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Monday Thoughts 6/15/2020

“If you want to go fast, go alone.  If you want to go far, go together.”  ~~African Proverb

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” ~~Helen Keller

“Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life.”  ~~Amy Poehler

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

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

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WE DID IT!  The 2020 WFS Annual Conference may officially be over, but the connection and love remains.  From shore to shore, women across the world came together in the only way that we could this year: virtually.  Imagine, in about 10 weeks’ time, YOU dear competent women, put your strengths together and assembled the first ever WFS Virtual Conference.  What a shining example of Statement #12 in action!

Doubt and uncertainty did not have a chance this weekend as 4C women everywhere came together to bring this event to life  What we were able to experience the past 3 days was the culmination of determination, passion and of course, love!  From our Opening Ceremony on Friday night, the exceptional breakout sessions, and keynote speakers to our Closing ceremony on Sunday afternoon, every Statement was in full action this weekend.  We experienced laughter, we experienced enthusiasm and we experienced connection and love!

Aside from a few minor technical hiccups, Envision It 2020 was a smashing success!  A record number of women signed up this year and while we are still working on gathering all the final numbers, our total amount raised has reached $95K!! WOWWOWWOWWOW!!!! The open-house sessions last week helped us learn how to use the software beforehand, and there were activities all weekend long to keep us connected while we eagerly awaited each session.  Women connected in our virtual dorm area, while you shared your thoughts for the future vision of WFS on our virtual vision board.  You donated your time, your talent and shared in making this weekend exceedingly beautiful. Remember, the recordings will be available the rest of this week!

We are capable, competent, caring, and compassionate!  WE ARE 4C!

If you were able to attend this year, what was your greatest takeaway?  If you were not able to attend, it is a great time to start planning for next year!

Hugzzz

Karen

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Hi 4C Women,

My greatest takeaway was the reinforcement of why I value and treasure the WFS Program.  I became sober in 1988 and what drew me to the program and continues to keep me sober and wanting to share this with women everywhere are several things:

· Building self-esteem – I am a competent woman. I am empowered.   I had a problem that once had me.  I am no longer stuck in the past feeling guilt and shame over my past mistakes and choices.  I have learned from them and built a phenomenal toolbox of coping skills.   My goal, through WFS, has always been to heal and part of that is letting go of labels and forgiving myself.  I do not deny that my past has made me who I was, yet I have worked hard on healing and forgiving myself for what I cannot change.   I continue to move forward in the process of healing.  As Jean said, this is not a competition.  We have diverse backgrounds and what matters is that our substance use created a problem in our lives and a big part of the process for me was in learning to love myself, to develop healthy relationships beginning with myself and extending to others.

· If any woman relapses, WFS is a safe place to share.  There will be encouragement and support.  Hopefully, there will be a learning process for each individual to understand what happened and to gain new coping tools.   I also appreciate greatly that while we do not count days in WFS, we honor and celebrate the positive emotional and personal growth changes women make on their recovery journey.  Our philosophy is that no matter how long you have been sober and if you relapse, there is much you have learned about yourself.    You are not the same person and that is important to remember.  You are not starting over but continuing on your personal path.   We are happy to celebrate milestones if a woman chooses to do so. What I have done is ask the woman what positive changes she has made during this time.  It is the inside changes, the new coping tools and healing that makes the difference in building self-esteem and personal growth.

· Our guidelines are all about showing compassion, respect and sharing of our personal experiences that may help a woman seeking input.

This is all about learning to be responsible for our own decisions, actions, and healing yet we are not alone.  We are bonded together in overcoming our addictions.  TOGETHER is the key word!  Am I fired up after this virtual conference?  You bet I am!  It was amazing and the incredible women who put all this together are beyond description.

Competent women bonded together in overcoming our addictions, Dee

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Monday Thoughts 3/16/2020

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

Hugzzz

Karen
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Hi 4C Women,

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

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

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

I am best in situations that…

What keeps me going is …?

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

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

Do your thoughts and beliefs get you what you want?

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

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

Registration Open Now!

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

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

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

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

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Monday Thoughts 12/16/2019

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”  ~T.S. Eliot

“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

“Real courage is when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.”  ~~Harper Lee

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

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

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 A number of women I know include courage as the 5th ‘C’…. Capable, competent, caring, compassionate and courageous when describing themselves in their New Life.  It takes courage to live in sobriety and recovery, and Statement #12 in action enables endurance and spirit.

Feelings of guilt, shame or failure can run rampant in active addiction.  Yet paradoxically it is those small daily victories that over time compound and grow, blossoming into a sturdy foundation of ability.  I still recall and relish the thrill of marking off each month of sobriety that first year.

One of the ways that I have practiced Statement #12 is to challenge myself.  Whenever something felt scary or unsteady, instead of turning away, I moved closer to that fear.  I put my hands on my hips and stand tall, much like the Fearless Girl Statue who resides in Manhattan, or Superwoman.  In our WFS Program booklet, it states “First the thought, then the reality.  Believing you are a competent woman is giving life to life.”

Hugzzz

Karen

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Hi 4C Women,

I love the 5th C for courageous as I see each woman who walks through the doors for the first time to attend a meeting as extremely courageous.  I am also appreciating and feeling deep compassion for those who have suffered losses and still continue to work on or maintain their recovery.  I have 2 friends who have lost their adult children within the last 3 weeks.  My heart breaks and I am without the right words to express it fully.  Statement #12 for me is about the inner strength we possess and how we have each other to lean on in both joyful and sad times.  I couldn’t imagine being on this journey alone.  My soul is fed at each meeting as I am privileged to witness each woman’s willingness to care for each other, to build each other up and listen to each other while building their own self-esteem.

Statement #12 is also about accepting where we are right now, to persevere in moving forward with forgiveness, self-care, kindness and love.  It takes a lot of competency to recognize and acknowledge a need for personal change and then to follow through with practicing the WFS program.  I struggled at first to say “I am a competent woman” yet each time I said the words, it felt authentic and finally one day, I truly believed it.  Nancy Cross once wrote that when we run from our challenges, we kill our power.  We strangle our strength.  No more running or hiding.  We will survive and it will be with the support and encouragement of those who understand, without explanation.  Just as my friends are suffering greatly, my hope is that they will lean upon and find the beginnings of healing from the love and support of those who care.

Bonded in being 4 and 5C women together!  your WFS sister

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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

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Monday Thoughts 9/17/2018

Monday Thoughts

“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

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

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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

Hugzzz
Karen

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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