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Monday Thoughts 6/10/2019

Monday Thoughts

“I love those connections that make this big old world feel like a little village.” ~~Gina Bellman

“I am a part of all that I have met.” ~~Lord Tennyson

“Sometimes, reaching out and taking someone’s hand is the beginning of a journey. At other times, it is allowing another to take yours.” ~~Vera Nazarian


Statement #11
Enthusiasm is my daily exercise.
I treasure the moments of my New Life.


The last few days have been overflowing with love, connection and enthusiasm. Close to 150 women attended our 2019 WFS Conference, breaking our previous attendance record. The weekend was brimming with enthusiasm, from our fun and music filled Friday night Welcome Ceremony with Karlee Fain and Karen Drucker to when we gave and received hugs and said our last goodbye’s on Sunday.

Statement #11 in action is filled with connection and mindfulness, just like this past weekend. We came from a wide radius, converging together to bring enthusiasm, recovery and New Life to life. Saturday, a surprise allowed us to embrace our child-like enthusiasm and get down to really playing. The robust day was filled with workshops, auction and concluded with our new Joy of Transformation evening activity.

Countless women left on Sunday feeling recharged, re-energized and filled with enthusiasm. A heartfelt thank you to each of our passionate volunteers for making this weekend possible; WFS could not exist or be able to provide services without your dedication and effort. You bring life to this empowering organization.  If you were not able to attend this year, today is a great day to begin planning for next year! See you in 2020 in Minnesota!

What was your favorite part of the weekend? Please write to us and let us know! WFS would love to share your thoughts and experiences!

Hugzzz
Karen


Hi 4C Women,

Enthusiasm, joy, happiness and love was certainly felt this week-end at the WFS Conference. Many new faces and treasured women from the past. I enjoyed every moment and wish it could be more than a week-end. I would be hard pressed to say which moment created enthusiasm the most, which moment would be the most treasured as I felt my heart completely filled with love and especially hope for each and every woman who attended.  The openness, sharing and joy expressed in the workshops, welcoming and closing ceremonies, tears of gratefulness and caring while we chatted and ate meals together, were collectively the true expression of Statement #11.

As I think about my ordinary, everyday life back home, I realize there are many treasured moments as well. There are certainly up and downs, give and take and often I take those treasured moments for granted. I believe the conference reminded me how very blessed and fortunate I am for such an empowering program that changed my life and most of all for the women I have met, who have become my friends and walked this journey together, creating a support system most people could only dream of.

So, for those who attended the conference, I hope you take the spirit of enthusiasm home with you and share it with those women who were unable to be part of this “Hello Happiness” weekend. I encourage you to reflect on your New Life and recognize the treasured moments as you practice this amazing program.

Bonded together in treasuring the moments of your New Life,
A 4C Sister

Posted on

Monday Thoughts 5/27/2019

Monday Thoughts

Even though you may want to move forward in your life, you may have one foot on the brakes. In order to be free, we must learn how to let go. Release the hurt. Release the fear. Refuse to entertain your old pain. The energy it takes to hang onto the past is holding you back from a new life. What is it you would let go of today?” ~~Mary Manin Morrissey

“Self-acknowledgment boosts your emotional and spiritual immunity, giving you the strength you need to release the past and rise above fear, doubt, or resignation.” ~~Debbie Ford

“Forgiving does not erase the bitter past. A healed memory is not a deleted memory. Instead, forgiving what we cannot forget creates a new way to remember. We change the memory of our past into a hope for the future.” ~~Lewis B. Smedes


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


It easily became a habit, drinking at something that had happened that morning, last week or ten years ago. It was never a solution and quickly became a way of life. Instead of moving through uncomfortable feelings, I created more of what I was attempting to evade. Over time, this led to a seemingly endless cycle of emotional distress and attempts to escape.

The absolute beauty of Statement #9 is how life-changing it is when practiced. Old wounds can become windows into clarity, strength and wisdom. Rewriting history to create a pavement of balance encourages living life in the present and embracing what is and can be.

In our WFS Program booklet it states, “By releasing the past, the present comes alive and we can experience life with fullness and hope.” Imagine only looking in the rear-view mirror when driving. How far can you safely go without hitting curbs or running a stop sign? With occasional glances backwards, life can become filled with beautiful scenery while heading to new destinations.

Here are a few ways which can aid in releasing the past:

  • Understand you are holding on: It is impossible to let go if you do not accept that you are holding on in the first place.
  • Redefine a painful, past experience: Is it possible to look at a painful experience as a new beginning? Practice looking at the past as a bystander instead of participant.
  • Lean into the present: Notice how it feels to sit, stand, or simply be. Observe how the chair or earth is supporting you, what is it like to be present? It is not possible to be fully present and stuck in the past at the same time.

What works for you in practicing Statement #9?

Hugzzz
Karen


Hi 4C Women,

I lived in the past for many years. The past of my youth, before marriage, was always the best in my mind which I now realize was unrealistic. My marriage was a combination of love and pain but I chose to only remember the pain for a long time. The pain justified my actions and kept me stuck in both my unrealistic youth memories, wishing for the impossible – to go back. Rather than understanding that I was in charge of how I viewed the past and how it shaped me by my own choices and actions, I just kept running from the truth. While I can’t or won’t deny the pain, I will not live in it today because I cannot change the choices I made back then. I can choose to appreciate how much strength I have gained, the ability to voice my feelings, to learn what are my red flags/triggers, to stop the negative thoughts and just say, I didn’t do this or that so why stay stuck in anger and regret. I ask myself, what can I do NOW? Being able to look at the past and accept the lessons I have learned surprised me when I realized that was how I was beginning to reflect on the past. In doing so, it has helped me to make wiser choices, to respect myself and live in authenticity.

I think the most challenging parts of the past to let go of involve my family. As a mother, sister, daughter and wife, I sometimes wonder and, yes, wish I could go back and change my decisions. I feel inadequate and angry at myself for not doing better but as the saying goes, you do the best you can with what you know at that time. So, after my personal pep talk to counter those negative thoughts, I go back to the question I shared above – what can I do now? How can I put those invaluable lessons into practice?

Most of all, I need to forgive myself. As long as I am willing to learn, to make healthier choices, I cherish the ability to forgive myself as much as possible. When I struggle with it, I ask myself what would I say to friend if they came to me with guilt, shame and regrets? That answer is about self-forgiveness, to be our own best friend as we are to others.

Bonded in letting go of the past and healing for our future,
A 4C Woman

Posted on

Monday Thoughts 5/20/2019

Monday Thoughts

“You try something, it doesn’t work, and maybe people even criticize you. In a fixed mindset, you say, ‘I tried this, it’s over.’ In a growth mindset, you look for what you’ve learned.” ~~Carol S. Dweck

“If you are outgrowing who’ve you been, you are right on schedule. Keep evolving. ~~Lalah Delia

“Feeling at home with ourselves and being able to create a spirit of place that nourishes us physically, emotionally, spiritually is a goal worthy of our highest priority.” ~~Alexandra Stoddard


Statement #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


Our founder, Jean Kirkpatrick, Ph.D., understood that growth is critical to sustaining and enjoying sobriety and recovery. Without growth, life remains stagnant, unmoving. Statement #8 encourages growth in life; imagine a seed pushing through a shell to unfurl its stem and leaves. Without growth, the seed never feels the sun and simply withers.

It states in our WFS Program booklet, “Growth is an essential aspect of our recovery. It is the process of learning who we are and where to focus our efforts for personal change. Our morning meditation time, during which we read the Statements, gives us the opportunity to center ourselves and set priorities for the day.”

What actions can be taken to expand our growth? Here are a few examples that can lead towards emotional and spiritual growth:

  • Seek understanding: Even when nothing initially makes any sense, seeking and being open to understanding allows for personal growth and development.
  • Embrace independence: Instead of relying on what others think, say or do, owning thoughts, actions and purpose leads to greater depth, growth and feelings of contentment.
  • Check instant gratification at the door: Often a first impulse is to get over something ASAP. Moving through discomfort long enough to seek additional information or solution lays a foundation for emotional stability.
  • Invest in truth: Commit to stating, knowing and hearing the truth no matter how uncomfortable or stressful that truth may be, can lead to expanding strength and integrity.
  • Relationship: Connection is a key to growth; nothing grows in a vacuum. Seeing and participating in relationships to life outside of the self is connecting and an opportunity for growth and learning.

What actions have helped you practice Statement #8?

Hugzzz
Karen


Hi 4C Women,

Each of the example actions that Karen shared are great tools for change. After all, that is what WFS is all about and why I value the lessons each of the statements has given me over the years. Emotional and spiritual growth is a lifetime journey. There are situations I’ve experienced that let me know I have achieved the growth I was working towards and at other times, I realize there is more to learn. I am grateful that I can look at it that way rather than start in the negative self-talk of the past at how inadequate, ignorant or foolish I was in my decision-making. It was all or nothing thinking.

For me, spiritual growth is that quiet time I give to myself to breathe, to pause and take in the small wonders around me. It’s challenging at times to create that space and I have to say that it is one of the things I have to remind myself to do. I’ve been on my own for over 25 years and so I am use to being in charge of everything. That’s the reality. However, sometimes “everything” feels like a tornado sweeping me up and I’m wishing I could land safely in a place of peace and joy. When I start thinking like that, I know I have some work to do to create that place myself, especially since tornadoes do not gently place you anywhere!

I have this Life Balance Wheel on paper. Every once in a while, I look at it and do a self-check of how I spend my time.  It lists different areas of life with numbers to be circled that indicate your level of satisfaction – 7 being completely satisfied and 1 being completely dissatisfied. After you circle the numbers and connect them, the question asked is to imagine how your car would travel if the wheels were in this shape. In other words, do you give enough time to what matters in your life, what is in your heart, what gives you joy? This is all part of the spiritual journey. While there are certain obligations we all have to be responsible for, it is important to pay attention to the spiritual growth of our life journey. Do you have the balance in your emotional and spiritual growth that supports you as much as you deserve? If not, how can you begin to find and create that balance and satisfaction with how you spend your time?

Bonded in finding balance on our emotional and spiritual growth journey,
A 4C woman

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Monday Thoughts 5/13/2019

Monday Thoughts

“I feel the capacity to care is the thing which gives life its deepest significance.” ~~Pablo Casals

“My mission in life is to be kind, compassionate, caring and loving in order to find and feel the deepest joy in life.” ~~Debasish Mridha

“Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have.” ~~Margaret Mead


Statement #7
Love can change the course of my world.
Caring is all-important.


Before sobriety and New Life, caring was reserved for other people. Outwards, it had the appearance of caring, yet it was disguised as self-centeredness. This outlook chips away at self-worth and self-esteem. It also cements the cycle of negative feelings and a desire to escape which creates a loop of self-destruction.

Action into Statement #7 can feel frightening at first but with continued practice, it opens a whole new way to experience life; it changes our world. Instead of escaping feelings, it is a time to embrace feelings. No matter how deep-down feelings of caring are, they are there. Start small and branch out. Caring generates more caring while discarding in-authenticity.

Here are a few ways which can increase caring:

  • Write down your interests and list the people you feel an attachment to. Release things that you maybe were conditioned to care about or are told you should care about.
  • What do you have emotional responses to? What engages you? Identify what pulls at your heart. What actions can you take to cement and extend your caring?
  • Make time for experiences instead of room for things. Spending an hour on the phone with a friend can arouse feelings of care for both instead of spending cash or energy on empty items.
  • Identify and implement a healthy self-care routine. This can include encouraging self-talk, exercise, meditation, journaling.
  • Connect with others who care. The WFS Community is filled with caring women, whether online or in f2f groups.

What else can you uncover to commit action towards Statement #7?

Hugzzz
Karen


Hi 4C Women,

Powerful message from Karen on Statement #7. I especially appreciate her sharing the ways to increase caring from pretending to authentically feeling and expressing it. Drinking certainly can provide a stage for pretending you are feeling something you are not; yearning for acceptance when feeling unworthy, fueling that need for acceptance even further by pretending you aren’t in pain, feel lonely or unlovable. A dear friend recently sent me an article on happiness, joy and friendship. I loved this one quote by David Brooks, an opinion columnist: “Transparency is the fuel of friendship. We live in an age of social media. It’s very easy to create false personas and live life as a performance.  Joy is the present that life gives you as you give away your gifts.” What greater gift than learning to be authentic, find joy and share your gifts of caring with those who mean so much to you. This is the gift of sobriety/recovery as we practice Statement #7.

As I read the questions again, the one that stood out for me is what engages you, pulls at your heart? For me, it is being a moderator. To have the gift of watching women working hard at their recovery, to see the positive changes taking place week to week and their willingness to share their journey. It is nothing less than awe inspiring and truly pulls at my heart with overflowing joy. It is the gift that keeps on giving and is priceless!

Bonded together in knowing that caring is all important,
a 4C woman

 

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Monday Thoughts 4/29/2019

Monday Thoughts

“If you’ve done the very best you can, worrying won’t make it any better.” ~~Walt Disney

“Worry is like a rocking chair: it gives you something to do but never gets you anywhere.” ~~Erma Bombeck

“Stop worrying about what can go wrong and get excited about what can go right.” ~~Anonymous


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


Worry is one of those things that just about everyone can relate to. Sure, we joke about it, complain about it, but worry can steal joy, balance and contentment. Sobriety and the continued practice of Statement #5 encourages the release of worry while embracing mindfulness. Here are Five Steps to Worry Less by Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.

“Five Steps to Worry Less

There really is no way to cure worrying, but we can learn to get better and better at recognizing it and gently guiding ourselves back to a sense of perspective and what matters.

  1. Soften your understanding of worry: The utility of worry is to try and anticipate and avoid any potential dangers and to keep us safe. It’s the brain trying to protect us and so worrying certainly has its place and time. But often times worrying only serves to ramp up our nervous system and kick us into an unbalanced place that only leads to more worrying. The brain has good intentions, but it leads us down a destructive vicious cycle.
  2. Allow and accept the feeling of fear:  Worrying usually arouses the feeling of fear or anxiety. In this mindful step, we’re simply acknowledging that this feeling is here. Calling it out. We want to do the opposite of resist it, because what we resist, persists. So instead we practice allowing it to be as it is. Here you are just saying to yourself, ‘allowing, allowing, allowing.’
  3. Feel into worry with kindness:  Now we have the opportunity to deepen our awareness and investigate the feeling. Here you may choose to put your hand on your heart or wherever you feel the sensation in the body. This is one way of signaling to the brain a sense of love or kindness to the feeling, which may shift it all by itself. The brain also has to map the sensation of the touch which is inversely correlated with mental rumination, turning the volume down on negative thinking.

    Try this simple practice:
    -As you feel into worry you might ask, ‘What does this feeling believe?’ Does it believe you are unlovable, unworthy, or perhaps that if you allow it to be, it will consume you?
    -Ask the question, what does this feeling need right now? Does it need to feel cared for, to feel secure, to feel a sense of belonging?
    -Whatever the answer, see if you can plant these as seeds in yourself. For example, you can plant the seeds of intention saying, ‘May I feel safe and secure, may I be free from this fear, may I feel a sense of belonging.’ Make this personal to whatever your needs are.

  4. Expand your awareness out to include all people:  Whatever the worrying is about, it’s important      you know you’re not alone. Feeling vulnerable is part of the human condition and millions of people  struggle with the same source of vulnerability that you experience. But when we’re feeling vulnerable  with anxiety, it oftentimes is all about us. We need to also impersonalize the experience and get outside  of ourselves. You can do this by imagining all the other people who struggle worrying and wish them all  the same intentions that you just wished yourself.For example: May we all feel a sense of safety and security, May we all be free from the fear that keeps us stuck in a perpetual cycle of worry, May we all feel that sense of belonging, etc…
  5. Repeat steps one through four as often as necessary:  If you notice, steps one through four spell the acronym SAFE so you can easily remember what it is and what it’s for. As you intentionally practice this over and over again, in time you will notice that you start to become less reactive to the worried mind, more compassionate with yourself as it arises, and even have perspective that this worrying is part of the human condition and you are not alone.

When we’re able to turn the volume down on worrying in our lives, what will be there instead? For many people, it a sense of spaciousness, ease and joy.”

Hugzzz
Karen


Hi 4C Women,

It is difficult to accept that we are 4C women when continuously stuck in a worrying, negative frame of mind. The exercises to mindfulness are a phenomenal way to create balance and defeat or lessen (depending on the circumstances at the moment) the negative thoughts that question our personal definition of ourselves as capable, competent, caring and compassionate women.

I love the quotes, especially the last one. It seems common practice to ask what is the worst that could happen rather than what is the best that could happen. I’ve had a few situations in the past couple of years that have played into my fears. I recognize the negative thoughts piercing their way into my positive attitude and, as Dr. Goldstein suggests, I have learned to accept them rather than fight them. They lose a lot of power with acceptance. It doesn’t mean the worry or fear is forever eliminated. For me, it means it doesn’t take up permanent residence in my head and life. Sometimes it just stays in the background while I seek support and encouragement. Other times, it runs back with a fury. It is then that I am reminded, I am a 4C women and not alone. It makes such a huge difference to have that love, caring and kindness to lighten the load at the most challenging times. Just speaking it out loud and knowing I am heard without judgment, is the best support I could ask for. I also know these fearful or negative feelings/thoughts are not forever even when it may feel that way at the moment. Many times when I reflect on my life and how I somehow made it through without the insight I have gained and the friends I have made through WFS, I just know that I am deeply grateful for having built this strong foundation. I mean, why would I want to struggle alone, denying my feelings because I believed it was a weakness without a solution (grin and bear it type of attitude). Oh, no, I’ll accept every coping tool, every piece of loving, non-judgmental support WFS has to offer.

I absolutely love the mantra that can be used personally to calm the worry, release the fear and support our 4C identity.

Bonded in knowing we are 4C women with fabulous WFS coping tools and support,
A beautiful 4C woman

Posted on

Monday Thoughts 4/22/2019

Monday Thoughts

“Either I will find a way or I will create a way; but I will not create an excuse.” ~~Anonymous

“Running away from a problem only increases the distance from the solution. The easiest way to escape from a problem is to solve it.” ~~Unknown

“When you first start off trying to solve a problem, the first solutions you come up with are very complex, and most people stop there. But if you keep going, and live with the problem and peel more layers of the onion off, you can often times arrive at some very elegant and simple solutions.” ~~Steve Jobs


Statement #4
Problems bother me only to the degree I permit.
I now better understand my problems.
I do not permit problems to overwhelm me.


Thinking about it, a solution is the last part of a problem. Sometimes they can be difficult to see at first, but as in the above quotes, solutions can be simple and not some extraordinary math conglomeration that needs a large whiteboard to be solved. Sobriety and recovery can be similar, the solution is to not do something, yet sometimes we can complicate the process in a number of ways.

Statement #4 is empowering. It conveys strength by stating the problem can only bother me to the degree I permit. It rests the responsibility right where it belongs. While no one can control their entire being, each of us are responsible for our reactions. Excuses are no longer needed. This is truly liberating!

Jean writes in our WFS Program Booklet “Learning that I didn’t have to react to everything with upsetting emotions was an important part of my recovery.” Instead of knee-jerk reactions, there are options. Instead of black and white rigidity, there are gray areas in-between. Have you been conditioned to respond in a certain way to a problem? What if you responded differently? How has Statement #4 helped on your journey of New Life?

Hugzzz
Karen


Hi 4C Women,

Before WFS, I saw most everything as a problem and immediately became overwhelmed. I complained, felt life was unfair and drank to avoid seeking any solution. I didn’t realize it at the time but I was unwilling to react in a proactive manner or consider that I was making a mountain out of a molehill. Everything felt like a disaster so when real issues arrived, I was completely unprepared to handle them. I was too busy worrying about the problem of my life when I could be the solution to my life. It was eye-opening to finally get it that I was able to understand my problems and actually learn problem-solving skills and decision-making when it was necessary. Not everything was an earth-shattering problem.

I learned something else along this journey – I am a competent woman and can usually handle 1-2 major concerns but even a competent woman can be overwhelmed when perhaps a 3rd or 4th concern arrives at the same time. It’s okay to be overwhelmed and even more okay to ask for help when needed. I am not the only 4C woman who has learned invaluable lessons from WFS. I have a whole sisterhood with life experiences, great ideas and love to help me in a time of need. What a gift and relief! It also helps to discern what is truly a concern or even a crisis or perhaps an ordinary problem that does not require my time, an immediate decision/response or, for that matter, any decision at all. Sometimes things have a way of working themselves out. It’s knowing if that’s the situation and that’s part of learning from your life experience as well as the input of others in a non-judgmental way.

I appreciate Karen’s questions and hope you feel encouraged to answer them in order to make full use of Statement #4 as you grow and learn about your strengths, wisdom and abilities.

Bonded in better understanding our problems, learning to seek help and becoming proactive decision-makers,

A beautiful 4C woman

Posted on

Monday Thoughts 4/15/2019

Monday Thoughts

“I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery—air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, ‘This is what it is to be happy.’” ~~Sylvia Plath

“For every minute you are angry, you lose sixty seconds of happiness.” ~~Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions.” ~~Dalai Lama


Statement #3
Happiness is habit I am developing.
Happiness is created, not waited for.


Before sobriety and New Life, happiness felt evasive and fleeting. Like a rare butterfly, happiness would land without any idea of how or why it came to be. Not knowing how to create happiness created feelings of lack and insufficiency, and alcohol came to be an easy solution to fill life with fun. It didn’t last.

Of course, over time, alcohol became the problem and not a solution to feeling happy. The practice of Statement #3 and embracing the WFS New Life Program creates a foundation for happiness to not only emerge but to flourish. In our WFS Program Booklet, Jean writes “Happiness never came to me until I learned the secret of making it for myself, of finding an inner glow that somehow made all other things right.”

Here are 4 avenues to assist in developing happiness:

  1. Define what happiness means to you: This is not your family/friends happiness, it’s yours. What does happiness feel/look like to you?
  2. Release expectations: Letting go of the “I should’s” and of strict time-frames……”I’ll be happy when (_______)” sets up an illusion of future happiness. Happiness is felt only in the present.
  3. Invest in experiences: Instead of collecting artifacts, collect experiences. (note to self here…been collecting an overabundance of art supplies”)
  4. List making/journal: Simply listing 3 good things each day can cement a positive outlook and change perspective.

What other ways help you to create happiness?

Hugzzz
Karen


Hi 4C Women,

I have a book on happiness titled, “Field Guide to Happiness” by Barbara Ann Kipfer. It is mostly comprised of lists, which I am inclined to use to keep me on track. There are 206 lists which is pretty overwhelming and when I first saw it, I thought this is not making me happy! However, I realize that as a previously unhappy person, sometimes there is a bit of work to be done for real change and it doesn’t have to happen immediately as we wish it could.

I’ve decided to choose a few in a shortened version and leave it up to each of you to decide what speaks to you in uncovering and discovering what happiness means to you and how to reach for it.

Happiest Moments/Situations List: It is helpful to reflect on happy moments and situations you have already experienced. This serves to remind you to be grateful. The list gives you a chance to remember important stories or people in your past as they define who you are in the present. You can gain tremendous insight into the person you are today. Open to the happiness of the list and expand your awareness of the overall themes involved. I like this one in particular when I am feeling sad and realize that I as look at the list, I have happy memory moments to be grateful for in my life.

Make a list of what makes you happy in your life roles: We wear so many hats in our hectic lives that just making a list with all the different roles we play will be enlightening. At first, I thought this was more like labeling which goes against my core beliefs. I realized as I started this list that I was smiling as I wrote the roles that bring happiness–being a moderator, volunteering, writing this message.

Make a list of the 5 most pleasurable experiences of your life: Then describe “one” and try to reawaken your feelings. I remember the pure joy I felt when I first saw my granddaughter. I can still feel it in my heart.

Describe your favorite songs and how they make you feel: Music stirs powerful emotions in all of us. Choose ten favorite songs. Are there events or people attached to them? Were you of a certain age? I went to a wedding last year and they asked me to write down what song would get me on the dance floor. My answer was “Sweet Home Alabama.” It was played and I danced. It was a happy moment that might be on the list of Happiest Moments.

Create an “Alter” on your desk or by your bed: Alter is just one word for a collection of family photos, trinkets or a vase of flowers. The idea is that the place where you work or spend a lot of time, should be cheering and inspirational. A desktop or bedside “alter” can help create a sense of calm. Stick to simple objects that are linked to a specific memory, belief or goal. What makes your collection in your intention, which can be as simple as your desire to return to the present moment and become aware of it each time you see your special collection. I alternate between different photos, quotes, special books I receive as gifts that bring a smile to my face each morning and evening. It truly is a gift of happiness to me.

Bonded in developing happiness,
A beautiful 4C woman.

Posted on

Monday Thoughts 4/8/2019

Monday Thoughts

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” ~~Maya Angelou

“Doubt yourself and you doubt everything you see. Judge yourself and you see judges everywhere. But if you listen to the sound of your own voice, you can rise about doubt and judgment. And you can see forever.” ~~Nancy Lopez

“Have you recently been through a challenge, disappointment, break up or disloyalty with somebody in your life? If so, it’s important after you’ve been hurt, to take some time to think like a lion tamer about your pain, so you can tame the possibility of more negativity coming back to bite you again!” ~~Karen Salmansohn


Statement #2
Negative thoughts destroy only myself.
My first conscious sober act is to reduce negativity in my life.


Statement #2 can sound impossible to put into action when feelings of doubt, sorrow or emotional turmoil appear but the WFS New Life Program can help relinquish negativity, embrace balance and growth while laying a foundation for a sense of contentment.

Our WFS Program Booklet states “Our overcoming is in exact proportion to our becoming.” How this is achieved is different for every woman, since each of us have different life experiences but the outcome is the same; overcoming equals becoming.

Identifying negativity is the first action towards employing Statement #2. Being able to recognize how, where, when and why negativity appears provides an avenue to overcome it. Notice there is no “who” in the previous list. While there may be a “who” factoring in the negativity, (he/she said/did/didn’t) the responsibility belongs where?  My first conscious sober act is to reduce negativity in my life.

What does negativity feel like in your life? Fear? Doubt? Anger? Guilt?

What small actions can you take today to reduce negativity?

Hugzzz
Karen


Hi 4C Women,

Negativity usually appears as anger or frustration for me. When I experience or see an injustice, I am angry. When I feel invisible, I feel angry. The difference is I have learned to be as proactive as possible so rather than staying in negativity, I work on creating an action plan. I also feel a huge difference between the foundation of negativity that I previously built my life on and the awareness now that deep negativity hurts myself, damages what could be healthy relationships and changes nothing unless I change my response and attitude.

It’s important to note that the statement says to “reduce” negativity. It’s an ongoing process as we learn about ourselves, change and grow. I don’t know if any of you have watched the show, Hoarders, but the one thing I have learned from that show is that the only way to change our thinking or behavior is to work through it ourselves, to take responsibility. If someone else does it, we still have the same thinking and behavior and will need to be rescued again. I use the word rescue because that is how I viewed my “blame everyone else” life. As long as they were all responsible for my miserable lot in life, I just sat back and waited for them to take care of me. That belief left no space or opportunity to grow and take charge.  I am not talking about supporting, caring or helping others because we all that need at times. Goodness knows I have been blessed to have that kind of loving support. I am talking about being so negative that no life lesson has a chance to break down the wall of negativity.

I am grateful to have discovered that blaming others, which I became very good at doing, damaged me more than anything. This doesn’t mean that others don’t impact our lives, hurt us and cause pain. For me, it means I have to learn how to react differently and let go of toxic people. I just don’t want me to be one of those toxic people that others want to let go of! Thank goodness for this life-changing Statement. It certainly became one that has made the biggest change/impact on my thinking, attitude and behavior.

Bonded together in building a positive, healthy outlook on our 4C life,
A beautiful 4C woman

Posted on

Monday Thoughts 4/01/2019

Monday Thoughts

“For many years before leaving on Safari, I carried the same old map around in my pocket. The map was torn and faded from so much use, but it was always there like a comfort to me when I needed to know where to go. The map had lands on it that might appear strange to some, but to others on our Safari, they are familiar places: The Republic of Resentment, the Nation of Negativity, the Icy Fjords of Fear, the Dark Seas of Self-Doubt, the atolls of Apathy. Numerous times I would tell myself that I wanted to journey to a different destination, but each time I pulled out that map, I wound up in the old familiar places.

“In a supreme act of faith, I began looking for a new map. One day, when I feared there were no more places to look, I saw a light on in a quiet little place and small sign said simply, WFS. The women were leaving on safari and said I was welcome to travel with them. But, in order to go, I had to surrender any maps I already had, as they would not serve me in the place I was going. I solemnly placed my map onto the warm fire and could see the ashes of the other maps that had been placed there…..it gave me courage. No one person had all of the pages, but together they were complete. I gathered together all that they have given me and, as if by magic, the separate pieces came together to form a single map. There were many choices of ways to go, but no matter which path I chose, they would all lead to the destinations I had been seeking: The Hallowed Hills of Happiness, the Estuaries of Enthusiasm, the Glaciers of Growth and Greatness and the Lands of Love.”

~~LC, An empowered 4C Woman


Statement #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 quote this week came from a retired WFS pamphlet, the WFS Sobriety Safari Series which was submitted by Nancy Cross and compiled by many, many, incredible 4C women. Below, you will find each section that was used in the series. Feel free to discuss and answer the questions in each section. (slightly edited for space)

  1. Preparing for Departure:  We all came to a point where our addictions became an issue. What was it like for you? What prepared you to want to change your life? What will you take with you and what will you leave behind?
  2. Arriving in New Territory: What is it like as you touch down and land in this new place called Recovery? Why do we sometimes feel like we don’t fit and can’t understand the foreign language of love? What was the excitement/fear like for you?
  3. Exploration: Mapping Your Journey: How did you find you way around? What did you use to get and keep your bearings? Do you dare go out among the lions, tigers and unfamiliar territory without some advice or map?
  4. Obstacles & Unknown Dangers on the Recovery Trail: How will you respond to different obstacles in this new land? How will you respond to feelings of fear?
  5. Survival in the Wild: What tools do we need? How can we keep from being eaten or getting lost?
  6. From Darkness to Light: Sometimes the jungle is dark, or lands go on forever and we become tired. What keeps the sun at your back and hope in your heart on your sobriety safari?
  7. Treasures Discovered: What have you found? What will you carry forever? How will you decide what to keep and what to leave for others to discover and see?
  8. Understanding Our Discoveries:  What does this trip mean to you? How will your legacy be changed by your adventure here? What are you learning about yourself and the world you live in?
  9. Leaving a Trail for Future Travelers: How will people know where you have been? What legacy are you going to leave behind?
  10. Returning to Civilization: What can we do to fit ourselves back into the world from which we always tried to escape? How will our families, friends, and co-workers benefit from what we have learned on this sobriety journey?

Hugzzz

Karen


Hi 4C Women,

I have the pamphlet of the “Safari” series and used it at the WFS meeting a few years ago. The questions provided a great deal of discussion and a lot of personal insight was gained from sharing and uncovering our journeys in sobriety/recovery. My favorite question was from Chapter 9 regarding the legacy I am leaving behind.

It brought back the memory of a member in the group from several years ago who had one year’s sobriety when she sadly passed away from an undiagnosed heart problem. However, what she did in that one year was phenomenal. The legacy she left behind was one of resilience, courage, commitment, fearlessness, loyalty and a trusted wife, mother and friend.

That has stayed with me all these years and it has kept me grounded when the tough times have confronted me, as it does each of us. Amid the struggles, I keep that question in my mind – how will I be remembered? Even with the mistakes I’ve made, I hope I can show that I am learning from them, that I didn’t collapse completely and am still willing to learn more about my reasons for my current choices.

While I have remained sober, I know there is still emotional and spiritual growth that needs to take place. That’s okay with me because in my heart, that is the legacy I want to leave behind – that no matter what, I am willing to continue on this learning and healing journey.

I am feeling very melancholy today as I have been packing my daughter’s house and coming across so much wonderful history and realizing how much has changed. I yearn for those fun times yet that is not what today, this time, is bringing. While the tears flow, I am grateful for having those fond memories and always hopeful for better times ahead. This is what WFS has taught me and mostly that I am not alone and will make it through with the support, encouragement and love of my WFS sisters.

We are bonded together in taking responsibility for our lives and our well-being on this journey.

– A beautiful 4C Woman

Posted on

Monday Thoughts 3/25/2019

Monday Thoughts

“I like to think of ideas as potential energy. They’re really wonderful, but nothing will happen until we risk putting them into action.” ~~Mae Jemison

“The universe doesn’t give you what you ask for with your thoughts—it gives you what you demand with your actions.” ~~Steve Maraboli

“Have a bias toward action—let’s see something happen now. You can break that big plan into small steps and take the first step right away.” ~~Indira Gandhi


Statement #13
I am responsible for myself and for my actions.
I am in charge of my mind, my thoughts, and my life.


Statement #13 encourages responding with ability, but it is the taking of action that results in empowerment, confidence and stable sobriety. As the final Statement in the New Life Program, practicing this Statement everyday leads to enhanced recovery and feelings of a full 4C life.

Alcohol eliminates ability and zaps action. It is the opposite of taking charge and often leads to lowered self-esteem and worth when others come to the rescue or use enabling behaviors. Action, no matter how small, is movement towards dreams and goals. In our WFS Program Booklet it states, “The purpose of the New Life Program is self-acceptance and being responsible for ourselves and all that we do. By accepting responsibility, we can break away from unhealthy dependencies.”

  • Here are some ways to assist in taking charge of our lives.
  • Eliminate blame. This allows for a shift from victimhood to victor and enables change.
  • Be present. This moment is the only moment there is. Yesterday is gone, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet. Refuse to ruminate on what happened or what will happen.
  • Try and try again. Take any small action toward goals. Movement forward changes your energy and it can begin to snowball, increasing ability. Keep trying!

Own every thought, feeling and action. No one can make you think, feel or do anything.

Hugzzz
Karen


Hi 4C Women,

Such wonderful ways to work on being empowered, to be the “director” of our lives.

The most challenging one for me has always been that no one can make me think, feel or do anything. I certainly agree with that yet there are times when I find myself questioning my decisions, feeling enraged at an injustice to me or others I care about and every once in a while agreeing, when in my heart I do not. Here’s the good part – I am quickly aware of my reactions, responses and start doing a lot of introspective thinking about why and what can I do to correct the situation, if anything, but especially my feelings about it. Without WFS and the 13 Statements, I know none of this would be possible.

I wanted to share this because I believe we can be very hard on ourselves or fear we are back where we started when we feel we have failed or made a mistake. Nothing can be further from the truth. Whether it is one day or 30 years, we are not the same woman once we have started to make those authentic inside changes. Yes, there is always work to be done. That would be the case no matter where we are in overcoming our addictions because life is full of challenges yet remember we are full of positive changes. The more we are willing to learn, to trust ourselves, to work through the tough times, the more we can embrace the empowered, resilient, smart 4C women we are!

Bonded in being responsible for ourselves and for our actions,
4C WFS Member