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Monday Thoughts 9.12.22

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“Trying to do it all and expecting that it all can done exactly right is a recipe for disappointment. Perfection is the enemy.”

Sheryl Sandberg

“The success of every woman should be the inspiration to another. We should raise each other up. Make sure you’re very courageous: be strong, be extremely kind, and above all be humble.”

Serena Williams

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face…. You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”

Eleanor Roosevelt


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

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


In our WFS Reflections for Growth booklet our founder, Jean Kirkpatrick, Ph.D., writes “As women, we have a special kind of force within us that must be left loose to grow. When it is in full power—and when we are in control of that force that is us—we have an unlimited range of marvelous possibilities for life. Part of that force is being competent as women.” Jean knew that with sobriety and recovery, every single woman has within her everything needed to be capable, competent, caring, and compassionate.

Alcohol or drugs inhibit any belief in self. How could I be capable of anything, (much less competent) when alcohol had such a deep hold? It was as if it whispered in my ear “…you can’t…you’ll fail…you’ll never….” repeatedly and I easily believed it. Soon thoughts of “why bother” or “that’s way too hard” joined in the negativity while feelings of uselessness took over. It was a deeply painful way to live.

Sobriety and Statement #12 in action change that negativity into opportunity. Being able to stay sober for one hour, one day, one week to one month was creating a sturdy base to feel abilities grow, shift and absorb new information. Eventually, I began challenging myself to try something new or what I doubted myself in. For example, I doubted becoming a Certified Facilitator, but felt the fear and did it anyway. A dozen years later, I still find ways to increase my abilities. Using Statement #12 as a mantra, the words are encouraging which cements even the smallest of gains. This Statement is my go-to when I feel overwhelmed or unable to manage something. This week, take a moment to acknowledge your abilities, especially what you have overcome. Also, investigate where you can challenge yourself and find new adventures!

Hugzzz

Karen


Hi 4C Women,

I am drawn to this Statement whenever I begin to feel overwhelmed, lacking confidence in completing what needs to be done or even making a necessary decision. I accept that being overwhelmed is a natural response when my plate feels overflowing with responsibilities. I let that thought alert me to remember and believe that I am a competent woman. As a life learner of feelings, I don’t judge my fearful or negative self-talk but have awareness in order to reflect on them. As a competent woman, I recognize I cannot do everything. That doesn’t change the knowledge of being competent but creates the awareness that I can choose a different approach by taking a break, practicing self-care, journaling my feelings, or calling for help as those are some choices competent and confident woman can take.

WFS has taught me to be more mindful of my feelings, validate and embrace them, seeking healthy solutions when fear or negativity shows up. It reminds me of a garden. There are weeds that try to overtake the beautiful flowers so lovingly planted. Do we bemoan and feel hopeless or pull the weeds out to highlight the beauty of the garden? And the thing about weeds is that they are persistent and keep coming back. That is why it’s important to be aware of their appearance, and deal with them as best we can by nurturing what you intended your garden to be. This is how I look at Statement #12. I nurture and honor what I have accomplished whether it is a successful outcome to a challenge or an insight that provides emotional growth and understanding. Each positive choice creates a stronger feeling of competence. It holds me up when some situations create questioning of my abilities. I keep telling myself “I can” as I accept my authentic feelings and give myself time and thought to figure out what direction to take that supports my well-being.

I encourage you to think of your purpose in this life. Having much to give life is a wonderful reminder in Statement #12.  Being a facilitator has been my greatest purpose and it is part of how I learned to be competent and give back what has been so generously given.

Is there someone you feel safe with to voice your fears and concerns and ask for help without judgment? I feel so strongly that asking for help, to be heard is a win-win situation. I feel honored when someone reaches out to me. To understand that they trust me enough to know I will listen, and feel compassion for them. Remember that if you are hesitant to make that call.

Do you have a self-care practice that helps your well-being when feeling overwhelmed or lacking confidence in your ability to handle a situation? It can be as easy as playing a favorite song, watching a comedy, taking a short car ride, walking outside to smell the crisp air, watching birds chirping, or calling that person who offers a safe haven. All positive distractions while you take a break and just breathe.

How do you validate your strengths? This is so crucial. I use to be able to make a long, very long list of my weaknesses. Thankfully, WFS is all about being our own cheerleader, validating our strengths as we gain confidence. I encourage you to make that list and whenever you feel doubt about your competency, take out that list and just say, “WOW, I’m good!”

Bonded in celebrating all you have given and knowing you have and will continue to create all the 4C competencies you need in your recovery, Dee


WFS is proud to announce the start of a new Regional Video meeting!

Florida

Fridays  at 4:00 pm

Start Date:  9/16/2022

Please email [email protected] with questions and to obtain the exact location of the meeting.

Please join us in extending our gratitude to the volunteer Certified Facilitator who has made the commitment to bring her second meeting to her local community!

If you are feeling inspired to bring WFS to your local community, please review the requirements for becoming a Certified Facilitator at https://womenforsobriety.org and apply here.

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Monday Thoughts 6.13.22

“I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.”

Rosa Parks

“Always do your best. Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.”

Don Miguel Ruiz

“Each of us must confront our own fears, must come face to face with them. How we handle our fears will determine where we go with the rest of our lives. To experience adventure or to be limited by the fear of it.”

Judy Blume


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

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


Sobriety and Statement #12 in action pave the way through fear. Until my mind cleared, it was impossible to comprehend overcoming any anxiety or fear held within. I was in complete denial regarding fear, my mouth said one thing while my actions spoke another. Today, thanks to practicing Statement #12, the support of the WFS community, and some therapy, I know I am a competent woman.

Yet I also accept and understand that I am not competent in everything, and more importantly, there is no need to be! Brain surgery is something I will never relate to, nor expect to understand yet I am grateful for those that do. No one has to know it all, and no one ever will. We each have abilities and skills that we engage in and develop. It is up to each of us to pave our own way and Statement #12 helps us do that.

A wonderful example of this begins with the WFS Forum. Reading post after post, experiencing the joy of sobriety and recovery firsthand, I warily began to share some thoughts online.  After pushing through fears of the unknown and using Statement #12 as my new mantra, it felt exhilarating to hit that ENTER key. Connection! Our own 4C sister, Zeecha encouraged me to reach out further to share with our (former) paper newsletter, “Sobering Thoughts.” Fast forward to today…. now Dee and I write Monday Thoughts together. Even though I felt doubt and uncertainty, Statement #12 helped me move through the fear and do it anyway, and it still does, after all, I am a 4C woman!

Hugzzz

Karen


Hi 4C Women,

I’d like to brag about Karen’s writing and leadership skills. Karen has been writing Monday Thoughts for several years and has written books on the Statements for WFS. She has been encouraging and supporting women through the WFS program as a facilitator and served on the WFS Board as president as well as other board positions. She is the epitome of a 4C woman. What’s even more wonderful for me is that we both live in Alabama where, before I arrived, there weren’t any meetings here. I share this to highlight how Statement #12 can make an incredible change in a woman’s New Life and inspire others to rise to the challenge.

I love how Karen expressed that we can be competent in diverse areas, not in everything. Thank goodness for that. If I had to base my competency on technology, I would be back to the days of extremely low self-esteem. No more measuring my competency by what I can’t do or what others can do. My competency is based on my skills, my talents, and my abilities.
I like repeating questions as you may have noticed. I date my answers and it’s fascinating to see the changes I’ve made in my current answers. So here we go …

1. I am worthwhile because…
2. I deserve…
3. I practice Statement 12 by doing…
4. Do I purposely take action to promote my own well-being? What action plan have I put into practice to do so?
5. Am I truly open to learning new ideas/change? What would be an example of that?
6. Do I make my own decisions or do I count on the opinion of others more? What is the last major decision you made and what led you to that choice? (It is fine to get input from others as there are times when a situation is overwhelming and we need encouraging support and insight from others who won’t judge or criticize – 4C sisters for sure.)
These questions need time and thoughtful reflection. I hope you will take that time. Remember, this is about you and your worth, your definition of who you are, and what might need to change or even remain the same. Personal growth takes place throughout our lives and there are times when we need to acknowledge our hard work and others to gain insight into what needs our attention.

Bonded in knowing we are willing and open to becoming the most competent woman through practicing this empowering Statement, Dee


Conference excitement continues to build! It isn’t too late to join us in Portland.
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Monday Thoughts 3.14.22

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“Talk to yourself like you would to someone you love.”  Brené Brown

“Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any other experience that reveals the human spirit.”  E.E. Cummings

“I’ve finally stopped running away from myself.  Who else is there better to be?”  Goldie Hawn


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

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


Sobriety and Statement #12 in action cement continuing self-encouragement and a positive belief in self. In active addiction, it is easy to listen to the repetitive negative self-talk and actually believe the gloom and doom. Yet with the clarity of sobriety, the practice of Statement #12 begins to feel more comfortable.

Over time, my alcohol use had disabled the ability to believe in myself. The guilt and shame that I felt because of my drinking escalated the negativity. In turn, I put others on a pedestal, while pushing myself down even further. This created an unhealthy imbalance and the words “I can’t” had become the norm. Statement #12 in action changes that.

In our WFS Program booklet it states “By releasing the baggage of self-denial about ourselves and our abilities, we can free ourselves from feelings of guilt, despair, and unworthiness. We are competent women, capable of great accomplishment when we nurture a belief in ourselves.” This week, focus on nurturing your whole self. Here are 4 ways to hug your inner self:

  1. Accept where you are right now: Maybe you are one month sober, or maybe 10 years. Celebrate where you are right now by embracing everything about you. Maybe there are things you like and don’t like about yourself right now. You are caring for yourself, the fact that you are reading this email/post/thread says how much you are focused on self-care/growth.
  2. Acknowledge your victories:Every little achievement adds to who and where you are, so acknowledge them no matter the size. Grab a small journal and keep a running list and refer to it when feelings of discouragement appear. Review and add to your list every week.
  3. Balance yourself: Instead of putting others on a pedestal or knocking them in criticism, balance yourself! Elevating/negating others in comparison while elevating/downing yourself can lead to lowered self-esteem/worth or even relapse. You are uniquely you!
  4. Eliminate self-criticism while embracing self-compassion:Listen to how you speak to yourself. Are you encouraging? Is how you talk to yourself taking you deeper into sobriety and recovery or is your self-talk taking your further away? Be gentle with yourself. You deserve to be spoken to with care and love, every day.

Hugzzz

Karen


Dear 4C Women,

It took me a while yet I eventually realized that life is not stagnant and I am ever so grateful for that knowledge. If life remained the same after I quit drinking, if there wasn’t a program with guidelines for a New Life, I don’t think I would ever have been willing or possibly able to accept and practice Statement #12. What a powerful impact this Statement has had in my life, to believe I am a competent woman and have much to give life! I also learned to accept while I may not be competent in all things, it doesn’t take away the truth for me and all of us, that we are indeed competent women. I believe being competent means I am wise enough to ask for help in areas that I need input/assistance and not feel less than. It’s always been hard to ask for help yet I am getting much better at it and while I embrace being responsible for my life, it’s a relief to not have to be all-knowing or think I have to be perfect to make up for my behavior in active addiction. Perfection is an unachievable goal and a roadblock to healing, changing, and moving forward.

The 4 ways that Karen listed to nurture your whole self are practical and doable and fit so well together. I especially appreciate acknowledging our victories. I was brought up in an age when a young girl/woman acknowledging their achievements was considered self-centered or conceited. Thank goodness that has changed and we can cheer and shout about our competency without fear of being judged negatively. And if we are judged, we are competent enough to stand strong and know our truth. We have made many lists in the meetings on this Statement. My favorite is the one that lists all of our positive qualities, achievements, core values on a 3×5 index card. On the other side is the word “Stop.” Sometimes we get caught up in negative self-talk. This list is a reminder to stop and read how much we have changed, achieved, and are still committed to creating this wonderful New Life of competency. I keep it in my purse for those negative self-talk moments.  We all come with a history, a lifetime of diverse experiences.  Redefining our self-concept in practicing Statement #12 when we become sober, can be the beginning in acknowledging and awakening how competent we are, have been and willingly, joyfully share it with the world.

Are you ready to accept yourself where you are right now, create your list of victories, balance yourself with your uniqueness, and embrace self-compassion? If not now, when?

Bonded in competency and worthiness, Dee


Show your WFS pride…spring is on its way…promise!

SHOP NOW!

 

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Monday Thoughts 12/13/2021

“Once you’ve released the struggle to prove yourself worthy in someone else’s world, you begin to trust yourself and your instincts.  ~~Wendy Hammond

“I love when I realize I’m handling a situation better than my old self would have.”  ~~Unknown

“You are the best author of your own future.  So, the next time you sit down to write your own story, remember that you are the creator of the chapters.”  ~~Catherine Pulsifer

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

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


Many times, before New Life, I wondered how on earth would I manage without alcohol. I knew drinking was a real problem, but how could being sober be satisfying? Sobriety and the practice of the WFS Statements helped change that.  Especially Statement #12.

Unaware of how little I believed in myself, sobriety and recovery became the opening into self-discovery and awareness.  Statement #12 became a mantra for when feelings of doubt swirled through my mind or when cravings hit hard.  Instantly I reached for those first five words and repeated them again and again………. I am a competent woman…….… I am a competent woman……… I am a competent woman.

Each success is built on the previous success.  No matter how small or insignificant it seemed, it held the history of overcoming which enhanced feelings of competence.  These feelings felt so good; better than alcohol since I had earned them from moving through fears, doubts, and uncertainty.  I was teaching myself that I am worthy and do have much to give life.  One of my most favorite paragraphs from our WFS Program booklet can be found under Statement #12.  It states “Begin each day with an unshakable belief in your own competency.  First the thought, then the reality.  Believing you are a competent woman is giving to life.  Know you are a competent woman.”  You are 4C!

Hugzzz

Karen


Hi 4C Women,

I came across a paper written by David B. Bohl in which he posed the question, “Why do people change?”  The two main reasons were Desperation and Inspiration. Thinking back to my decision to stop drinking, it definitely was desperation.  I didn’t like who I was, didn’t even really know myself anymore.  I was lost and felt trapped.  I clung to Statement #1 and wondered how in the world would I ever evolve into believing Statement #12?  I now understand why Inspiration was included in why people change.  I was inspired by how much my life, my definition of who I was becoming, would create such an empowering change by following the WFS Statements.  I was also surrounded by women who worked hard for change and they inspired me as well.  I wasn’t alone in wanting change.  It was hard work yet the benefits surpassed anything that I ever dreamed of.  I divorced after 27 years of marriage and thankfully I was sober when that decision was made.  Drinking numbed the pain briefly and I as took responsibility for my life and my actions, I started to believe I was competent.  I gained the courage to end a marriage that left me empty and feeling completely unlovable.  Many marriages survive and thrive through hard work of both partners which I applaud.  For me, we lacked and lost the foundation to rebuild.

I am so grateful for Statement #12.  It provided a path to belief in myself, to face many of my fears and stay strong through my mistakes and appreciate my successes.  I sometimes reflect on the woman I was so many years ago and, in those moments, I hold her tight and praise her for learning how to redefine herself, to keep trying and speak her competent truth!

I hope you will reflect on why and how you have changed or are changing.  Mostly, praise yourself for the willingness to keep learning, encouraging and supporting your personal path and to include other women who are working toward believing they are competent women and have much to give life, Dee

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Monday Thoughts 9/13/2021

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

Hugzzz

Karen


Hi 4C Women,

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

How do you internalize and practice Statement #12?

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

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

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


Hear more about Statement #12 in this video!

Statement 12: Giving Back
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Monday Thoughts 6/14/21

“The tests we face in life’s journey are not to reveal our weaknesses but to help us discover our inner strengths.  We can only know how strong we are when we strive and thrive beyond the challenges we face.”  ~~Kemi Sogunle

“It was so risky and so scary, and yet at the same time, so beautiful.  Maybe the truth was, 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—if not impossible to lose.”  ~~Sarah Dessen

“Take a limitation and turn it into an opportunity.  Take an opportunity and turn it into an adventure by dreaming BIG!”  ~~Jo Franz


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

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


Did you feel it?

It was there, overflowing through computer screens, iphones and tablets. It was there in brightly lit rooms and quiet corners, and it was there because YOU DID IT and together, WE DID IT! You and countless other 4C women pulled off something amazing: WFS Conference 2021!   It was like Statement #12 came alive over the weekend!

Our founder, Jean Kirkpatrick, Ph.D., began with a thought….and from that thought came a recovery program designed for women.  Jean knew there was a void and sought to fill it; and WFS was born.  Years later, women continue to gather in support of each other, online, face to face and by phone or text/email.  It is that bond, that connection that envelopes us, creating a bridge to a New Life filled with freedom, possibility, growth.

From our absolutely touching Opening Ceremony to the amazing keynote speakers and connecting breakout sessions, this weekend brought women together.  We laughed, we cried, and we learned.  We felt listened to and heard.  We felt safe and secure.  We felt the untold number of volunteer hours put together from behind the scenes.  We gave our time, talents and donations.  We learned more about ourselves and who we wish to be.  We saw old friends and created new ones.  We embraced our value and worth. We felt the beauty of living a sober and clean life and we opened ourselves up to possibility.  We are competent women and we will know it always!

Hugzzz

Karen


Hi 4C Women,

So many competent women gathered in one place.  It was amazing.  As many of you know, I have been a part of WFS for over 30 years and it is wonderful that I continue to be blessed with learning life lessons from all these phenomenal 4C women.  I am filled with such peace in the understanding and acceptance that this recovery journey is just that – a journey, not a destination.  Knowing that helps me in those unsettling times when I begin to question why my work is not done.  I am grateful for the awareness that continued growth is what life is all about.

Seasons change and so do I in adapting and creating balance with those changes.  It’s comforting to have this awareness.  Years ago, I was unwilling to change and perhaps that worked in my favor as one of the keynote speakers, Rebecca Ray, shared that we have protectors that help up fight against pain and hurt.  Those protectors worked really hard to block my hurt and it wasn’t their fault that I was fearful of change. They were doing their job.  It was however, as she shared, my responsibility to change how I coped with those hurtful feelings.   I learned that it is important to bring those protectors along the journey, to embrace with them with compassion as we take responsibility in becoming that competent woman we are and always have been.  Ignoring the pain and hurt as we mature blocks our ability to grow emotionally and spiritually.

I have always said that in our life, we are teachers and students.  It’s knowing who we are at any given time.  I can now thank my protectors as I was growing up when I didn’t have much needed coping tools.  As I said, they did their job.  As an adult, I realized I had to work through the hurt and pain to be in charge of my life, to have an emotionally healthy recovery and to show the world that I was indeed a competent woman who had much to give life.

Another speaker, Mary Beth O’Connor, shared how introducing herself as a competent woman was challenging yet after a few weeks, she found herself sitting up straight, feeling empowered.  I love the way she expressed it as a powerful identifier.

While I have always described the italicized part of each Statement as the action part, I appreciated how the first part was described as our “belief.”  So, believing you are competent as the first part of Statement 12 says, the action part is to live it as your daily truth.  I have a 3×5 index card that I carry with me.  On the front is the word STOP!  On the back are words describing who I am today, things I have accomplished and the positive changes I have made in my recovery.  They are my truth.  When the feeling of being incompetent starts to creep in or any negative thoughts about myself, I pull out my card with the truth of who I am today.   I have found it to be useful for several of the Statements.  Here are some questions to get your started on your own STOP! card:

What are 3 or more empowering words to describe yourself?

What positive changes have you made?

What is your personal affirmation?

I am competent in the way I _________________

I have accomplished __________________

What gifts, talents do I possess?

Bonded in knowing “I am possible!” – Dee


Image of a phoenix rising with the words "I'm Possible!

Post-Conference Replay Period Continues Through June 27th!

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Monday Thoughts 3/15/2021

“Define success on your own terms, achieve it by your own rules, and build a life you’re proud to live.” ~~Anne Sweeney

“I am a woman with thoughts and questions and sh*t to say.  I say if I’m beautiful.  I say if I’m strong.  You will not determine my story—I will.”  ~~Amy Schumer

“Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations.  I may not reach them but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow them.”  ~~Louisa May Alcott


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

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


According to Merriam-Webster, competence means “the quality or state of having sufficient knowledge, judgment, skill or strength” et al.  It does not, however, mean that one needs to know it all before embracing or acknowledging competence.  Jean understood this and created this empowering Statement for continued growth and development in living our New Lives.

In our WFS Program booklet it states “Begin each day with an unshakable belief in your own competency.  First the thought, then the reality.  Believing you are a competent woman is giving to life.”  After all the uncertainty that active addiction brings, isn’t it comforting to be connected to and engaged in life?

No one is competent in everything, yet everyone can be competent in something.  Some years ago, while taking an art class at the local library, we sat and drew the still-life set up in front of us.  At the end of class, we lined up our artwork for viewing.  While all the drawings contained the same items, the way each person portrayed the scene was remarkable.  Beautiful styles, lines, shading, and curves were displayed; everything was individual and all were delightful.  Sobriety and recovery can be the same.  No two journeys are exactly alike and no two people are competent in the same areas.  The key is finding your inner connection, what makes you, well you.  No one does you like you do.  You are the best version of you there is.  Embrace yourself!

Hugzzz

Karen


Hi 4C Women,

Our recovery journey and path are as individual as our skills, talents, gifts and our belief in ourselves.  I remember the first time I facilitated a WFS meeting and told the women attending that we introduce ourselves as competent women for our addiction is not our identity but what we use to cope.  It was challenging to most yet I knew from my own experience that saying it eventually became my truth!  In fact, that introduction is so embedded in my mind that I recently introduced myself as a competent woman at a zoom bible class!

For me, the beauty of WFS is that we may have similar goals, even similar circumstances yet how we reach our goal of sobriety/recovery is comprised of our choices, our personal history and in our own timeframe.  Through it all, however, is the inner knowledge that we are competent and having made the choice of the WFS program in our recovery, that competency will continue to grow and evolve.

Back in 1993, I wrote about my WFS journey and it’s amazing to read how little I thought of myself.  I can honestly attribute my growth to WFS, my learning from other women on this incredible recovery journey and knowing – believing – I am a competent woman.  I will always remember when my ex-husband told me that I would never progress or be successful in life because I read the comics first on Sunday mornings rather than the news.  He insinuated that I could not hold an intelligent conversation because I did not know current events and after all, according to him, you can’t talk small talk all your life.  That one comment only reinforced my low self-esteem and past negative messages implying I was stupid.

In retrospect, I didn’t and still don’t make the connection between searching for humor to start my Sundays and being able to hold an intelligent conversation.  Of course, I also know now that he was insecure, having to prove his intelligence through what he knew and small talk was extremely uncomfortable for him.  I think he was a bit jealous because I could engage in small talk, going deeper only when I sensed the person felt comfortable and there was trust in doing so.  So, saying out loud at a meeting that I am a competent woman took time to internalize as my truth.  Today I can authentically and without hesitation say, I am a competent woman who can engage in diverse forms of communication!

I share this because I understand that Statement #12 can be intimidating and uncomfortable at first.  For some, it may even feel like we are bragging – a feeling that many girls and young women were told was not ladylike and could be seen as conceited (at least when I was growing up).  As you practice Statement #12, I hope you will realize that this Statement is empowering, motivating and definitely achievable.

As Karen said, we all have competency in different areas.  Do you know yours?  Perhaps make a list and read it every day with phrases like, I am worthy, I am enough, I am responsible, I am a 4C woman today and then add specifics, i.e., I am good at organizing, listening, technology (that will not be on my list!), being a good friend, detail oriented, cooking, creative – the list is yours to create.

Bonded in knowing you have much to give life, acknowledging your talents, skills, gifts and value with assertiveness – no apologies for the recognition.  You are a competent woman – know it, believe it and live it, Dee


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Monday Thoughts 12/14/2020

women for sobriety decorative image woman stretching

 

“Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit.”  ~~E.E. Cummings

“You wouldn’t worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do.”  ~~Eleanor Roosevelt

“Trust yourself.  Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life.  Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.”  ~~Golda Meir


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

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


Unaware of negative internal dialogue, it was inevitable to feel less than or not enough.  Add to this a laser-focused comparison to others, healthy self-esteem was not possible or even compatible. Alcohol compounded the doubt, insecurity, and fears, which led to extreme feelings of incompetence and worthlessness. Yet sobriety and Statement #12 in action lay a foundation for self-worth and ability to flourish.

Why is it easier to recognize competence in family, friends, or others, yet more difficult to embrace within ourselves?  For women in recovery, it is important to embrace this quality within ourselves.  In our WFS Program booklet it states “By releasing the baggage of self-denial about ourselves and our abilities, we can free ourselves from feelings of guilt, despair, and unworthiness.  We are competent women, capable of great accomplishment, when we nurture a belief in ourselves.  Begin each day with an unshakable belief in your own competency.  First the thought, then the reality.”

Self-imaging and affirmations are two tools which can aid in practicing Statement #12.  Self-imaging, the art of imagining who or where we would like to be, (either spoken or written in detail) along with daily affirmations can increase our acceptance of ourselves.  Here are a few examples to begin with:

  1. I am a capable, competent, caring, and compassionate woman.
  2. I am enough and I am doing my best.
  3. I love myself and my body and treat myself with compassion.
  4. I am dedicated to taking small actions each day towards my goals.

What other affirmations will you add?

Hugzzz

Karen


Hi 4C Women,

It took quite a while to erase, even quiet down the negative self-talk I had in my head for so many years.  Comparison was my daily thought.  Drinking seemed to be the answer to quiet those negative images of who I thought I was.  Of course, that was definitely not true because the pain remained and my self-esteem remained damaged.  Gladly, through WFS, I learned that the way to becoming the 4C woman I had sadly trapped with drinking to squash those painful feelings of unworthiness, was to unravel those false perceptions I bought into.  I needed to unwrap the woman I was smothering with alcohol, to discover the woman I needed to be and could be with just changing the way I defined myself.  In other words, I needed to rethink and behave my way through to the present truth.  I realized I was trapped by old thinking, old messages that no longer held strength in the woman I was working so hard to release from the past.  I understood that my beliefs were from others who were authority figures in my growing up years or loved ones who had their own baggage they unpacked and put in my suitcases.  I also came to understand that it was me who kept those painful beliefs active and current into my adulthood.  Any traumatic or unpleasant event only proved that everyone was right about me rather than accepting and knowing that life is full of hurtful moments and joyful ones as well.  I realized I was focused only on the negative events.  Statement #12 was one of the most difficult ones for me to process.  Years of believing I was anything but incompetent seemed unnatural for me to embrace, to acknowledge both competency and having much to give life!  However, being a persistent woman and determined to keep moving forward, I began to challenge how I defined myself.  The first time our group had to list 50 positive terms to describe ourselves, I was stuck at 3 and that was a challenge all in itself.  This was a big wake-up call.  I even provided the group a list of positive characteristics to help in the process.  Eventually, with hard work and confidence, I was able to list more than 3 words!

I have a paper dated 2015, on Self-Esteem and Substance Abuse as it related to Statement #12.  There were some common characteristics of people with low self-esteem.   The top one was negative self-talk, then frequently apologizing, focusing on “perceived” flaws and weaknesses, seeking constant reassurance from others and not feeling better even with positive feedback, refusing to accept compliments or denying positive comments you get, tending to be a perfectionist who’s afraid of failure.  Fortunately, there were constructive ways to build self-esteem and I’d like to share them.

  • Make lists, rereading them often and rewriting them from time to time (the exercise I described above).  These lists can include your strengths, things you admire about yourself, i.e., healthy relationships/spirituality/emotional growth.
  • Five greatest achievements/accomplishments in your life so far.  (I took my driving test 3 times as a 16-year-old before I passed and in the past 13 years have driven to PA/NJ by myself.  Now I consider that quite an accomplishment.)
  • Things you can do to make yourself laugh.
  • Things you could do to help someone else.
  • Things that you do that make you feel good about yourself.
  • Develop a personal positive affirmation.  (This is so important.  I use to look in the mirror every morning and tell myself that I was stupid, fat and ugly.  When I think of that now, I cringe.  The first time I looked in the mirror and said that I loved me, I knew I was on my way to building my self-esteem and that is my wish for each of you.)

Bonded in knowing you are unique and loved and deserving of loving yourself, Dee


 

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Monday Thoughts 9/14/2020

“The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity.”  Amelia Earhart

“Done is better than perfect.” ~~Sheryl Sandberg

“Stay afraid, but do it anyway.  What’s important is the action. You don’t have to wait to be confident, just do it and eventually the confidence will follow.”  ~~Carrie Fisher
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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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Over 14 years ago, sobriety scared me senseless. I knew for an exceedingly long time that alcohol was a problem in my life (though I did not realize at the time how life-threatening it was) and I had no clue how to move forward.  Yet one day, I acted.  Today, life is vastly different from those first few months because of the WFS New Life Program and the practice of Statement #12.

For years, conditioning myself with negative assumptions became a self-fulfilling prophecy.  I reminded myself of failures and wallowed in self-pity.  Clearing my mind of alcohol, grasping empowering thoughts and reframing conversations became easier.  Soon I was moving away from negative self-talk into becoming my own cheerleader.

Statement #12 in action is our personal promoter. Simple repetition of even just the first five words of this empowering Statement can alter our direction.  It is a building block of stable recovery and with continued practice can assist us in setting new goals and achievements.  One of my early goals was to make the bed each day. Now, it is automatic.  The same is true for many aspects of my life.  As I begun to believe in the smaller truths, it created a sturdy and healthy foundation for larger truths.  Believing in myself more, the more I began to try.  Of course, success did not come each time, today I understand the trying is more important than immediate success.

How do you encourage yourself?  What does it look/sound like?  How does it feel?

What is one thing that you can try this week that you have been hesitating on?

Hugzzz

Karen


Hi 4C Women,

Oh, how I love Karen’s message and especially that we are our own personal promoter.  Nina and I once did a workshop at the WFS conference on being your own best friend.  It opened my eyes to how we can encourage and support others yet struggle with empowering ourselves.  Why does it feel wrong to be our own cheerleader?  Is it an old message from our youth or societal restrictions that to compliment and acknowledge our successes and outstanding characteristics is being self-centered or conceited, especially for women?   A lot has changed since my youth and adulthood and all I can say is, “thank goodness.” Expressing our talents, gifts,successes and positive qualities is more accepted in today’s world and for me, it makes saying Statement #12 out loud so much easier and truthful!  I believe I am a competent woman and have much to give life.  Do you believe this is your truth?  Are you comfortable at this point in your recovery to admit just how empowered and competent you are?  If not, what is the stumbling block in creating and believing this to be your truth?   What action steps can you take to move forward in accepting Statement #12?

Another workshop Nina and I presented was Powerful You in which we discussed what is real power, why and how we hide our power.

Here are some of the questions we presented to the participants:

1.   In your family, what rules or messages were you given to hide your power? Examples: Don’t brag, you’ll get a big head, negative consequences to feeling confident, angry/rageful parent made it feel unsafe to express yourself fully.

2.   Which ways do you hide your power?

a. Your thoughts – how you think about yourself. Would you speak to your friends the way you speak to yourself?

b. Your words – what you say.  Do your words diminish or empower you? Do they command respect or do they minimize your sense of worth?

c.  Your actions – what you do or don’t do.  Change your behavior by knowing what you will stop doing and what you will start doing to build your knowledge/feeling of being a competent woman.  Write it down. This goes back to the question Karen asked about trying one thing this week that you have been hesitating on.

Real power is the energy that fuels our actions.  It comes from living with integrity, from aligning your thoughts, words and actions with the deepest part of who you are.  And who you are is a competent woman who has much to give life.

Bonded in believing/knowing you are a competent woman now and always, Dee

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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