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Monday Thoughts 9/20/2021

“Just believe in yourself.  Even if you don’t, pretend that you do and at some point, you will.”  ~~Venus Williams

“Life can go in many directions but the belief in yourself is the map to the unknown.”  ~~Anne Neil

“You may be the only person left who believes in you, but it’s enough.  It takes just one star to pierce a universe of darkness.  Never give up.”  ~~Richelle E. Goodrich


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

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


In our WFS Reflections for Growth booklet our founder, Jean Kirkpatrick, PhD writes “Do you have faith in yourself?  Do you have faith in your ability to accomplish?  More importantly, do you have faith in your sobriety?  Faith is belief.  To stay sober, we must have faith in ourselves.  We must believe, trust, and have faith in our ability to accept our self-responsibility.”  This is an eye-opening way to examine faith in our New Lives and put action into Statement #13.

Addiction removed the ability to accept, believe or feel confidence in myself.  My belief system had become misplaced, and I unconsciously allowed others to make decisions in my life.  Faith in others came way before faith in myself.  Because of the WFS New Life Program, sobriety and recovery helped change direction and feel a sense of balance.

Challenging myself became a way to practice Statement #13 and feel responsible, which definitely increased belief in myself.  For example, knowing I wanted to get involved with WFS, becoming a Certified Facilitator was a route available.  I could either start a F2F meeting or one online.  Being more comfortable online, I chose to start a F2F.  This cemented faith, growth, and responsibility.  Today I know and have faith that I am a capable, competent, caring, and compassionate woman!

Hugzzz

Karen


Hi 4C Women,

In the beginning, I was like a rebellious teenager when it came to Statement #13.  I wanted to say, I am NOT responsible for myself and my actions.  I mean if I’m responsible, that means I have to actually stop my blame game and learn to make my own decisions, cope with the mistakes I would and did make, change my entire way of thinking and it was scary.  So much easier to blame others and just sit back and do nothing.  In totality, the 13 Statements are building blocks, a phenomenal guide to taking responsibility, to feel completely in charge of our minds, our thoughts and our lives.  I eventually began to feel empowered.  I didn’t have to hide my power; I could speak my voice.  It felt fabulous.  And mistakes, well it was shocking that the world didn’t stop turning when I made mistakes.

I am sure the people in my life were delighted with this change.  No more constantly complaining how horrible my life was because of others.   I was no longer an emotional victim of life’s situations or other people nor did I want to play that victim role anymore.  There are still times when I feel overwhelmed with being in charge yet I would rather work through those times than be stuck and fearful of a challenging situation or person.  And knowing I am in charge of my responses, my choices, provides a strength and courage I hold on to tightly.

Here’s the best part – I no longer deny my authentic feelings of fear and confusion at times.  I am fortunate to have the tools and the support of my WFS sisters to hear without judgement, provide insight from their own life experiences and space to make my own decisions.

Nancy Cross once shared a message with some questions from Iyanla Vanzant as it related to this Statement.  These questions helped me define how willing I was to practice Statement #13 in earnest.

1.       Are you willing to be a free and independent thinker?  (This one truly spoke to me the loudest.  When I was married, I didn’t realize how much I repeated my former husband’s point of view on everything.  One day, a co-worker asked me if I realized that I started every sentence with, “Ed said.”  He asked if I had thoughts or opinions of my own.  Wow!  That was a wake-up call.)

2.       Are you willing to stand up for yourself?  To speak up for yourself?

3.       Are you willing to be the one who calls the shots?

4.       Are you willing to walk away from the people who will be very upset when you stand up and speak up?  (This occurred during my separation when I found my voice.  It is challenging especially if we hold onto guilt from the past and feel we don’t deserve to speak our wants and needs.  Oh, but we do!  Remember that your past does not equal your future. We used alcohol or drugs to cope and practicing the WFS program teaches us to value ourselves as we work towards a New Life in recovery.)

5.       Are you willing to have fun and joy in total peace all by yourself, if necessary?

6.       Are you comfortable with saying no and realize it is a complete sentence?

7.       In learning to be responsible for yourself, have you set healthy boundaries to achieve your wants and needs?

Bonded in learning, growing, reaching out for support and being in charge!  Dee

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Monday Thoughts 9/13/2021

“Talk to yourself like you would someone you love.”  ~~Brene’ Brown

“You are an amazing person with unique talents  Have faith in your abilities.”  ~~Lailah Gifty Akita

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


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

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


When I was little, my dad would sometimes ask me to retrieve a tool or item from the basement.  My dad was super organized and his instructions would be specific about where to find this requested gizmo.  Yet looking upon the wall of tools, I drew a blank.  There was so much stuff there, I felt overwhelmed and stood there silently staring, struck with feelings of failure.  My dad didn’t chastise me for not being able to find it, but I certainly did. Then I carried this thought process into adulthood.

Sobriety and Statement #12 in action lay the groundwork for growth and ability.  Addiction removed recognition of worth or value and this translated into my capabilities as well.  At some point feelings of “why even bother” became the norm but thankfully sobriety and WFS helped me change that.  I am a capable woman, I am a competent woman, I am a caring woman, I am a compassionate woman. Rinse and repeat (like the shampoo bottle reminds us).

Who I am today is a direct result of living Statement #12 and yet there is so much more to discover and embrace.  This past week, I metaphorically gazed at that giant wall of tools that once had me perplexed and was able to grab the Statement that I needed to get the job done.  To the regular world, it looked like no big deal.  However, I felt a surge of satisfaction and respect.  I am a 4C woman!

Hugzzz

Karen


Hi 4C Women,

I imagined Karen looking at the wall of 13 Statements and recognizing how much she gained, learned new and positive ways to cope, believed in her capabilities and understanding there is more to discover.  I felt applause rise up and wishing I could be standing next to her to acknowledge all that she has accomplished as a 4C woman.  I relate so much to what she has shared; the feeling of not being enough, unworthy, lacking respect and for me personally, stupid, therefore not trusting my instincts or decisions.  So, to call myself a competent woman at first felt uncomfortable and definitely an unfamiliar phrase.  Just like Karen, once I started to say Statement #12 again and again, it started to feel authentic.  I learned to gradually reduce my abundance of negative self-talk, stopped apologizing for anything and everything that went wrong as I used to believe it was all my fault regardless of the situation, learned to accept compliments (that was a huge change) and yet the biggest change of all was acknowledging that I wasn’t stupid.  My self-esteem was so low that I truly believed I had nothing to offer.  It took a while to believe in myself and it was the WFS Statements that changed my life completely.  When I took the time to reflect on my competency over the years, I realized I had accomplished a lot in spite of myself.  Yet, it was this Statement that allowed me to believe and accept that I am a smart 4C woman.  It felt awkward at first and now it feels right to say it out loud.

How do you internalize and practice Statement #12?

As you go through your day, focus on what you tell yourself, the words you use to define who you are.

My all-time favorite question is:  I am worthwhile because…

Bonded in accepting, acknowledging and trusting that you are a competent woman and have much to give life, Dee


Hear more about Statement #12 in this video!

Statement 12: Giving Back
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Monday Thoughts 9/6/2021

“The treasures of the heart are most valuable of all.”  ~~Nichiren

“Stop looking outside for scraps of pleasure or fulfillment, for validation, security or love—you have a treasure within that is infinitely greater than anything the world can offer.”  ~~Eckhart Tolle

“Treasure the things about you that make you different and unique.”  ~~Karen Kain


#11 Enthusiasm is my daily exercise.

I treasure the moments of my New Life.


Treasure?  That is a verb (and a noun) that felt completely opposite of sobriety and recovery.  Initially fighting against a new way of life much like our founder Jean, I began to understand the devastating effects of addiction. Yet my emotions and feelings felt flat and nonexistent. How on earth would I possibly treasure anything after quitting drinking?  The answer was simple. Another verb…Practice.

It is comforting to know that Statement #11 is a direction and not a destination.  Each day there are a myriad of opportunities to treasure moments.  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.”  Jotting down a few things to be grateful for each day got my mind searching for even more things to practice gratitude on much in the same way shopping for a red car makes you see all the red cars around you.  It’s always been there, now it’s just easier to see.

Jean treasured her New Life by sharing what she was learning and putting it into practice.  Finding key ingredients for a splendid New Life, the WFS Statements were brought into existence. This week, take note each day and find something to treasure.  Inside or out, no matter the size, it is there for you.

Hugzzz

Karen


Hi 4C Women,

Indeed, treasuring the moments and feeling enthusiasm daily seemed a high order to accomplish.  Yet, as Karen shared, it is a direction not a destination.  Each day is a new day to practice this Statement.  At first, I thought I had to live up to other people’s definition of a sober woman.  I needed to immediately and with great enthusiasm, show how much better my life was.  While it was definitely much better, I thankfully began to understand that I had to be authentic, to go through the stages of emotional and spiritual growth to learn what brought me joy and enthusiasm in order to genuinely feel it.

Initially, my reluctance to explore new avenues had a lot to do with my expectations.  They were way too high and I would not try new things or explore other options for fear of disappointment.   I began to reflect on how many times I had been disappointed in my life and most of it had little to do with seeking joy.  It had to do with my unhealthy decisions, being rejected which with low self-esteem only enhanced my fear of being vulnerable, rejected once again and running away from feeling any positive emotion.  So, what if I tackled this feeling of enthusiasm and I was disappointed?  The bigger question was, what if I chose enthusiasm in something new, something I knew I enjoyed and it was a treasured moment?  Why would I pass that up?  I had to let go of fears surrounding the risk of not feeling that uplifting joy of enthusiasm.  As I discovered what brought a smile to my face, laughter in my soul, I began to experience enthusiasm.  What I also learned is that practicing the WFS Statements becomes a habit just as turning to alcohol had become a habit for coping.

I found a few articles on enthusiasm and a few suggestions really stood out for me.

Take 15 minutes a day to do something you love (perhaps start smaller with 5 minutes).  To start, make a list of everything you love to do.  What’s calling you right now?    At the end of the day, jot down a few thoughts in a journal so when your enthusiasm is waning, you can read the joy you felt doing something you love.

Practice self-compassion.  It is the practice of noticing what you’re feeling, remembering that you’re human (and therefore fallible, just like everyone else on the planet), and treating yourself with the same kindness you’d give to a beloved friend.  More often our response is to beat ourselves up when we stumble, but research has shown (and your own experiences may echo) that self-flagellation is counterproductive.

Avoid energy drains.  Negativity is also contagious.   If you feel drained or badly about yourself with certain people or situations, it may be time to set personal boundaries and practice that self-compassion.

Learn to say no.  Notice where your time is going.  Is it nourishing you or are you acting out of a sense of false guilt?

Flex your “what’s going well” muscle.  It’s sometimes easy to notice what’s not going well.  This goes back to practicing self-compassion, discovering what you love and doing it, working through fears of disappointment, surrounding yourself with positive, encouraging and supportive people.

Bonded in practicing enthusiasm and treasuring the moments coming from this practice, Dee


Women for Sobriety, Inc., is excited to announce that our WFS Online community will be moving to a new, more user-friendly and feature-rich platform in the coming months. READ MORE

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Monday Thoughts 8/30/2021

“To be fully seen by somebody, then, and be loved anyhow, this is a human offering that can border on miraculous.”  ~~Elizabeth Gilbert

“Love is always bestowed as a gift—freely, willingly and without expectation.  We don’t love to be loved; we love to love.”  ~~Leo Buscaglia

“You are loved just for being who you are, just for existing.  You don’t have to do anything to earn it.  Your shortcomings, your lack of self-esteem, physical perfection, or social and economic success—none of that matters.  No one can take this love away from you, and it will always be here.”  ~~Ram Dass


 #10 All love given returns.

I am learning to know that I am loved.


Statement #10, the second of the “Love Statements” can feel uncomfortable to practice at first but understanding that I was deserving of love for simply existing opened up a whole new way to live.  Before sobriety and recovery, I was under the assumption that love needed to be earned…. from family and even friends.  This created a seemingly never-ending cycle of “receipt chaos” in my mind (why, who needed payback and when).  Turning to alcohol for relief, I simply shut down and love was lost.

Our founder, Jean Kirkpatrick, PhD, put some missing puzzle pieces together and brought the WFS New Life Program to life.  Built with exploration and insight, every woman who embraces the 13 Statements today receives love directly from Jean.  That love continues on through each of us, weaving together a strong and vibrant tapestry that continues to flow outward.

Loving without expectation creates a portal for life to simply be and releases a need for receipts.  Relationships and experiences begin to feel genuine and authentic, while cementing healthy self-awareness.  Love is a powerful force and like our WFS Program booklet states “Love is the wellspring of a New Life.”

Hugzzz

Karen


Hi 4C Women,

I relate to what Karen has shared.  I have found that giving love was always easier than accepting that I was loved just for being me.   I belittled myself over and over again to prove I was lovable.  I found myself making choices that only validated my feelings of unworthiness, feeling invisible.  Thank goodness for therapy and the WFS New Life Statements.

I read an article a while back that touched my heart and expressed clearly what I have learned from rejection from others and even rejecting myself as a lovable person.

It starts with “Remember this” –

Remember this when you are in familiar territory and someone new walks up looking for guidance

Remember this when you see someone on the outskirts anxiously holding her own hand

Remember this when someone approaches you and asks a question – see the bravery behind the words

Remember this when you see someone stop trying – perhaps she’s been rejected one too many times

Remember this when you see someone being excluded or alienated – just one friendly person can relieve the painful sense of feeling invisible.

Remember the deepest desire of the human heart is to belong…to be welcomed…to know you are seen and worthy of kindness.

These are the lessons I learned in WFS, how becoming a 4C woman could change my life and others who want to be accepted, cared about, listened to and knowing they belong just as they are.

As you go through the week, think about how you welcome people into your life based on the “Remember this” comments above.  I do know that WFS was and is a place of acceptance and it was how I learned to love myself and know, while challenging at times, that others love me just for being me!

Bonded in giving love and receiving love for who you are at this very moment, Dee


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Monday Thoughts 8/23/2021

“What day is it?’ asked Pooh.  “It’s today,” squeaked Piglet.  “My favorite day,” said Pooh.”  ~~A.A. Milne

“Time is like a river.  You cannot touch the same water twice, because the flow that has passed will never pass again.  Enjoy every moment in life.”  ~~Unknown

“If you’re always racing to the next moment, what happens to the one you’re in?  Slow down and enjoy the moment you’re in and live your life to the fullest.”  ~~Nanette Mathews


#9 The past is gone forever.

No longer am I victimized by the past.

I am a new woman.


Trying to relive the past was a way to avoid the present before my New Life.  I was unaware of how this made life feel miserable and increased the desire to escape into addiction.  It was a cycle of pain and avoidance, but sobriety and especially Statement #9 helped free me from that painful circuit.

Understanding that the past is really gone forever allowed me to recognize that each moment is fleeting; it will never appear again and I can either embrace what is and process the emotions that accompany it or I can fight against it and prolong imbalance and discomfort.  This line of thinking allowed me to embrace choice and the feelings of being a victim began to fade away.

Our founder, Jean Kirkpatrick, PhD, states in our WFS Program booklet “When I was drinking, I was forever looking forward to something in the future, or I was reciting something from the past.  I was never in the present.  I was escaping that.”  Each day this week, focus on being present in the moment.  How often does your mind cling to the past?  What is holding you to that particular moment?  Did you expect a different outcome?  What would happen if you changed how you define what happened?  How can you incorporate Statement #9 more into your daily life?

Hugzzz

Karen


Hi 4 C Women,

As I get older and sometimes feel the strong pull of reflecting on the past, I am even more grateful for Statement #9, my all-time favorite.  I have begun to understand that, for me, there is the painful past and the joyful past.  With time and emotional growth, I have come to let go of the painful past because I have worked through the pain, not ignored it or dismissed it.  It has given me insight and understanding for a lot of my choices and most importantly, to learn to make healthier choices in my recovery and forgive myself as well as others.

Forgiving others has been the biggest challenge yet it frees up so much energy to embrace the action part of this Statement – no longer am I victimized by the past, I am a new woman.  Do I regret some of my past decisions?  Of course, that makes me human.  Do I dwell and beat myself up for those decisions?  NO.  When my thoughts start going in that direction, I repeat Statement #9 over and over, knowing I cannot change the past, only hopefully “learn” from it.  And then there is the joyful past.  There was a time when I only focused on the painful past as though my whole life was nothing but a negative, painful, joyless life.  Even my former marriage had joyful times and while the painful times outranked the joy, I learned so much about myself over the years.  It was Statement #9 that gave me guidance in letting go as I worked through the past, learning how to forgive, and bringing balance to my memories by also remembering the joyful times.

I have a plaque that reminds me to bring balance into my painful memories, “When you stumble, make it part of the dance.”  I stumbled, still do, yet I can make those stumbles a part of my dance in balancing the pain with the joyful memories.  Last week, Karen talked about her grateful journal.  It helped me to see that grateful journaling can be part of how I continue working through the pain to focus on the gratefulness of sobriety, the healed relationships of which the most important one is the one I have with myself.

As you continue to heal from the past, ponder these questions:

Have you learned to trust your instincts as you heal from the past?

Is forgiving yourself and others still extremely difficult or getting easier?  If difficult, do you know why?

What strengths have you gained from healing?

Are you open to acknowledging there are joyful memories and how do you celebrate them?

In answering these questions, consider this quote:

“You’re more than the mistakes you’ve made.  You are the wisdom, strength, compassion, and growth you’ve gained from all you have been through.” ~~ Karen Salmansohn

Bonded in learning from the past and becoming a new 4C woman, Dee


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Monday Thoughts 8/16/2021

“If nothing ever changed, there’d be no butterflies.”  ~~Unknown

“You have done all you can on a physical level, and now must enter sacred waiting.  The hardest most integral step is turning all over to the grace of life and the coming transformative powers born from the steps you have already taken.”  ~~Sarah Blondin

“Growth demands a temporary surrender of security.”  ~~Gail Sheehy


#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.


Learning that sobriety is the beginning of New Life, and recovery is the discovery of New Life, keeps me focused on moving forward.  In the beginning, it took all of my energy to just stay sober and during this time I felt like a sponge; absorbing information from all around me.  As I began to feel more comfortable, growth became more focused and directed inwards. This is where Statement #8 in action opens a portal for exploration.

Beginning to practice this Statement, I felt like an adult and thought why do I need to grow?  Yet as I traveled down the road of recovery, I soon realized that even though I was physically mature, my thoughts and mind tilted towards immaturity.  Yet, there was something quite positive in that knowledge: I was starting with a clean slate and was in charge of the chalk.  A masterpiece was ready to be expressed and created.

For me, Statement #8 will always be in motion and it is not a destination.  It is a road to define, explore and discover.  The WFS Program offers the starting direction and it is up to each 4C woman to set out and chart her own path.  I absolutely love that Statement #8 simply opens the door, yet we get to build and design our New Life.  This week, reflect on where you started and note where you are right now. How does it feel?  Do you feel content or satisfied?  What do you need right now? Where do you see yourself in 5, 10 or 15 years?

Hugzzz

Karen


Hi 4C Women,

Karen has presented some thought-provoking questions.  Thinking about what I feel right now, I find myself fluctuating between contentment and uncertainty.  And these fluctuating feelings are why I am so grateful to know that Statement #8 is all about accepting where we are at the moment, being able to grow emotionally and spiritually as we discover and uncover our needs, creating our own individual path.  Most important to me has been my willingness to change, to step out of my comfort zone at my own pace.  In the past, change was a scary place for me to even consider.  Usually, my fear of change was like most, the unknown, not being able to control an outcome, unrealistic expectations and wondering if I was making choices that would actually support my personal growth.

In our meeting, we talk about our authentic feelings of that day, and it has been a great source of understanding and comfort. The comfort is accepting and acknowledging all of our feelings.  It is teaching me that, with Statement #8 guiding us, there is so much insight to gain.  We not only acknowledge what we’re feeling but also why.  What happened that we are feeling sad, angry, joyful, content?  If our goal is to gain emotional and spiritual growth, understanding the reason for those feelings is key to learning the direction we want to go and to fill our tool box with impactful resources and knowledge of our inner needs to do so.  It helps us to consider whether we need to dig deeper into our needs and find a way to move forward or celebrate and even repeat the action of that joyful and contented feeling.  It’s like a puzzle that needs to be solved putting the pieces together, creating the big picture.

The action part of Statement #8 can be daunting – daily putting your life into a proper order and knowing what those priorities are. For me, it depends on what is happening in my life on any given day.  Sometimes it’s survival and other days, it’s exploring new directions.  I used to think priorities were the tasks that needed to be accomplished.  While I am a list maker and love to just check off those tasks, I do understand that a priority needs to match the genuine purpose of my emotional and spiritual growth.  This is how it was explained at a workshop I attended: A priority is whatever has first claim on your time, energy, and resources.  That one sentence stopped me in my tracks.  How do I spend my time and energy and resources?  Does it truly match my core values, what I consider the essence of who I am and want to be?  If my answer was giving back for what I have received in this New Life, does my priority reflect that?  One way to know your core values is to think about what feeds your spirit, what emotional needs are left unattended to begin the practice of self-care so that your core values become clearer.

Bonded in creating a huge tool box of understanding our emotional and spiritual needs and ways to support them, Dee


Hear more about Statement #8 in this video!


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Monday Thoughts 8/9/2021

“Most people, it seems like they’ve only got one part of the equation down.  Caring for themselves, or caring for someone else.  And I’ve learned how important it is to have both.”  ~~Deb Caletti

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

“To often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”  ~~Leo Buscaglia


#7 Love can change the course of my world.

Caring is all-important.


Caring is all-important.”  Whoa.  Such a simple sentence in the action part of Statement #7, but it encompasses everything.  Our founder, Jean Kirkpatrick, Ph.D., was ahead of her time and wise beyond her years in understanding the power of love for women in recovery.  On her own journey, Jean began to jot down important observations, ones that could lead to changing course and the WFS New Life Program was born.  Born from love and shared with love.

Addiction can alter perceptions of love. What may seem like loving words or actions can oftentimes feel manipulative or controlling.  Alcohol denied the ability to understand this, and I clung to denial for ease and comfort, but the WFS New Life Program can help change course.

In our WFS Beginner’s Collection booklet it states “Our culture has taught us to be over-dependent on others—by attaching our self-esteem to our relationships and to approval from others.  Our value as a person often depends on our relation to others and not on our own intrinsic worth.  On the other hand, we fear and dread rejection and hurt.  Now is the time to take risks—be open about our feelings—be vulnerable—balance giving and receiving.  Mature, loving relationships can bring us the greatest happiness of all.”  This week, take time to express your love and to practice balance and openness. Notice the emotions and feelings that arise.  How do they differ from last year or even from before your New Life?

Hugzzz

Karen


Hi 4C Women,

Karen’s question reminded me of how much this Statement changed my life, how I learned to love myself without needing the approval of others.  Rejection was my greatest fear and acceptance my greatest need.  Through WFS, I learned that the best way to find acceptance was through my own acknowledgement of my worth and not the opinion of others.  After all, I will always be with me so it’s absolutely imperative that I nourish the caring of me and this is how love can, and did, change the course of my world.  Loving myself opened me up to receiving and giving love to others authentically.

Being vulnerable can be quite scary yet it is that vulnerability that opens doors to genuine relationships.  If sharing who we are, what our needs are, chases someone away, that only leaves more room for those who embrace and encourage our vulnerability in developing caring relationships.  I try to look at relationships as interdependent, the balance of giving and receiving as Karen shared.  We need each other in this life.  The balance is the healthy feeling of enjoying being alone and also spending time with others.  Imbalance is depending solely on others to bolster our self-esteem, to fill our empty love tank, being fearful of expressing our needs for fear of rejection.  For me, this past year created an imbalance with the isolation I experienced.  I realized how much joy I felt being “with” others.  For some, it became comfortable to be isolated to the point where the fear of future interacting in person became a concern.  Initially the isolation became a welcome change from my overly hectic scheduled life.

Further into the pandemic, I understood that too much time alone, not interacting on a more personal level, was creating a void that could be a trigger.  Don’t get me wrong, it took years, but I did eventually learn to enjoy my own company but I also love being with others.  It motivates me, inspires me, brings me great joy – loving the course of my world with wonderful people.  I even missed chatting with people in the grocery store!   However, it is this Statement that made me realize that whether in person, zoom, phone or text, I am grateful for the circle of love in my life.  Even in physical isolation, I had so much love from the women I have been privileged to know through WFS.  I believe I could write that on my gratitude list every night.

Love, caring is an action, not just a feeling.  Are you aware of how you fill your own personal love tank, showing love to yourself, how you show caring to others?   Is your love and caring in balance?  This is an important question as I have found many women with addictions tend to be people pleasers, neglecting their own needs.  It’s exhausting!  So, Statement #7 is practicing self-care, self-love and having the energy to be caring about others.

Bonded in a balanced, loving, caring, sober life to enjoy, Dee


Hear more about Statement #7 in this video!

 

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Monday Thoughts 8/2/2021

“Life is like a coin. You can spend it any way you wish, but you only spend it once.” ~~Lillian Dickson

“Live each second without hesitation.” ~~Elton John

“When we do the best we can, we never know what miracle is wrought in our life or the life of another.” ~~Helen Keller


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

Greatness is mine by a conscious effort.


It is easy to get caught up in the fast-paced moments of the day, from 24-hour news cycles to binge watching favorite shows, each day can morph into an entire week and a week into a month. Before our eyes, a new year is upon us and we wonder where did all that time go? Sobriety and Statement #6 encourages us to slow down and grow in conscious awareness.

In our WFS Program booklet it states, “Sobriety is a rewarding experience for those who invest in the moments of each day.” What does that mean? How do we invest in each day? This was not hard in early sobriety; it simply felt amazing to be sober! Being able to close my eyes at night knowing I had made it through another day without drinking made every day feel special. Life felt great, yet like an iceberg, I was just touching the surface. Underneath held new discoveries and uncharted waters.

What does it mean to invest in our day? Of course, each day is different for everyone, but we have the ability to devote conscious effort into those 24 hours. I see Statement #6 as a type of Relapse Prevention. By making small conscious efforts each day, we can gain healthy returns in our lives. For instance, I begin the day by journaling one page and close the day by jotting down something I feel grateful for. Another 4C woman sets a chime to go off at the same time every hour so she slows down and takes a conscious breath, while gardening and connecting to nature works for another fabulous 4C friend. The key is to make Statement #6 fit and work for you. Find greatness in each day, even in the ordinary and everyday moments.

What will you discover in your uncharted waters?

Hugzzz

Karen


Hi 4C Women,

I absolutely love how Karen described the beginning of her sobriety journey, feeling how great life was each day and then recognizing she was just touching the surface underneath the iceberg. What a beautiful time to reflect on, to be grateful for, when as she shared, she was just beginning to find new discoveries about life, about herself as a sober woman amid the unchartered waters. I sometimes feel that way when a new situation or challenge enters my life. How will I respond? Will I forget all that I have learned, all the changes I made by a conscious effort or will I invest wisely in my ordinary, yet fulfilling, life I have worked so hard to create? Will I seek input to keep me on track, to remind me how much I have learned? I definitely know that my life is enriched immensely by the positive support of my WFS sisters. They provide me a listening ear, compassion in times of my personal conflict or confusion. It goes back to knowing that we are not alone, that we can seek support without judgment. I use to journal quite a bit in the first years of my recovery. I am glad that I did as each time I read my written word, I can visually see and recall the major changes I made in my thinking, my responses/reactions, my ordinarily great life!

I came across this question: If they wrote a book about your life, what would the title be? The more I thought about this question, the more I realized that the title wasn’t nearly as important to me as the chapter titles. Oh, that would be such a fun and yet frightening roller coaster ride as roller coasters tend to be just that in real life.

Here’s the best thing about those chapters – they are the unchartered waters I traveled, the paths I chose and learned from, the guide to making the ordinary great by living each day clear minded, less fearful, more forgiving (especially of myself) and most of all, loving myself more each sober chapter I lived. While my sobriety was the beginning goal, my emotional and spiritual growth is what kept me going, kept me breaking through the iceberg in bits and pieces, sometimes large chunks.

How would you answer the original question as to the title of your book?

I decided to create my chapters based on my recovery rather than my whole life. I did this to see my personal growth, how WFS changed my life so drastically. If you were to choose the same way of creating your recovery book, what would you title the chapters of your life today? It doesn’t matter if you are at the very beginning of sobriety or years down the road, the gift you give yourself is that you are moving forward. Perhaps that could be the title of Chapter 1.

How do you appreciate the ordinary? (Waking up remembering the night before, being available when needed, pursuing a dream, healing relationships, creating authentic bonds – so much more!) For me, when I feel unsure, distraught, I go back to gratefulness. I like how Karen ends each day with writing in her grateful journal. There is something about seeing it in writing that is a beautiful reminder of how our ordinary life has moments of joy and when times are tough, just having that reminder can provide a sense of balance, that in this unchartered path, we have experienced greatness even in the ordinary.

Bonded is recognizing and appreciating the ordinary and greatness in our lives, Dee


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Monday Thoughts 7/26/2021

“Success is a state of mind.  If you want success, start thinking of yourself as a success.”  ~~Joyce Brothers

“We only see what we want to see; we only hear what we want to hear.  Our belief system is just like a mirror that only shows us what we believe.”  ~~Don Miguel Ruiz

“Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will.”  ~~Zig Ziglar


#5 I am what I think.

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


Addiction fuels a circle of deception, especially with our thoughts but with Statement #5 in action that circle can be broken and new patterns of thought embraced.  The WFS New Life Program encourages self-examination, and this Statement where we examine our thoughts resides at the core of that exploration.

In our WFS Program booklet it asks “Do you know why you think your thoughts?  Are you aware of the mental place in which you live, the real environment that you create for yourself by your thoughts?  Or do you just let thoughts happen at random?”  Answering these questions can direct our thoughts and build a stable platform for further growth in our New Lives.

Here are a few ways to help identify and shift thoughts:

  1. Sit in stillness:  Each day give yourself permission to sit without distraction for 5 minutes, shut off the tv or phone and close your eyes.  What thoughts are coming to mind?  Are your thoughts hurried?  Are your thoughts centered on contentment or do you have worries?  This is the time to notice and identify what you are thinking.  This may be a new concept (it was for me!) and new does not mean bad or wrong.  It can be the first action to managing thoughts.

 

  1. Create a thought diary:  Jot down some of the major thoughts that you noticed in those five minutes of stillness. Give yourself time to do this, write down your thoughts for at least a week, more is helpful.  Do you notice a there to your thoughts?  Maybe of not enough or too much or maybe thoughts of the future?  Are thoughts fearful or simple uncertainty?  Be specific.

 

  1. Examine your thoughts:  You can gain deep insight by reviewing your thought diary.  Do you see a pattern?  Where are you doing well and where do you need to shift your thought process?  Is there something driving your thinking? Is this thought taking me closer to or further away from sobriety and recovery?  Be honest with yourself.

 

  1. Shift or reframe unhelpful thoughts:  You can redefine a long held thought or belief and concentrate on changing your internal dialogue.  If you have thoughts of “I’m not good enough” challenge that thought and repeat affirmations such as “I am a competent woman” or write out ways that you have achieved something, no matter how small.  This simple shift can help redirect thinking and over time help you to recognize thoughts that do not empower or embrace you. Make this a daily part of your recovery routine.

 

Hugzzz

Karen


Hi 4C Women,

I remember the first time I read Statement #5 and thought, wow, do I really want to share with others what I think of myself?  For so many years, I questioned my confidence, my competency.  I found it difficult to say I was a competent woman.    Finally, after introducing myself as a competent woman at the WFS meetings, it felt comfortable, almost believable!  As I began believing, I began behaving.  I finally understood that my self-esteem was almost non-existent, that even when I was praised for doing something well and appreciated it, I didn’t feel it within myself.

At one of our WFS meetings, the question was asked as to how we show up for ourselves.  Do we show up seeking approval from others and still not have faith in our own accomplishments, compassionate acts, capabilities?  Do we let our self-care evaporate so we can prove ourselves worthy by always doing for others?  I know that was me at one time.  This is why I so desperately needed the guidance of the 13 Statements to change my thinking, my actions, to do more than just stop drinking.  Rather than saying my extremely negative mantra every day, I began to replace it with one of the 13 Statements.  Each one became a ladder of personal growth.  I was no longer digging myself out of a hole of unworthiness, incompetency and insecurities.  I became a 4C woman.

Write about a moment you were brave and just went for it.  I came across this question and gave it great thought.  It reminded me that there have been many times in my life that I was brave but discounted it or never gave myself credit for it.  How about you?

I plan to do the sitting in stillness exercise.  It is new for me and I’m so curious as to where my thoughts will go in those 5 minutes of stillness, no tv, no phone!  Of course, an exercise of this kind requires the follow through described in 2-4 and that will be the key to learning how I am authentically feeling, thinking and handling my current situation.  I’m hoping you will try it and share your outcomes with others with whom you trust.

Bonded in believing, behaving and shouting out loud that we are 4C women who bravely went for it, Dee

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Monday Thoughts 7/19/2021

“No is a complete sentence.” ~~Anne Lamont

“I’m allowed to do what’s best for me even if it upsets people.” ~~Unknown

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


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

I now better understand my problems.

I do not permit problems to overwhelm me.


The WFS New Life Program and Statement #4 provides a guide or map for growth and understanding. Before sobriety, I lived on the edge and created problems or drama to feel connected to life. In actuality, I was taking myself further away from living fully. Problems felt overwhelming no matter the size. Yet for some others, problems did not exist. Practicing Statement #4 brings feelings of ease and balance.

Learning new skillsets or tools like boundaries can have lasting impact in our New Life. It felt liberating to say no when I wanted to say no, and I began to unlearn some habits that did not reflect who I am at my core. Soon I was seeing problems from a different viewpoint and learning new coping skills, especially from the women in our WFS Online Forum and our face-to-face groups. Every day is a new chance to solve something.

While some problems are within our control, others are not. Yet we can always control our reaction to them like the above quote from Dr. Angelou. We need not be reduced but instead reinforce our beliefs in ourselves and abilities. We grow into ourselves and our New Life, after all, we are capable and competent, caring, and compassionate women!

Hugzzz

Karen


Hi 4C Women,

I was thinking of last Monday’s Thoughts and how Karen changed the wording to be in harmony with the situation at hand. I started thinking that my change for Statement #4, in accordance with my situation last week, might be, “Family members bother me only to the degree I permit.” This lesson is one I seem to continue learning over and over again and that is, I understand my problems and have no control over other people’s actions or decisions. A difficult lesson, indeed, especially when it comes to family and the emotional history attached. The reason I find it difficult is that many times family problems do impact me. I have to live with them, tolerate them and hope their problem-solving skills get better with the infinite wisdom that I bestow upon them. I hope you are appreciating my bit of sarcasm.

I eventually learned the difference between constant worrying where nothing got solved because there wasn’t a real issue and a valid concern that needed problem solving skills and decision making. I came across a post from WFS online, dated 2009, but not who authored it. If anyone recognizes it, please let me know. Lots of good information and it reinforced how the New Life program is still as invaluable and relatable since its beginning in 1975. There are comments in the post that I’d like to share:

“In order to move out of powerlessness, you must act to understand what your problems are – the nature of them and where they come from. This gives us the power to deal with them – face them instead of being “overwhelmed.” Being overwhelmed by problems is a habit too and a self-defeating one at that. I can choose to change my beliefs if old beliefs are harming me and hindering my development.”

She described that being overwhelmed involved beliefs such as:

1. Other people’s needs come above my own

2. I will be seen as lazy and selfish if I care for myself

3. I can ignore my needs for the sake of others

4. I don’t deserve better

5. I can’t cope

6. Things have to be done in a certain way

Do you connect with any of these beliefs? Can you add to the list?

I love this comment: “None of the statements are things that can sort of be checked off a list as “done” – they are ways of existing or being – practices that help us daily to build and maintain a New Life. Today I know that I can adjust and examine unrealistic beliefs about myself that harm or hinder my progress. I have a responsibility to take care of my whole self.”

The focus of her post was on the action part of not permitting problems to overwhelm us. I had not thought of my beliefs as hindering me yet in reflection, I can say that was my way of thinking many years ago. I allowed myself to be overwhelmed because I had no boundaries on what was plain old worry and a real concern that needed my attention. I’m hoping you will give some thought to how you handle problems, can make the distinction between a worry and a real concern, if your beliefs are holding you back from taking care of your whole self and trusting others to offer input when you’re stuck even though the final decision is yours.

Bonded in understanding our problems, learning to reduce feeling overwhelmed and embracing the support and insight we gain from others, Dee


 

Finding a Path Forward: A Town Hall for CF’s

Saturday, July 24th, 2021
1:00-2:30 pm US/Eastern
(12:00 pm Central, 11:00 am Mountain, 10:00 am Pacific)

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