Each one of us has adapted and changed as we relate to the global pandemic. Our daily routines are altered and we live with healthy new practices and guidelines. Life is different, yet we can still appreciate the many moments that make life great. While some of us have experienced monumental changes in our daily lives, for others the shift has been less intense. Yet, what each of us has in common is the ability to adapt to the ever-changing pace of life thanks in part to the WFS New Life Program. Putting action into the Statements, we are able to persevere, grow and experience life with clarity and purpose. A favorite acronym and one that I have shared a few times in the past is:
August marks a time of change in Women for Sobriety; my two-year term serving as the WFS Chairwoman has come to an end. It has been an honor to serve our life-saving organization with so many incredible, 4C women from across the globe. You have inspired, you have taught and you have enabled the progression of our beloved organization to grow into where we are today. It is now time to hand over the torch to the next 4C woman, Jean H. Jean brings to the table her BoD experience plus years of dedicated service to the WFS Online Forum. You may recall that Jean was instrumental in planning and producing our first ever WFS Virtual Conference. Jean will be serving as your WFS Chairwoman for the next two years and we are all excited to have her in this new role!
Additionally, our incredible Susie Minervini who has successfully managed the increase in our Face to Face meetings is passing the Vice President torch to another 4C woman, Veena I. Veena brings exceptional experience in BoD service from the nonprofit sector and Veena was also deeply instrumental in bringing our WFS Virtual Conference to life. It is because of the many talented efforts of these two spectacular women that we can move our life-changing organization forward.
As we navigate through some globally unchartered waters, it is because of the dedication of 4C women that Women for Sobriety continues to lead the way for women seeking a New Life. We are bonded together, ready to learn, grow and experience life.
“Have a vision. It is the ability to see the invisible. If you can see the invisible, you can achieve the impossible.” ~~Shiv Khera
“It shouldn’t be easy to be amazing. Then everything would be. It’s the things you fight for and struggle with before earning that have the greatest worth. When something’s difficult to come by, you’ll do that much more to make sure it’s even harder –or impossible to lose.” ~~Sarah Dessen Along for the Ride
“For success, attitude is equally as important as ability.” ~~Walter Scott
Over the last few months, numerous women have asked for me to share how I was able to quit smoking using the WFS New Life Program. Sobriety and Statement #12 helped tremendously to achieve this goal and while WFS focuses on alcohol and/or substance abuse, I am now eight plus years smoke free thanks in part to the WFS Statements.
Around three years into my New Life, I began to think about quitting smoking. In Goodbye Hangovers Hello Life, Jean encourages the reader to quit and lists many of the long-term effects of smoking. While devoting less than three pages to the subject, this made a lasting impression and I began to ruminate on how to quit.
The beautiful words in Statement #12 began the process to quit smoking and encouraged me to keep going. This Statement was saying that I was competent, even though I felt I wasn’t when it came to quitting smoking. Already feeling somewhat competent in recovery, I began to create a plan of success to quit.
Organizing this new goal, I needed to change the way I felt about smoking. It was a love/hate relationship. Intellectually I knew the dangers of smoking; sadly, my mom had passed away from emphysema/ COPD at the age of 72 yet cravings helped keep my habit alive. Through WFS, I had begun to understand the connection between thinking and creating, (Statement #5) so I started to tell myself whenever I smoked that “this cigarette tastes terrible” or “this smells awful.” Time and time again I repeated these phrases and before long, the smokes tasted and smelled exactly as I had thought.
After six months of these repeated affirmations, I wrote out 13 benefits to quitting. I listed one for each Statement. Fresh smelling clothing and hair, breathing easier, and saving money were just a few of the benefits on this list. I carried this list in my pocket, so that even while I was smoking, I could read and affirm my decision.
Purposely, I had not given myself a quit date. A quit date would shift my focus from healthy preparation to unhealthy avoidance. If I knew the date, I would have focused my attention on what I felt I was losing instead of compiling tools for success. My husband decided to join me in this effort and together we began to look at a time frame. Still avoiding a set date, but setting intention, we chose springtime, once spring arrived, we then decided in April, and then to keep the uncertainty going, we decided to quit when our last carton of cigarettes was gone. Right then and there I became a non-smoker.
By now, I had associated the benefits of quitting with the empowering WFS Statements and I turned to these as the hours ticked by. Knowing the first three days would be the most difficult, I kept a plastic drinking straw cut in half near me and chewed on the end whenever a craving hit hard. Driving proved to be the most difficult, that particular association was quite strong, but using Statement #12 I proved stronger. Additionally, having a partner to discuss how I was feeling, or when a craving appeared helped a great deal as well. We were not an easy couple to be around those first days!
As it happens, the Gulf Oil spill occurred within the first 24 hours of quitting, so each time I heard the news, I became aware of how many days it was since the oil had started to leak. (I almost felt as if the news folks were keeping track along with me!) Soon the days turned into a week, and the weeks into a month. Cravings came and went but it began to become easier. Feeling better physically, I embraced what I had just accomplished. I quit smoking cold turkey and moved through cravings and impulses using the tools that I had learned in sobriety and recovery. Around 5 years smoke free, I joined an online support system to learn more and discovered a tool which calculates how much life has been added back because of quitting and how much money saved. To date, I have added a year and eight months back to my life and saved over $13, 440 dollars. (that’s $26,880 with my husband!) To celebrate our success, we bought a travel trailer with our savings. This led to the discovery of a lovely area downstate full of fishing and spectacular sunrises. Now, eight years later, we have sold our travel trailer and moved our home next to this beautiful river.
Life is good breathing free!
Some tips to consider:
1. Plan ahead but try to avoid a set date.
2. Define your relationship with smoking and change it.
3. Identify your benefits from quitting.
4. Quit together. Use this Forum or try the one I use ww.quitnet.com
Never having smoked but knew so many women who did, I began to learn what a challenge it was to quit. And just as Karen did, others started using the 13 Statements to help them quit alcohol/drugs and smoking. Being healthy is a worthwhile goal and I have to say Karen’s questions do apply as well to recovery. I thought of my relationship with alcohol and what would be the benefits of sobriety. I loved thinking about what I would gain from sobriety rather than what I was giving up. And the end result from all of the questions, struggles and changes was this – “I am a competent woman and much to give life. This is what I am and shall know it always.” As you begin to see your value, think about what you tell yourself each day. Are the words encouraging, powerful and kind? Do you believe in your heart that you are competent, that you have much to give life? This Statement and its meaning will set you free to achieve self-love, self-worth and self-confidence.
Just as the seasons evolve, Women for Sobriety is in the midst of change. Change can be difficult to move through but it is a key aspect of sobriety and recovery. Some of these changes may bring up feelings of unease, or discomfort, yet each change happens for the growth, betterment and future of Women for Sobriety. WFS continues to be a life-saving and life-changing self-help organization for women.
Women for Sobriety was brought into existence through change. Our founder, Jean Kirkpatrick, Ph.D. developed the WFS New Life Program with our 13 Statements to satisfy a need in her, which she then shared with the world. It took incredible courage to stand out and advocate for something different, yet with her sight set on growth, Jean jumped on the talk circuit, eagerly discussing this new way to sobriety, answered letters from women across the world and shared her wealth of knowledge. Hailed as an expert in the field on alcoholism and women, Jean went on to address Senate committees while living her changed New Life. WFS began to flourish, especially in the 90’s with the recognition of how life altering the internet would become. Change brought WFS to life.
Today, areas of change taking place within WFS are occurring in the office as well as in administration. Many women calling the office looking for support first heard the voice of Becky, a long time WFS employee. For many, Becky was the face of Women for Sobriety and we were happy to have her working in the office. As difficult as change can be, Becky is no longer an employee of Women for Sobriety and we wish her the best in her future endeavors. Your understanding of confidentiality is needed and most welcome.
So, who is the face of Women for Sobriety now? You are! If you are a woman in recovery, if you attend WFS face-to-face meetings, if you peruse the WFS Online Forum, you are the face of WFS. If you donate your time on one of the volunteer teams, if you donate financially or support a sister who may be struggling, you are the face of WFS. If you moderate or help moderate a meeting, lead or help lead a chat or share WFS on social media you are the face of WFS. If you are capable and competent, caring and compassionate, you are the face of WFS. We are a beautiful tribe of women, bonded together in overcoming addiction. We are the change we wish to be.
The changes continue with the hearty embrace of Level 6, which includes Statements #8 and #13. The WFS Board took responsibility for the organization and began to grow with change. For example, our Statements and Program booklet received an update with today’s language. Our website has been refreshed and redesigned, including a much-needed Meeting Finder and our annual Conference was enhanced, evidenced by the different Opening/ Closing ceremonies, the fun swag bag and our wonderfully enthusiastic Keynote speaker, Karlee Fain. The WFS Forum will be receiving an update shortly, and behind the scenes the WFS Board of Directors has been hard at work upgrading and managing the inner workings of our organization with passion, dedication with an eye towards the future. Included are the many volunteers who continue to invest financially, locally or creatively with WFS. Your time and talents are appreciated!
Filling the role of President for the last year, it became apparent that WFS needed more than just a volunteer for this role. It has been an honor to serve the WFS organization. With steady growth in place, a fair market search was done outside of WFS, while first looking internally. A number of candidates applied for this new position and one has been recently chosen. It is a pleasure to introduce you to the new WFS President Adrienne Miller!
Adrienne brings a wealth of expertise to this position. She holds a BA in Psychology with additional training in addictions counseling and is a certified Chemical Dependency Professional in the state of Washington. She has worked in the recovery field for seven years in both paid and volunteer positions, including six years as a volunteer peer facilitator (including leading a WFS group in her hometown of Seattle.) She is well versed in the New Life Philosophy and has received rave reviews on her workshops at WFS Conferences over the years. Additionally, Adrienne has ten years’ experience in office administration and has been a passionate advocate for WFS when serving on our Board of Directors prior to becoming Project Manager.
Serving as WFS Project Manager, Adrienne lovingly compiled and updated some of Dr. Kirkpatrick’s most important works for women embarking on their New Life journey in the Beginner’s Collection Workbook which is now included in our Beginner’s Bundle. She upgraded the 2017 Conference experience with online registration and a streamlined Conference Program booklet. Adrienne has been expanding our volunteer program, empowering 4C women to take a proactive role in the organization’s growth/management while increasing and coordinating WFS outreach activities.
The new website and online Meeting Finder, another one of her projects, has decreased barriers for women everywhere to find and access face-to-face meetings and Phone Support Volunteers. Adrienne’s interpersonal skills and adaptability will aid in this period of exceptional growth for WFS. Please join me in welcoming her to this new position!