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Monday Thoughts 7/6/2020

“Ships don’t sink because of the water around them; ships sink because of the water that gets in them.  Don’t let what’s happening around you get inside you and weigh you down.”  ~~Unknown
“Your wound is probably not your fault, but your healing is your responsibility.”  ~~Denice Frohman

“Practice the pause.  Pause before judging.  Pause before assuming.  Pause before accusing.  Pause whenever you’re about to react harshly and you’ll avoid doing and saying things you’ll later regret.”  ~~Lori Deschene
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#2 Negative thoughts destroy only myself.
My first conscious sober act is to reduce negativity in my life.
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Statement #2 in action is an effective balancing tool that can restore ease and reassure during times of uncertainty or chaos.  It can be an equalizer and an assertiveness producer, easing feelings of confusion or turmoil.  In our WFS Program booklet, it states “Negative attitudes can influence us to the exclusion of other feelings.  When we allow negative attitudes to control us, we risk becoming unsettled and may jeopardize our sobriety.”

Balance is an everlasting goal in my New Life after years of instability.  It is vital to embrace that what may be balanced today may be quite different in a few years, and I am grateful for the continuing growth through Women for Sobriety.  Reducing negativity is a lifestyle to maintain as opposed to a mountain to reach.  It is not a one and done, but rather a continuing path to pursue.

Here are 4 ways to practice reducing negativity:

1.      Examine your thoughts.  Alcohol or drugs removed the ability to think clearly, so use your clarity to examine your thoughts without judgment. You can change what you acknowledge.

2.      Challenge negativity.  Is this thought accurate?  Am I making it personal?  Is it an all or nothing line of thinking with no in-between or gray area?  Am I comparing myself against another?

3.      Provide a time limit and pause. Allow yourself a set time limit with negativity.  Set a time per day, per week and honor that limit.  The results of practicing this over time is life changing.

4.      Pursue and practice gratitude.  When shopping for a red car, red cars seem to be everywhere.  Same with gratitude.  Find something to be grateful for every day, soon it easily appears.

So, what does balance look and feel like in your New Life today?  Are you aware of the changes that you have made?  Is there an area of your life that needs direct input from Statement #2?
Hugzzz
Karen
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Hi 4C Women,

As we currently live in a world of uncertainty, negative thoughts can creep in so sneakily.  I read an article that Dr. Jean Kirkpatrick, founder of WFS, wrote in Sobering Thoughts called, “Those Empty Hours” which referenced Statement #2 and #4.  It’s a powerful read and while it was written many years ago, it is so relevant to what we, as women in recovery, are dealing with today.  She refers to the empty hours as times of questioning about the meaning of life, our life, asking the question of why and what for.  What I have always appreciated about WFS is that, as Jean says, while the WFS New Life program is one of positivity, it does not preclude our days of feeling just simply down and out.  Every human heart feels lonely and empty at times.  It is part of the human condition.  What a relief and wonderful coping tool to acknowledge our truthful feelings, to no longer pretend everything is just fine and hide ourselves from the world in fear of being seen as a complainer, unappreciative or not practicing the 13 Statements.  It was denying those negative feelings in the first place that caused me to escape in an unhealthy way.  The key for me was the action phrase of Statement #2 – reducing negative thoughts.  It is a process just like all of the Statements.  Jean understood this.  Her way of coping was to do ordinary things to distract herself, i.e., grocery shopping, mowing the lawn (Jean loved mowing her lawn on the farm), reading mystery novels and while she admits it didn’t always work, it did fill up that emptiness that is so overwhelming.  Today, with the internet, cell phones and other technical advances, we are fortunate to have a lot more options, especially in reaching out when we need that additional support and encouragement.

Jean ended the writing with these empowering words:  We who are trying hard to work at life and living it to the fullest, work through these periods of time and work hard at managing them before we are thrown into self-defeating behaviors.  The empty hours, the times of questioning, will probably recur in our lifetimes, but these periods can be used for spiritual growth and for getting to know the way of handling ourselves in these dark moments of our existence.  What we must know without a shadow of doubt is that others feel as empty, as questioning, as lonely as we do, and that is surely part of the human conditioning.  This acceptance helps; it doesn’t eliminate.  This is for us to work at.

While this message is about Statement #2, Jean’s ending is Statement #1 and #13 in a nutshell.  It is our work to do and we can!  No longer do we need to hurt ourselves with negative thoughts whether it is about ourselves or others.  We have a New Life program and 4C women to support us, to share their journey of personal growth and be the encouragers of this world we live in.

Bonded in reducing negativity, Dee

(The full article of Jeans is from Volume 13 of the Collection of Sobering Thoughts)

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Monday Thoughts 6/29/2020

“The beginning is always today.”  -Mary Shelley

“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for your senses to grow sharper.”  -W.B. Yeats

“The beginning is the most important part of the work.”  -Plato

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 #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.
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 Welcome to your New Life!  Today is a brand-new day, filled with endless possibilities and it does not matter if you are 20 years sober or less than 24 hours sober, your New Life starts right now.  This day can be anything you want it to be; you are taking charge of your life and well-being. You are accepting the responsibility.

Today, embrace this beginning.  It states in our WFS Program booklet “New Life begins with recognizing that we have a life-threatening problem and accepting the responsibility to be in charge of our own lives.  By acknowledging our reliance on alcohol or drugs, we can begin to explore why we sought to escape.”  In balanced and long-term recovery, escape is not an option, but responding with our ability is.

No matter where you are on your journey, begin today.  If today is your first day sober, connect with the women on the WFS Online Forum.  Write your first post and introduce yourself.  A simple hello is enough!  If you are cemented in sobriety, how about reaching out to someone who has just said hello. During a Zoom meeting this week, share how you moved through your first month sober.  What did you do?  What didn’t you do?  How did your body feel?  Name some feelings and share your most often used recovery tool.  As our Motto says, we are bonded together!

Hugzzz

Karen

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Hi 4C Women,

With the pandemic and alcohol sales skyrocketing, I am grateful for Statement #1.  This Statement helped me tremendously, especially in the beginning when I felt so intimidated to be in charge of my life.  For so long, I had been made to feel incompetent, inadequate and unable to make the right decisions.  I was honestly quite scared to be in charge of my life, however, I persevered and I survived my mistakes as WFS taught me to view these as life lessons.  I’ve had a LOT of life lessons yet knew and know I would never again give up accepting responsibility for my life and well-being.  It’s a pretty empowering place to be.

Last year our group did a Relapse Prevention Plan while acknowledging that there may be slips and relapses during the recovery process (process is the key word). 

Here’s a sample list of things that may cause slips and relapses:

           Stress

·         Dealing with the underlying issues in therapy

·         Becoming overwhelmed by feelings and emotions

·         Death of a family member, friend or other significant person in your life

·         Marital and family problems

·         Feelings of loneliness, shame, guilt, anger and abandonment

·         People’s reactions to changes you are making in your life

·         Fear of change and/or living without alcohol

·         Celebrations

·         Successes

·         Habits – familiarity

 

What would you add to this list?

This is where coping tools come in once you can identify what could cause a relapse or slip.  What would be a healthy way to cope with any of the above situations/feelings?  Do you have a plan A, B, C or whatever It takes to be in charge of a healthy choice?  There are costs (risks and disadvantages) and benefits (rewards and advantages) to our choices in active addiction.  I have expressed many times that we need to be honest with ourselves and the costs/benefits.  I was reluctant to do this exercise as I saw no benefit in my uncontrolled drinking.  However, my answers explained why at one time I did see the benefits (short term).  An example was drinking gave me an excuse for nothing being my fault, forgetting my problems, the feelings of rejection and being unlovable, immediately numbing pain.  When I did the costs, it became clear how short term and destructive the benefits were.  I didn’t realize how much until I wrote it down.  Long term costs became so obvious, i.e., hangovers, harming relationships, no room for personal growth, no problem-solving skills, health issues, legal issues.  So, while I was more than reluctant to do this exercise, I am glad I did.  There is something about seeing my life in words that has a greater impact on me.  I would encourage you to do this for your own well-being and benefit. 

Lastly, the final part of the exercise was to list the cost and rewards of NOT drinking or using drugs. I found the list of benefits much longer than the costs.  The list of costs was losing drinking friends, no quick fix for emotions and coping with intense feelings – all risky challenges for me at one time.  Yet, the list of benefits became obvious and long term.  They included improved health, memory of what I said or did, saving money, saving reputation, freedom from fears, building or rebuilding friends and relationships, and very important to me, being available.  The freedom of being available, whether it was to pick up my children or listen quietly and respectfully to another’s hurt and needs, was the best gift I received in my sobriety.  I treasure it to this day. 

What is your gift that you treasure in being in charge of your life and your well-being?  I hope you decide to take on the challenge of these exercises and share it with your WFS group or a trusted friend.  It is one way to start the process of understanding your personal costs and benefits.  The answers will provide coping tools in moving forward as you become more empowered in your life choices and well-being. 

Bonded in accepting the process of being in charge of our lives and well-being, Dee

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Monday Thoughts 6/22/2020

“The difficulty we have in accepting responsibility for our behavior lies in the desire to avoid the pain of the consequences of that behavior.”  ~~M. Scott Peck

“Being more aware creates responsibility.  What does responsibility mean? It means the ability to respond.  The more conscious you are in your ability to respond, the more creative you’ll be.”  ~~Deepak Chopra

“In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves.  The process never ends until we die.  And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.”  ~~Eleanor Roosevelt

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#13 I am responsible for myself and for my actions.

I am in charge of my mind, my thoughts and my life.

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 Many of us are still riding the wonderful wave of energy from our Envision It 2020 Virtual Conference.  This event was a remarkable success made possible through the responsibility of 4C women across the world, and as a nonprofit business.  This yearly event could have been cancelled like so many other events, yet WFS understood the need and value and asked for your help in making this event possible.  You responded with your abilities, whether it be time, talent and/or finances to make this event unfold.  It is a beautiful testament of the WFS Statements in action.  (Please note that replay of our Envision It 2020 Conference has been extended to June 28th! For those who registered.)

Statement #13, part of Level Six of the New Life Program, states in our WFS Program booklet, “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.”  In my own life, releasing blame laid a clear path into responsibility and freedom.  It took some time to understand that I was in fact, blaming others even when not stating so.  It was the awareness and observations of my responses to people or events in life that revealed my efforts to blame others.

Growing into responsibility is a life-long process; we continue to evolve on our journey of sobriety and recovery.  Supporting each other as we move through challenges and difficulties allows us to connect, love and respond in ever increasing ability and awareness.  How do you respond with your ability today?  How is this different from before your New Life?

Hugzzz

Karen
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Hi 4C Women,

I’ve said this over the years that I was the Queen of Blame.  I wore my crown proudly because nothing was ever my responsibility.  This is not to say that the actions and words of others did not wound me.  However, placing blame for my entire adult life on others, left me stuck and not providing room for emotional/personal growth.  There was a lot of pain growing up yet as I pulled the layers of pain away, I realized there were loving times as well.  In order to be the Queen of Blame, I didn’t allow the love to come into the picture, the “all or nothing” thinking.  That was my light bulb moment.  If I could focus on the love as much as I did the pain, perhaps I could finally learn to take responsibility for my life in the present, my well-being, responses rather than reactions and most importantly, speaking my voice, setting boundaries.  I recently read that if people respond angrily to your boundaries, it usually means they needed to be set.   As a child, I did not have power.  As an adult, I most certainly do.  Of course, that meant change!  I was resistant to change – again because that meant I would have to take responsibility for my well-being.  Anger and resentment were how I justified my blaming others long after the hurt happened.  I knew that in order to take responsibility, I had to accept a commitment to personal growth.  Once I made that decision, I found that I was eager to change, to be in charge of my life.  I even surprised myself!

I used a handout in one of my f2f meetings.  It described change in 3 behavioral styles: Victim, Survivor, Navigator.  I chose Navigator because it was similar to the WFS philosophy.

A Navigator:

Uses positive “self-talk

Establishes clear goals

Molds their sense of self-identity

Is proactive and works thought-out plans

Takes care of themselves

Acknowledges their fears – naming your fears rather than surrendering to vague dread, you can clarify the challenges and refute the unrealistic inaccurate fears

Navigator self-talk includes:

Reframing the situation (looking for a more positive view of situation)

Refuting self-limited statements (seek positive, accurate messages)

Avoiding “all or nothing” thinking

Praising self

Preparing for future events

This led me to questions from Karen in a previous message
Are you comfortable being in charge of your life?  Why?  Wny not?
Share an experience in which you used this Statement and were content with the results.
What does responsibility feel like in your New Life?

Bonded In being responsible for ourselves and our actions, Dee

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Monday Thoughts 6/15/2020

“If you want to go fast, go alone.  If you want to go far, go together.”  ~~African Proverb

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” ~~Helen Keller

“Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life.”  ~~Amy Poehler

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#12 I am a competent woman, and I have much to give life.

This is what I am, and I shall know it always.

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WE DID IT!  The 2020 WFS Annual Conference may officially be over, but the connection and love remains.  From shore to shore, women across the world came together in the only way that we could this year: virtually.  Imagine, in about 10 weeks’ time, YOU dear competent women, put your strengths together and assembled the first ever WFS Virtual Conference.  What a shining example of Statement #12 in action!

Doubt and uncertainty did not have a chance this weekend as 4C women everywhere came together to bring this event to life  What we were able to experience the past 3 days was the culmination of determination, passion and of course, love!  From our Opening Ceremony on Friday night, the exceptional breakout sessions, and keynote speakers to our Closing ceremony on Sunday afternoon, every Statement was in full action this weekend.  We experienced laughter, we experienced enthusiasm and we experienced connection and love!

Aside from a few minor technical hiccups, Envision It 2020 was a smashing success!  A record number of women signed up this year and while we are still working on gathering all the final numbers, our total amount raised has reached $95K!! WOWWOWWOWWOW!!!! The open-house sessions last week helped us learn how to use the software beforehand, and there were activities all weekend long to keep us connected while we eagerly awaited each session.  Women connected in our virtual dorm area, while you shared your thoughts for the future vision of WFS on our virtual vision board.  You donated your time, your talent and shared in making this weekend exceedingly beautiful. Remember, the recordings will be available the rest of this week!

We are capable, competent, caring, and compassionate!  WE ARE 4C!

If you were able to attend this year, what was your greatest takeaway?  If you were not able to attend, it is a great time to start planning for next year!

Hugzzz

Karen

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Hi 4C Women,

My greatest takeaway was the reinforcement of why I value and treasure the WFS Program.  I became sober in 1988 and what drew me to the program and continues to keep me sober and wanting to share this with women everywhere are several things:

· Building self-esteem – I am a competent woman. I am empowered.   I had a problem that once had me.  I am no longer stuck in the past feeling guilt and shame over my past mistakes and choices.  I have learned from them and built a phenomenal toolbox of coping skills.   My goal, through WFS, has always been to heal and part of that is letting go of labels and forgiving myself.  I do not deny that my past has made me who I was, yet I have worked hard on healing and forgiving myself for what I cannot change.   I continue to move forward in the process of healing.  As Jean said, this is not a competition.  We have diverse backgrounds and what matters is that our substance use created a problem in our lives and a big part of the process for me was in learning to love myself, to develop healthy relationships beginning with myself and extending to others.

· If any woman relapses, WFS is a safe place to share.  There will be encouragement and support.  Hopefully, there will be a learning process for each individual to understand what happened and to gain new coping tools.   I also appreciate greatly that while we do not count days in WFS, we honor and celebrate the positive emotional and personal growth changes women make on their recovery journey.  Our philosophy is that no matter how long you have been sober and if you relapse, there is much you have learned about yourself.    You are not the same person and that is important to remember.  You are not starting over but continuing on your personal path.   We are happy to celebrate milestones if a woman chooses to do so. What I have done is ask the woman what positive changes she has made during this time.  It is the inside changes, the new coping tools and healing that makes the difference in building self-esteem and personal growth.

· Our guidelines are all about showing compassion, respect and sharing of our personal experiences that may help a woman seeking input.

This is all about learning to be responsible for our own decisions, actions, and healing yet we are not alone.  We are bonded together in overcoming our addictions.  TOGETHER is the key word!  Am I fired up after this virtual conference?  You bet I am!  It was amazing and the incredible women who put all this together are beyond description.

Competent women bonded together in overcoming our addictions, Dee

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Monday Thoughts 6/8/2020

enthusiastic women

“You are your best thing.”  ~~Toni Morrison

“I still get wildly enthusiastic about little things….I play with leaves, I skip down the street and run against the wind.”  ~~Leo Buscaglia

“Determine to live life with flair and laughter.”  ~~Maya Angelou
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#11 Enthusiasm is my daily exercise.

I treasure the moments of my New Life.
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It is just days away!  “Envision It 2020”, our Women for Sobriety Virtual Conference will start on Friday, June 12th and is filled with connection, WFS meetings and informative and exciting workshops. This weekend is the culmination of countless hours of volunteer effort, adaptation and what Statement #11 is filled with, enthusiasm!

Just like many other plans that needed to be altered this year, WFS adapted the format and virtual conference planning began.  Our keynote speakers this year are Dawn Nickel, Ph.D., founder of She Recovers and Lynn Matti, MA, author, coach, and Cognitive Behavioral Licensed Mental Wellness Counselor.  Starting with our Opening Ceremony on Friday evening, the weekend is brimming with enthusiasm.  Join in the fun with interactive sessions, themed video lounges and discussion boards.  This year WFS offers 4 live workshops opportunities and 17 breakout sessions which include “Intuitive Eating in Recovery,” and “Five Money Questions for Women.”

Set your enthusiasm soaring this weekend.  If you have not signed up yet, there is still time.  Jump start your practice of Statement #11 this week and join us for WFS Envision It 2020 Virtual Conference, click here to register.

Hugzzz

Karen
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Hi 4C Women,

I love how the WFS organization and the incredible 4C women have accepted this unprecedented challenge of a virtual conference.  It has taken the commitment of many women willing to volunteer hundreds of hours to get this together.  I have to admit that along with my enthusiasm is acknowledging that I am a bit out of my comfort zone but that is okay.  It is one of the many reasons I value the WFS program.  I can admit my concerns and focus on what I will learn from this experience.  One thing I can share is that I did not volunteer to be part of the IT team and for very obvious reasons!

I do hope you will consider registering for the conference.  There is so much we can learn from the workshops and presenters.  I believe this conference will be such a powerful benefit in giving us both the enthusiasm we are seeking and bonding together in coping with this recent time of social isolation.  What’s great is that we can view all the workshops and presentations for a whole week after the conference.  We won’t have to miss a single thing!

In thinking about enthusiasm and treasuring the moments of your New Life, what interests have come into your life in recovery?  Are they new interests or renewed ones?  What treasures have you discovered as you embark on discovering and uncovering your joy, your enthusiasm in your New Life?

It might help to answer these questions if you are struggling to find enthusiasm:

What puts a smile on your face?

What sparks your creativity?

What would you do for free?

Bonded in seeking and experiencing enthusiasm in our New Life, Dee


WFS Virtual Weekend Conference
June 12-14, 2020

Last Chance to Register!

Don’t miss your chance to connect with hundreds of 4C women from around the world at the immersive online experience!

Still on the fence about the tech?

Check out these FREE opportunities to try Zoom before the event.

NEW! WFS Online Video Meetings!

  • Tuesdays Together with MACC
    Every Tuesday at 9:30 pm US/Eastern (6:30 pm US/Pacific)
  • Midweek Refresh with Susieh
    Every Wednesday at 2:00 pm US/Eastern (11:00 am US/Pacific)
  • Thursday Connections with mistyeyed
    Every Thursday at 5:00 pm US/Eastern (2:00 pm US/Pacific)
  • Great Start Girlfriends morning check-in (30 min only)
    Daily – see WFS Online Chat Schedule for full details
Conference Open Houses – OPEN TO EVERYONE
  • Tuesday, June 9th, 9:30-11:30 am US/Eastern – CLICK HERE
  • Thursday, June 10th, 6-8 pm US/Eastern – CLICK HERE

 

The conference website has already launched and the icebreakers have begun – sign up today for instant access!

Self-selection Sliding Scale: $25-$75, Scholarships also available
Attend 8 live sessions, review the other 13 later! Read our FAQs here.
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Monday Thoughts 6/1/2020

“The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.” ~~Eden Ahbez
“To be fully seen by somebody, then , and be loved any how this is a human offering that can border on miraculous.” ~~Elizabeth Gilbert
“To be loved and to love, takes courage. To be fully seen is incredibly rare and breathtaking. We lower our masks and see a celestial inner being. It is our full-self—the supernova as well as the black holes.Our fears and doubts. Our anger and joy…This is love.” ~~Carolyn Riker
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#10 All love given returns.
I am learning to know that I am loved.
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Upon finding Women for Sobriety, for the first time in an exceptionally long time, I felt love without strings attached. So often in my past, love had come with a receipt. It felt as if love was something to be earned, yet my drinking and behavior eliminated that worth. In WFS, I found women who were just like me, desiring love and a New Life.

It states in the W’S Reflections for Growth spiral booklet “Just because someone else cannot love me, or even accept me, does not mean that I am without value.” The entirety of the W’S New Life Program is a demonstration of this fact. I can still recall the enthusiasm of the first woman who reached out to me on the W’S Online Forum. She sent a private message and then we spoke on the phone. I had never heard of the phrase ‘4C woman’ before; Capable, Competent, Caring and Compassionate. When she said that I was 4C, my eyes welled up. Hearing those words, her love danced through and uplifted my being.

Understanding that “love is multi-faceted” as our WFS Program booklet states, taking note of love can create a solid foundation for when love feels diminished. This sturdy base can weather us through the storms of life and seal sobriety and recovery. Love is a life-sustaining gift to be given as well as received.

How will you acknowledge, receive and share love in your New Life today?
Hugzzz
Karen
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Hi 4C Women,
This has become one of my favorite statements with the change in the action part – I am learning to know that I am loved.  For so many years, it was a huge challenge to believe and accept that others loved me for who I was.  Saturday was my 75th birthday and the love given through very caring, compassionate words, cards, text messages and calls brought home to my heart the acceptance that I am loved.  What an overwhelming honor to receive the most priceless gift of all – love!  Add to that, I adopted a 3- year old lab mix dog, Molly, 3 months ago and she has brought even more love into my life.  It’s been over 25 years since I had a pet and this was such a wonderful reminder of how unconditional a pet’s love is.

Like Karen, I thought love had to be earned and not in the best way.  Past life lessons had to be unlearned and believing I was lovable and worthwhile without giving away my value, needed to be the new lesson.  I always viewed love as only romantic love. WFS has taught me that love shows up in many diverse ways.  I am truly grateful for that lesson as my longtime previous belief kept me in the realm of feeling unworthy, unlovable or not good enough just because I didn’t have romantic love in my life.  I measured my whole self-worth on that premise.  Romantic love is beautiful yet so is the love of friends, family, animals, nature – whichever love feeds your soul.  I read a book several years ago by Dr. Gerald Jampolsky updated in 2004, Love is Letting Go of Fear.  I realized my fear was rejection.  I was living my present based on the past and building a wall so high that giving or receiving love was practically impossible.  Realizing the diversity from which love is given and received, it opened the floodgates of love once I began practicing Statement #10 and working really hard on letting go of my fear of rejection.  I use to wonder why anyone would like me, yet alone love me.   That’s when I also understood that I didn’t love myself and, again, was basing all of my fears on my own perception of being unlovable.  One of the chapters in his book is titled, “I am determined to see things differently.”  For me, that is Statement #10 in a nutshell.  I am enough, I am worthy, I am not forced to live in my past fear of rejection, I see love in all its forms through different lenses and I am learning to know that I am loved!
Bonded in giving and receiving love, Dee


WFS Virtual Weekend Conference
June 12-14, 2020

Self-selection Sliding Scale: $25-$75, Scholarships also available
Attend 8 live sessions, review the other 13 later! Read our FAQs here.

Register Now

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Monday Thoughts 5/25/2020

“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.”  ~~Maya Angelou

“Life goes on….whether you choose to move and take a chance in the unknown.  Or stay behind, locked in the past, thinking of what could’ve been.”  ~~Stephanie Smith

“I’m beginning to suspect that the second half of life is about learning to let go of everything I feverishly collected over the first half that wasn’t loving or human.”  ~~Michael Xavier

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#9 The past is gone forever.

No longer am I victimized by the past.

 I am a new woman.
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Statement #9 is a favorite for many women, myself and Dee included. Leaving the past in the past yet learning from it is an essential tool in sobriety and recovery. There is a freedom in letting go of what was to embrace what is.  Clarity, ease, and contentment can be just some of the results of practicing this empowering Statement.

Letting go begins with awareness of holding on, and this is why Statement #9 touched me so deeply when reading those words for the first time. I was simply unaware of the tight grip towards the past.  Longing for different outcomes, stuck in regret and the lack of forgiveness towards myself created an ideal situation for escapism.  Statement #9 in action changes that.

Years ago, sitting in a WFS face to face meeting, I shared the overwhelming sadness felt regarding the relationship with my adult daughter.  One woman shared one simple thought; no matter what the past held, she was my daughter and nothing would change that. It was so simple, yet this moment still feels electric years later—in a flash I grasped this fact while dropping the heavy, emotional baggage I had clung to for so long.  Immediately, relief, joy and hope settled in while feelings of shame and regret vanished.  I felt like a new woman and was able to move forward for the first time.  It was incredibly freeing and empowering.  Statement #9 continues to be a life changer today.

How has Statement #9 affected change in your life?

Hugzzz

Karen

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Hi 4C Women,

I absolutely love what Karen shared.  It is amazing how little insight I had about my living in, and clinging to, the past.  I treated myself as though I didn’t deserve to move forward, to experience joy and create a New Life in recovery.  It wasn’t easy to let go because I was use to living in pain.  It amazes me how comfortable (or so I thought) it was to be a victim of my guilt, shame and how that played into my blame game.  When I started releasing the painful memories and took responsibility for my life, I actually felt alive and joyful.  Who would have thought that was remotely possible?  Certainly not me.   I was going through photos recently and saw my life flash before me with all its ups and downs and rather than feeling sad about it, I remembered Statement #9.  I chose to give myself credit for all the hard work in learning to heal and focus on the fond memories of the past rather than the regrets or mistakes.  Perhaps that was the biggest lesson Statement #9 taught me – not seeing everything as all or nothing.  Another big lesson is accepting my role in my past which really helped in changing my reactions, responses which had become as automatic as turning to alcohol to ease my pain.  As Dr. Phil says, you can’t change what you don’t acknowledge.  That was a powerful turn around for me.  Without acknowledging my role, I would have missed out on making those inside changes which is the core of WFS – positive changes.  I would have remained stuck in the blame game and remained a victim instead of a victor over my own life.  And while I may think of my regrets or mistakes, I don’t live in them as I use to do.  They are visits, reflections and chock full of invaluable lessons.  Most of all, I no longer give my power away to what can’t be changed or who may have harmed me.  Letting go of the past taught me that while I won’t deny the hurt or harm caused by any individual, I do not have to continually punish myself by keeping it in the present.

Bonded in releasing, healing and moving forward from the past, Dee


WFS Virtual Weekend Conference

June 12-14, 2020

Self-selection Sliding Scale: $25-$75, Scholarships also available
Attend 8 live sessions, review the other 13 later! Read our FAQs here.

Register Now

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Monday Thoughts 5/18/2020

“You are never alone.  You are eternally connected to everyone.”  ~~Amit Ray

“Growth is uncomfortable because you’ve never been here before.  You’ve never seen this version of you.  So give yourself a little grace and breathe through it.”  ~~Kristin Lohr

“No man was ever wise by chance.”  ~~Seneca

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#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.

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Growth?  What growth?  Before my New Life, growth was for other people; those people who wrote self-help books and did motivational speaking. Unaware that I was living in a pattern of immobility, life was something to be reacted to.  I had little to no understanding of cause and effect and felt life was basically unfair but Statement #8 and the WFS New Life Program helped me update that thought process.

Practicing Statement #8 became incredibly freeing; soon I felt free from self-limiting beliefs and expectations.  One of the first beliefs to fall from the wayside was the belief that I was stuck where I was.  In our WFS Reflections for Growth booklet it states (on Nov 1), “From sunrise to sunset, the day experiences many changes.  In fact, the changes are constant, although most of us are not continually aware of them—only the drastic difference between dawn, midday, twilight and night.  This is the way it is with each of us.  We are in constant change but we don’t notice it until after the fact.  Today I will be aware of the changes in myself.”  This is such a beautiful example to embrace and become aware of change.

Here is a helpful tool to practice Statement #8 from Lara Fielding, author of Mastering Adulthood: Go Beyond Adulting to Become an Emotional Grown-Up:

When we are distressed by a situation in our lives, we can do a quick writing exercise in which we detail:

·         What happened, what we saw, heard etc.

·         The thoughts that this provoked in us, or how we interpret the event

·         The emotions we immediately felt

·         The bodily sensations we immediately felt

·         What action we took in response

How will you practice Statement #8 this week?  How is your life different today in sobriety?

Hugzzz

Karen

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Hi 4C Women,

If there ever was a time for me to consider the above questions, it would certainly be now.  I thought it was challenging to handle life’s issues before current circumstances but now I find myself with a lot of time for self-reflection and feeling like a lost child sometimes.  Perhaps even a rebellious teenager who wants everything to be corrected to my liking and immediately no less!  Thank goodness I have the WFS Statements to pull me back to emotional maturity (I’m trying) and putting my priorities in order as best I can.  This is what I’ve learned so far – I really like helping and supporting others on this journey, it is my reward and as I recently heard, my sobriety insurance.  It centers me, makes me grateful for the opportunity and to feel others value my input.  I’ve also learned that I love ice cream way too much and I am not happy with my talking scale as she is exaggerating my weight gain during this isolation period.  It seems that priorities were easier to do when I was busy outside my home, but it also helped me realize that many of those priorities were tasks and not much to do with emotional and spiritual growth.  So, the questions Karen posed are quite relevant.  How much time do I give to spiritual growth now that I have more time?  What is a true priority that promotes my emotional growth?

I have previously shared the monthly Action for Happiness calendar as it provides a positive action for each day of the month.  Last week they launched 10 Days of Happiness, a free online coaching program which guides individuals through daily actions for happier living, all based on the latest research.  I joined and am so grateful that I did.  Each day there are 3 different actions to take to promote happiness and it has made me accountable to follow through.  The one that helped most in changing my attitude was reaching out to treat people with a little extra kindness, including myself; Asking a loved one how they’re feeling and really listen to them; Offering to help someone who might be lonely or in need of support.  I reached out to my neighbor, a women from years ago who I met through WFS and their joyful response truly inspired me.  It reminded me of what I treasure and that is the relationships I have developed over the years.  A plus to all of this is that my son called me 3 times in one month!  That’s a record so maybe he is thinking about listening, really listening, to his mom!

Bonded in developing emotional and spiritual growth, Dee


WFS Virtual Weekend Conference
June 12-14, 2020

 

Self-selection Sliding Scale: $25-$75, Scholarships also available
Attend 8 live sessions, review the other 13 later! Read our FAQs here.

Register Now

Posted on

Monday Thoughts 5/11/2020

“Be softer with you.  You are a breathing thing, a memory to someone, a home to life.”  ~~Nayyirah Waheed

“Today, let this be a reminder and a permission slip to love and nurture yourself, may your self-talk be kind, patient and forgiving.  May your pace be gentle, your breath slow and full.  The next time you look in the mirror and see this marvelous creature blinking back at you, allow love and acceptance to wash over you as a parent feels for a child, love for every quirk and freckle, for every atom and attribute.” ~~ Tamara Levitt

Stop looking outside for scraps of pleasure or fulfillment, for validation, security, or love—you have a treasure within that is infinitely greater than anything the world can offer.”  ~~Eckhart Tolle
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#7 Love can change the course of my world.
Caring is all-important.
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What do you see when you look in the mirror?  Who I saw towards the end of active addiction was broken, unworthy and felt beyond repair, yet there was still something else present: love.  This small fraction within myself contained hope and the 13 WFS Acceptance Statements enabled love to grow from that hope.

Statement #7 in action changes the course of our world.  Much like when a vehicle travels off track, love can apply the brakes and foster guidance. In our WFS Reflections for Growth booklet it states, “When we are free to love, and do love, all other emotions follow in complete and total purity.  Our feelings are worthy of us.  With love first, we are able to function perfectly.  We are freed from negativities.  Today I will put love first.”

When I look in the mirror today, I see worth, healing and growth. This week, let us put action into Statement #7 by taking the time to nurture, accept and be yourself.  Schedule time for creating well-being and examine your self-talk every day.  What can you do to engage and invest in yourself?  Remember, you are a one of a kind, beautiful example of love in action!
Hugzzz
Karen
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Hi 4C Women,
Years ago, I turned to others, seeking approval and acceptance, believing that would lead to self-love and self-worth.    I was so needy and dependent on others to define my worth, my being lovable.  Learning to love myself changed my life completely.   I didn’t think it was possible yet learning to turn negative self-talk into positive self-talk, to believe I was actually worthy of loving and being loved, that I had value and worth to give and be given, was a treasured gift that this Statement and the WFS program gave me.  In this time of social isolation, it has become even more evident how caring for others and ourselves is vital to our self-esteem and well-being.

Here are a few ways to build our self-esteem:
1. Review your strengths and achievements. Celebrate your own special qualities. Make a list of qualities that you like about yourself, things you are good at such as having a sense of humor, being a thoughtful person, having patience, creative, good listener, etc. If you are having a hard time with your list, ask some close friends. You may be surprised with what they come up with. When you are having a bad day and feeling down, bring out this list and reaffirm yourself.

2. Stop comparing yourself to others. If you are focusing on people you think are “better” than you, it will only set you up for more negative thoughts and even lower self-esteem. No one is perfect. On the other hand, by noting the characteristics or behaviors of people you admire, you can try to develop those same characteristics in yourself.

3. Don’t be a doormat: Learn how to say NO. You don’t have to say yes to everything people ask of you. Start to develop boundaries and accept that it is perfectly OK to say no. If you don’t acknowledge your needs and desires, no one else will. It leaves the door open for people to take advantage of you. If you can learn to say no sometimes, you are telling yourself you have value.  (Remember that “no” is a complete sentence that doesn’t require an explanation.  Also, saying you want to think about a request gives you time to decide whether or not this is something you want or feel you can and have the time to do.)

4. Learn how to accept compliments. It’s great to receive compliments. Accept them graciously. Just say thank you and smile. If you dismiss compliments or ignore them, you are giving the message that you are not worthy of them. In the future people may be less likely to compliment you if they think you are just going to brush them off.

5. Associate with positive people. Being around people who are positive and supportive will help you feel better about yourself. If you surround yourself with negative people, they may influence your own attitude or put you or your ideas down. Find time for your friends. Stay in touch, whether by phone or e-mail. Having a network of positive, supportive friends can be a great source of support.

This list is a few years old and I’m not even sure who the author is yet I feel they are great guides and wanted to share them with you.

Bonded in learning to love ourselves and knowing that caring is all important, Dee


WFS Virtual Weekend Conference

June 12-14, 2020

 

New Addition – Open Houses!

  • Sunday, June 7th, 1-3 pm
  • Tuesday, June 9th, 9:30-11:30 am
  • Thursday, June 11th, 6-8 pm

Test your tech and make new connections during three drop-in Open Houses during the week prior to the official conference event. Practice logging in to a Zoom meeting and learn tips & tricks from our Geek Gal Squad, which will be on-call all weekend.

Self-selection Sliding Scale: $25-$75, Scholarships also available
Attend 8 live sessions, review the other 13 later! Read our FAQs here.

Register Now

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Monday Thoughts 5/4/2020

“The more grateful I am, the more beauty I see.”  ~~Mary Davis

“I don’t have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness—it’s right in front of me if I’m paying attention and practicing gratitude.”  ~~Brené Brown

“I looked around and thought about my life. I felt grateful. I noticed every detail. That is the key to time travel. You can only move if you are actually in the moment.  You have to be where you are to get to where you need to go.”  ~~Amy Poehler


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

 Greatness is mine by a conscious effort.


Some days it can feel difficult to stay focused on gratitude. Many people are feeling unbalanced and uncertain during this time of global crisis. Layers of stress have generated a diversion and have added to feelings of imbalance. While we do not know what lays before us, as 4C women we know what lays within us, and Statement #6 in action encourages conscious creation.

This Statement can be one of the most overlooked of the 13 WFS Statements, but it also can be the one that shifts past perceptions into today’s presence and tomorrow’s expansion. One of the easiest ways to practice Statement #6 is to focus on gratitude. Before my New Life, gratitude was almost non-existent, or it was given with an ulterior motive. Yet sobriety and recovery have enabled continuing conscious development.

Taking even just a few moments during the day to focus on gratitude creates new portals for presence and cements feelings of contentment. One activity that jump-started feelings of gratitude was to jot down every day, 5 things that I appreciated. It could be as simple as the beauty of a blue sky to a deep conversation with a friend. In the beginning, it felt hard to name at least five things. Overtime, my brain began to consciously seek out items to add to the list, and practicing Statement #6 became a way of life.

Statement #6 Tool:

Every day write in a notebook or journal five things/events/people/moments that you are grateful for. Reread this whenever you begin to feel a sense of imbalance or fear. You can also begin a bedtime ritual of naming a few things that you were grateful for during the day. Keep this journal next to your bed and add to it every evening. If you would like to share how you practice gratitude, email your helpful hints to karen@teamwfs.org.

Hugzzz

Karen

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Hi 4C Women,

I love the idea of writing a daily gratitude list and the guidance Karen gave us in acknowledging that it’s the awareness of what you feel, big or small, that fosters the feelings of gratefulness.  In the past, I would think it had to be a huge event to even be considered.  With WFS, I have learned it is what touches our hearts that makes us pause for a moment and feel the joy of a loving conversation or a single word, the beauty of nature, finding an old photo that evokes fond memories and being grateful for the simple basics in our lives that we may have taken for granted.  As we work through these challenging times, I am reminded of how trust and patience was my focus in the beginning of my sobriety journey.  I had to learn to trust my instincts, trust my choices (that was scary) and have more patience than I ever knew I could muster if I was to have a life of ordinary greatness.  Yes, ordinary greatness is having a life without constant chaos, questioning my every decision, hating myself, blaming others… the list is quite lengthy.  Ordinary greatness is being responsible for my actions, awareness of those moments of joy, forgiving myself for my past choices which spells freedom, emotional and spiritual growth for me and learning to like and love myself.  And in this uncertain time, I am reminded that life challenges are not supposed to paralyze us, they are supposed to help us discover who we are.  I am learning a lot about myself and I am surprised to discover after all these years that there is still more to learn.  I always joked that my life would be fully determined by the age of 40 – relationship, career, family.  My goodness, 40 was just the continuation of life changes, major ones!

Consider what you are learning about yourself right now.  Is there something that took you by surprise as it has me?  Has this social distancing/isolation awakened you to the idea that this might be a wonderful opportunity to expand on your New Life, finding ways to create a life full of ordinary greatness?  I am hoping you will take the time to create a gratitude list.  My hope is also that it will help in discovering the awareness of what we have rather than what we don’t have.  Perhaps you will share your list with others to give them encouragement and support.

Bonded in discovering who we are, what we are grateful for and building a life of ordinary greatness, Dee

WFS Virtual Weekend Conference

June 12-14, 2020

We are excited to offer a keynote address on Saturday, June 13, 2020, by Dr. Dawn Nickels for conference attendees. Dr. Nickels is the creator of SHE RECOVERS, currently the largest online platform dedicated to supporting women in recovery from behavioral health issues and related life challenges. The topic of the keynote address is Recovery as a Practice. In this address Dr. Nickels will discuss how women need to be supported to find and follow individualized pathways and patchworks of recovery. In this lively talk, she will explain how creating our unique sobriety practice – even if we follow a specific program – can actually help us deal more effectively with just about anything that life throws our way. Even a global pandemic.

 

Self-selection Sliding Scale:
  • $25 – Compassion Rate
  • $50 – Sustaining Rate
  • $75 – Benefactress Rate (Deductible portion: $25)
  • Scholarships also available
Attend 8 live sessions, review the other 13 later! 
  • Recorded presentations available through June 21, 2020
  • Only presenters will be recorded – your privacy is important to us!
Use any device to connect to live sessions – even a touch-tone phone! Geek Gal Squad will be on the job to assist attendees. Read our FAQs here.

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