. Reach out for support and give support back when you are able.

Bonded in creating a New Life with coping, problem-solving skills that empower us in self-love, self-respect, and self-worth, Dee


WFS is proud to announce the start of the LGBTQ+ Affinity Group meeting!

Thursday, September 29 at 12pm ET

Please email [email protected] with questions and to obtain the exact location of the meeting.