It’s very character building. I’ve laughed through tears of frustration, screamed so loud in exasperation that my voice echoed off the walls and talked out loud to coach myself through it. I’m painting some rooms in my new home and I can’t believe how time-consuming this process has been. There was wallpaper that had to be removed which took a full day and then scrubbing the wallpaper paste which took another full day. Hunching over counters and wrangling the heaviest of appliances away from the wall ~ it’s been a workout physically and for my patience.
I FINALLY finished the first coat and, while it continues to dry, I’m going outside to shovel for the second time today. I am a first-time homeowner and learning patience, faith, and determination every day. I LOVE MY NEW HOME. I never thought I’d want to “settle down” but one day at the end of July, I realized (actually the universe told me) it was time. The most perfect wonderful home was waiting for me and every day I marvel at how lucky I am.
Statement 11: Enthusiasm is my daily exercise.
I treasure the moments of my New Life.
Safe in my bedroom are the notes for the event I’m co-hosting next week on our regional PBS station. It’s my debut on the channel and hopefully funding will be in place by the spring for a 13-part series that I will be co-producing. Isn’t that the coolest? There are so many wonderful things happening to me, yet I honestly don’t even have much time to sit and think about them. I just keep saying “yes,” going about my daily routine and focusing on the tasks in front of me.
My next door neighbor is an answer to a prayer that I hadn’t prayed. He’s about my age and willing to help with anything. He hauled all my leaves onto his trailer to take them out to the brush site, helped me get my lawn in order and I’ve consulted him on many other things. When he asked if I was going home for Thanksgiving (I am not close with my family), I told him, “THIS is my beautiful home!” He seemed a bit horrified that I would be spending the holiday alone. But when I went inside after the conversation I wept tears of joy at the realization – I AM HOME!
I’m trying to stay cordial but not warm – I’m not interested in a relationship with him and I can tell he would be. The truth is – I’m not really interested in having a relationship with anyone right now. I have so much else to focus on and so much more to do.
LIFE IS GOOD, life is calling to all of us to join in on its goodness.
Statement 6: Life can be ordinary or it can be great.
Greatness is mine by a conscious effort.
I am enjoying every moment of my goodness because I have worked HARD to create this reality. I’ve spent years rewiring my thoughts and changing my behaviors. My work isn’t done because I keep accepting bigger challenges and I have even bigger dreams yet to realize. I could never ever give up my morning routine because it is what makes my life possible. There is nothing special about me, I just realize the importance of putting in the effort to get what I want and what I am worthy of. Because of Women for Sobriety, I am doing what I dreamed of as a child and countless things I never would have dreamed of.
My life overflows with abundance and love! Sobriety isn’t about surviving or making do. Sobriety is about dreams coming true!
I’m struck by the fact that many women out there want to ‘get it’ but don’t know how. The elusive ‘getting it’ – What the heck is ‘it’? You know, I know, she knows, we all know what ‘it’ is! The ‘it’ is a struggle-free sobriety, ‘it’ is staying sober, and I’ll go as far as to say that ‘it’ is also recovery.
You are going to change your life! Your old way of life isn’t working for you, so here’s how you can change it. It goes without saying that you must stop poisoning your system. Get rid of all the alcohol you have ~ dump it, flush it, don’t buy anymore of it… just get rid of it. Here’s an easy three-step plan on what you’ve got to do when you’re wanting to drink/use: 1. make a plan, 2. make a plan, 3. make a plan.
Ok, so what do you do? This getting it can be a hard thing to attain, I know. Getting it takes determination and work – that is all up to you! I can’t tell you exactly what your plan will be; your plan will be as unique as you are. And yes, YOU are a unique, special person. As we at Women for Sobriety (WFS) like to say – you are 4C – capable, competent, caring and compassionate. You’re changing your life, remember? And you’re going to start looking at yourself in a new way, a way that will let you lead a ‘New Life’ – one without having to drink/use to get through it.
Part of your plan might include asking a professional for help. Part of your plan might be using the WFS online forum–a lot. Part of your plan might be attending some sort of support meeting locally. Part of your plan might be going to work without any money/credit cards in your pocket/purse so that you can’t buy anything to poison yourself on the way home. Part of your plan might be figuring out a new routine to your day – maybe you’ll take a different route home; maybe you’ll do something else to relax at the end of the day. Your plan needs to be rock solid and air tight! There are so many great plan ideas on the WFS Online site. Check them out!
Let me also recommend that if you don’t have any WFS literature that you go about getting some, and while you wait for your order – go to the WFS website and read some of the great resources there. Read other information about addiction to learn what you’re doing to your body.
You need to take some time EVERY day (most people use quiet time in the morning) and reflect on the WFS Acceptance Statements, or concentrate on just one. Think about how that particular statement(s) applies to your life. Try thinking about your life with this slant on it, the New Life slant. Remember, your old life is not working for you. You’re NOT going to get through life anymore by drinking.
Jean Kirkpatrick, Ph.D. is the founder of WFS and she authored several books and booklets. My all-time favorite is The Program Booklet. That little booklet costs just $5 and spells out how this New Life Program works – You may order it here!
I also highly recommend Goodbye Hangovers, Hello Life and Turnabout. If you feel you can’t afford them right now, go to your library and get them that way. If your library doesn’t have the books, get them through an inter-library loan – this is what I did initially, in a town of 535 people!
Are your eyes glazing over because you’ve read this before? Reading what Jean Kirkpatrick wrote is KEY to ‘getting’ this program. So are you going to pull out your excuse book and tell me why you can’t get anything on WFS to read? Get a grip, put the excuse book away, and start reading. Start changing your life today. You change by NOT drinking/using and by changing how you think and approach life. You CAN do this! The support you will receive from WFS participants is immeasurable, it is comforting and I am always awed at how amazing the women are. The WFS website and the new online site is full of great information. But YOU are the one who has to do the work of getting sober.
I ‘got it’ that I can’t drink/use anymore. My old way of life wasn’t working. I use the WFS New Life Program every day, because it helps me grow and thrive – emotionally and spiritually. It affirms that I am a 4C woman, and then some!
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.
Wishing you all the very best success in getting it. Believe you can do it!
Certified WFS Moderator
I often want to share about how wonderful sobriety is, but that can feel overwhelming because there are so many experiences I could discuss. I’ve decided to share about trusting the universe and what happens when you do.
I stopped drinking on July 2, 2016. My first half year of sobriety was simply focused on not drinking, studying the Women for Sobriety (WFS) Statements and beginning to feel stable without alcohol. By the following spring, I began to get antsy. I knew that my life could be so much better, but how would I even start to make changes? I pondered on that, attempting to discover my purpose. Then, early one morning during my daily routine, I wrote in my journal “I am ready for my change.”
That afternoon, I learned that my teaching contract would only be half-time for the following year due to low student enrollment. My first reaction ~ well it was some colorful language! Then I acknowledged, “This is exactly what you just asked for.” My superintendent offered to help find me a full-time position in another school district, but I knew something else was out there for me.
By mid-summer I was offered a new job in a completely different field, one where I would be able to apply my teaching expertise. After just two short months, I felt overwhelmed and asked myself, “What have I done? How can this be my purpose when I feel so unhappy?” Yet, I decided to stick with it for one year and give it my all. I learned as much as I could in the field and always tried to go the extra mile. Life can be ordinary or it can be great and I was going to do a great job!
Within a year, I found myself applying for another job that someone had suggested. I had only worked in the field for a short time and had almost none of the required qualifications. But when I walked into the interview, I recognized people who had seen my efforts and knew that I had put my whole heart into my work. I felt like crying tears of joy! I was offered the position and thought, “Yes! This is my dream job!”
Nothing is what I would have imagined ~ but my dream job is a perfect fit! I have a vision for what I am doing and I am becoming an expert. This is the coolest thing – I’m still in disbelief – but my new job is so fulfilling! I write a newspaper column related to my work and it’s published in eight papers. Why? Simply because I told them I wanted to!
Here is what I’ve discovered. I am not afraid of my passion anymore! I don’t try to dull my enthusiasm for fear of being ‘too much.’ I’m not afraid to use my voice to advocate for what I believe in my heart is right. Women for Sobriety has taught me so much about compassion and love, and that allows me to connect with people in ways that I wouldn’t have known before I stopped drinking.
I can feel my power inside. I harness that power, along with self-belief and courage, to tackle unimaginable challenges. I have confidence and I trust myself now. I am what I think, and I think positive thoughts throughout my day. I believe this is true because I have experienced it. The more amazing you believe you are, the more others will see it, too!
It’s all a work in progress. Every morning I wake up and tear off yesterday’s page on my Audubon calendar. I ponder my newest feathered friend before my journaling, meditation and setting of priorities begin. I know that the time I spend each morning is an investment in my future. There’s no question that I will do this routine each day for the rest of my life. I can’t imagine going back to my drinking days! Drinking was a closed circuit loop; sobriety is a wide open field. “The sky’s the limit!” This is what I was told when I accepted this job, and I now push myself to reach for it! For me, that’s fulfillment.
“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
I am a competent woman and have much to give life.
This is what I am and I shall know it always.
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
Hi 4C Women,
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.
Bonded in competency,
4C WFS Member