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Monday Thoughts 3/23/2020

 

“The best way out is always through.”  ~~Robert Frost

‘Morning is an important time of day, because how you spend your morning can often tell you what kind of day you are going to have.”  ~~Lemony Snicket

“Of all the liars in the world, sometimes the worst are our own fears.”  ~~Rudyard Kipling
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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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Every day the news changes which can feel quite overwhelming.  Uncertainty can play into fear, and fear can play into our states of balance and awareness.  Statement #13 in action can alleviate some of that imbalance by shifting our thoughts and actions into what we can do instead of what we cannot do.

In our WFS Program booklet, it states, “Through the New Life Program, we learn we are competent women, trusting our ability to make decisions.  It teaches us to be in charge of our minds, our thoughts and our lives.”  Each day we trust ourselves to remain sober and to make decisions in life that propel us forward.  We are 4C women after all!

Being able to put aside fear or panic allows for responsibility as well as adaptability.  Shifting into what we can do during this time of uncertainty can fill us with feelings of control in what seems uncontrollable.  As we continue to shift our lives with every new day, look for and embrace what enlivens you; maybe it is time spent with children, family or pets, or maybe it is contemplating the solitude of a passing spring afternoon. Right now, your life in sobriety and recovery is an act of love, and more love is what we can use right now.

Statement #13 Tool:  Begin and respond to your day with what you can control.  You have many things that are in your control, beginning with your thoughts.  Feeling anxious?  Examine your thoughts and respond with care.  It’s quite easy to feel overwhelmed right now when watching the news so make sure you disconnect from the shows and plug into your mind.  Take a moment to sit by a window and focus on nature.  If you are able, sit outside and turn your face to the sun.  Breathe.  Be.  Reach out by adapting to virtual connections.  Together we will overcome!

Hugzzz

Karen
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Hi 4C Women,

So many thoughts going through my mind as I read Karen’s words of encouragement.  One thing I know is that I am grateful for my sobriety.  Mostly I am grateful that I have learned to make major changes through applying the 13 Statements over the years and while I am currently experiencing fear and some anxiety, I am also feeling hopeful.

This is a time of change when Statement #13 implores us to acknowledge and accept that we are in charge of our minds, thoughts, and lives.  There is fear in the world today and perhaps for the first time in a long while, we are not alone in this experience.  It is a collective feeling.  For me, that is the good news.  I don’t need to hide my fear, be silent about it.  The benefit is that when fear isn’t hidden, it creates an atmosphere of clarity in facing our challenges and allows for each of us to extend our caring, compassion and much needed support and reassurance to those around us as we understand these feelings from the depth of our hearts.  This shared spoken fear keeps our feelings authentic and that is a gift that supports us emotionally and spiritually.

It is said that people usually adapt one of 3 behavioral styles during times of change:  Victim, Survivor, Navigator.  I hope to be a Survivor and Navigator, finding my strengths, maintaining my sobriety, avoiding all or nothing thinking, being proactive in taking care of myself while still being available to those in need as I am able.

If you are feeling vulnerable, putting your recovery at risk, I strongly encourage you to seek help asap.  You are not alone.  Your work thus far means something – it means that you value yourself, you are worthy and deserving.  There are many coping tools that can help during this time.  Please reach out to a member of your group, the online community or a close, trusted friend or partner. Keep aware of your self-talk.  If you hear negative thoughts tumbling around in your mind, perhaps your positive self-talk can be that your sobriety/recovery is your guide in making healthy choices, that you are willing to keep moving forward even when it’s feeling so challenging, that you will seek help and provide help to others if you are able.  In other words, acknowledge your feelings, create a plan to work through them, reach out if you need support, make your hard earned sobriety/recovery a priority and perhaps write a letter to yourself as to what you have done so far in support of your sobriety, how much positive change has taken place and why it is of utmost importance to remain the 4C woman you have created through WFS, hard work, determination, courage and what a resilient woman you are because of it!

 

Dear ________________ (your name),

I am worthy and deserving of my sobriety/recovery because:

These are the actions I will take if I feel my recovery is at risk:

 Inline image

 (your name)

 

 

Bonded in being in charge and supporting each other with care and compassion, Dee

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Monday Thoughts 3/16/2020

She remembered who she was and the game changed.”  ~~Lalah Deliah

“Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story from the one women are told.  I decided I was safe.  I was strong.  I was brave.  Nothing could vanquish me.  Insisting on this story was a form of mind control, but for the most part it worked.”  ~~Cheryl Strayed

“I can be changed by what happens to me.  But I refuse to be reduced by it.  ~~Maya Angelou


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

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


Everywhere you look it seems as if Covid-19 is taking over every conversation.  This can instill a sense of fear, especially of the unknown.  As our society takes measures to contain and continue on, Statement #12 can be effective in maintaining a sense of balance, strength and ability.

Statement #12 affirms that we are competent women.  Jean knew of our strengths; that we are fierce women and able to do what we set our mind to.  It begins with a daily repetition of “I am a competent woman.” These empowering words assist in focusing our minds and abilities. No matter the challenge we can rise to meet it.

You are encouraged to focus on self-care during this time of imbalance.  Pay attention to what you are feeling and takes steps to self-soothe in ways that instill hope, well-being and comfort.  Our WFS Online Forum is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  You can access it by clicking on the Community tab on our website or click here https://womenforsobriety.org/community/

Statement #12 Tool: Bring fear to the surface.  Is there something that you are afraid of?  Bring it out, whether on paper, on the phone or in person.  With our tech advances, it can feel uncomfortable to look someone straight in the eye and tell them about our fear.  Overcoming this fear begins with examining it under a microscope. Share with someone you are comfortable with. Dive deep into where it originates and be sure to take breaks from the news or social media and spend time outdoors.  Find a comfortable spot and inhale.  Smell the late winter winds or early spring breezes.  Connect with the moment and remember to savor each of your successes.  Here are additional resources:

Hugzzz

Karen
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Hi 4C Women,

Karen expressed so well how to redirect our fears in ways to create hope, well-being and comfort.  It is wise to take precautions yet it is important to develop a balance in order to utilize our competency to our best advantage.

The tool for bringing fear to the surface was something I have experienced in the WFS group.  I feel safe because I know I won’t be judged or told I “shouldn’t” have done that or what I “should” do now.   Sharing in a safe environment is sometimes all we need, to say it out loud, to give pause and consider why we made certain choices, and most importantly, to learn from our experiences.  This is true for both mistakes and successful outcomes.

A while back, I was reading Dr. Phil’s “Self-Matters” book and he had some insightful questions that reflect Statement #12:

I am best in situations that…

What keeps me going is …?

I changed the wording on this question a little bit to reflect more of Statement #12:

How do your thoughts and attitudes advance and protect your well-being?

Do your thoughts and beliefs get you what you want?

In order to practice and believe that you are a competent woman, I have found that questions which have a more positive slant, work best for me.  In the past, it was easy to expound on my faults and mistakes and quickly explain how my negative thoughts and beliefs somehow protected me.  To say what I was best in took forever to think of even one, yet alone, two things.  It also felt conceited, wrong and false to share out loud.    Again, practicing Statement #12 took me out of my comfort zone into finally acknowledging that I am good at many things, that my beliefs and thoughts can get me what I want.  It’s knowing what I want that changed my negative thoughts.  It’s hard to have a healthy recovery if I kept thinking I was unworthy, a nothing, invisible, unimportant to this world and definitely unlovable.  Those thoughts got me nowhere.  I wanted to be that competent woman who had much to give life. WFS got me on the road to healthy self-esteem, worthiness, self-respect and self-love.  Big lesson is that no matter where you begin this recovery journey, no matter your age, your history, it’s what you are willing to do to be that 4C woman that’s been there all along.  Rather than numbing your pain, running from fear, it’s the freedom of creating a New Life that tells you each and every day that you are a competent woman and have much to give life.  This is who you are and you shall know it always.  Love, Dee

WFS Annual Weekend Conference
June 12th – 14th, 2020
Hamline University
Saint Paul, MN
Pre-Conference Activities Begin June 11th

Registration Open Now!

2-night registration fees cover:
  • Friday & Saturday night lodging (except Day Pass)
  • 6 meals – Friday dinner through Sunday lunch at noon
  • 3 large group sessions
  • 4 breakout periods – choose from 16 amazing workshops
  • WFS meetings, icebreakers, informal activities, and workshops Thursday through Sunday
Residence Hall Lodging 2 nights Add Thursday night lodging
Double room** $275 +$50
Single room $350 +$70
Apartment Lodging  
Double room $350 +$70
Single room $430 +$90
Day Pass (No Lodging) $200 $220

Read more about lodging options, agenda, workshops, and more on the 2020 Conference webpage!

DON’T MISS .O’S WORKSHOP – FREE THIS YEAR
Love Can Change the Course of my World. Caring is all-important. – Friday Morning (9:00 a.m. to Noon)

We are all in need of healing! Television, Movies, News, Politics, Scandals in the Church, Climate Change, negative reinforcement abounds!!! Is healing even possible in a world that is so wounded? Because I choose to believe in miracles, I lean in the direction of “YES! Healing is possible!” The ability to receive and give love is an art form rooted in healing that is our birth-right. Together, we will practice sharing the vision of our hearts longing and uncover and discover the transformative power of self-love. As we learn to love ourselves, we heal from the inside out.

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Monday Thoughts 3/9/2020

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

“The possibility of the dream gives strength.”  ~~Lailah Gifty Akita Pearls of Wisdom: Great Mind

“It’s faith in something and enthusiasm for something that makes a life worth living.”  ~~Oliver Wendall Holmes
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#11 Enthusiasm is my daily exercise.

I treasure the moments of my New Life.

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Early on my sobriety and recovery journey it was difficult to identify enthusiasm.  Everything felt flat, in fact, one of the first times being conscious of a lack of enthusiasm came when I was riding in a race car at 190 MPH.  With my helmet snuggly down on my head and my fire suit on, I knew something was missing.  I didn’t feel anything.  No excitement, no enthusiasm and no fear.

I wanted to feel enthusiastic; here I was, doing something on my bucket list.  Statement #11 in action helped my awareness and I began to look deeper into what I was feeling and when.  Daily writing in a journal helped me identify patterns and assisted me in finding simple joys and contentment.  I became aware that it was unrealistic to feel enthusiasm all the time.  (If every day were the 4th Of July, the meaning would be lost)

Statement #11 Tool: From our WFS Program booklet “How can you increase your enthusiasm today?  What energizes you naturally?  How can you enjoy what you currently have?

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.”  (if you would like to share a tool that assists you with Statement #11, email karen@teamwfs.org

Hugzzz

Karen
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Hi 4C Women,

How challenging to create enthusiasm when you might be feeling flat.  I give Karen a lot of credit for acknowledging that something was missing and finding a way to change it.  I, too, struggle with Statement #11 at times.  What helped me was to practice being still and take in what was happening at that moment.  For me, that is what treasuring the “moments” of my New Life means to me.  I also see it in appreciating what I do have, especially loving and supporting friends, being able to take care of my responsibilities, being creative in decorating for the seasons (that’s when my pure joy and enthusiasm takes wings) and being proactive in standing up for myself and my beliefs.  There was a time when I lived in fear of speaking my voice.  WFS taught me to be strong and confident even when I didn’t actually believe it.  Practice helped and it created an enthusiasm for feeling authentic and free.

I have a list on how to create enthusiasm which I reflect on whenever I need a reminder that there is enthusiasm in my life.  It helped me in writing this message and I hope it will inspire you to make your own list of how enthusiasm shows up in your life.

Be passionate                                                     Be proactive

Be grateful                                                          Be reasonable

Be positive                                                          Be patient

Be proud                                                             Be enlightened

Be creative                                                          Be evolving

Bonded in creating enthusiasm in our daily lives, Dee

 

WFS Annual Weekend Conference
June 12th – 14th, 2020
Hamline University
Saint Paul, MN
Pre-Conference Activities Begin June 11th

Registration Open Now!

2-night registration fees cover:
  • Friday & Saturday night lodging (except Day Pass)
  • 6 meals – Friday dinner through Sunday lunch at noon
  • 3 large group sessions
  • 4 breakout periods – choose from 16 amazing workshops
  • WFS meetings, icebreakers, informal activities, and workshops Thursday through Sunday
Residence Hall Lodging 2 nights Add Thursday night lodging
Double room** $275 +$50
Single room $350 +$70
Apartment Lodging  
Double room $350 +$70
Single room $430 +$90
Day Pass (No Lodging) $200 $220


Read more about lodging options, agenda, workshops, and more on the 2020 Conference webpage!

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Monday Thoughts 3/2/2020

“The best thing to hold onto in life is each other.”  ~~Audrey Hepburn

“To be deeply loved, means a willingness to cut yourself wide open, exposing your vulnerabilities…hopes, hurts, fears and flaws.  Hiding behind the highlight reel of who you are, is the real you and that person is just as worthy of love.  There is nothing more terrifying or fulfilling, than complete love, it’s worth the risk…reach for it.”  ~~Jaeda DeWalt

“What we have once enjoyed we can never lose.  All that we love deeply becomes a part of us.”  ~~Helen Keller


#10   All love given returns.

I am learning to know that I am loved.


In our WFS Program booklet there is a beautiful quote from our beloved Nancy Cross (fourcwoman) that states “All recovery roads lead to the ability to love and be loved.”  While it is true that in active addiction it can be difficult to comprehend or experience love but with the continued practice of Statement #10 love can flourish in our sober New Life.

Last week was a shocking and difficult week for our family.  We suddenly lost my sister’s husband and as I waited for my flight, I recalled and cherished precious moments together, from their wedding just a few years ago to our most recent phone calls.  Instead of trying to fix anything, I sat in stillness with my sister.  Amid our family’s grief, love connected us along with all of the lives he touched.

Allowing ourselves to feel our vulnerability can be a way to extend feeling loved.  When we are open, the real woman we are is open and our authenticity shines.  We show we are human beings in need of love and that we are capable of loving another.  Embracing rawness and vulnerability, a certain contentment arises, allowing a portal for love to expand.

Statement #10 Tool:

Brene Brown, a vulnerability researcher and author of The Power of Vulnerability, (as well as TED talks and numerous other titles) encourages being with someone who is in pain, whether it be ourselves or a loved one.  Be with someone in their darkness and not “race to turn on the light so we feel better.”  This includes ourselves.  Be with uncomfortable emotions and experience each moment.  If you have a Statement #10 tool that you would like to share, email karen@teamwfs.org

Hugzzz
Karen

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Hi 4C Women,

Being vulnerable can be scary yet as Karen shared, it can open the way to authentically giving and feeling loved.  Another component of vulnerability is to accept ourselves where we are at this very moment.  Sometimes we put such restrictive boundaries on what we deem as lovable that we build a wall so high that when love is climbing up to meet us, we make it impossible for love to reach us.  Some people call it perfectionism.  We’ll be lovable enough if we always do the right thing, don’t ever make mistakes, let anybody down, say yes when we mean no, forgo our own happiness to please others – the list could go on and on.  Acceptance of who we are now does not mean we can’t embrace emotional and spiritual growth.  It means we accept there will be change and while that is the work to be done, we love ourselves along the journey.  All love given returns and perhaps it starts with loving ourselves and the gift we give to ourselves besides self-love is believing and knowing we are loved by others.

Bonded in knowing we can give love and are loved, Dee

WFS Annual Weekend Conference
June 12th – 14th, 2020
Hamline University
Saint Paul, MN
Pre-Conference Activities Begin June 11th

Registration Open Now!

2-night registration fees cover:
  • Friday & Saturday night lodging (except Day Pass)
  • 6 meals – Friday dinner through Sunday lunch at noon
  • 3 large group sessions
  • 4 breakout periods – choose from 16 amazing workshops
  • WFS meetings, icebreakers, informal activities, and workshops Thursday through Sunday

Read more about lodging options, agenda, workshops, and more on the 2020 Conference webpage!

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Monday Thoughts 2/24/20

“Letting go doesn’t mean that you don’t care anymore.  It’s realizing that the only person you really have control over is yourself.”  ~~Deborah Reber

“The truth is, unless you let go, unless you forgive the situation, unless you realize that the situation is over, you cannot move forward.”  ~~Steve Maraboli

“One of the most courageous decisions you’ll ever make is to finally let go of what is hurting your heart and soul.”  ~~Brigitte Nicole
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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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Practicing Statement #9 continues to assist and teach in numerous ways, especially making it easier to understand how tightly I am holding on to something.  Before sobriety and my New Life, I was unaware of attachments such as from long standing belief systems, or relationships to past events.  Learning how holding on to the past drove my present and future behavior enables learning and growth.

Understanding how attachments influenced my life allowed me to begin to change them and was an effective way to practice this empowering Statement.  For the first time in my life I was learning the tools to release shame, negativity and guilt.  It brought about an excitement to life that had been missing, like a veil had been lifted.

In our WFS Program booklet it states “The past is a fact.  The present and the future are open to possibility.  They are why it is important to take charge of our thoughts so we can take charge of our lives and our actions.”  This can be the start of practicing this life-changing Statement.  Begin with letting go.

Statement #9 Tools by Sara Lindberg.  If you have a tool you would like to share, email karen@teamwfs.org

1.       Create a positive mantra to counter painful thoughts. How you talk to yourself can either move you forward or keep you stuck.  Often, a mantra can help reframe thoughts.

2.       Allow negative emotions to flow. Instead of shutting down emotions, which can keep you stuck, learn to feel and release uncomfortable emotions.

3.       Accept the other person may not apologize.  Waiting for an apology from the person who hurt can slow the process down of letting go.  If you are experiencing pain,  take care of your own healing, which may mean accepting an apology may not come.

4.       Surround yourself with people who fill you up.  We do not go through life alone, so why expect yourself to go through difficulties alone?  Allow ourselves to lean on others is a wonderful way to keep isolation at bay.  (Think about going to a WFS Face to Face Meeting or WFS Online Chat Meeting.  If there is not a F2F in your local area, you can start one!)

Hugzzz
Karen

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Hi 4C Women,

This Statement has always been a favorite for me from the first time I read the 13 Statements.  It took a while to let go of the guilt and shame from my past.  What helped the most was understanding the victimization part I was keeping close to my heart.  While others may have forgotten and forgiven my past, I kept it alive to needlessly feed my guilt and shame.  After all, I didn’t deserve self-forgiveness or any kind of forgiveness.  Holding onto my mistakes, regrets and bad choices, I guaranteed a life of continuous pain long after others may have forgiven or even forgotten me.  This is why I also love the 4Cs.  The more I said it, the more it became my mantra rather than the negative self-talk I fed myself every day.  It never occurred to me to reflect on the positive parts of my life because that would give me permission to actually remember that there were loving moments.  It might even take away my feeling like a victim all of the time to being empowered and believing I was lovable.  How selfish – NOT!  WFS to me is the whole package of creating lasting, positive, inner life changes.  Each Statement brings about inner change and for me, it started with Statement 9 – to let go of how I viewed my past as one picture of guilt and shame and instead learn from it and create the positive self-talk and self-love to move me forward.  I can visit the past now, both positive and negative, but do not have to stay there.  Well, I tend nowadays to linger a little bit longer in the positive memories of the past.  They are more healing and I need and appreciate that.  There’s another thing I learned which helped me tremendously.  While there was a lot of rejection from pivotal people in my life, I realized that they were coming with their own relationship histories and sadly, especially as a child, I had no insight, power or life experience to understand that.  As a young adult/mature adult, I do take responsibility for any behavior/actions I took yet I will not give away my power to those who harmed or hurt me.  That’s what I am letting go of.  What are you ready and willing to let go of to be free?

Bonded in letting go of what does not heal or serve us in our New Life, Dee

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Monday Thoughts 2/17/2018

“I’m still learning.”  ~~Michelangelo

“We all have ‘issues’ because we all have a story.  And no matter how much work you have done on yourself, we all snap back sometimes.  So be easy on you.  Growth is a dance.  Not a light switch.”  ~~John Kim

“Learning is not attained by chance; it must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence.”  ~~Abigail Adams.
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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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Many of us recognize the inspirational works of art by Michelangelo, whether it be his smooth sculptures or magnificent ceilings.  Yet, it was the depth of his willingness to continue to grow and learn that is most often overlooked. The result of this openness to growth made him an unintended master. Being able to adapt, to change, to grow and learn is what Statement #8 is built from.

Growth can be as simple as extracting something valuable from a situation, feeling or moment. For example, my friend Jackie recently shared that she adores the rain and it has been raining quite a bit lately. Growing up, in the back yards of her neighborhood sat an old, rusty bread truck with its doors wide open, dusty windows and tattered seats with grass growing beyond the worn-out tires.  During the summer it was simply too hot to play in, but……when it rained…it was the perfect spot to stay dry, safe and cozy.  Jackie spent hours listening to the rain plop onto the withered metal as the stillness surrounded and comforted her. It filled her senses in every way. Today, rain is a gentle reminder to see and feel the value in the moment and Jackie can be transported back to that secluded place whenever the sky unleashes the next shower.

Statement #8 encourages finding value and embracing growth in your New Life.  What is your ‘bread truck’ moment that you can bring forward and use to enhance your life?  What did that moment feel like? Describe it fully. What has it taught you?  How is this different today in sobriety and recovery?  Are you open and willing to continue learning like Michelangelo? If not, what is holding you back?

Hugzzz and dancing in the rain,

Karen
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Hi 4C Women,

This reminds me of a quote by Roger Miller:
Some people walk in the rain.  Others just get wet.

To me, this symbolizes listening to our spirit, living in the moment.  Nancy Cross once shared a post that spoke so much to me about doing just that.  I’d like to share it as I am feeling a great deal of physical pain and discomfort and am struggling with pulling back.  It feels unnatural and yet reading this message, I realize I need to listen to my body and my spirit in order to heal.

Taken from: Faith in The Valley – Iyanla Vanzant
“When you get the urge to stay home, be alone, pull back, or shut down, it is probably your spirit urging you to take a rest. Do not ignore it! Honor yourself by taking some time out. Take a day away. There may be something very important going on within you that you need to know about. You must get quiet in order to hear it. The job will be there, and people will simply have to understand; what can be done today can also be done tomorrow. All duties and responsibilities can wait. Your spirit cannot!
Rest, Stillness, Solitude, Introspection, Reflection, are spiritual vibrations. They keep us from breaking down, falling apart, and being forced into a living deficiency.”

Reward yourself with a spiritual health day once in a while!  How do you envision your personal spiritual health day?
Bonded in listening to our spirit to promote spiritual growth, Dee

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Monday Thoughts 2/10/2020

“There is no mistaking love.  You feel it in your heart.  It is the common fiber of life, the flame that heats our soul, energizes our spirit, and supplies passion to our lives.”   ~~Elisabeth Kubler Ross

“I now see how owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do.”  Brene Brown

“Something inside you emerges…an innate, indwelling peace, stillness, aliveness.  It is the unconditioned, who you are in your essence.  It is what you had been looking for in the love object.  It is yourself.”  ~~Eckhart Tolle

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#7 Love can change the course of my world.

Caring is all-important

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In our WFS Program booklet it states, “Practice of Statement #7 leads to understanding love and the importance of self-care.  Our New Life depends on establishing healthy, loving, relationships, first with ourselves and then with others.”  While understanding love is an easy concept to comprehend, self-care may not be.  So, what is self-care?

In today’s busy world, self-care is sometimes considered selfish, and oftentimes misunderstood.  Yet, self-care IS NOT SELFISH and is exactly what is needed in order to feel a sense of balance, connection and to feel loved.  In our New Lives, not drinking or using is our first act of self-care we experience.  As our recovery unfolds, understanding and application of self-care expands.

How fitting is it that Valentine’s Day is this week.  It is an opportune time to examine how we love ourselves and to plan self-care.  Statement #7 states that “Caring is all-important.”  How do you love and care for yourself?  What are some actions that you can add to your self-care routine?

Statement #7 Tool:

Here are 12 ways to get started with your self-care by author Tchiki Davis, Ph.D.  If you would like to share your tools for self-care, email karen@teamwfs.org

1. Make sleep part of your self-care routine. Sleep can have a huge effect on how you feel both emotionally and physically. Not getting enough can even cause major health issues. But stress and other distractions can wreak havoc on our sleep. What do you do to make sleep part of a self-care routine? Start by thinking about your nightly routine. Are you eating or drinking immediately before bed? If so, it’s especially important to stay away from caffeine and sugar, which tend to keep you awake.

Reducing stress is also key. If you have work-related stress, think about the best ways to calm yourself after a hard day or relax more while on the job. You might talk to your employer about lessening your workload or settle a disagreement with a coworker.  Next, make sure your bedroom is the best possible place for you to get good REM sleep. It should be free of distractions (such as a television, laptop, cellphone, etc.). And make sure you have room-darkening curtains to keep the sun from waking you up too early in the mornings.

2. Take care of yourself by taking care of your gut. Your gut health can have a significant impact on your health, well-being, and feelings of vitality. The types of foods you eat crucially impact the bacteria that live in your stomach, resulting in a cascade of either positive or negative outcomes. An unhappy gut can lead to an unhappy person, and vice-versa.

3. Exercise daily as part of your self-care routine. We all know exercise is good for us, but do we really know how good it is? Daily exercise can help you both physically and mentally, boosting your mood and reducing stress and anxiety, not to mention helping you shed extra weight. Of course, it might be hard to go to the gym every day, so try to incorporate other exercises, such as walking, tennis, or yoga, which may be able to fit into your schedule more easily. The most important thing is to create a routine that works for you.

4. Eat right for self-care. The food we eat has the potential to either keep us healthy or contribute to weight gain or diseases such as diabetes, but it can also keep our minds working and alert. Eating the right foods can help prevent short-term memory loss and inflammation, both of which can have long-term effects on the brain and, in turn, the rest of the body. Some of the most amazing self-care foods include fatty fish, blueberries, nuts, green leafy veggies, and brassicas, like broccoli.

5. Say no to others, and say yes to your self-care. Learning to say no is really hard; many of us feel obligated to say yes when someone asks for our time or energy. However, if you’re already stressed or overworked, saying yes to loved ones or coworkers can lead to burnout, anxiety, and irritability. It may take a little practice, but once you learn how to politely say no, you’ll start to feel more empowered, and you’ll have more time for your self-care.

6. Take a self-care trip. Taking a self-care trip can make a huge difference in your life. Even if you’re not feeling particularly stressed, getting away for a weekend every now and then can help you disconnect, relax, and be rejuvenated. These self-care trips don’t have to be costly; simply drive to the next town over and see the sights, or go camping nearby. The goal is to veer away from your normal schedule and take the time to do something just for yourself.

7. Take a self-care break by getting outside. Spending time outside can help you reduce stress, lower your blood pressure, and be more mindful. Studies have even shown that getting outside can help reduce fatigue, making it a great way to overcome symptoms of depression or burnout. Getting outside can also help you sleep better at night, especially if you do some physical activity, like hiking or walking, while you are outside.

8. Let a pet help you with your self-care.  Pets can bring a boost to our lives. From giving unconditional love to providing companionship, pets can be hugely beneficial for our self-care. Dogs especially can help reduce stress and feelings of anxiety and can even lower blood pressure. In fact, many people who suffer from disorders like PTSD have benefited from working daily with animals, which is why service dogs have become so helpful for these individuals.

9. Take care of yourself by getting organized. Getting organized is often the first step to becoming a healthier you, because it allows you to figure out exactly what you need to do to take better care of yourself. A small change, like keeping a planner or a calendar on the fridge, can help you write down all your responsibilities and appointments, while at the same time keeping your life a bit more organized. You can also create an area to keep keys, purses, backpacks, briefcases, and coats, and make sure they’re ready to go for the next day.

10. Cook at home to care for yourself. Many people don’t take the time to make themselves meals, preferring instead to stop for fast food or popping a pre-made meal in the microwave. But these “fast” meals aren’t usually sufficient when it comes to feeding your body the right kinds of calories and nutrients. Even if it’s only once a week, consider making a healthy meal for yourself or your whole family. You could even look into a meal delivery service or meal kit that can help you get started.

11. Read a book on self-care for self-care. In today’s fast-paced world, we tend to turn to our phones for entertainment or comfort, scrolling through news feeds that can contribute to our stress and anxiety rather than helping it. Instead, consider bringing a book with you when you leave the house. Even better, bring books on self-care, so that you can learn more about how to take care of yourself while you are taking care of yourself. You might be amazed at the difference it can make when you slow down instead of always looking at your phone. Not only can it help improve your mood, but it can also help you to stay more present and mindful.

12. Schedule your self-care time, and guard that time with everything you have. It can be hard for us all to find extra time. But it’s extremely important to plan regular self-care time. Moments alone can help you to ponder the best ways to move forward in your life and keep you grounded. And moments with friends can help you feel more connected and relaxed.

Hugzzz

Karen
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Hi 4C Women,

Self-care is part of the journey to self-love.  In years past, I over compensated for my need to be loved and accepted by being a people pleaser, feeling guilty if I even thought of saying no and doing something just for me.  I lost the power to say no and my fear of rejection was so overwhelming.  It took a while to work through this fear of rejection and forgive myself for a past I could not change.  Never in my wildest dreams did I think that one day I would look in the mirror at my reflection and feel that I was a lovable, worthwhile human being.  I had to care as much about myself as I did others.  Besides forgiveness, I also needed to learn self-respect.  It was quite challenging to overcome the feelings of guilt and begin to respect myself but I did learn and while there are moments of regret, I know that self-care and self-love are the keys to creating and keeping my New Life.  It’s freedom to me.  Freedom from the burden of saying yes when I meant no, freedom to shed the guilt and shame of all my yesterdays that can’t be changed and freedom to nurture my soul and spirit.  To be so bold as to say I deserve it!  I worked really hard to have this and the journey wasn’t an easy path at times.  Yet Learning to love myself has actually given me more freedom to love others genuinely.  I can breathe and when I am gasping for air, I have great support in the group and the 13 Statements to continue guiding me.

For those struggling with self-love, ask yourself what you love about yourself right now.  Be as detailed as possible.  This list is not about the things you need to change or improve upon to achieve self-love.  This is what you love about yourself today, right now.

What is in your self-care routine now?

How could you love yourself enough to forgive yourself, nourish yourself, feed your soul and live in the moment?

Bonded in Self-Care and Self-Love, knowing that caring for ourselves and others can change the course of our world and that caring is all important, Dee

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Monday Thoughts 2/3/2020

“I feel there is something unexplored about women that only a woman can explore.”  ~~Georgia O’Keefe

“Relax wild one.  It’s not your job to be everything everyone needs.  And you don’t have to be impressive to be loved.  Stop trying so hard.  Just show up and be real with the world.  That is enough.” ~~Brooke Hampton

“We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.”  ~~Mother Teresa

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

Greatness is mine by a conscious effort.

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Being present in life opens avenues that have been difficult to reach in the past and Statement #6 can be the ignition switch to embracing those ephemeral moments.  For example, each winter, pelicans arrive and spend time on the river near our home.  The ginormous wings are amazingly silent as they fly overhead, only making a small swish as they gracefully land in the water in search of tasty minnows.  It is a breathtaking sight to behold.

Before sobriety and New Life, it would have been easy to miss the greatness in these fleeting moments.  Overcome with negativity, birds of any feather would have been a reason to complain, be agitated or simply apathetic.  Yet, practicing Statement #6 can stimulate a healthy level of consciousness.

Taking notice of the world we live in begins with our reading of the Statements each morning.  Choosing one Statement for the week with intention directs our minds to grasp everything possible in each moment.  From a pod of pelicans to giving or receiving a smile from a stranger lays a foundation to be engaged in life.

Statement #6 Tool: The last line in Statement #6 states “Savor the greatness of ordinary moments.” Take time to be present.  Try a gratitude journal in the morning or evening, or both, and make full attempts at finding greatness in something ordinary.  A dear family member derives heart-FULL pleasure from an often hard to find rye bread.  If you would like to share any tools that you use with Statement #6, please email karen@teamwfs.org

Hugzzz

Karen

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Hi 4C Women,

I’ve been writing for many years and feel so grateful to be able to share what I have learned through my own life experience and from other phenomenal women who so willingly shared their life’s recovery journey.  In addition to Karen’s insightful, creative and courageous writings, was Nancy Cross.  She was a beautiful example of expressing and understanding the WFS program.

Here are some questions that Nancy posed to us:

1. What do you want to keep in your life? Let’s face it, some things are working and not everything has to be thrown out.  I consider this a powerful question when it comes to Statement #6.

2.  What do you want to change which could also be seen as “adding”? This goes back to how you answered the first question.  Knowing what you want to keep will provide knowledge for what you want to change/add to your life, creating your personal life vision.

My question would be to consider what barriers are keeping you from following through on your changes/additions?

The Seven-Ups of Life  (author unknown)

1.  Wake up – Decide to have a good day then seek out ways to make it so.

2.  Dress Up – the best way to dress up is to put on a smile.  A smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks.

3.  Shut Up – Say nice things and learn to listen.  (I would change this to Listen Up because shut up isn’t nice.)

4. Stand Up – For what you believe in.  Stand for something or you will fall for anything.

5. Look Up – To the bigger picture.  Get outside of your limited perception and consider other possibilities.

6. Reach Up – For something higher.  Stretch your mind, stretch your abilities, stretch yourself.

7. Lift Up – Focus on the positive, on what’s working and on what you want in life.

Bonded in creating our personal vision of a life filled with great moments in our everyday life, Dee

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Monday Thoughts 1/27/2020

“She believed she could, so she did.” ~~Unknown

“The soul becomes dyed with the color of its thoughts.” ~~Marcus Aurelius

“You are today where your thoughts have brought you, you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you.”  ~~James Allen

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#5 I am what I think.

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

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Do your thoughts about your New Life reflect the life that you are living today? Our founder, Jean Kirkpatrick, Ph.D. used an empowering tool to create the life she desired; self-imaging. Self-imaging can help create the shift needed and it can begin with Statement #5.

Owning our thoughts can help pave the way to create a connected life. With 2020 being a year of envisioning for so many, it begins with our thoughts. Here is an article by Jean:

The Way it is

“WFS is a program of habit breaking and behavior modification through changed thinking. We live in our minds, in our thoughts. If our thoughts are poisonous, so too, will our actions be. If our thoughts are troubled, our actions are destructive to ourselves.

The WFS program is one of positivity, a program of positive imaging. As women, our greatest problem is the lack of a working self-image. We operate from an image given to us by our parents, or one parent, and then we operate from other images provided to us from other persons we are around. Because of this, the WFS program shows how to change into a positive way of imaging ourselves. Our keynote is: I am a competent, caring, compassionate woman.” And we literally think ourselves into this image and act from it.

We must begin to repair our opinion of self. We must view our good qualities and we must see ourselves as capable. Isn’t it strange that most women raise an entire family, yet see themselves as being incapable of doing anything?”

Statement #5 Tool: Self-imaging. Summarize your positive qualities. Define SMART goals; (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-based) Confront distortions in thinking, measure yourself with your own yardstick, accept and know you are adaptable and unique. If you would like to share a helpful tool for this Statement, email karen@teamwfs.org

What do you envision for yourself?

Hugzzz

Karen

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Hi 4C Women,

Before WFS, I gave away my power, my self-esteem, self-love to the opinions of others or should I say the “judgment” of others. Most times, it wasn’t even the truth. It was my own distorted definition of who I thought I was. It may have started in childhood, bolstered by other authority figures and unhealthy relationships yet the outcome was the same – I drank because I felt unworthy, unlovable, not enough and a list of negative images. I had no idea of how to change that until WFS and much needed therapy. I am beyond grateful for learning self-love, self-worth and self-respect with the WFS Statements.

I bought a book at the WFS conference years ago entitled “The Self-Esteem Companion” by Matthew McKay, PhD., Patrick Fanning, Carole Honeychurch and Catharine Sutker. I guess it takes a group of people to teach others how to raise their self-esteem. It has wonderful exercises that I use to this day.

This is a visualization exercise. I hope you’ll give it a try.

Sitting in a chair, quietly speak these words to yourself:

I am a human being. I’m worthwhile simply because I exist and try to survive. I take care of myself. I take myself seriously. I correctly take myself into consideration in all matters. I have legitimate needs and wants. I can choose what I need and want without having to justify it to anybody. I make choices, and I take responsibility for them. I always do my best. Each thought and action is the best I’m capable of at the time.

Because I’m human, I make mistakes. I accept my mistakes without blame or judgment. When I make a mistake, I try to learn from it. I am imperfect, and I forgive myself for my mistakes. I know that others are equally worthy, equally imperfect. I have compassion for them because they are engaged I the same struggle for survival that I am.

I think this is a very powerful exercise and for me, it brings hope to working through my struggles and a measure of peace as I continue my healing process.

Think of the 4 and sometimes 5 Cs. How would you answer these questions?

I am capable of:

I am competent in:

I am caring about:

I am compassionate about:

I express courage by:

Bonded in knowing we are 4C women! Dee

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Monday Thoughts 1/20/2020

“Life is ten percent what you experience and ninety percent how you respond to it.”  ~~Dorothy M. Neddermeyer, Ph.D.

“Often it’s the deepest pain which empowers you to grow into your highest self.”  ~~Karen Salmansohn

“Inner peace begins the moment you choose not to allow another person or event to control your emotions.”  ~~Pema Chodron
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#4 Problems bother me only to the degree I permit.

I now better understand my problems.  I do not permit problems to overwhelm me.
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Statement #4 is such an empowering asset in my New Life and has helped manage and solve problems when put into action. Yet, this past week, this Statement helped me see clearly, literally.  Recently I began having trouble seeing from my left eye.  After an exam from my regular optician, it was time to see a specialist.

In the past, problems overwhelmed me to the point of denial, running away or simple non-reaction.   Over time, with the practice of Statement #4 I have become more adept at dissecting problems and examining multiple options and following through. Much like an exercise or yoga practice, my problem-solving skills are strengthening and becoming more defined.

Now what the specialist told me could have sent me running for cover but thanks to Statement #4, I was able to understand the problem and embrace the solution without fear.  Well, way less fear! Turns out the solution is a monthly eye injection.  This is a small price to pay for such a vital facet of the amazing New Life I get to live today.

Statement #4 Tool:  Focus on the solution, not the problem.  The problem is what it is, and multiple solutions may be available.  In the case with my eyes, I focused on the solution; better vision as opposed on how to get there.  Yes, it has a large squeamish factor, but the end result far outweighs the path to get there.  If you have a tool that you use to practice Statement #4 and would like to share, please email karen@teamwfs.org.

Hugzzz and clarity,

Karen
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Hi 4C Women.

This Statement has been such a tremendous guide in determining when I have an issue that needs attention (problem-solving) or just worrying about everything which in the past was a distraction from trusting my gut instincts and being in charge of my life.  I once wrote that my past does not define me, it only tells me where I’ve been.  The same can be said of how I problem-solved in the past before I was ready to admit I hadn’t been willing to consider a different approach to a real issue.  I didn’t trust my gut instincts.  It took quite a while to take risks, to let go of the fear of making a wrong decision, to reach out for input and have more of a win-win attitude than a winner-loser approach.

I believe that words are powerful, especially the ones we say to ourselves.  I started using the word “concern” rather than worry.  I felt concern expressed how I was truly feeling about a person or situation that needed my attention if I was to grow emotionally and set boundaries.  This was especially true when it came to family as I was so fearful of rocking the boat, falling out and not knowing how to get back in in a healthy way.  I learned that when I cared more about healing a relationship or issue than the people involved, I was hurting myself and denying using my energy towards self-care.   It encouraged me to search and research solutions rather than wringing my hands in needless worry with no end in sight.  I also loved the message from Karen a few years ago when she shared that she temporarily changed the word, “problems” to “changes” in her self-talk which helped her move from reluctance to understanding her fear of change, seeing it as a wonderful opportunity for growth.  She shared that change is not the actual problem but her reluctance to change was and she used that knowledge to reflect on whether she was truly stuck or fighting change.  I have always seen WFS as a path to positive change.  Yet, even positive change can be a bit scary, especially in the beginning.  It is amazing to experience the difference of letting problems overwhelm us to understanding why and learning new problem-solving skills, choosing a different approach.  It is truly a New Life!

Here are some questions we have used in our group for Statement #4.

What are the consequences of NOT changing this situation or behavior?

What do I feel I have at stake in this situation?

What am I willing to let go of?

What benefit am I getting out of keeping things the same way?

Do I need to review the boundaries I have set and whether or not I am adhering to them?

Have I reached out to my support system for input, comfort and understanding?

Do I care more than the other person in this situation?  If I do, why and how can I practice more self-care?

Bonded in understanding, changing and trusting our instincts, Dee