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Monday Thoughts 8/19/2019

Monday Thoughts

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror, I can take the next thing that comes along.’” ~~Eleanor Roosevelt

 “Confidence isn’t thinking you are better than everyone else, it’s realizing that you have no reason to compare yourself to anyone else.” ~~Maryam Hasnaa

 “When I take good care of myself, it lifts my spirits, boosts my confidence, and makes me feel strong. When someone tries to throw me shade, it bounces right off. I look those haters straight in the eye, keep my chin up and shoulders back. Because I know I’m a fierce queen—and they know it too.” ~~Alyssa Edwards


Statement #8
The fundamental object of life is emotional and spiritual growth.
Daily I put my life into a proper order, knowing which are the priorities.


For years I lived life through a lens of comparison, which only fueled feelings of escapism and drinking. I hadn’t realized how limiting it was when looking at side by side accomplishments, physical appearances or abilities. Instead of measuring myself with my own yardstick, I fell short every time; it became a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Statement #8 is a deeply personal Statement; it focuses on individual growth. When creating the WFS Program, Jean understood that growth was an essential part of recovery. Learning who we are from our core to outside relationships assists in managing each aspect of life. It lays a healthy foundation of being.

Emotional and spiritual growth instills confidence in addition to each of our other 4C’s. By measuring ourselves with our own yardstick, we open a portal for self-assurance and satisfaction. Life can feel upbeat, instead of feeling beaten down with the continued practice of Statement #8. Here are a few ways to jump start this empowering Statement:

  1. Understand your strengths and weaknesses: Each of us crawled before we walked, so start where you are. Where do you excel? Where would you like to improve?
  2. Trust yourself: You can do anything that you set your mind to. If you fall short, understand you will get closer next time. Keep going.
  3. Step out of your comfort zone: Sure, our comfort zones feel safe and secure, but there is more out there. Being vulnerable opens unknown rewards. It’s worth the discomfort to get there.
  4. Receive positivity: Do you cringe when you receive a compliment? Embrace it instead. Try not to discredit praise when it comes your way. For the most part, each of us has earned the compliment, receive the gift that it is.

Hugzzz
Karen


Hi 4C Women,

I am learning that self-care is a top priority. Being a former extreme people pleaser, I usually was at the end of my priority list if I was on it at all. I realized that I actually love helping people. It is rewarding and brings me joy. What I also realize now is that I must balance that with taking care of me, putting me at the top of my priority list. That became evident with the recent chronic pain I have been having. I tried everything to relieve it and finally decided to go to a pain clinic to get an epidural/steroid shot in my spine, at the source of the pain. As I looked around the room, I saw so many people with that look of severe pain on their faces, in the way they walked (hobbled) around in the waiting room. I wondered how long it had taken them to be a priority. I am feeling so much better today and wished I had taken this step sooner. However, it brought me right back to how long it took me to realize that I was worth having a new life in recovery. More than not drinking but changing my priorities, my negativity, my way of handling life’s challenges – all of which I learned to do through the WFS Program. Statement #8 might have been one of the hardest to tackle because I had lost my emotional bearings and my spiritual life was non-existent. I felt empty. The longer I sat in the waiting room, the more I pondered how many women are denying themselves a new life, waiting for the right time to make the decision that they deserve to feel strength in their emotional and spiritual well-being. I guess the answer might be found in Karen’s 3rd question – to step out of our comfort zone, work through the pain of change to a life of emotional and spiritual growth. It is so worth the journey.

In 2008, Nancy Cross shared this from Volume III, “A Year of Sobering Thoughts” written by Jean Kirkpatrick. It focused on giving ourselves space to figure out how to make ourselves a priority: “When we give ourselves space, we give ourselves a chance to grow. Space can be a vacuum or it can be a growing place. Assess the time you give yourself. Is your space a vacuum or a growing place? Is it a time for you to think, to plan, to dream, to grow… to just simply be you? Make a time each day for growth!” All of this takes courage, being vulnerable, creating confidence, having faith in ourselves that we can do it, and most of all, learning to love ourselves as we are at this very moment, no judgment or comparing to others.

Bonded in making ourselves a priority,
your 4C sister

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Monday Thoughts 8/12/2019

Monday Thoughts

“You don’t love someone because they’re perfect, you love them in spite of the fact that they’re not.” ~~Jodi Picoult

“There would be no need for love if perfection were possible. Love arises from our imperfection, from our being different and always in need of the forgiveness, encouragement and that missing half of ourselves that we are searching for, as the Greek myth tells us, in order to complete ourselves.” ~~Eugene Kennedy

“Imperfections are not inadequacies; they are reminders that we’re all in this together.” ~~Brene Brown


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


Being human means being imperfect. Imperfection offers a portal for love to flow and Statement #7 lays that foundation for love to flourish. It is a path paved with caring, expansion and change. In our WFS Program booklet it states, “Giving and receiving love can change our world. They change how we feel about ourselves—we feel increasingly alive, appreciated, important, necessary, wanted and worthy.”

Alcohol slowly invades the body and mind; beginning to eliminate the ability to understand and/or feel love. Under the influence, acts of love can feel uncertain and even threatening but this is simply an illusion. Sobriety and continuing recovery cement caring and understanding.

Statement #7 implores us to look within. What is underneath, and at your core? Are you able to embrace the woman who looks at you in the mirror? Do you see your strength? Do you feel your compassion? Are you able to provide self-care and know that you are worthy of love? How do you respond to your imperfections? What can you do differently to breathe additional life into this Statement?

Hugzzz
Karen


Hi 4C Women,

Years ago, I cared more about what others thought of me and very little about how I viewed myself. Perhaps that’s because I thought I was so unlovable that seeing myself as anything else seemed impossible. Drinking helped me to ignore the work I needed to do – as the saying goes, healing is an inside job. Once I started the process of healing, I not only learned to love myself but to also accept and believe that I was lovable. I was so fearful of rejection that I was the biggest rejector of them all! This is how I learned that love is probably the most powerful, life-changing feeling that can break down the highest wall that we think is protecting us. It is doing just the opposite. It is keeping us from experiencing the most wonderful part of any “healthy” relationship. Yes, healthy. It is an important factor in caring for ourselves and for others. My love relationship with myself was not a healthy one but a judgmental one. Authentic love brings forgiveness, peace and joy to ourselves and to those we trust and care for in our new lives.

What do you love about yourself? This is a time to abandon the idea that complimenting or praising your positive qualities/characteristics is conceited. That is an outdated sentiment, one I grew up with but realize is detrimental to self-love.

What do you value about yourself?

What are you holding onto that isn’t serving you anymore? Old resentments, regrets, people pleasing, saying yes when you mean no.

What do you need to be more at peace with yourself? Maybe it’s setting healthier boundaries or making changes to your self-care.

All of these questions deal with self-love and from that comes the ability to genuinely care about yourself and others.

Bonded in knowing that love can change the course of our world and practicing the importance of caring for ourselves and others,

a 4C Sister

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Monday Thoughts 8/5/2019

Monday Thoughts

“Learn to enjoy every minute of your life. Be happy now. Don’t wait for something outside of yourself to make you happy in the future. Think how really precious is the time you have to spend, whether it’s at work, or with your family. Every minute should be enjoyed and savored.” ~~Earl Nightingale

“The art of life is to live in the present moment.” ~~Emmet Fox

“When you try to control everything, you enjoy nothing. Sometimes you just need to relax, breathe, let go and live in the moment.” Anonymous


Statement #6
Life can be ordinary or it can be great.
Greatness is mine by a conscious effort.


This quote from Jean on Statement #6 is as still profound as the first day I read it…. “Although we only get a one ticket through life, we speed through our days as if planning to enjoy them at another time. We live as if we have an endless number of tomorrows.” Oftentimes, before my New Life, I was in search of anything but the present.

One of the reasons why the present felt so uncomfortable was that I didn’t really know how to be. My mind was in constant search of something bigger, better or more interesting. Additionally, the present felt emotionally painful; my mind ruminated on the past and fueled anxiety in the future. Sobriety and recovery continue to help change this self-defeating habit.

With Statement #6 in action, I can be immersed in the now. I am quite aware of being present when doing something that makes my heart sing, such as during a face to face WFS meeting, catching a fleeting moment in nature or even while painting/drawing. It takes more effort and patience to be present when I am involved in something uncomfortable, or fearful. Gratefully, the WFS Statements, especially Statement #6, encourage the living of life. See for yourself how many times the word “Life” appears in the WFS New Life Program Acceptance Statements!

What actions can you take to bond yourself to living life in the now?

Hugzzz
Karen


Hi 4C Women,

Nancy Cross once asked what motivated you into sobriety and what inspires you to continue building a New Life in recovery? Statement #6 is a powerful reminder that no matter why we became motivated, the question to ask ourselves in the present moment, is truly what inspires us to continue our recovery journey. She continued to say that “motivation is usually short lived yet important as it makes a person want to improve from a sense of lack into a better outcome. Inspiration is very powerful because it helps a person stay focused on their desire for what they want in life.”

One thing I’ve learned is that “greatness” is a personal definition. For some, “ordinary” is greatness with all the rewards of being sober. Getting up in the morning and remembering the night before, spending the day in clarity, saying no without guilt to a request…the list is long and wonderful. For some, greatness might mean taking a risk, big or small, feeling the pure joy of the risk, living in the moment. Facing a fear can be a risk, too. It’s not always something physical such as sky diving! Speaking my voice and being heard has been risky at times yet the end result certainly filled me with empowerment beyond the imagined risk. I was afraid to express my needs, my opinion, my soul. Once I started taking that risk, I understood how life could become filled with greatness out of an ordinary self-expression.

I would encourage you to consider the question Karen asked as well as Nancy’s. I would add to think about your definition of greatness in sobriety/recovery. What risks have you taken to live in greatness, in the moment?

Bonded in knowing that greatness is yours by a conscious effort and ordinary may just be your new greatness,

a 4C sister

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Monday Thoughts 7/29/2019

Monday Thoughts

“Every thought has the power to bring into being the visible from the invisible. It is absolutely necessary for us all to understand that everything we think, do or say comes back to us. Every thoughts, word or action—without exception—manifests itself (in some way) as an actual reality.” ~~Ann Wigmore

“Your thoughts are seeds, and the harvest you reap will depend on the seeds you plant.” ~~Rhonda Byrne

“As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.” ~~Henry David Thoreau


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


Recently, I was wondering about the different thoughts that we can have. I was interested in using Statement #5 to reduce worry, and I dove deeper into the thought process. What I learned was surprising. In particular, one publication was quite helpful, and I will provide a link to the full article, but here is an excerpt:

“Your brain produces thoughts, as a biological function, to serve you. And discovering that each of these types of thoughts happen in completely separate brain regions means that we can be trained to use one of these more than the other.

We need a lot of attention to the present when we perform tasks, and we also need problem solving. Those are very useful functions. What we don’t really need is the narrative component of thought, the useless, endless chatter—the part that makes us feel a bit crazy and keeps us trapped in suffering.

Specific elements may differ, but the endless stream of chatter is something we all share. It worries us about what is yet to come; it belittles us; it disciplines us; it argues, fights, debates, criticizes, compares, and rarely ever stops to take a breath. Day after day we listen as it talks and talks.” ~~Solve for Happy by Chief Business Officer for Google X

“Switching your mind into experiential mode of thinking is a more powerful alternative. By focusing on our senses, our breath, smell, touch, sound and sight we turn off the incessant thinking.

Dr. Ellen Langer, a social psychologist at Harvard University, is regarded as the pioneer of mindfulness in the West. According to her research, we can shift our focus by flooding the mind with things that it can’t evaluate, or judge — things it can only observe. Here’s how she describes it:

Direct your attention outside yourself. Observe the light in the room, pay attention to whatever is on your desk, catch that smell of coffee percolating in the kitchen, notice the wood grain on the table, or listen to the distant sounds of cars in the street. Don’t let anything go unobserved. Notice every tiny detail around you. This is what you used to do as a newborn child. Just observe.

I sometimes use a modified version of this approach where I start naming objects in my mind as I notice them:

Desk, coffee, kitchen, wood, table, car, air conditioner, cool air….

And before you know it, the incessant thought vanishes. Because the brain is terrible at multitasking, it needs to stop all previous thinking to absorb new information. If the new information is processed in a different area of the brain, it is unlikely you will fall back into incessant thinking.”

Using a form of mindfulness, we can reduce the chatter and create the life we desire.

Here is the link to the full article

Which ways do you find effective in managing your thoughts?

Hugzzz
Karen


Hi 4C Women,

This reminds me of the workshop at the WFS conference a few years ago – Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life. It is amazing how our thoughts about ourselves can do so much damage to our self-esteem if we continue to believe all the negative chatter and input that is not our truth of who we are today. Our past can hold us prisoner until we begin to forgive ourselves by releasing the past and healing. If I looked at how I described myself many years ago, I would question, who was that woman? I didn’t work this hard and, gratefully so, to continue to demean myself in the present.

I urge you to stop and consider all that you have accomplished emotionally and spiritually at this very moment and every baby step counts! As they say, this is not a race, but a journey to a New Life of self-worth and self-love.

So, if you doubt that you are a 4C woman and want to eliminate those negative definitions of yourself, answer these questions:

Is this how I want to feel? Will this get me what I really want? How is this working for me? Is this my truth?

Bonded in knowing we are 4C women,
a 4C sister

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Monday Thoughts 7/22/2019

Monday Thoughts

“Anxiety happens when you think you have to figure out everything all at once. Breathe. You’re strong. You got this. Take it day by day.” ~~Karen Salmansohn

“Life is very interesting. In the end, some of your greatest pains become your greatest strengths.” ~~Drew Barrymore

“Nothing is more beautiful that the smile that has struggled through the tears.” ~~Demi Lovato


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


One of the things that I love about Statement #4 is that it doesn’t state that every problem needs to be figured out all at once. Oftentimes, there can be a lack of information or even timing, so making informed decisions is not available right away.

Being able to move through problems instills strength, resiliency and wisdom. It is such an amazing feeling to reach the other side of a challenge or problem; the satisfaction runs deep and fuels further strength and abilities.

Curiously, I have discovered, that each problem has a solution, otherwise it would not be a problem. Sometimes as mentioned, more time or information is needed, but there can be a solution and it is up to each of us 4C women to discover what that solution is. Happily, we do not have to do it alone. We can reach out for support anytime. What strategies do you use to solve problems? What bites of wisdom have you gleaned from solving a past problem?

Hugzzz
Karen


Hi 4C Women,

There are problems and there are serious concerns. I have always appreciated Statement #4 because it helped me eliminate the so called “problems” that weren’t really problems but a distraction from focusing on concerns that needed attention. I also learned that, as Karen says, even a concern may require more information, timing and positive input from caring supporters. Sometimes just taking time away or saying out loud what we are concerned about can be freeing. In the past, my worrying about everything drained my energy for real problem-solving. I withdrew from problem-solving because that meant I had to eventually make a decision and I wasn’t confident enough to trust that process. WFS taught me that skill and most importantly, that even when the decision wasn’t the right choice, that I could learn from it – it wasn’t the end of the world. A WFS member once said, it’s not the end of the world until it’s the end of the world! I think of that so often when I am faced with a life-changing decision.

Margaret Pruitt, former WFS Board member, wrote a booklet for WFS many years ago on coping with stress. One of her suggestions was “Give yourself the freedom to change your mind. Re-assessing is a mark of flexibility, not instability.” Another was “Break the habit of guilt and worry. Guilt is self-punishment for the inability to change the past; worry is self-punishment for the inability to change the future. Both waste needless energy and cause needles stress. Replace guilt and worry with concern. Guilt and worry are immobilizing; genuine concern leads to action. Don’t forget, everyone makes mistakes – they are one of our best methods for learning.” Those words stuck with me and I am grateful for her words of wisdom that changed the way I chose to practice Statement #4.

Bonded together in learning problem-solving and decision-making skills,
a 4C Woman

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Monday Thoughts 7/15/2019

Monday Thoughts

“You can’t hate yourself happy, you can’t criticize yourself thin, you can’t shame yourself wealthy. Real change begins with self-love and self-care.” ~~Jessica Ortner

“Happiness is an inside job.” ~~William Arthur Ward

“Happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it is something you design for the present.” ~~Jim Rohn


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


Statement #3 can feel difficult to practice at times, such as when feeling overwhelmed, angry or depressed. In our WFS Program booklet Jean writes, “For many years, I was convinced that some people were just naturally happy and others were not. And most of the time, I was not happy. I was too deep into my feeling sorry for myself, waiting for the time when everything in my life would miraculously change and then instant happiness would follow. Happiness never came to me until I learned the secret of making it for myself, of finding an inner glow that somehow made all other things right.” Jean discovered that happiness was an inside job.

One of the things which helped me to create happiness and put action into Statement #3 was do the opposite of what I wanted to do. If I wanted to leave a shopping cart in the parking lot, I put it into a cart corral. If I wanted to hide in isolation, I sought out other people, even for brief conversations. Doing the opposite helped me to establish a path towards creating happiness, even if I didn’t feel it right away.

Overtime, this practice allowed me to question long held, unhealthy beliefs and change whatever wasn’t working. Self-care and self-love became a new normal instead of something to fear or invalidate. Happiness began to settle in while cause and effect became clearer. Statement #3 is a brilliant and constructive element to the WFS New Life Program.

How do you practice Statement #3?

Hugzzz
Karen


Hi 4C Women,

Happiness, for me, comes in moments of awareness. Years ago, I visited a woman in the hospital for over a year. She was bedridden and I remember how grateful I was to have all of my six senses, especially the ability to walk out of the hospital, drive to the grocery store, pick out what I wanted for dinner or snacks, cook if I wanted to, make a phone call and if I fell asleep on the sofa, I could walk upstairs to my bedroom. Even something as simple as making a phone call or switching tv stations was on my grateful list. This dear woman had to press her cheek against a round disk and ask the operator to make calls for her and had to wait until someone came in the room to change the tv channel. Yet she still had hope and she taught me an invaluable lesson – that joy can still be found in the most challenging of circumstances. I learned what was most important to me was to understand I needed to be grounded in a foundation of peace and contentment in order to have joyful awareness. It could be a favorite song on the radio that switched me into high levels of happiness. I could dance around the room or, if in my car, do my shoulder dance! It all goes back to awareness and acceptance of feeling and deserving happy moments when they arrive.

I have been experiencing sadness and frustration due to family circumstances and recently, physical pain. All of these feelings make it challenging to keep awareness of joy within me. Yet, my experiences have taught me that it is ok because ups and downs are a part of life. As I said, it is the foundation that reminds me there are plenty of happy, joyful moments waiting for me. I just need to be aware. In fact, last night as I was going to the mailbox, I looked up and saw the most beautiful blue sky and the puffiest white clouds. I stood and watched for a couple of minutes. I felt the joy!

What are you grateful for today? What brings a smile to your face when you think of it? Most importantly, are you making time to do what you love?

Bonded in developing and being aware of happy moments,
a 4C Sister

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Monday Thoughts 7/8/2019

Monday Thoughts

“Conflict is the beginning of consciousness.” ~~M. Esther Harding

“I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.” ~~Mahatma Gandhi

“We do not see things as they are, we see them as we are.” ~~Anais Nin


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


Statement #2 in action aids in reducing uncertainty. For those who are not quite sure of embracing a New Life, sobriety and recovery need not be feared; one cannot “catch” sobriety from someone else. However, living life free from alcohol or drugs is a healthy and freedom-inducing approach to life with unending benefits.

Yet, without conscious awareness, negativity can feel contagious. Have you ever been involved in a conversation in which seemingly unending complaining was taking place? How did you feel afterward? Did you walk away feeling uplifted or did you walk away feeling drained? Statement #2 is key to reducing negativity.

Beginning where we are, daily conscious awareness creates a portal for progress. Statement #2 encourages the reduction, not elimination of negativity. It is unrealistic to live life without some sort of conflict; this is where consciousness and growth occur. Nonetheless, it is possible to reduce amounts of negativity and feel a greater of balance.

Here are 4 ways which can aid in reducing negativity:

  1. Pay attention: Notice your self-talk. When do you encourage yourself and when do you fall into the habit of criticizing?
  2. Put some distance between any negative self-talk and you: You were not born criticizing your thighs, relationships or actions. Somewhere, somehow you internalized some negative outside influences.
  3. Interrupt any negative self-talk: You can physically put your hand up…remember talk to the hand? Interrupting the negativity empowers you while revoking the power negative self-talk has held over you.
  4. Restore your rightful self: Become your own ally and best friend. Affirm your strengths and abilities. Everyone possesses a multitude of skills and unlimited potential. Exercise and flex your encouragement muscle daily.

Hugzzz
Karen


Hi 4C Women,

My mom complained a lot at one time in her life. I tried expressing how this hurt others and damaged relationships with those who loved her. She listened, agreed and minutes later was complaining as though we never had a discussion. When I first read Statement #2, I realized that my mom’s thoughts had become a habit. There was no real awareness and I knew that if I was to stop the generational complaining, I needed to create a lot of awareness of my own thoughts and words. Statement #2 was a wonderful tool to do just that and, in addition, I also began to understand that my complaining had a lot to do with my internal criticism. WFS taught me to build my self-esteem, kick the “inner critic” off my shoulder as it whispered old, untruthful, negative messages and invest my time in affirming my worth. This was a slow process yet I am so grateful for being willing to change and heal from the negativity habit!

In our meetings, we are guided to provide support and encouragement, not advice or judgment. I began to realize that I use to give a lot of advice and unspoken judgment without understanding that most times people really just want to be heard, encouraged and uplifted. I was not much of an active listener and this was a habit as well. As I finally broke that negative habit, I questioned why I could do this active listening compassionately with others, yet not myself? Negativity did destroy me, my relationships, my self-esteem. I also learned that negative thoughts are part of human nature, as Karen said, we are working toward reducing negativity because conflict is a part of living. In order for me to recognize the difference between outright negativity and something I observed as injustice that I felt needed my voice, I started pausing, observing and deciding which it was. Was I complaining or observing an injustice? How did I approach this observation? Was it with a possible solution or just venting? Did it require a solution or just the need to be heard that feelings were hurt, harm was being done? I also learned that if the latter was the case, I found my voice without expectations. I have shared this often. We need to be our own best friend, protect ourselves from other people’s criticism or negativity. For me, the most important part of finding my voice is that I have let the person know the hurt or harm they have done and while they may not get it or even care, they know I am aware and that it is unacceptable to me. Negativity for me today has such a different meaning thanks to Statement #2.

Bonded in reducing negativity, creating awareness, finding our voice and knowing our worth,
a 4C woman

Posted on

Monday Thoughts 7/1/2019

Monday Thoughts

“I dwell in possibility.” ~~Emily Dickinson

“There is no condition so severe that you cannot reverse it by choosing different thoughts. However, choosing different thoughts requires focus and practice. If you continue to focus as you have been, to think as you have been, and to believe as you have been, then nothing in your experience will change. ~~Mary Ann Hickman

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


Statement #1
I have a life-threatening problem that once had me.
I now take charge of my life and my well-being. I accept the responsibility.


The thought of sobriety was terrifying to my alcohol damaged brain. How could I possibly live without alcohol? Drinking was the first line of defense and it worked for a long time, but then my life began to fall apart. Unable to see the connection between my misery and alcohol, I struggled and wallowed in self-loathing and negativity.

Initially, Statement #1 helped to retrain my brain. The words allowed me to understand that this was indeed a life-threatening problem. It was easy to think otherwise; denial had run very deep. Yet, repeating this Statement each morning enabled me to challenge justifications and begin to create a healthier thought process.

The continued practice of Statement #1 can be viewed as an insurance policy against relapse. Understanding the connection of well-being with sobriety, I engage in thought patterns that support my recovery. In our face to face group this past week, we had a wonderful discussion of how sobriety has facilitated empowerment and feelings of contentment. Taking charge feels absolutely great!

Hugzzz
Karen


Hi 4C Women,

I love the analogy of sobriety being like an insurance policy and the best part is that it is free! I pay a decent amount for long term care insurance just in case something may happen and I need to be in a nursing facility. It protects my family and my little bit of assets. Statement #1 offers protection on our lives and our loved ones as well, providing security as long as we keep it paid up with our sobriety.  The key, as Karen shares, is to remind ourselves each day that we are in charge of our lives and well-being. There is no more denial but acceptance of our responsibility. The beauty of WFS is that if we have a slip, the safest place to share, learn and keep moving forward without shame and guilt is in a WFS group. Our program is one of abstinence – that is the goal to having a New Life. Yet, we all have a personal path to that goal and sharing our journeys with each other is how we support, encourage and lift each other up. There is so much to discover and uncover about our true needs. For me, this is how I learned to take charge of my life. Once I knew what my needs were and allowed myself to actually express them, I realized that WFS provided the tools to achieve them. I also learned that life is not stagnant. As new and different situations arose that I was not quite prepared for at the time, I still had the foundation of sobriety and the WFS program to provide me with the ability to work through them.  I have a favorite saying that I actually got from a calendar several years ago and it helps me when a new challenge presents itself. “Life is change, growth is possible, choose wisely.” Just as I chose to become sober, I must choose wisely in unsettling or changing situations. I learned what triggers me and I try my best to voice them long before they lead to an unhealthy choice. The biggest challenge is always family. The love, hurt, joy, pain and history all become entwined in my approach to problem-solving and decision-making. However, I am not one to give up or give in to harmful choices. I may be sad, angry, resentful or disappointed yet WFS has taught me to remain strong, resilient and always, always, hopeful.

As you celebrate the 4th of July, think of your personal independence that you are in charge of and how freeing it is to accept the responsibility.

Love,
a 4C sister

Posted on

Monday Thoughts 6/24/2019

Monday Thoughts

“Recognizing and replacing the unhealthy thoughts, behaviors and feelings that may be sabotaging your best efforts is the key to building mental strength.” ~~Amy Morin

“Everyone is comparing lives on social media and wants the perfect body, perfect image, perfect outfit, perfect life—we’re striving for the perfection, and it’s so unhealthy because there is no such thing as perfection.” ~~Emily Atack

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


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


What do you think responsibility looks like? I imagine it looks a lot like courage. Using the definition, “responding with our ability,” responsibility is highly personal and is obviously different for everyone. Therefore, Statement #13 in action is as individual as we are.

While this Statement can appear and feel different for everyone, one similarity is certain; releasing unhealthy dependencies encourages self-acceptance. In our WFS Program booklet it states, “The purpose of the New Life Program is self-acceptance and being responsible for ourselves and all that we do. By accepting responsibility, we can break away from unhealthy dependencies.”

Sobriety and Statement #13 in action fosters independence and healthy relationships. It can feel incredibly uplifting and rewarding to live in responsibility when compared to past dependencies. This opens the door to contentment and strengthens self-worth. You are in charge of your mind, your thoughts and your life!

Hugzzz
Karen


Hi 4C Women,

Whenever I think of responsibility, I think of freedom – the freedom to make my own choices, to stand on my own, to express my feelings, cry when I need to and to have hope in my heart. The best part of all of these is that I get to share my life with others who are walking the same path, who are working hard in making similar life-changing choices. I experienced this at the WFS Conference, the NJ WFS meeting I attended and, of course, the meetings I lead in AL. I am grateful to be surrounded all these years by women who accept the challenge of change and responsibility. To witness their personal growth in our meetings is a gift of pure joy. It keeps me uplifted and supports my sobriety.

A few years ago, I wrote about freedom and recovery and how I viewed it then. I’d like to share it with you and hope it will get you to think about your own definition of freedom in recovery:

Freedom to be available when needed
Freedom from lies
Freedom to use my time for learning and healing
Freedom to make choices and to own my mistakes
Freedom to know that any mistake I make will not break me but teach me
Freedom to grow spiritually as I choose
Freedom to make my own path with confidence

What freedoms are you experiencing in sobriety/recovery?

Bonded together in accepting responsibility for ourselves and our actions,
a 4C sister

Posted on

Monday Thoughts 6/17/2019

Monday Thoughts

“Sometimes you don’t realize your own strength until you come face to face with your greatest weakness.” ~~Susan Gale

“There are better starters than me but I’m a strong finisher.” ~~Usain Bolt

“I like feeling strong. It keeps my mental floor higher.” ~~Pink


Statement #12
  I am a competent woman, and have much to give life.
This is what I am, and I shall know it always.


It was truly an honor to be surrounded by so many strong women last week. It was simply a joy to be witness to such incredible strength; each woman has their own story and mountains to climb yet the cumulative strength made each of the Statements come vibrantly alive.

Statement #12 can feel difficult to practice at certain times. Depending on our physical, emotional or spiritual energy, one day it is easy to climb that mountain and at other times each step forward can feel immense. Yet, it is the understanding and knowing of our competence that lays a sturdy foundation to navigate future uncertainties.

In our WFS Program booklet it states, “Each of us is unique and has something very special to give. Claiming and accepting our own competence is a vital aspect of our New Life.” We can ask ourselves the following questions: Are you aware of you uniqueness? Do you claim your own competence? How can you better accept your strengths and abilities?

Hugzzz
Karen


Hi 4C Women,

Do you remember the first time you introduced yourself as a competent woman at a WFS meeting? Did you believe it? Did you resist saying it and silently tell yourself that not only is that not true but it will never be your truth? I felt that way in the beginning yet had to believe that Jean Kirkpatrick knew instinctively that if we spoke it aloud often enough, it would eventually become our truth. For me, I finally believed I was a competent woman and started to uncover and discover what I had to give – to myself, to loved ones and mostly where my passion for life existed. Being numb and angry most of the time put up very tall and solid walls, not allowing myself to feel or believe anything positive about myself.

I worked for a non-profit for 25 1/2 years. Even when I was promoted to be a department director, I couldn’t understand what they saw in me because I still didn’t believe in myself. However, that belief in me and the WFS Statements were the turning points in my thinking, my life.  It is those negative messages that might bring us back to the times we weren’t able or ready to face struggles. WFS provides the tools to guide us in building our self-esteem so that we authentically believe we are competent women. I encourage you to have a positive message created just by you and for you that can be used against that inner critic of old messages. Just knock that critic off your shoulder and speak your truth.

I understand how challenging it can be to work through years of pain, hurt and feeling unworthy yet I am a firm believer that it can be done!  As Karen shared, Statement #12 can feel difficult at times. We need to be willing to work on our self-esteem so when those low times happen in our lives, we are prepared to be our own best friend and support our well-being. Call it a self-esteem check up when you begin hearing those old negative messages. Refute them and even when you don’t believe, practice saying, “I am a competent woman and have much to give life.”

Bonded in believing we are competent women,
a 4C sister