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Monday Thoughts 1/4/2021

“Don’t ever make decisions based on fear.  Make decisions based on hope and possibility.  Make decisions based on what should happen, not what shouldn’t.  ~~Michelle Obama

“You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist.”  ~~Indira Gandhi

“Negative emotions like loneliness, envy, and guilt have an important role to play in a happy life; they’re big, flashing signs that something needs to change.”  ~~Gretchen Rubin


#2 Negative thoughts destroy only myself.

My first conscious sober act is to reduce negativity in my life.


In our WFS Program booklet for Statement #2, it reads, “Our overcoming is in the exact proportion to our becoming.  Negative thoughts can destroy us in so many ways.  An important aspect of negative thoughts for us is that such thoughts often precede using or drinking.  A state of ‘what’s the use?’ or ‘who cares?’ can initiate an attempt to escape reality.”  Moving through uncomfortable thoughts or emotions can seem overwhelming yet as the quote says, ‘overcoming is in the exact proportion to our becoming.’

This was a new and different response to practice in my New Life.  In the past, I often rallied complaints with others to try to get them “on my side” in order to validate how right I was or that I was a victim.  This did nothing to process difficult emotions, it only intensified them.  Drinking became a “faux-solution”; it numbed the mind while cementing painful emotions.  This negativity became a way of life and I felt miserable, which created an unhealthy cycle.

The WFS New Life Program and Statement #2 paired with sobriety offer a way to move through difficult emotions while creating a balanced new way of living.  While the process of moving through difficult thoughts and emotions can be different for every woman, the results of reducing this negativity can be the same.  The end result is that we invest in ourselves and create a sense of well-being that was not present before our New Life.  This week take time to visualize and carry out how you will move through challenging thoughts/emotions or feelings of imbalance.

Here are 4 tips to practice Statement #2

  1. Name and identify thoughts and emotions.  Before tackling a difficulty, it has to be named.   Guilt, shame, rage, disgust…this is the beginning of moving through them.  (see attachment)
  2. Sit with your named thoughts and emotions.  Take the time you need to process but set your intention to move through them.  Understand that some things are quick, while others, take more time.
  3. Take necessary actions.  Writing, journaling, talking with a 4C sister or practicing making boundaries can be a way to process difficult emotions.
  4. What does it look like on the other side of the challenging thought or emotion?  Look for and embrace growth.  Chances are while you go through the emotions, you will grow through the emotions.

 

Hugzzz

Karen


Hi 4C Women,

A phrase Karen used stuck out for me – “cementing” painful thoughts/feelings.  The image that came to my mind was breaking that cement with all my might, freeing myself to feel, to work through the pain and heal.  It took me a while to be able to identify those deep-seated feelings.  The feelings wheel is such a great tool and I encourage you to utilize it to help you identify and understand the core and origin (when possible) of your feelings.

I use to call the center feeling words “surface” feelings.  They were easy to identify but digging deeper helped me to understand that my painful wounds were profoundly buried and needed to be set free.  This is how my healing work began.  Whenever I could identify the origin, I began to understand that some of these deep feelings were very old messages, sometimes from people who were no longer here or even in my life.  I kept the negative thoughts and feelings prominent in my mind as though they were brand new.  I began to question why I chose to continually hurt myself.

I may not be able to change harmful, hurtful words or actions from the past but I sure can set boundaries to protect my heart and squash those negative thoughts before they became cemented again!  If was the keeper of negative thoughts, I also held the key to release them.  As I looked at the feelings wheel, I realized that I lived in fear and sadness most of the time.  My goal was to heal from that space and move onto Happy.

Thanks to WFS, I was able to do that.  What kept me going is that my work was to “reduce” negativity in my life and that felt like a huge burden lifted off of me.  I could and did work at my own pace.  No pretending I had left negativity behind completely.  Life doesn’t work that way.  It’s a process and one I could handle a little bit at a time.   This is why I have great dislike for the phrase, “Just get over it.”  My response is “I’m working through it!”  So, that is my guidance for you – work through it, heal as you work and have a goal of freedom, happy, contentment, peaceful – whatever word authentically describes what you want and need to reduce negativity in your life!

Bonded in reducing negativity and healing as we work through the process, Dee

 

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Monday Thoughts 10/5/2020

“Don’t be afraid of your fears.  They’re not there to scare you.  They’re there to let you know that something is worth it.”  ~~C. Joybell C.

“Being a positive person doesn’t mean you don’t feel negative emotions.  It means you have faith in your ability to get through tough situations, hope for better days and the willingness to see beyond the drama.”  ~~Leticia Rae

“Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart.  Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language.  Do not now look for the answers.  They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them.  It is a question of experiencing everything.  At present you need to live the question.  Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer, some distant day.”  ~~Rainer Maria Rilke

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#2 Negative thoughts destroy only myself.

My first conscious sober act is to reduce negativity in my life.

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In the past, sobriety and recovery terrified me.  The thought of giving up alcohol felt like the end of the world; it was that powerful and kept me from taking any action.  Yet today, I would not trade my recovery for anything.  Statement #2 in action assists in preventing relapse and lays a foundation for balance.  Recovery has given me this New Life and I continue to connect, learn, and feel fulfilled, something that was desperately missing while drinking. 

The WFS New Life Program encourages self-exploration and Statement #2 leads the way.  Sometimes negativity can feel paralyzing at first, then the flight or fight response can kick in but the 4C women on the WFS Forum taught me to sit and examine these thoughts.  It felt so uncomfortable at first, and the desire to lash out was strong.  But after reflecting on the negative thoughts, they lost their strength and my fears diminished.  This was a brand-new way of experiencing life Instead of being tightly attached and wallowing in negativity, I was learning to move through it.

 Here is a simple practice from J. Korda that can aid in movement through difficult thoughts or emotions:

1.      Bring to mind a frustrating interpersonal event.  It can be anything that you found irritating, such as a small interaction or hearing unpleasant news.  It should be something that, when you think about it, fills your mind with thoughts of how unfair or difficult life can be or how unhelpful others can be.

2.      Instead of retelling the entire story in your mind, just hold a single image that best evokes the irritating nature of this experience.  What you are doing here is inviting the emotion of frustration or disappointment to arise.  At the same time, keep yourself comfortable, with your arms and legs relaxed.

3.      Hold the provocative image in your mind and patiently activate your feelings of irritation, frustration, or disappointment until you can feel them stirring somewhere in the front of your body—in the belly, chest, throat or face.  Try to create a welcoming environment for these feelings.  Resistance only makes the anger stronger and more painful, and it will stimulate the ‘unfairness of it all’ thought that got us nowhere.  Create a space where the emotion can play out, without trying to get rid of anything.

4.      Every time your mind tries to intervene and retell the story, or launches into criticisms or ideas about the way the world should be, bring it back again to the body.  If you can locate feelings of frustration or disappointment in your body, you can send soothing, nurturing messages from the mind to the feeling itself: ‘It’s okay.  You’re allowed to feel that way.  You’re safe now.’  Connect with the anger the way you would talk to a child you love and who is upset.  It’s not the words that matter here.  It’s the caring voice and calming awareness with which you greet your feeling that matters.”

This week invite at least one negative thought to move through and examine the process.  Share your experience with other 4C women from the WFS Forum or your Face to Face group or journal your experience.  Set a goal to move through something each week and chart your journey. 

Hugzzz

Karen


Hi 4C Women,

When I think of negative thoughts destroying only myself, I think of the negative words I would use in the past to define myself before WFS and recovery.  They certainly shattered any possibility of building up my self-esteem or worthiness.  They only added to my using alcohol to turn off the loud negative words shouting in my ear – you are unworthy, unlovable, inadequate.  I love the exercise Karen shared, especially point 4.  I truly believe that denying our feelings, which is very different than staying stuck in them, can lead to them growing larger, leaving the opportunity for healing, understanding or personal growth at a standstill.  The use of alcohol or drugs simply and temporarily covers up the pain without any forward growth toward self-love.  I have found that acknowledging, rather than numbing my feelings, has helped tremendously in accepting my self-worth.  Also, learning to talk to myself as I would a friend or loved one, with compassion and gentleness, has taught me awareness of my negative thoughts/self-talk.  For me, awareness of my daily self-talk was the key to creating lasting change. 

I was asked in a book group to reflect on the challenges/struggles I have overcome and how they defined me.  My first immediate thought was recognizing how much I have grown and changed from the days of not liking myself, to seeing only the negative of who I believed I was for so long.  In fact, I was so accustomed to automatically going to the negative that I actually didn’t realize how much I was blocking the process of change and growth.  My second thought was extreme gratitude for WFS and the tools that taught me to change my definition of me from the negative ones to the positive ones I have today.  And I know I have grown because I have that positive mental list in my head that answered the questions easily.  This is a big change from the list of years past.   WFS taught me awareness and how to practice positive self-talk.  How would you answer the questions?  Are you aware of the words you use to describe/define yourself?  How have they changed?  If you feel that there hasn’t been much change, perhaps doing the exercise Karen has shared will work towards silencing the negative definition of you and changing each word with who you are today and not someone else’s old, untruthful definition of you?  It’s worth a try! 

Bonded in reducing negativity, Dee

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Monday Thoughts 4/6/2020

“A negative attitude drains, a positive attitude energizes.”  ~~Lindsey Rietzsch

“Worry is like a rocking chair; it gives you something to do but gets you nowhere.”  ~~Proverb

“Try giving up all the thoughts that make you feel bad, or even just some of them, and see how doing that changes your life.  You don’t need negative thoughts.  All they have ever given you was a false sense that suffers.”  ~~Gina Lake

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#2 Negative thoughts destroy only myself.

My first conscious sober act is to reduce negativity in my life.

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The WFS New Life Program encourages change and adaptability which is exactly what is called for during this time of uncertainty.  Statement #2 in action is essential right now and many women are changing how they spend their days; from limiting daily news to taking extra precautions when needing to go out.

Repeated exposure to negativity creates a shortcut in our brains.  Just listening to warnings over and over can create a” groove” if you will, for quick responses to uncertainty or fear.  It is a normal function of our brain.  It works to keep us safe from dangers like facing a bear or burning a finger on a hot stove.  Once you feel that intensity, you can heed your internal warning system and run away or not touch the stove.  With each repeated exposure, our brains learn and send signals to keep us safe.

Yet, when it comes to our emotional and mental well-being, some shortcuts can become defined and have the opposite effect.  As shortcuts are made, they can become faster and we can move from well-being to panic in milliseconds.  These feelings can be intense and can distort facts. Logic can be lost while the heart races and you break into a sweat with worry, but in fact, you are safe in your home.

How can we apply and practice this Statement today?  First, pause and take a deep breath.  When worry intensifies or panic appears, stop what you are doing.  Take stock on what is happening in this moment around you.  Be still.  Let the feeling move through you and focus on stillness instead of running around in panic mode.  Know that the feeling will pass and ask yourself what good will come out of holding onto negative thoughts.  Challenge your thinking and ask yourself questions.  The more you practice reducing negativity, the more your emotional intelligence rises.

Stay healthy, be well.

Hugzzzz

Karen
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Hi 4C Women,

This Statement changed the way I spoke to myself when I felt inferior, intimidated or unworthy.  Old messages would come flooding back and I was frozen in fear and inadequacy.  It took a while to change those immediate negative thoughts.  I realized that I also had a negative “attitude” and it was like a complete circle.  My self-talk was negative and my attitude went right along with it.  I pretended a lot back then that everything was “fine” but I was also in full swing with the blame game.  I didn’t recognize it as a negative attitude until I found WFS.  This is not to say that I was not hurt or damaged from the painful words and actions of others.  No, that was authentic pain I kept alive and well long after the damage was done.  I took over where they left off.  WFS provided the turning point in my thinking and attitude.  When I reflect on the untruthful messages from the past, from people who are no longer in my life, Statement 9 made me realize that to keep those damaging messages alive and well in my head was needlessly continuing the pain.   I won’t deny the pain occurred from real life events/people but I finally realized I needed healing, not punishment.  I was blessed with compassionate people along the way who gave me the needed time and loving support to start the healing process.   I still believe in sharing the pain with others who don’t judge me but who understand and encourage.  We all need that.  I also learned that healing is a process.  It’s not a straight path and I’m glad I know that because I might have gone back to that quick self-judgment at a low moment without that knowledge.

I want to say,” Don’t Lose Hope!”  Change is possible with a willing, compassionate heart and loving yourself as you are today, at this very moment.  We are living in a challenging time and our recovery is a top priority for when this is over, we will have learned a lot about ourselves, our resiliency, our courage and our truths as 4C women.

Bonded in reducing negativity, surviving and thriving, supporting and encouraging ourselves and others with positivity, Dee

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Monday Thoughts 1/6/2020

“The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.” ~~Plutarch

“To paraphrase several sages: Nobody can think and hit someone at the same time.” ~~ Susan Sontag

“Think for yourself and let others enjoy the privilege too.” ~~Voltaire

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#2 Negative thoughts destroy only myself.

My first conscious sober act is to reduce negativity in my life.

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Statement #2 in action is empowering in that it encourages independent thought. After years of being ruled by an alcohol fueled mind, today it is possible to think with clarity, directness and simplicity. The WFS New Life Program in action revives critical thinking skills and assists in altering future landscapes.

In order to examine thoughts, a conscious awareness of thoughts is needed first. Removing mind-altering substances clears the path towards clarity and healing of the mind. Continued practice of the WFS Statements fosters critical thinking skills and reduces negativity.

In our WFS Program booklet it states: “Our overcoming is in the exact proportion to our becoming.” This is one of my most favorite Jean-ism’s and has propelled me to question even the most basic of assumptions. In the past I assumed I could never live life without alcohol, yet this Statement helped me question and disown that belief system and set new, empowering beliefs.

Statement #2 tool:

It is important to understand that the goal of Statement #2 is NOT to not feel anger, sadness or pain, but rather to work through those feelings and release any suffering that may be attached. Understanding negativity in our lives enables the release.

Email your Statement #2 tools to karen@teamwfs.org for use in future Monday Thoughts

Hugzzz

Karen
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Hi 4C Women,

I believe one of the ways to reduce negativity is to keep hope alive. Over the years I have heard from so many women about the struggles they endured and always saw something that kept them going when it would have been easier to give up and give in. I truly believe that it was the foundation of hope, that they would make it through and in doing so, become resilient and grateful for turning their negative thoughts and responses around, knowing they could cope and grow emotionally stronger. Karen recently spoke about the 5th C – courage. It takes a lot of courage to walk through the storm, not around it, and come out with the increased knowledge and understanding that with hope and courage, you build a New Life you are so deserving of having.

Nancy wrote on Statement #2 about ways to be positive. Here is a shortened version:

1. Shift your thoughts. Think about something completely unrelated to break the pattern of automatic negative thoughts/responses.

2. Find the lesson.

3. Attitude of Gratitude. You cannot be angry and grateful at the same time.

4. Positive Affirmations & Visualization. Practice seeing yourself in a positive and confident light. Positive self-affirmations are another powerful tool. Recognize your gifts rather than finding false and self-imposed inadequacies.

5. Inventory of Memories. Memories that can immediately make you smile. Occasions where you felt happy, appreciative, cheerful and at peace. Whenever you are in a negative frame of mind, consciously and deliberately pick up any memory from this inventory and dwell on it. Reminiscing about those happy moments gives a balanced perspective to your situation. You realize that what appears negative today will change tomorrow. Nothing stays the same.

These are habits to be practiced. Start small, start paying attention to your emotions, start by wanting to change. Bonded in building hope and through the practice of reducing negativity, you will empower yourself to grow emotionally stronger each day, Dee