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Monday Thoughts 6.20.22

women for sobriety decorative image responsibility

“Take responsibility for yourself; it’s very rewarding.”

Amanda Green

“The secret ingredients to true happiness? Decisive optimism and personal responsibility.”

Amy Leigh Mercree

“Taking responsibility for oneself is by definition an act of kindness.”

Sharon Salzberg


#13 I am responsible for myself and for my actions.

I am in charge of my mind, my thoughts, and my life.


Statement #13 in action is the culmination of dedication, change, and perseverance. By investing in self, we bring ourselves to life in new and rewarding ways. Drugs or alcohol severed this connection to life and it is through sobriety and recovery, that life becomes vibrant and fulfilling.

In her book Goodbye Hangovers Hello Life, our founder, Jean Kirkpatrick, Ph.D. writes, “There is a power deep in us that we have never before touched. We have never taken the time to find it, even if we knew it was there. Now we are going to find and use it. This is the power of our mind and the power of our thoughts, through the use of which we can significantly change our lives.” It begins within us and with Statement #13, continues our evolution.

How each of us practice this Statement is individual, for each of us responds with our own abilities. What works for one may not work for another and vice versa. We get to grow into ourselves and our New Life. Of course, there are times when life can feel stagnant and unmoving, but there are also those times when life feels like it’s moving in a blur and everything in between. Through it all, we are in charge of our minds, our thoughts, and life!

Here are 4 ways to aid in living responsibly:

  • Prioritize YOU: As the old airline adage says, “put your own oxygen mask on first.” What area of your life do you need to make yourself a priority?
  • Release blame and pause before complaining: Before responding in intense emotion, pause. Take a breath. There is no need to knee-jerk react. Ask yourself questions to dive deeper into understanding and compassion.
  • Be accountable: When you say you will (fill in the blank) …. follow through. If it seems overwhelming at first, break it down into manageable pieces. Embrace the flow.
  • Mind your mind: Focus on balance, manage thoughts, release negativity/fear and set realistic goals. You are in charge of yourself.

Hugzzz

Karen


Hi 4C Women,

When I finally learned to release total blame on everyone and everything that I believed was wrong in my life and focus on taking responsibility for my role in a situation, I learned many life lessons from it. This also included accountability for the other person who may have caused harm or hurt. Big difference from putting the entire blame on someone or something. It is a two-way street and that helped me to understand how important it was to find and speak my truthful voice while acknowledging my part. This is why prioritizing ourselves helps us to react/respond in a healthier way to achieve change – our inside change. Yelling, screaming, blaming, remaining silent, keeping it all inside or even feeling it’s all our fault resolves nothing and teaches nothing. Accountability and responsibility are the best teachers in creating authentic change. I blamed my father, teachers, bosses, and toxic relationships for my life as I thought I had no choice. Well, my choice was to drink away the feelings as I accepted the pain and hurt thrown at me. Zero lessons, zero change. This is not to say that it was okay to be harmed by anyone! Thanks to WFS and this Statement in particular, I realized my responsibility is how I took that situation, the hurt, and the pain, and learned to do something different. I reacted differently (which was a huge challenge and confused the people who expected the usual reaction). I felt so empowered being in charge of my thoughts and how I found a way to express my voice in a competent, responsible, and may I say, a calmer manner. I was no longer behaving like a victim of my circumstances but a strong voice in my choices.

Here’s another lesson I learned and that is it’s not always a straight line to being in charge of my mind, thoughts, and life. I have faltered and succeeded. Many times, it depends on the person, the situation, and even my level of confidence at that given moment. Knowing that stops the personal judgment when I falter and gives myself credit when I succeed. It goes back to Karen’s point of setting realistic goals. Perfection does not exist and is a roadblock to personal growth, life lessons, and authentic change. Something I realized as I practiced this Statement is that the word fault started dropping from my thoughts and was replaced with the empowered word, “responsibility.” That one-word change had a great impact on how I started viewing a situation. For me, it meant I had options and was willing to try those options. I sought input and didn’t see that as a weakness but as a strength. I was previously fearful of seeking help, believing that I would be judged for not having problem-solving or decision-making skills. I was learning gratefulness as well for those who were willing to patiently share their life experiences to support me in building my coping toolbox.  This is the outcome of being part of such an empowering program where we can be authentic and grow emotionally without fear of judgment.

Bonded in being empowered, responsible, and willing to learn, Dee


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Monday Thoughts 3.21.22

women for sobriety decorative image responsibility

“You are as amazing as you let yourself be. Let me repeat that. You are as amazing as you let yourself be.” Elizabeth Alraune

“Incredible change happens in your life when you decide to take control of what you have power over, instead of craving control over what you don’t.” Steve Maraboli

“Control your thoughts. Decide about that which you will think and concentrate upon. You are in charge of your life to the degree you take charge of your thoughts.” Earl Nightingale


#13 I am responsible for myself and for my actions.

I am in charge of my mind, my thoughts, and my life.


Practicing Statement #13 is not a one and done but in fact, a life-long commitment to sobriety and recovery. In our WFS Program booklet, it states “The purpose of the New Life Program is self-acceptance and being responsible for ourselves and all that we do. By accepting responsibility, we can break away from unhealthy dependencies.”

Before New Life, I recall feeling completely beat up and used by the world. Life felt painful and unfair. Turning to alcohol for escape, I created more imbalance and uncertainty, as well as physical and emotional turmoil. Something had to change, and it began with me.

With action into Statement #13, I set the tone for each day. Of course, energy levels fluctuate as well as physical abilities but it begins with the mind. When I focus on balancing thoughts and maintaining structure, the day can gently unfold. Even with the difficult world news right now, I am in charge of how I think and react. Every day, I can “look for the helpers,” by that, I mean that in every difficult or challenging situation, there are people who are the helpers. They try to make a small difference in their own way. Just a simple shift of attention to the helpers can move thoughts of fear/worry into a healthier pattern. This week, look for the helpers or be the helper. The world can always use a helping hand.

Hugzzz
Karen


Dear 4C Women,

I have been divorced for 28 years and just saying the number seems unreal to me at times. One of my favorite quotes is one I saw on a calendar many years ago: “Life is change, growth is possible, choose wisely.” That quote was a picture of my life during my separation and divorce. I experienced major changes, ones I had not imagined and I had a choice to grow or remain broken, fearful, and frozen. Fortunately, I had quit drinking before the separation so I was beginning to have clarity yet the fear of being totally responsible for every area of my life was strong. I had to learn vulnerability, to accept that I would make mistakes and survive but also learn if I was willing. My big question became, how am I and my life going to be different? How will my decisions affect me in 10 minutes, 10 months, 10 years? The deceit, the lies no longer served me as I was now committed to my sobriety. Yet, handling so much responsibility after being married for 27 years left me with a lot of uncertainty.

I often say that I am grateful for my addiction as it led me to seek help and the kind of help that lifted me up, changed my way of thinking and responding. Even though I thankfully was in therapy, the WFS program provided a powerful companion guide for lasting change in sobriety. I am a person who disliked change immensely yet here I was with the biggest life change I had ever experienced. Talk about walking away from dependencies – addiction, financial support, and identity – my role as a wife, provider of a safe emotional place for my children, finding a place to live after the house was sold all while working a full-time job and facilitating a WFS meeting. Facilitating a meeting was probably the most rewarding as it was a reminder of the gift of my New Life. I had tremendous support from the women in the group. I made lifelong friends and maintained my sobriety as I worked through my fears. Statement #13 reminded me that I could do this and I did.

I was blessed to have helpers in my life. I learned from each person who held out their hand just what being helped and being a helper for others meant. I was not a person who took risks yet I was thrust into a life of risk-taking. Through all the unknown territories I walked through, I was grateful that I was able to find the lesson. Before, I would focus on the mistake which did nothing for my self-esteem, problem-solving, or decision-making. Statement #13 was my guiding force.

In reflecting on your life today, how do you feel about being vulnerable, willing to take risks, accepting help, giving help, and how your decisions will affect you in 10 minutes, 10 months, 10 years? If you are triggered, your action could have a huge impact on either of the 10s. I thought a lot about that when I was triggered and thankfully, it empowered me, even more, to stand strong, to keep that 4C woman intact, and survive any mistakes I made. It was not an easy journey yet worth every up and down as long as I was willing to learn, grow, be accountable and accept the tremendous support from my 4C sisters.

What one major change are you currently experiencing?

What is the most challenging part of the situation?

What is your reaction to change?

How will you better care for yourself during the course of the change?

What problem solving and decision-making skills are you learning in this situation?

Are you able to be a helper and/or accept help?

Bonded in taking responsibility, learning the lessons, and standing strong, Dee


 

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Monday Thoughts 12/20/2021

statement 13

Monday Thoughts

 “I am woman phenomenally.  Phenomenal woman, that’s me.”  ~~Maya Angelou

“Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.”  ~~Nora Ephron

“There is no limit to what we, as women can accomplish.”  ~~Michelle Obama

 #13 I am responsible for myself and for my actions.

I am in charge of my mind, my thoughts and my life.


The WFS New Life program and especially Statement #13 provide a framework for continuing growth and motivation.  This Statement is the crown jewel and offers sustaining sobriety and recovery when put into daily action.  It is meant to create lasting depth and trust in our 4C lives.

Leaving behind the blame game and self-destructive behaviors, we can move forward and stand in our own strength.  In our WFS Program booklet it states “The purpose of the New Life Program is self-acceptance and being responsible for ourselves and all that we do.  By accepting responsibility, we can break away from unhealthy dependencies.” 

As the holidays and final days of the year draw nearer, we can pause and reflect in the knowledge that we are in charge of our mind and our lives.  In the midst of the hustle and bustle, the glow of the season, and for some, the cold, there is an opportunity for underlying ease and contentment.  Recently one 4C woman shared that this is the 11th year that her Christmas tree has stood beautifully decorated, without falling over with her in it.  A wonderful and simple joy indeed.

Hugzzz

Karen


Hi 4C Women,

Motivation and trust!  I think of how motivated I became once I started practicing this Statement.  I wanted to trust my instincts, to trust I would survive any mistake I made and for it to become a life lesson rather than a reassurance of my negative past thinking.  This Statement brought me freedom.  As I have shared many times, I was the Queen of the Blame Game.  I wore my crown proudly.  As long as that crown was secure on my head, I was not responsible for the outcome of any of the choices or decisions I made.  Once I began trusting myself, I felt so empowered and I wanted more of that feeling. 

Two of Dr. Phil’s life laws are “we teach people how to treat us” and “we can’t change what we won’t acknowledge.”   I realized that I was also teaching myself how to treat me.  I treated myself as though I was unworthy, incompetent, invisible, incapable, inadequate of being in charge of anything, especially my life!  Statement #13 was a life changer indeed.  I began to acknowledge that my negative thoughts were harming me, holding me back and quite honestly, no longer applied to my recovery life if I wanted one.  I held the key to unlock the negative definition of me and my life.  Once I trusted myself, I not only unlocked the door, I threw away the key.  While there have been setbacks, the key I now held in my hands was Statement #13.  It became my mantra and every time I felt fearful of making a decision, I kept telling myself I was in charge and no matter the outcome, I could handle it.   I learned to handle mistakes and celebrate/learn from my successes as well.  I began to acknowledge that focusing solely on my mistakes rather than learning from them, was holding me back, unnecessarily keeping me a prisoner.  I held on tighter to that new key. 

I found a mantra from a calendar years ago and I still use it today.
“Life is change, growth is possible, choose wisely.”  This mantra taught me to pause and consider several possibilities/solutions to an issue.  I chose as wisely as I could with the information I had and no matter what the outcome, growth was possible.  Learning promotes growth.  Constantly berating a mistake promotes a negative self-image and hinders our growth. 

When considering the choice in how we look at our decision making/problem solving, when was the last time you trusted your instincts?  Describe the situation, the people, the outcome.

Do you learn from your mistakes?  Do you acknowledge and celebrate your successes or gloss over them? 

For those struggling in trusting themselves to be in charge of their life, remember it is not the length of the journey, but the willingness to take it.  And most importantly, this is not a solo journey.  Yes, we are responsible for our individual actions, yet there is so much support and encouragement from those who are journeying with us.  We are students and teachers at different moments.  Whichever you are right now, please trust yourself to be the teacher or the student.  We are bonded together on this journey, Dee


Hear more about Statement #13

 

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Monday Thoughts 9/20/2021

“Just believe in yourself.  Even if you don’t, pretend that you do and at some point, you will.”  ~~Venus Williams

“Life can go in many directions but the belief in yourself is the map to the unknown.”  ~~Anne Neil

“You may be the only person left who believes in you, but it’s enough.  It takes just one star to pierce a universe of darkness.  Never give up.”  ~~Richelle E. Goodrich


#13 I am responsible for myself and for my actions.

I am in charge of my mind, my thoughts, and my life.


In our WFS Reflections for Growth booklet our founder, Jean Kirkpatrick, PhD writes “Do you have faith in yourself?  Do you have faith in your ability to accomplish?  More importantly, do you have faith in your sobriety?  Faith is belief.  To stay sober, we must have faith in ourselves.  We must believe, trust, and have faith in our ability to accept our self-responsibility.”  This is an eye-opening way to examine faith in our New Lives and put action into Statement #13.

Addiction removed the ability to accept, believe or feel confidence in myself.  My belief system had become misplaced, and I unconsciously allowed others to make decisions in my life.  Faith in others came way before faith in myself.  Because of the WFS New Life Program, sobriety and recovery helped change direction and feel a sense of balance.

Challenging myself became a way to practice Statement #13 and feel responsible, which definitely increased belief in myself.  For example, knowing I wanted to get involved with WFS, becoming a Certified Facilitator was a route available.  I could either start a F2F meeting or one online.  Being more comfortable online, I chose to start a F2F.  This cemented faith, growth, and responsibility.  Today I know and have faith that I am a capable, competent, caring, and compassionate woman!

Hugzzz

Karen


Hi 4C Women,

In the beginning, I was like a rebellious teenager when it came to Statement #13.  I wanted to say, I am NOT responsible for myself and my actions.  I mean if I’m responsible, that means I have to actually stop my blame game and learn to make my own decisions, cope with the mistakes I would and did make, change my entire way of thinking and it was scary.  So much easier to blame others and just sit back and do nothing.  In totality, the 13 Statements are building blocks, a phenomenal guide to taking responsibility, to feel completely in charge of our minds, our thoughts and our lives.  I eventually began to feel empowered.  I didn’t have to hide my power; I could speak my voice.  It felt fabulous.  And mistakes, well it was shocking that the world didn’t stop turning when I made mistakes.

I am sure the people in my life were delighted with this change.  No more constantly complaining how horrible my life was because of others.   I was no longer an emotional victim of life’s situations or other people nor did I want to play that victim role anymore.  There are still times when I feel overwhelmed with being in charge yet I would rather work through those times than be stuck and fearful of a challenging situation or person.  And knowing I am in charge of my responses, my choices, provides a strength and courage I hold on to tightly.

Here’s the best part – I no longer deny my authentic feelings of fear and confusion at times.  I am fortunate to have the tools and the support of my WFS sisters to hear without judgement, provide insight from their own life experiences and space to make my own decisions.

Nancy Cross once shared a message with some questions from Iyanla Vanzant as it related to this Statement.  These questions helped me define how willing I was to practice Statement #13 in earnest.

1.       Are you willing to be a free and independent thinker?  (This one truly spoke to me the loudest.  When I was married, I didn’t realize how much I repeated my former husband’s point of view on everything.  One day, a co-worker asked me if I realized that I started every sentence with, “Ed said.”  He asked if I had thoughts or opinions of my own.  Wow!  That was a wake-up call.)

2.       Are you willing to stand up for yourself?  To speak up for yourself?

3.       Are you willing to be the one who calls the shots?

4.       Are you willing to walk away from the people who will be very upset when you stand up and speak up?  (This occurred during my separation when I found my voice.  It is challenging especially if we hold onto guilt from the past and feel we don’t deserve to speak our wants and needs.  Oh, but we do!  Remember that your past does not equal your future. We used alcohol or drugs to cope and practicing the WFS program teaches us to value ourselves as we work towards a New Life in recovery.)

5.       Are you willing to have fun and joy in total peace all by yourself, if necessary?

6.       Are you comfortable with saying no and realize it is a complete sentence?

7.       In learning to be responsible for yourself, have you set healthy boundaries to achieve your wants and needs?

Bonded in learning, growing, reaching out for support and being in charge!  Dee

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Monday Thoughts 6/21/2021

“No one is coming to save you, to give you permission, to choose you, or validate you.  This has always been your job.  You must love yourself so fiercely and fully that you have no choice but to be strong for yourself, to be yourself, and to build yourself.”  ~~Cara Leyba

“Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark in the hopeless swamps of the not-quite, the not-yet, and the not-at-all.  Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserved and have never been able to reach.  The world you desire can be won.  It exists…it is real…it is possible….it’s yours.”  ~~Ayn Rand

“Responsibility to yourself means refusing to let others do your thinking, talking and naming for you; it means learning to respect and use your own brains and instincts; hence grappling with hard work.”  ~~Adrienne Rich


#13 I am responsible for myself and for my actions.

I am in charge of my mind, my thoughts, and my life.


Imagine being told that the color blue is your color.  Parents, school, friends, or community reinforce this color and it is woven through every fabric of your life.  Yet something feels like it’s missing in your blue world.  You cannot put your finger on it, but you feel a sense of unfulfillment.  You drink or use to fill that void.  That doesn’t help and you shift into sobriety. You begin to practice living the Statements every day.  At first, everything feels flat but soon you are getting glimpses of beautiful purples, bright teals and vivid yellows.  Your spirit feels brighter and you choose to live in responsibility and unexpectedly, a whole rainbow unfolds.  This spectrum fills you and you shine from within.  You welcome every variation of color, including your original blue.  This is it, your life in full display as responsibility weaves a new fabric through you.

Statement #13 in action sets into motion the life we need and desire.  It is responding with our ever- growing ability and building ourselves into our own hero.  It is not easy to stand in our strength yet the freedom that arises from separating ourself from ill-fitting belief systems or institutions cements a powerful feeling of authenticity to our lives.  It bridges gaps, illuminates brilliance while forging balance.

As we begin the second week out from our WFS “I’m Possible” 2021 Annual Conference, the workshops continue to be available through the weekend.  Take a moment to watch, listen and add your thoughts to this empowering event.  Your input is welcome and most needed as our beloved organization continues to grow and evolve.

How will you color your world this week?

Hugzzz

Karen


Hi 4C Women,

I love the analogy of being told what specific color is you and then realizing something is missing and how the rainbow of colors unfolds on your recovery path.  I can visualize walking down a road of solid blue and around the corner there is a peak of brilliant yellow, then pink, bright green and so much more.  It is an awakening of what life can be as you take responsibility for yourself and your actions.  I remember the surprise and actual joy I felt as I gained more confidence in being in charge of my mind, my thoughts and my life.  Scary at first yet the more I wandered out of my comfort zone, the more I felt empowered and strong enough to handle this new feeling of responsibility.

Life is change, growth is possible, choose wisely.  I found this quote on a calendar and it was my mantra for quite a while as I finally understood that if I wanted personal growth, I needed to choose wisely, and Statement 13 is certainly one of those empowering growth Statements.

I have a worksheet on the “change” process and one that spoke to me was “New Beginnings” – reorientation marked by new attitudes.  Oh, yes, attitudes – the kind that says I can do this!  It goes on to say that during this phase of change, individuals feel a new sense of belonging and commitment.  This is the time to let go of past behaviors and attitudes, to clarify your roles and responsibilities and to explore possibilities for the future.

I had given up on exploring or envisioning a future where I was in charge as that brought up all my fears of making mistakes, wrong decisions, rejection and just a whole bunch of negative thoughts about myself.  Yet, I felt such a pull to be the 4C woman I at first pretended to be.  So, here were the questions presented that I knew I needed to consider if I was to be the authentic 4c woman my heart ached for.

What do I need to make my vision a reality?

What progress am I making?

What support do I need?

I realized I needed to believe I could make my vision a reality.  I needed to acknowledge that no matter how small a step forward I was making, it was progress!  After all, I did not get to where I was in my actions and thoughts overnight, so I had to appreciate my commitment to trying my best, not giving up.

I needed the support of women who understood my fears and yet encouraged me to keep moving forward.  No explanations understood and accepted.  While the goal is independence, we all need to know we are interdependent.  Why walk alone when there are those who are standing beside you, in front of you leading the way and behind you to catch your back?

In one of the breakout sessions, we were told we were negotiators and I now understand that I was negotiating within myself to find ways to practice Statement 13.   I learned to change a negative thought to a positive one.  I learned to be proactive rather than reactive which changed my actions and outcome.  And one of the most important changes was that I praised myself for each new way of thinking, behaving and being in charge of my life.

Consider these additional questions:

How do you practice Statement 13?

How would you describe your vision of your New Life?

Bonded in acceptance, belonging, and supporting each other, Dee

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Monday Thoughts 3/22/2021

“I am woman phenomenally.  Phenomenal woman, that’s me.”  ~~Maya Angelou

“The work of today is the history of tomorrow, and we are its makers.”  ~~Juliette Gordon Low

“A woman is the full circle.  Within her is the power to create, nurture and transform.”  ~~Diane Mariechild


 #13 I am responsible for myself and for my actions.

I am in charge of my mind, my thoughts, and my life.


Sobriety and Statement #13 in action encourage continued growth in recovery.  From engaging in daily living to elaborately planned future moments, it is the culmination of being in charge of our minds, our thoughts and our lives that brings a sense of balance and rewarding fulfillment.  Before sobriety and New Life, none of this felt possible; alcohol had become a large and looming obstacle.

Women are strong, courageous and resilient.  Across history you can see how women have impacted this world with their knowledge, skills and talents; from Katherine G. Johnson, a mathematician who helped create the complex calculations that helped the US to fly into space in 1969 to Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman on the US Supreme Court, to Tegla Loroupe, the first African woman to win the NYC Marathon in 1994.  Women have proved time and time again that we can do anything.

Our founder, Jean Kirkpatrick, Ph.D. brought Women for Sobriety to life in response to her own difficult journey and continued to share her experience with the world.  It was a way for her to respond with her ability, and to this day, her energy and enthusiasm touches the heart of every woman embracing WFS.  Because Jean lived the Statements, today, we get to do the same.  What an absolutely phenomenal woman.  Just like you!

“We are capable and competent, caring and compassionate, always willing to help another, bonded together in overcoming our addictions” (WFS Motto).   We are 4C!

Hugzzz

Karen


Hi 4C Women,

While unexpected events impact many of us, especially during the pandemic, this powerful and empowering Statement is a reminder that how we respond to events, to people and situations is our responsibility.  I have experienced the saddest situation just days ago when my brother-in-law passed away months after having heart surgery.  The hardest part is being away from my family and not being able to attend the funeral.  My sister and brother-in-law were married for 61 years this month so there are a lot of memories that keep resurfacing that create both extreme sadness and joy at those shared experiences. Under normal circumstances, I would be there to help ease my sister’s pain as best I could.

Today, I am grateful for my sobriety, for the work I put into maintaining it and knowing I am in charge of my response.  I may not be able to travel yet I am available to listen, to be a shoulder to lean on and to know I, too, am not alone.  If I felt triggered, I know without a single doubt that I could share and seek help from my WFS sisters without shame or guilt.  I would be understood and supported.  That is part of this Statement – being in charge of my mind, my thoughts and my life, I am responsible for seeking help when I know I need it.  I have been blessed with loving, compassionate support from those who already know of his passing.  I am a firm believer in acknowledging and expressing our feelings rather than pretend everything is just fine when it isn’t.

In her booklet, Seed Thoughts for Loving Yourself, Suzanne Harrill expresses this so well: “I understand feelings are simply part of my inner guidance system.  They give me feedback on thoughts and reactions to my daily experiences and encounters with others.  I am learning to put words to what I’m feeling which helps me identify thoughts and beliefs behind the feelings.  Once I do this, I use my mind to evaluate these feelings to best decide what to do next.  Sometimes I simply allow myself to feel my feelings and sometimes I use them as motivators to help me make beneficial changes.  I acknowledge all my feelings.”

In acknowledging our feelings, we learn to be responsible, to create balance in our life as a process.  Mistakes become life lessons, success becomes part of our tool box in knowing we can and do make positive choices and survive when we don’t, that living authentically is sharing our joys and fears and knowing that courage is not the absence of fear but courage is fear walking.

Here are some great Statement #13 questions that Karen shared with us previously and I would like to present them once again.

What does responsibility feel like in your life?

Are you comfortable with being in charge of your life?  Why or why not?

Is there an area of your life where you can relinquish control?  (I have always felt this was one of the most challenging questions as I fought so hard to be in control of my recovery, my life.  Yet, in reflecting on this question, I realized that I crossed over into wanting to control others for their benefit – my form of sarcasm!)

My question – when is the last time you expressed your authentic feelings and what was the outcome?  What life lesson did you learn that you put into your tool box for future reference?

Bonded in acknowledging your feelings and taking responsibility for your responses and actions, Dee


In the News

Sharp, ‘Off The Charts’ Rise In Alcoholic Liver Disease Among Young Women

Read More on NPR.org

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Monday Thoughts 12/21/2020

“Responsibility is accepting that you are the cause and the solution of the matter.”  ~~Anonymous

“Responsibility to yourself means refusing to let others do your thinking, talking, and naming for you; it means learning to respect and use your own brains and instincts; hence, grappling with hard work.”  ~~Adrienne Rich

“A hero is someone who understands the responsibility that comes with his freedom.” ~~Bob Dylan


#13 I am responsible for myself and for my actions.

I am in charge of my mind, my thoughts, and my life.


In our WFS Program booklet it states “Sobriety is just the beginning.  The WFS New Life Program provides a portal for personal growth.  It shows us a new way of thinking.”  This Statement is not a one and done or something to be checked off a list; Statement #13 is designed to be used continuously throughout our New Life.  This is especially true for long term sobriety for it keeps us on the path of recovery.

In the past responsibility felt frightening since in my mind, responsible people made difficult decisions and were often reprimanded.  Through years of drinking, I felt incapable of making even the smallest of decisions and unhealthily depended on others.  This way of life shrunk my mind, my thoughts and my life.  Yet, Women for Sobriety helped me change all that.

Today I feel a sense of freedom in responsibility and no longer fear decision making since it’s how we all learn.  A favorite phrase defining responsibility is “I respond with my ability and that ability keeps evolving and growing.”  There is underlying joy and contentment in embracing my own mind, my thoughts and my life.

Hugzzz

Karen


Hi 4C Women,

Like Karen, I had no confidence in my decision-making abilities. Statement #13 had me shaking in my fear of believing all my decisions would be wrong, that my mistakes would just validate those beliefs that I was inadequate and incapable.  This fearful negative self-talk brought to mind a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt, “You gain strength, courage and confidence in every experience in which you stop and look fear in the face.”  Ok, sign me up!  Truthfully, no was my immediate response just as drinking was my immediate response when coping with my fear of change, being in charge of my mind, my thoughts and my life.

Over the years, I have been fortunate to learn from others who have walked this path before me.  While ours paths to recovery are very unique, individual and achieved in our own time frame, the life experience, insights and shared coping tools I received from other 4C women was such a gift in uncovering and discovering how I could become responsible for myself and my actions.

Here are some of the tools I used in taking charge of my life:

Positive self-talk which for me was accepting mistakes as life lessons and surviving the outcome with that knowledge.  I’d like to add thriving because I started to learn that I could be successful in my decision-making which boosted my positive self-talk.

Reframing the situation – avoiding all or nothing thinking which led me to change what is the “worst” that could happen to what is the “best” that could happen in my decision-making.

Redefine my definition of who I am.  This was a tremendous change as I had to let go of old messages from the past that no longer served me in the present.  In fact, most of those messages were given to me by people who had their own issues that were never worked through.

Self-care and being proactive in doing that.   As women, many of us place the needs of others before our own.  Sometimes that might be necessary depending on the situation.  In the big picture, it’s about balancing what needs to be done yet keeping yourself at the top of that list so you have the energy to do whatever else is necessary at that time.

Acknowledging my fears rather than drinking them away.  This was a huge challenge because it meant I had to not only face my fears but work through them.  It helped me to be aware that in facing my fears, I had to be aware of how I responded/reacted to them.

Seeking support.  Reaching out to people who understand, accept and have life-changing coping tools to share.  Having the input, insight and support of the WFS women I have been privileged to learn from and care about, was key in putting Statement #13 into action.

In reading over the changes above, which of these do you feel you are working on or need to work on?  Please consider sharing the coping tools that have helped you up to this point.  We all learn from each other.

I encourage you to remember that we are all heroines when we walk through the doors or attend a WFS virtual meeting for the first time, when we continue to attend as we learn to take responsibility for our lives and our actions, reaching out making that first phone call to ask for help, registering online seeking and receiving the much-needed support to guide us in putting Statement #13 into action.  It’s all about community, taking charge of our lives and the freedom working this Statement brings into our lives.

Bonded in sharing and learning new ways to practice Statement #13. Dee

Over the years, as the holidays approached, I have asked women in my local group to give a gift to themselves by answering the questions in this document, put them in a decorative bag or box and give it to themselves on Christmas Day or any day they wish to celebrate themselves.  After all, we give to others all year and this gives each woman an opportunity to think of what they will give themselves in the upcoming year (self-care) and what positive changes they have made throughout the current year and acknowledging any blessings they have received.  While it’s been a challenging year, I believe we’ve learned a lot about our abilities, our resilience and what gift we deserve to give to ourselves in the upcoming year.  

 

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Monday Thoughts 9/21/2020

statement 13

“Incredible change happens in your life when you decide to take control of what you do have power over instead of craving control over what you don’t.” ~~Steve Maraboli

“When we argue for our limitations, we get to keep them.”  ~~Evelyn Waugh

“Your journey is completely yours.  It is unique.  Others may try to steal part of it, tell it in their words or shape it to suit them.  Reality is, no one can live it or own it but you.  Take charge of your journey, it’s yours and yours alone.”  ~~Kemi Sogunle
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#13 I am responsible for myself and for my actions.

I am in charge of my mind, my thoughts, and my life.
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Statement #13, the finale of the WFS New Life Program, encourages continued management of our sobriety and recovery.  In our WFS Beginner’s Collection on page 81 it states, “The entire object of this ‘New Life’ Program is to come to this point: to the maturity of accepting ourselves and being responsible for ourselves and all that we do.  By accepting responsibility for who we are and what we do, we have broken away from unhealthy dependencies upon others to see us through life.” This week I experienced a wonderful example of this.

Back in 2004, Hurricane Ivan made its way over our home and I laid on our living room floor crying, drunk and unable to think clearly.  I felt paralyzed by fear and unable to cope.  In 2007, I faced my fears and embraced sobriety.  Reading, practicing and living the Statements as well as being involved with the WFS organization, I am able to respond with ever growing ability and when Hurricane Sally came through last week, I not only prepared in advance, but was able to help our elderly neighbor out as well.  Thankfully, we had no damage and I was able to compare these experiences and reflect on the journey in between.  Acknowledging continued independence, I am incredibly grateful for WFS.

It warms my heart to see and feel how much I have grown in my recovery.  This week take a few moments to reflect and measure yourself with your own yardstick, with no comparisons to others. How is your life different today?  What area of your life needs greater independence?  Where can you balance your responsibility with those of others?  Are you able to encourage independence?

Hugzzz

Karen


Hi 4C Women,

For me, this was the catalyst for authentic change.  I have always said that the WFS program is a life changer yet that is if we take the words we read and put action behind them.  Each Statement is powerful and it is the willingness to risk stepping out of our comfort zone to act upon them that creates positive change.  This particular Statement was a bit scary at first because I was still working on using the blame game for whatever went and was going wrong in my life.  Little did I anticipate the freedom that would come with accepting every word of Statement 13.  When I realized the ultimate power of being responsible for myself and for my actions, I felt as though I was flying on giant wings of freedom.  I went from scared to empowered, strong, fearless and open to possibilities.  Most importantly, I learned that mistakes were just that – a mistake that became a life lesson if I chose to view it that way.

I have been divorced almost 27 years – as long as I was married!  I was sober when I got divorced yet I was still not prepared to be responsible for everything – you know, that blame game thinking.  Little by little, I kept moving forward.  When I look back now and think about the major challenges I faced and met, I can only thank the WFS program for steering me in an empowered direction.  I bought my own car without help, found an apartment and then house in NJ for me and my 2 children and finally moved to AL, 1,000 miles away.  That was probably the most difficult move because I left a 25 ½ year job I loved, friends and family in PA and NJ and while my daughter and granddaughter were here in Al, I truly felt I was walking into uncharted territory.  In reflection it now seems odd to me as I had lived in AL 3 months after I was married and my children were born here.  I think it is because I had become so independent that moving back felt as though I was going backwards.  However, nothing could be further from the truth.  That move gave me the opportunity to not only make peace with those feelings but to also utilize the strengths I had gained through the WFS program and sobriety and acknowledge other major changes and decisions I had made along this journey.  Statement 13 really provided balance and confidence that I could do it and I did!

One thing I also learned over the years that in addition to learning to be independent, there is also an important facet of being interdependent.  We need to have a strong support system which is how I see interdependency.  We do not need to walk this journey alone.  We are, however, in charge of our mind, our thoughts, and our life.  I would like to add to that – our responses to what happens which goes back to being in charge!

I hope you will take the time to answer Karen’s questions.  It is important to know and measure our personal growth – not compare – but to acknowledge what we’ve done and what we need to do to keep moving forward.

I’d like to share this poem with you:

 Your life is a sacred journey

And it is about change, growth, discovery, movement, transformation, continuously expanding your vision of what is possible, stretching your soul, learning to see clearly & deeply, listening to your intuition, taking courageous risks, embracing challenges at every step along the way.

You are the path

Exactly where you are meant to be right now…

And from here, you can only go forward, shaping your life story into a magnificent tale of triumph, of healing, of courage, beauty, wisdom, power, dignity & love.

Caroline Joy Adams

Bonded together in trusting our instincts, creating our New Life journey by being in charge of ourselves and our actions.  Love, Dee

 

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Monday Thoughts 6/22/2020

“The difficulty we have in accepting responsibility for our behavior lies in the desire to avoid the pain of the consequences of that behavior.”  ~~M. Scott Peck

“Being more aware creates responsibility.  What does responsibility mean? It means the ability to respond.  The more conscious you are in your ability to respond, the more creative you’ll be.”  ~~Deepak Chopra

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

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#13 I am responsible for myself and for my actions.

I am in charge of my mind, my thoughts and my life.

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 Many of us are still riding the wonderful wave of energy from our Envision It 2020 Virtual Conference.  This event was a remarkable success made possible through the responsibility of 4C women across the world, and as a nonprofit business.  This yearly event could have been cancelled like so many other events, yet WFS understood the need and value and asked for your help in making this event possible.  You responded with your abilities, whether it be time, talent and/or finances to make this event unfold.  It is a beautiful testament of the WFS Statements in action.  (Please note that replay of our Envision It 2020 Conference has been extended to June 28th! For those who registered.)

Statement #13, part of Level Six of the New Life Program, states in our WFS Program booklet, “The purpose of the New Life Program is self-acceptance and being responsible for ourselves and all that we do. By accepting responsibility, we can break away from unhealthy dependencies.”  In my own life, releasing blame laid a clear path into responsibility and freedom.  It took some time to understand that I was in fact, blaming others even when not stating so.  It was the awareness and observations of my responses to people or events in life that revealed my efforts to blame others.

Growing into responsibility is a life-long process; we continue to evolve on our journey of sobriety and recovery.  Supporting each other as we move through challenges and difficulties allows us to connect, love and respond in ever increasing ability and awareness.  How do you respond with your ability today?  How is this different from before your New Life?

Hugzzz

Karen
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Hi 4C Women,

I’ve said this over the years that I was the Queen of Blame.  I wore my crown proudly because nothing was ever my responsibility.  This is not to say that the actions and words of others did not wound me.  However, placing blame for my entire adult life on others, left me stuck and not providing room for emotional/personal growth.  There was a lot of pain growing up yet as I pulled the layers of pain away, I realized there were loving times as well.  In order to be the Queen of Blame, I didn’t allow the love to come into the picture, the “all or nothing” thinking.  That was my light bulb moment.  If I could focus on the love as much as I did the pain, perhaps I could finally learn to take responsibility for my life in the present, my well-being, responses rather than reactions and most importantly, speaking my voice, setting boundaries.  I recently read that if people respond angrily to your boundaries, it usually means they needed to be set.   As a child, I did not have power.  As an adult, I most certainly do.  Of course, that meant change!  I was resistant to change – again because that meant I would have to take responsibility for my well-being.  Anger and resentment were how I justified my blaming others long after the hurt happened.  I knew that in order to take responsibility, I had to accept a commitment to personal growth.  Once I made that decision, I found that I was eager to change, to be in charge of my life.  I even surprised myself!

I used a handout in one of my f2f meetings.  It described change in 3 behavioral styles: Victim, Survivor, Navigator.  I chose Navigator because it was similar to the WFS philosophy.

A Navigator:

Uses positive “self-talk

Establishes clear goals

Molds their sense of self-identity

Is proactive and works thought-out plans

Takes care of themselves

Acknowledges their fears – naming your fears rather than surrendering to vague dread, you can clarify the challenges and refute the unrealistic inaccurate fears

Navigator self-talk includes:

Reframing the situation (looking for a more positive view of situation)

Refuting self-limited statements (seek positive, accurate messages)

Avoiding “all or nothing” thinking

Praising self

Preparing for future events

This led me to questions from Karen in a previous message
Are you comfortable being in charge of your life?  Why?  Wny not?
Share an experience in which you used this Statement and were content with the results.
What does responsibility feel like in your New Life?

Bonded In being responsible for ourselves and our actions, Dee

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Monday Thoughts 3/23/2020

 

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

‘Morning is an important time of day, because how you spend your morning can often tell you what kind of day you are going to have.”  ~~Lemony Snicket

“Of all the liars in the world, sometimes the worst are our own fears.”  ~~Rudyard Kipling
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#13 I am responsible for myself and for my actions.

I am in charge of my mind, my thoughts and my life.
_______________________________________________________________

Every day the news changes which can feel quite overwhelming.  Uncertainty can play into fear, and fear can play into our states of balance and awareness.  Statement #13 in action can alleviate some of that imbalance by shifting our thoughts and actions into what we can do instead of what we cannot do.

In our WFS Program booklet, it states, “Through the New Life Program, we learn we are competent women, trusting our ability to make decisions.  It teaches us to be in charge of our minds, our thoughts and our lives.”  Each day we trust ourselves to remain sober and to make decisions in life that propel us forward.  We are 4C women after all!

Being able to put aside fear or panic allows for responsibility as well as adaptability.  Shifting into what we can do during this time of uncertainty can fill us with feelings of control in what seems uncontrollable.  As we continue to shift our lives with every new day, look for and embrace what enlivens you; maybe it is time spent with children, family or pets, or maybe it is contemplating the solitude of a passing spring afternoon. Right now, your life in sobriety and recovery is an act of love, and more love is what we can use right now.

Statement #13 Tool:  Begin and respond to your day with what you can control.  You have many things that are in your control, beginning with your thoughts.  Feeling anxious?  Examine your thoughts and respond with care.  It’s quite easy to feel overwhelmed right now when watching the news so make sure you disconnect from the shows and plug into your mind.  Take a moment to sit by a window and focus on nature.  If you are able, sit outside and turn your face to the sun.  Breathe.  Be.  Reach out by adapting to virtual connections.  Together we will overcome!

Hugzzz

Karen
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Hi 4C Women,

So many thoughts going through my mind as I read Karen’s words of encouragement.  One thing I know is that I am grateful for my sobriety.  Mostly I am grateful that I have learned to make major changes through applying the 13 Statements over the years and while I am currently experiencing fear and some anxiety, I am also feeling hopeful.

This is a time of change when Statement #13 implores us to acknowledge and accept that we are in charge of our minds, thoughts, and lives.  There is fear in the world today and perhaps for the first time in a long while, we are not alone in this experience.  It is a collective feeling.  For me, that is the good news.  I don’t need to hide my fear, be silent about it.  The benefit is that when fear isn’t hidden, it creates an atmosphere of clarity in facing our challenges and allows for each of us to extend our caring, compassion and much needed support and reassurance to those around us as we understand these feelings from the depth of our hearts.  This shared spoken fear keeps our feelings authentic and that is a gift that supports us emotionally and spiritually.

It is said that people usually adapt one of 3 behavioral styles during times of change:  Victim, Survivor, Navigator.  I hope to be a Survivor and Navigator, finding my strengths, maintaining my sobriety, avoiding all or nothing thinking, being proactive in taking care of myself while still being available to those in need as I am able.

If you are feeling vulnerable, putting your recovery at risk, I strongly encourage you to seek help asap.  You are not alone.  Your work thus far means something – it means that you value yourself, you are worthy and deserving.  There are many coping tools that can help during this time.  Please reach out to a member of your group, the online community or a close, trusted friend or partner. Keep aware of your self-talk.  If you hear negative thoughts tumbling around in your mind, perhaps your positive self-talk can be that your sobriety/recovery is your guide in making healthy choices, that you are willing to keep moving forward even when it’s feeling so challenging, that you will seek help and provide help to others if you are able.  In other words, acknowledge your feelings, create a plan to work through them, reach out if you need support, make your hard earned sobriety/recovery a priority and perhaps write a letter to yourself as to what you have done so far in support of your sobriety, how much positive change has taken place and why it is of utmost importance to remain the 4C woman you have created through WFS, hard work, determination, courage and what a resilient woman you are because of it!

 

Dear ________________ (your name),

I am worthy and deserving of my sobriety/recovery because:

These are the actions I will take if I feel my recovery is at risk:

 Inline image

 (your name)

 

 

Bonded in being in charge and supporting each other with care and compassion, Dee