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Monday Thoughts 1.17.22

hand holding seedling

“Walls turned sideways are bridges.”  ~~Angela Davis

“Fear builds its phantoms which are more fearsome than reality itself.”  ~~Jawaharlal Nehru

“Success is sometimes the outcome of a whole string of failures.”  ~~Vincent Van Gogh


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

I now better understand my problems.

I do not permit problems to overwhelm me.


 Sober life tends to move through different stages much like the seasons. From the increasing daylight of spring and new life into summer days full of energy and brightness. Followed by fall, unfurling itself to where we are right now, wrapped up in a slower pace of hibernation and stillness, we can be reminded of how Statement #4 in action goes through the very same process.

Active addiction makes it impossible to reap a harvest of growth and blossoming relationships.  It can remove any sense of connection while digging a deep hole of loneliness.  Imbalance sets in like overgrown weeds and chokes off new seedlings.  Life and love cannot flourish without nourishment.

Sobriety and Statement #4 in action create a garden full of hope, resilience, and growth. Beautiful tall blooms of optimism, opportunity, and overcoming stand tall while layers of peace, love, and patience fill in underneath.  Covering the ground level, a vast curtain of contentment and connection fills in any bare spots, bringing a sense of balance and ease into view.  It is a garden of you, growing and evolving with the changing seasons.  What will you plant today for your future harvest?

Hugzzz

Karen


Dear 4C Women,

I love every word of Karen’s message.  I could visualize the seasons, the garden and finally, the hope experienced in recovery.  My drinking mostly hurt the relationship I had with myself.  I made unhealthy choices and everything – I mean everything – was a problem.  I could not discern the difference between a problem and a genuine concern that needed my attention. I lacked problem-solving skills and decision-making abilities.  Because I saw everything as a problem, I was constantly overwhelmed.  Learning to understand authentic concerns was such a gift in teaching me those skills of problem-solving that drinking took away.

As I began to think clearly, I also learned to seek input, to be vulnerable, and yet know that the final decision was mine to make.  Mistakes were made yet learning was taking place.  I realized how much time I wasted on non-issues and how much more energy and time I had to tackle the real concerns facing me.  I also realized that I was using everyday problems to stop me from facing the important decisions to be made.  I was fearful of making more mistakes.  A big lesson for me was that mistakes were just that – a learning curve for the next time and that success was possible.  In fact, I probably learned a lot more by being open, willing, and vulnerable, to accept mistakes and keep moving forward.

Jean Kirkpatrick had such a clear understanding of women’s roles when she created this program back in 1975.  She understood the societal expectations of women and how that created overwhelming pressure for women who sought relief by drinking or using substances.  There was a double standard and not much support but lots of judgment.  We were expected to be the best in everything, take care of all relationships, put others before ourselves and not complain.  That certainly created a lot of overwhelming pressure.  Jean knew this and it guided her to write this empowering WFS program.  Of course, pressures still exist as women’s roles expanded.  Fortunately, through WFS, I have seen women learn to value themselves, speak their voice, practice self-care, learn coping skills that include problem-solving and decision making.  The most important thing is that there is support given and received.  We share our journey, women strong, compassionate and caring.

Bonded in planting our future harvest of hope, resilience, and supporting each other along the way, Dee


CALL FOR PRESENTATIONS

Do you have a particular interest or expertise that you can share with the WFS community during our 2022 Annual Conference?

WFS is planning for our in-person conference and seeking workshop presenters for the event.  The conference theme of “Bloom” opens up a very wide range of potential workshop topics related to recovery and emotional and spiritual growth.

Please consider giving back to WFS by designing and presenting a workshop. We have so many talented and knowledgeable women in our community that the possibilities are endless for topics and content.

Proposals for workshop topics are due January 31st, 2022.

https://womenforsobriety.org/community/#


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Monday Thoughts 1.10.22

“There is an amazing power getting to know your inner self and learning how to use it and not fight with the world.  If you know what makes you happy, your personality, interests, and capabilities, just use them, and everything else flows beautifully.”  ~~Juhi Chawla

“I wanted a perfect ending.  Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end.  Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment, and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next.  Delicious Ambiguity.”  ~~Gilda Radner

“So many people waste time waiting for good things to happen to them.  But sometimes we need to make good things happen.  And when we finally start doing that, we often see there were good things in our lives all along.”  ~~Caroline George


#3 Happiness is a habit I am developing.

Happiness is created, not waited for.


“What makes your insides smile?”

Another 4C woman asked that question on the WFS Online Forum some years ago and it struck me deeply.  First off, I could not recall that kind of joy or happiness before sobriety and recovery. Alcohol had altered my thoughts and mind to the point that everything felt like a struggle.  I fought against seemingly everything. Statement #3 immediately became a welcome new concept.

Our founder, Jean Kirkpatrick, Ph.D. understood this need and created Statement #3.  In fact, Jean knew this so well that she wrote in our WFS Program booklet “For many years, I was convinced that some people were just naturally happy and others were not.  And most of the time, I was not happy.  I was too deep into my feeling sorry for myself, waiting for the time when everything in my life would miraculously change, and then instant happiness would follow.”

Happiness is not instant like oatmeal or grits, but it can be created.  When I was growing up, the sound of racecars at a local track rumbled through my bedroom window while drifting off to sleep.  My brother even raced there for a time.  Yet when I became an adult, I waited for race tickets to magically appear.  They never did. As my interests continue grow and evolve, I know that thanks to sobriety and Statement #3 in action, I have the greatest ticket there is …. a ticket to my beautiful 4C life!

Hugzzz
Karen


Dear 4C Women,

My first thought was how much can be purchased online these days, how easy and convenient to get practically anything we desire delivered right to our front door.  Yet, as Karen describes, we have the ability to obtain, free of charge, no shipping costs, the ticket to creating our own happiness.  The big difference is that we have to know what to include in that ticket to happiness.

It can start with the question Karen presented, “What makes your insides smile?”  I must admit that what makes my insides smile, in addition to facilitating WFS meetings and writing the Monday Thoughts, is connecting with family and friends in person up North and the hope of eventually seeing my son who moved to CA over 2 years ago.  That is not possible for me right now so I have to dig deeper to create that personal ticket to happiness in the present.  I believe the pandemic has left many of us questioning how to create happiness in uncertain times.  Yet, uncertain times have been around for centuries and I’m sure our ancestors had to cope with this very issue of creating happiness in difficult times.

I researched on the internet for a list of things to make you happy.  As I was searching through a myriad of lists, I came across one that had answers from children.  It was so authentic, some material things that kids love and others were deeply caring feelings from the heart.  So, I was thinking that’s what I need to do; create a list of gratitude for what I have, appreciating those heartfelt and material things.  I love my DVR because I can watch my shows whenever I want.  Believe it or not, years ago I would stay home to watch a favorite show rather than attend an event.  I’m grateful for Zoom and Facebook where I can access people I love, people I have lost contact with.  My brother-in-law passed away in April and I was able to virtually attend his funeral in PA through the internet.  I wish I could have been there yet what a gift to be a part of it virtually.  I wrote a memory letter that was read, watched as my nephew, who is a pastor and conducted the service, walk over to my sister/his mom and asked her if she wanted to dance to one of my brother-in-law’s favorite songs.  My sister has Parkinson’s so just seeing that smile on her face as my nephew helped her stand and dance in place is a beautiful memory I will treasure always.

I am grateful for electricity and that became so apparent when we experienced power failure during the 2011 tornadoes.  I can’t tell you how many times during the week that I flipped on light switches, the microwave, and tv.  I’m also grateful for modern medicine, researchers, and scientists that continue to search for answers to help heal or at least improve people’s health. Most of all, I am grateful for WFS and how it changed my life and has given me the opportunity to share it with so many women over the 33 years I’ve been a part of it.  I have support, I’ve given support and the reward is, as they say, “priceless.”

I encourage you to create your list of gratefulness and perhaps as you do so, you’ll uncover what authentically creates happiness in your life, both materially and in the heart.  Hopefully, this list will also help you to include more of what brings you joy into your everyday life or add it back in.

Bonded in developing happiness, joy, and gratefulness, Dee


CALL FOR PRESENTATIONS

Do you have a particular interest or expertise that you can share with the WFS community during our 2022 Annual Conference?

WFS is planning for our in-person conference and seeking workshop presenters for the event.  The conference theme of “Bloom” opens up a very wide range of potential workshop topics related to recovery and emotional and spiritual growth.

Please consider giving back to WFS by designing and presenting a workshop. We have so many talented and knowledgeable women in our community that the possibilities are endless for topics and content.

Proposals for workshop topics are due January 31st, 2022.

https://womenforsobriety.org/community/#

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Monday Thoughts 1.3.2022

Monday Thoughts

Negative thinking is contagious.  Do your best not to dwell on negativity, it will consume you and prevent you from becoming your best self.”  ~~Germany Kent

“Believing in negative thoughts is the single greatest obstruction to success.”  ~~Charles F. Glassman

“Don’t ever stop believing in your own transformation.  It is still happening even on days you may not realize it or feel like it.”  ~~Lalah Delia


#2 Negative thoughts destroy only myself.

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


What? Me? Negative? Uh, no way. Never.  These are some words that were frequently a part of my vocabulary before New Life.  Denial kept me locked in active addiction for years, yet moving into sobriety was the beginning of CHANGE, an acronym for Choose Having A New Growth Experience.

Sobriety and Statement #2 in action create a sense of balance and can offer ease and contentment.  Starting with awareness of thoughts, which can feel overwhelming at first, opens the door to identifying, understanding and lastly, managing thoughts.

In our WFS Program booklet it states “Negative thoughts can destroy us in many ways.  An important aspect of negative thoughts for us is that such thoughts often precede using or drinking.  A state of “what’s the use?” or “who cares?” can initiate an attempt to escape from reality.”

Here are some examples of negative thinking along with opportunities to change them:

1.      All or nothing, or black/white thinking:

“I will never be able to _______.”  Instead, “I may or may not achieve ______ the first time I try, but I will do my best and can learn along the way.”  What is in the gray area in between?  Will this line of thinking help or hurt me?  Or take me further towards or further away from sobriety?

2.      Catastrophizing:

“It will be a disaster” or “It will never work.” Instead, “I am open to experiencing what is in front of me.”  Or “I have everything I need within me to succeed or move through this.”  Challenge these thoughts and embrace growth.

3.      Shoulding or blaming:

“They/he/she/I should do/don’t/be__________”.  Instead, let go of judgments or blame and focus on compassion “They/he/she/I am trying to understand and they/he/she/I am not their/my behaviors and/or embrace that you do not have all the answers.

4.      I’m not good enough:

“I don’t measure up.” Instead, name your strengths.  No one but you has your set of insights and understanding.  You are an important part of the human experience and you are worthy of receiving what you want in life.  You are capable, competent, caring and compassionate.

Hugzzz

Karen


Dear 4C Women,

Negative thoughts are a natural thought process.  It is how we hold onto them, how they cloud our thinking/decision making and hinder our ability to learn not only how to stop them from becoming harmful but also ways to change our thinking process.  It is what I appreciate about WFS.  We are given tools to help us achieve a positive attitude when it seems impossible.  I mention this often because I feel so strongly about it and that is how critical it is to acknowledge our feelings.  How can we learn to change our thoughts, our actions, if we don’t acknowledge authentic feelings?  If I am angry, disappointed, sad or a myriad of other feelings, how can I gain insight as to why if I pretend they don’t exist?

I have been struggling with anger and disappointment over a family issue and it’s taking a lot of digging deep to figure out why I am so affected and what is within my control to change it.  What I’ve discovered is the only control I have is how I approach it after I uncover the deepest feeling.  That feeling is fear.  It would be so much easier if it were my personal issue because I have control over my response, my willingness to be proactive and do what I feel needs to be done.  Thankfully, even though I am filled with fear, I have learned to speak my voice, to be heard.  And therein is the most challenging issue of all – to be heard when I speak my truth, to be understood. Yet I won’t let that possibility of being dismissed or ignored stop me.  My words may not be received as I hoped yet if I say nothing, then nothing changes, no seed is planted for a better communication and a path towards healing.   As I look at Karen’s examples, I realize I have experienced all of the negative thoughts and gratefully, have been able to put into action many of the empowering suggestions she made.

This is from the Inner Critic (known also as our inner dialog, scripts or tapes) workshop Nina and I presented at a WFS conference:

Watch your thoughts; they become words.

Watch your words; they become actions.

Watch your actions; they become habits.

Watch your habits; they become character.

Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.

Patrick Overton

To stop the inner critic, the negative thoughts, start creating an awareness when the inner critic begins its attack and change the message asap!  You can name your inner critic as I have and when it appears, I look over my shoulder and flick it off with a few strong words.  I have the ability to reduce its impact but only if I am aware of its presence.  Old messages, old tapes are a big clue that this is no longer your truth in the present.

This is from the Inner Critic (known also as our inner dialog, scripts or tapes) workshop Nina and I presented at a WFS conference:

Watch your thoughts; they become words.

Watch your words; they become actions.

Watch your actions; they become habits.

Watch your habits; they become character.

Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.

Patrick Overton

To stop the inner critic, the negative thoughts, start creating an awareness when the inner critic begins its attack and change the message asap!  You can name your inner critic as I have and when it appears, I look over my shoulder and flick it off with a few strong words.  I have the ability to reduce its impact but only if I am aware of its presence.  Old messages, old tapes are a big clue that this is no longer your truth in the present.


2022 Women for Sobriety Conference – Call for Presentations
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Monday Thoughts 12.27.2021

Monday Thoughts

“I chose sober because I wanted a better life.  I stay sober because I got one.”~~Unknown

“Live less out of habit and more out of content.”  ~~Unknown

“Sometimes when in a dark place you think you’ve been buried, when actually you’ve been planted.”  ~~Christine Caine


#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.


It is fitting that we are closing out the year with Statement #1.  The end of the year or New Year’s Eve has historically been a time of drinking and/or overindulgence, but looking closely, it’s just a routine or habit, simple as that.  It is not permanent.  Routines evolve and habits can be changed.  The same is true for drinking or using.  The end is a new beginning thanks to effort and action into Statement #1.

Our founder, Jean Kirkpatrick, Ph.D. knew that she needed to do something different, and was eager to learn how to change and adapt. Incredibly resilient, Jean took her inklings and intuition and created Women for Sobriety.  It was new and it was different. No one had ever focused on just the needs of women in recovery before.  She had left the place of shame, regret, and guilt behind her and set out on a new adventure, and in the process, continues to help women today embrace a sober New Life.

Welcome if you are new here!  Jump into your New Life and explore.  You will find women who feel just like you, who understand and who care.  You are invited to learn, grow, share, connect….Women for Sobriety is a soft, comfortable landing place. Settle in. This is also a wonderful time to instill a new routine and review your sobriety/recovery and adjust goals and aspirations.  Close this year with a fresh outlook and an open heart and mind!

Hugzzz

Karen


Dear 4C Women,

Jean was a true pioneer in helping women to heal from guilt and shame.  Over the years I have shared Nancy Cross’s message regarding the Guilt Trip.  While some of you may have traveled already or are at your destination or at home with your thoughts about shame and guilt during this holiday season, Nancy’s words still ring true for many of us, especially during the past couple of years when there has been more isolation and time for reflection.  So here goes –

The Holiday Season usually brings a busy travel season. I do hope none of you have booked (or are planning to book!) this trip.

The Guilt Trip

I had not really planned on taking a trip this time of year, and yet I found myself packing rather hurriedly. This trip was going to be unpleasant and I knew in advance that no real good would come of it. I’m talking about my annual “Guilt Trip.”

I got tickets to fly there on “Wish I Had” airlines. It was an extremely short flight. I got my baggage, which I could not check. I chose to carry it myself all the way. It was weighted down with a thousand memories of what might have been.
No one greeted me as I entered the terminal to the “Regret City” International Airport. I say international because people from all over the world come to this dismal town. As I checked into the “Last Resort” Hotel, I noticed that they would be hosting the year’s most important event, the “Annual Pity Party.” I wasn’t going to miss that great social occasion. Many of the town’s leading citizens would be there.

First, there would be the Done family, you know … Should Have, Would Have and Could Have. Then came the I Had family. You probably know old Wish and his clan. Of course, the Opportunities would be present, Missed and Lost. The biggest family would be the Yesterdays. There are far too many of them to count, but each one would have a very sad story to share. Then Shattered Dreams would surely make an appearance. And It’s Their Fault would regale us with stories (excuses) about how things had failed in his life, and each story would be loudly applauded by Don’t Blame ME} and I Couldn’t Help It.

Well, to make a long story short, I went to this depressing party knowing that there would be no real benefit in doing’ so. And, as usual, I became very depressed. But as I thought about all of the stories of failures brought back from the past, it occurred to me that all of this trip and subsequent “pity party” could be canceled by ME! I started to truly realize that I did not have to be there. I didn’t have to be depressed. One thing kept going through my mind, I CAN’T CHANGE YESTERDAY, BUT I DO HAVE THE POWER TO MAKE TODAY A WONDERFUL DAY. I can be happy, joyous, fulfilled, encouraged, as well as encouraging.

Knowing this, I left the “City of Regret” immediately and left no forwarding address. Am I sorry for mistakes I’ve made in the past? YES! But there is no physical way to undo them. So, if you’re planning a trip back to the City of Regret, please cancel all your reservations now! Instead, take a trip to a place called “Starting Again.” I liked it so much that I have now taken up permanent residence there. My neighbors, the I Forgive Myself’s and the New Starts are so very helpful. By the way, you don’t have to carry around heavy baggage, because the load is lifted from your shoulders upon arrival.

If you can find it, please look me up. I live on “I Can Do It” Street. – Meg Schell – 

Bonded in healing as we take charge of our life and well-being, Dee


Hear more about Statement #1

 

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Monday Thoughts 12/20/2021

statement 13

Monday Thoughts

 “I am woman phenomenally.  Phenomenal woman, that’s me.”  ~~Maya Angelou

“Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.”  ~~Nora Ephron

“There is no limit to what we, as women can accomplish.”  ~~Michelle Obama

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

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


The WFS New Life program and especially Statement #13 provide a framework for continuing growth and motivation.  This Statement is the crown jewel and offers sustaining sobriety and recovery when put into daily action.  It is meant to create lasting depth and trust in our 4C lives.

Leaving behind the blame game and self-destructive behaviors, we can move forward and stand in our own strength.  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.” 

As the holidays and final days of the year draw nearer, we can pause and reflect in the knowledge that we are in charge of our mind and our lives.  In the midst of the hustle and bustle, the glow of the season, and for some, the cold, there is an opportunity for underlying ease and contentment.  Recently one 4C woman shared that this is the 11th year that her Christmas tree has stood beautifully decorated, without falling over with her in it.  A wonderful and simple joy indeed.

Hugzzz

Karen


Hi 4C Women,

Motivation and trust!  I think of how motivated I became once I started practicing this Statement.  I wanted to trust my instincts, to trust I would survive any mistake I made and for it to become a life lesson rather than a reassurance of my negative past thinking.  This Statement brought me freedom.  As I have shared many times, I was the Queen of the Blame Game.  I wore my crown proudly.  As long as that crown was secure on my head, I was not responsible for the outcome of any of the choices or decisions I made.  Once I began trusting myself, I felt so empowered and I wanted more of that feeling. 

Two of Dr. Phil’s life laws are “we teach people how to treat us” and “we can’t change what we won’t acknowledge.”   I realized that I was also teaching myself how to treat me.  I treated myself as though I was unworthy, incompetent, invisible, incapable, inadequate of being in charge of anything, especially my life!  Statement #13 was a life changer indeed.  I began to acknowledge that my negative thoughts were harming me, holding me back and quite honestly, no longer applied to my recovery life if I wanted one.  I held the key to unlock the negative definition of me and my life.  Once I trusted myself, I not only unlocked the door, I threw away the key.  While there have been setbacks, the key I now held in my hands was Statement #13.  It became my mantra and every time I felt fearful of making a decision, I kept telling myself I was in charge and no matter the outcome, I could handle it.   I learned to handle mistakes and celebrate/learn from my successes as well.  I began to acknowledge that focusing solely on my mistakes rather than learning from them, was holding me back, unnecessarily keeping me a prisoner.  I held on tighter to that new key. 

I found a mantra from a calendar years ago and I still use it today.
“Life is change, growth is possible, choose wisely.”  This mantra taught me to pause and consider several possibilities/solutions to an issue.  I chose as wisely as I could with the information I had and no matter what the outcome, growth was possible.  Learning promotes growth.  Constantly berating a mistake promotes a negative self-image and hinders our growth. 

When considering the choice in how we look at our decision making/problem solving, when was the last time you trusted your instincts?  Describe the situation, the people, the outcome.

Do you learn from your mistakes?  Do you acknowledge and celebrate your successes or gloss over them? 

For those struggling in trusting themselves to be in charge of their life, remember it is not the length of the journey, but the willingness to take it.  And most importantly, this is not a solo journey.  Yes, we are responsible for our individual actions, yet there is so much support and encouragement from those who are journeying with us.  We are students and teachers at different moments.  Whichever you are right now, please trust yourself to be the teacher or the student.  We are bonded together on this journey, Dee


Hear more about Statement #13

 

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Monday Thoughts 12/13/2021

“Once you’ve released the struggle to prove yourself worthy in someone else’s world, you begin to trust yourself and your instincts.  ~~Wendy Hammond

“I love when I realize I’m handling a situation better than my old self would have.”  ~~Unknown

“You are the best author of your own future.  So, the next time you sit down to write your own story, remember that you are the creator of the chapters.”  ~~Catherine Pulsifer

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

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


Many times, before New Life, I wondered how on earth would I manage without alcohol. I knew drinking was a real problem, but how could being sober be satisfying? Sobriety and the practice of the WFS Statements helped change that.  Especially Statement #12.

Unaware of how little I believed in myself, sobriety and recovery became the opening into self-discovery and awareness.  Statement #12 became a mantra for when feelings of doubt swirled through my mind or when cravings hit hard.  Instantly I reached for those first five words and repeated them again and again………. I am a competent woman…….… I am a competent woman……… I am a competent woman.

Each success is built on the previous success.  No matter how small or insignificant it seemed, it held the history of overcoming which enhanced feelings of competence.  These feelings felt so good; better than alcohol since I had earned them from moving through fears, doubts, and uncertainty.  I was teaching myself that I am worthy and do have much to give life.  One of my most favorite paragraphs from our WFS Program booklet can be found under Statement #12.  It states “Begin each day with an unshakable belief in your own competency.  First the thought, then the reality.  Believing you are a competent woman is giving to life.  Know you are a competent woman.”  You are 4C!

Hugzzz

Karen


Hi 4C Women,

I came across a paper written by David B. Bohl in which he posed the question, “Why do people change?”  The two main reasons were Desperation and Inspiration. Thinking back to my decision to stop drinking, it definitely was desperation.  I didn’t like who I was, didn’t even really know myself anymore.  I was lost and felt trapped.  I clung to Statement #1 and wondered how in the world would I ever evolve into believing Statement #12?  I now understand why Inspiration was included in why people change.  I was inspired by how much my life, my definition of who I was becoming, would create such an empowering change by following the WFS Statements.  I was also surrounded by women who worked hard for change and they inspired me as well.  I wasn’t alone in wanting change.  It was hard work yet the benefits surpassed anything that I ever dreamed of.  I divorced after 27 years of marriage and thankfully I was sober when that decision was made.  Drinking numbed the pain briefly and I as took responsibility for my life and my actions, I started to believe I was competent.  I gained the courage to end a marriage that left me empty and feeling completely unlovable.  Many marriages survive and thrive through hard work of both partners which I applaud.  For me, we lacked and lost the foundation to rebuild.

I am so grateful for Statement #12.  It provided a path to belief in myself, to face many of my fears and stay strong through my mistakes and appreciate my successes.  I sometimes reflect on the woman I was so many years ago and, in those moments, I hold her tight and praise her for learning how to redefine herself, to keep trying and speak her competent truth!

I hope you will reflect on why and how you have changed or are changing.  Mostly, praise yourself for the willingness to keep learning, encouraging and supporting your personal path and to include other women who are working toward believing they are competent women and have much to give life, Dee

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Monday Thoughts 12/6/2021

“The passion of genuine enthusiasm is an energy you can generate yourself. How?  Simple: by focusing your time, effort and energy on those ideas, activities and pursuits that get you excited.”  ~~Rita Davenport

“Enthusiasm and misplaced belief can take you a long way.”  ~~John Otway

“Enthusiasm does not come easy to everyone; sometimes, it is not for lack of trying, but we simply are not all naturally optimistic people.  However, while negative feelings are as valid as positive ones, they can really take over our lives and harm us, in the long run.”  ~~Lucy Stanmore

#11 Enthusiasm is my daily exercise.

I treasure the moments of my New Life.


Sometimes Statement #11 can feel difficult to practice especially during the holiday season.  It seems that we are pulled in different directions during this time of year and it can feel natural to put our self-care further down the list.  Yet to maintain our sobriety and recovery it is essential to be aware of our thoughts, feelings, and self-care needs.

Enthusiasm can be simple, appreciating and acknowledging fleeting moments or savoring a cherished holiday tradition.  Embracing each sober day whether it is our first or fiftieth turns the key towards action.  In our WFS Program booklet it states, “Pause at random times throughout the day and identify something to appreciate about that moment.  Learn which things make you smile and feel excited.  Reflect on your life and find things to be thankful for.”

Each day this week look for opportunities to treasure or appreciate something during the day.  Yesterday, as I walked our senior chihuahua the sunrise was absolutely breathtaking.  It lit up the eastern sky with an incredibly vibrant glow that I was able to carry along throughout the day. It felt mesmerizing.  Embrace and illuminate your inner glow today and shine bright!

Hugzzz

Karen


Hi 4C Women,

Of all the WFS Statements, this has always been the most challenging for me in creating daily enthusiasm.  Yet, like all of the Statements, it needs practice along with patience.  For me, patience is learning that I must not compare myself to others but appreciate and acknowledge the work I am doing. Thankfully WFS has helped me to have a positive attitude (Statement #2) which is extremely helpful in putting this Statement into practice.

While I may struggle with daily enthusiasm, I absolutely have learned to treasure the “moments” of my New Life.  Before WFS, I have to say I neglected and missed many treasured moments.  Right now, the struggle for feeling enthusiastic is mainly because I have been sick with a respiratory infection (not Covid) for almost 3 weeks and having asthma just makes it take longer to recover.  One of the positive outcomes is that it’s given me plenty of time to reflect on treasured moments.  Currently, I do treasure that I have medication to help in healing, can rest as much as I need, can help my daughter who lives with me and unfortunately caught the respiratory infection from me.

Even being sick, I can facilitate my WFS meetings on Zoom, deeply appreciate my wonderful neighbor who has brought groceries for me, my dog, Molly, who brings me joy each day and the warm weather we are having in December!  Mostly, I treasure my sobriety gained through such a life-changing program.  I treasure the women I have met, the friends I have made and how WFS has given me a purpose in life. I treasure that above all.  To have a purpose creates enthusiasm and provides much joy.

How would you describe your enthusiasm?

How do you show your enthusiasm?

What makes you feel enthusiastic?  Be as specific as possible as this will help in answering the next question.

Do you include fun activities or things you love into your day?  Setting time aside each day for joy or the things you love, activities that bring an instant smile to your face, nurtures your well-being.  It is one way of creating a treasured moment along with enthusiasm.  The key is to know where that joyful, fun feeling comes from in order to include it in your daily exercise.

Now this goes to changing our attitude.  I saw a video that asked to me to make a list of things that make me unhappy and decide next time they happen, to approach them with enthusiasm and experience how differently I feel.  Now that’s a different way of creating enthusiasm!  I thought of so many things that don’t necessarily make me unhappy, i.e., laundry, bills, cleaning, but to approach those tasks with enthusiasm would be worth trying.  Are you up to that challenge?  Do you have a specific task or situation in mind?  When you have faced this challenge with a different, enthusiastic attitude, how did you feel afterwards?  Think about writing it down, perhaps sharing the experience with others and then try it again!

We talk a lot about choice and change in WFS.  This Statement exemplifies the willingness to make a major shift in how we define enthusiasm and ways to practice it.  It certainly was a positive change for me even with struggling to practice it on a daily basis.  Yet, I will not judge my path because I’m still on it.  I am not in competition with anyone, not even myself.  I am doing the best I can and as long as I stay on the path, continue to be open to learning, I will count that as a treasured moment!

I encourage you to practice what Karen has suggested in looking for opportunities to treasure or appreciate something each day and remember to include fun and what gives you joy as you practice this Statement.

Bonded in developing enthusiasm and treasuring “moments” of your New Life, Dee


Hear more about Statement #11!

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Monday Thoughts 11/29/2021

“Be the reason someone feels welcome, seen, heard, valued, loved and supported.”  ~~Unknown

“There can be a deep loneliness that comes from not having a family that has your back.  I hope you can find supportive people who show up for you.”  ~~Laura Mohai

“You’re not selfish for wanting the same energy and love you give.”  ~~Unknown

#10 All love given returns.

I am learning to know that I am loved.


With Thanksgiving now over, the holidays have officially started. Lights, music, and traditions are just some of the routines being set into motion, yet this time of year can also bring about conflicting emotions.  For some, feelings of lack or loneliness can deepen the divide, moving us away from love instead of towards it.

Sobriety and Statement #10 in action can instill feelings of balance through even small acts of love.  Women for Sobriety was created out of Jean Kirkpatrick’s love, and we are bonded together yet today through that love.  What a gift! Just imagine the countless lives who have been changed by Jean’s dedication and love.  If you are reading this, you are a recipient of that love.

Tomorrow is Giving Tuesday.  Please consider how you can share your love.  Pay it forward with an end of year financial contribution or start a recurring monthly donation.  You can donate in other ways too; your time and talents can be a gift of love through volunteering.  JoAnne, our new Volunteer Coordinator would LOVE to get you involved with one of the teams that need help right now. Another way to share your love is to start a WFS meeting in your area, either face to face or online. With action into Statement #10 you can ensure all love given returns!

To donate, click here.

To volunteer, email JoAnne at [email protected]org

Hugzzz

Karen


Hi 4C Women,

Learning to know that I am loved by me is my first thought whenever I read this Statement.  It’s mostly because I didn’t have self-love so actually believing I was loved by others was a huge stretch.  It was much easier for me to give love yet believing it would be returned took a bit of acceptance.  When I was told I was loved, I silently rejected it.  I realize now that I was loved, I just didn’t love myself enough or at all to actually believe others loved me.

It always touches my heart when I think of Jean taking her struggles and creating a program that changed my life and thousands of others.  I was so unsure of how to become the woman who was lovable, confident and worthy.  It was the empowering Statements that literally changed my whole approach to recovery.    Whenever I felt stuck, one of the Statements would pop into my mind, changing the way I thought, behaved and responded to situations and triggers – and there were plenty of them.  Can you imagine turning your life around in a positive direction when you’re feeling broken, unlovable and unworthy?  Well, the New Life program did just that for me.  Of course, it took practice not to fall back to my usual immediate, unhealthy choice.  After a while, it became easier to make better choices as practicing the Statements became a habit that brought me that confidence, self-love and worthiness.  I was beginning to have actions that supported my self-acceptance.

Over the years I have heard of broken family relationships and how the holidays only seem to highlight that emptiness.  It is the loving, caring support of those who understand these feelings that help build a strong foundation of love.  Sometimes we have to create the family we needed and didn’t get.  Sometimes we reconcile and work toward healing if possible.  Either way, we can give and receive love in a nourishing way that supports our well-being, our personal growth.  We deserve it!

I love that Karen spoke about Giving Tuesday and other ways to give back to this life changing program.  It’s a big thank you to the staff, volunteers and always to Jean Kirkpatrick, our founder.  I am a true believer in giving back for a gift that is immeasurable.  It takes a lot of competent women to keep this organization moving forward.   So, whether it’s a financial donation or a volunteer opportunity, I hope you will consider how you can give back.

Bonded in giving and receiving love for the 4C woman you are, Dee


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Monday Thoughts 11/22/2021

“Forgiveness is the greatest gift you can give yourself.”  ~~Maya Angelou

“We can make ourselves miserable or we can make ourselves strong.  The amount of effort is the same.”  ~~Pema Chödrön

“In retrospect dear one, you will understand your entire life was but choices, made one after the other in the name of love, or preserving that love.  Nothing will be wrong or broken, just choices made either way, in the name of your heart.”  ~~Sarah Blondin


#9 The past is gone forever.

No longer am I victimized by the past.

I am a new woman.


How would you feel about your past if you released your judgments about it? The past is gone forever, yet the stories we attach to it can prolong emotional imbalance. What if every choice you have made, every decision or action taken was about you arriving in this very moment?  What would be different? Would you be more understanding and feel greater compassion towards yourself and others?  By reframing and redefining the past, Statement #9 helped me become a new 4C woman.

As women navigating sobriety and recovery, oftentimes we can place unrealistic expectations on ourselves.  This can in turn create a closed circle of emotional turmoil without an end in sight.  Another unhealthy practice is applying today’s knowledge/understanding to yesterday’s actions/experiences.  Neither way is an effective or helpful way to move through or manage the past.  Yet the practice of Statement #9 fosters healing and forgiveness.

Some past experiences were traumatic and needed additional resources.  Therapy and WFS connections, along with actively practicing the Statements enabled me to move through the most painful of moments.  Choosing to let go of self-punishment and guilt became easier when I redefined my inner language and reframed past situations.  Self-forgiveness became a reality, and I actually felt like a new woman.  The past no longer defines me, I define it!

Hugzzz

Karen


Hi 4C Women,

Forgiveness – it took me a while to realize that the first person I had to forgive was myself.  I had the key to unlock the door and remove the punishment I was imposing on myself by keeping the painful part of my past alive and well in the present.  What Karen shared about releasing judgment from our behavior, decisions and actions in the past is what Statement #9 is all about.  Keeping guilt and shame at the forefront for what we cannot change hinders emotional growth and the ability to learn and change.  It holds us hostage rather than freeing us to learn from our mistakes and work on healing.  I used to fantasize about all the “what ifs” and how perfect my life could have been if I had not made all the awful choices I did.  I am grateful for Statement #9 which empowered me to learn to live in the present and no longer victimize myself.

Most of all, I understood that there is no perfect life.  No matter if I had made consistent wise choices, perfection is an impossible, even harmful goal.  I learned that I was bemoaning a past I could never change while those I held resentment/hurt/pain/regrets toward were most likely not even thinking of me with the same intensity that I was experiencing, if at all.  So much time was being wasted in focusing on the past, reliving events that only hurt me.  That is how I was victimizing myself, going over my mistakes again and again with such harsh judgment and for what?  This does not mean we ignore or downplay hurt we’ve caused.  If someone approaches me with a hurt from the past, I acknowledge it just as I would want the person I am seeking forgiveness for the hurt they caused me, to do.  I then ask them what do they need from me today to heal our relationship.  This makes them part of the solution, a way to work through hurt and be in the present.

All of this living in the painful past led me to realize that I had to find a healthier focus, a way to show by my actions, that I was learning from my past, that forgiveness began with me and then others when I felt strong enough.  Giving myself that time and understanding that forgiving may not always be a one-time decision.  I learned that when I went through my divorce.  I found myself having to forgive quite often and that’s okay because it’s what I needed to heal.

I encourage any woman who has experienced trauma to seek additional support as Karen suggested.  There is no reason for any woman to take this journey alone.  Whether it is a WFS group, online support or a professional counselor.  This is the time to build a strong support system.

When you begin considering forgiving others, please keep these points in mind:

Forgiveness is not the same as reconciliation and this is important.  Forgiveness releases you from your personal pain.  If that person is someone who is toxic, there is no need to remain in a relationship.

Forgiveness is not forgetting.  Focusing on “forgetting” a wrong might lead to denying or suppressing feelings about it which is not the same as forgiveness.  Forgiveness has taken place when you can remember the wrong that was done without feeling resentment or a desire to pursue revenge.    Denying my feelings only led me to drink to escape or numb.

Forgiveness is not condoning or excusing.  Forgiveness provides a healthy choice to protect yourself, including choosing not to reconcile.

One very positive effect from practicing Statement #9 is that as I healed, I allowed the beautiful moments from my past to come forward.  The past wasn’t all pain and my choice to be so one sided was a belief that I was flawed so badly that I didn’t deserve the happiness of those joyful memories.  Wrong!

Bonded in releasing the past, making a powerful choice to forgive yourself and when it’s right for you to forgive others and from that, building authentic, healthy relationships, including the most important one, the one you have with yourself, Dee


Hear more about Statement #9!

 

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Monday Thoughts 11/15/2021

“When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.”  ~~Harriet Beecher Stowe

“Be not afraid of growing slowly; be afraid only of standing still.”  ~~Chinese Proverb

“Life’s challenges are not supposed to paralyze you, they’re supposed to help you discover who you are.”  ~~Bernice Johnson Reagon


#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.


My relationship with growth ebbs and flows but thanks in part to Statement #8, I do feel a sense of greater balance. In one instance, I feel excited for the shiny newness, or a different way of living, much like in early sobriety.  I felt so alive and open to possibility, ready to take on the world while also feeling full of wonder.

Then there are times that I can flip into frustration, knowing that there is an avenue in front of me which I can either embrace and reap the rewards or reject, (even partially) holding myself back from growth. Additionally, if I compare myself to what others are or are not doing, I end up with growing resentments instead of emotional or spiritual growth.  Finding that balance can be key to keeping healthy momentum.

When I realize that everything is in a constant state of growth or change, I am able to redirect action back towards Statement #8. Our founder, Jean Kirkpatrick, PhD, wrote in our WFS Reflections for Growth booklet, “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 week, notice day to day changes while looking for areas where you can embrace growth.

Hugzzz
Karen


Hi 4C Women,

I love the quotes and recall how I remained stuck in stagnation, not believing my life would ever change.  Statement #8 helped me realize that it was “me” who had to change if I wanted to experience emotional and spiritual growth. The beauty of WFS is that spiritual growth is a personal path.  No one is insisting that there is only one way to achieve it.  For me, it became my faith in both myself that I could do this and in my personal religious faith.  I learned that emotional growth was accepting where I was at and having the willingness to explore those feelings without numbing, running or ignoring.  That is how I changed from believing my life was stuck to learning coping skills to deal with the negative times of life and become aware of the positive ones.  It’s amazing how I began to recognize that there were positive moments once I opened my heart and mind to it.

I also realized how exhausting it was to deny myself the possibility of a more balanced life.  I had to open the door and walk through it with hope.  I am so grateful that I took that risk.  I think of how powerful words are and if I were to move forward, I had to keep the promise I made to myself.  It had to be real because I wanted my sober life to be different.  I was tired of lying to myself, breaking promises to myself and standing still so to speak.  I wanted to create a balanced life, not run to a substance that promised me nothing but pain and regret.  While I still experience pain and, yes, regrets, I work through them.  I can’t change my decisions made with the best of intentions, can’t undo mistakes but I do have the courage to learn from them and gratefully have a support team of women who will listen without judgment.  Not having that judgment is such a safe feeling.  Gaining insight helps me in my emotional growth.  Emotional and spiritual growth is not a sprint but a journey of willingness to make those inside changes.  Those changes stick.

Do you know what your priorities are?  Do they match how you spend your time?  How can you add more of what you love into your day, week, month, year?  We all have responsibilities in our daily life which may include work, volunteering, household tasks (laundry, bills, grocery shopping, cleaning), family, etc.  It’s creating balance and finding ways of putting more of what we love, enjoy, feel enthusiastic about into our daily lives and that definitely includes the priority of practicing self-care along with all of it.

A couple of years ago, I wrote about authentic priority.  I’d like to share it again as the past couple of years have certainly had an impact on our lives in general, yet alone knowing what we need today to create a balanced life.
Authentic priority is:
Consciously chosen
Gives your life purpose, direction and meaning
Gives you enthusiasm, energy and motivation
Frees you from the forces of circumstance, expectation and habit, giving you a way to stay on the course you’ve chosen
Is realistic and attainable as an unrealistic priority will lead to frustration and disappointment

I hope these points on authentic priorities guide you to uncover and create your personal priorities in your emotional and spiritual growth journey.

Most importantly, remember this is your personal path and comparing to where others are at can be self-defeating.  There is courage in accepting yourself for where you are right now, this moment.  You hold the key to unlock the door to emotional and spiritual growth.  Yes, we learn and can be inspired from others yet it is our responsibility to listen to our needs, consider input from those who have compassion for our journey and slowly start practicing those well-deserved, empowering inside changes that lead to a balanced New Life.

Bonded in creating our personal emotional and spiritual growth, Dee


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