Posted on Leave a comment

Monday Thoughts 10.10.22

“Courage is like a muscle. We strengthen it by use.”
Ruth Gordo

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

“It took me quite a long time to develop a voice, and now that I have it, I am not going to be silent.

Madeleine Albright


#3 Happiness is a habit I am developing.

Happiness is created, not waited for.


Choice? I have… a…. choice? This was new. For years I was under the assumption that people were born lucky and enjoyed all that there is to life. In my eyes, they seemed to have it all yet the cynicism (and alcohol) within kept me from understanding or seeing the development and progression of true happiness. WFS and Statement #3 in action changed that.

It has taken a long time to understand what “happiness” feels like to me and it continues to evolve. Oftentimes I pursued the happiness of others or what society (or advertisers) said “should make me happy.” This left me feeling unfulfilled. It also felt like happiness was always just out of reach and gone before I could enjoy it. Most often the feeling of happiness was paired with alcohol. Needing to learn how to experience this emotion with a clear mind, discovering happiness became a process of reflection. Statement #3 provides the answer; It’s an inside job.

In our WFS Program booklet, it states, “Our attitudes are the result of our past and present experiences.” How would I be able to create a shift toward happiness? By creating new habits like Statement #3 mentions. One of the first things I learned in sobriety was the ability to say the word NO. I said NO to alcohol every day and now I could use this short word in other areas of my life. It took courage to say it initially, then with practice, it became a habit. Now I was feeling happy because I was sober. It felt fabulous!
I was also learning that the feeling of happiness is as individual as we are and it lies on a spectrum of different emotions from thrilling excitement to inner peace and calm with many things in between. This week, take a few minutes to jot down where you are on the “Feelings Wheel” for greater insight into where you may need to make changes or adjustments toward happiness. Why not make this a habit and watch for or identify patterns in your life?

Hugzzz
Karen


Hi 4C Women,

I love the feeling wheel and have used it in identifying many of my feelings at a deeper level. When I reflect on fear, anger, and sadness (what I call surface feelings), I see how those deeper feelings expressed on the wheel block my path to personal happiness. Those predominant negative feelings were like a brick wall. I thought I could never be authentically happy if I was sober. Would I even recognize happiness if I felt it? The answer is a resounding yes! The word that helped me on the Happy feeling part of the wheel was “trust.” I began to trust the process and eventually I was laughing out loud, feeling playful and optimistic. It was as though this Statement #3 was meant to follow Statement #2 in recognizing that negative thoughts were destroying my willingness to learn how to create my personal happiness.

Every time I read Statement #3, I think of Jean sharing that happiness comes in moments. We need to be aware of those moments. This for me was part of the process – creating awareness. I was so absorbed in questioning if I had experienced a happy moment that the moment was gone. Now I stop, take in a wonderful feeling and before I know it, I have a big smile across my face.  Jean never meant for us to be happy every moment of every day. That would be impossible and a burden. What I have is a foundation of contentment, hope, and gratitude for what I have learned through the WFS Program Statements.

I was planning a trip up north to see my family and friends as it’s been over 3 years. Unfortunately, I developed severe pain in my back and both legs. The pain has become a lot less in my legs but not much change in my back. I scheduled an appointment for an epidural injection but they can’t see me until Nov. 18. Since it’s a 15-hour drive up north, I had to cancel. To say the least, I was so sad and disappointed. Because of WFS, I realized I needed to make plan B. My hope is to visit in the Spring of 2023 as I don’t want to drive in the winter. Before sobriety, I would not have had that response. I would have soothed my disappointed feelings with alcohol which I know would have only made me sadder and feeling hopeless. I am so grateful to WFS for giving me coping tools, and friends I can share my feelings and receive support and understanding.

I encourage you to take a look at the feeling wheel and uncover what is holding you back, what is moving you forward, and where you are in the process of developing happiness.

Bonded in creating awareness and learning the process to achieve your personal happiness, Dee


 

Coming your way soon!  The new WFS Online is being prepared for you and will soon be available.  We can’t wait to give you great new features such as fast navigation to your own personal content!

Posted on Leave a comment

Monday Thoughts 7.11.22

women for sobriety decorative image happy

“It’s only possible to live happily ever after on a day-to-day basis.”

Margaret Bonnano

“My happiness grows in direct proportion to my acceptance, and inverse proportion to my expectations.”

Michael J. Fox

“The only thing that will make you happy is being happy with who you are, and not who people think you are.”

Goldie Hawn


#3 Happiness is a habit I am developing.

Happiness is created, not waited for.


Sobriety and Statement #3 in action go hand in hand like blue skies and sunshine. Both complement each other and when combined bring a sense of simple joy that may have been previously overlooked. Joyfully, early sobriety can be an extraordinary time of discovery, with unlimited opportunity for shifting perspectives and increasing happiness.

Newly sober, it was important for me to define what happiness is. In the past, happiness was defined by others in the form of expectations, traditions, and even family attitudes. Statement #3 provides a launching pad for discovering my inner joys and the commitment to create them.

In our WFS Program booklet, it states, “Happiness never came to me until I learned the secret of making it for myself, of finding an inner glow that somehow made all other things right.” What are the results of creating your own happiness? My experience in creating my own happiness has resulted in feeling a foundation of deep contentment within that enables connection. It is a bridge of stillness during rising tides and joyous moments of presence. What will you create today?

Hugzzz

Karen


Hi 4C Women,

Connectedness is the word I feel has created happiness in my life, to be with women who understand and support me without question or judgment but with compassion. There are times when I am almost grateful for my addiction which surprises people when I say it out loud. Yet, it has brought me a New Life, a purpose, and authentic joy. I’m not sure I would have found this joy without this encouraging, life-changing program of love, empowerment, and especially emotional growth. I believe my life would have remained troubled and stagnant. So, this is why I say I am grateful for acknowledging my addiction and finding WFS. This was truly a life-changer. 

Happiness has been a bit of a challenge the past few years for many people and I am among them. During the first years of the pandemic, it was difficult for me to feel the connectedness that brings me so much happiness. I was grateful for Zoom and that if there was to be a bright spot in the isolation, technology proved that we can still be together, share our feelings, give virtual hugs and even have a virtual conference! Life lesson learned – if I could continue to feel and create joy during that somewhat lonely time, I have the tools to create it no matter what the circumstances if I am willing to explore the possibilities. I sometimes have added happiness is mine by a conscious effort (part of Statement #2) while I work on creating happiness. I realize I have to make a conscious effort to create a path to joy/happiness. The important thing I need to remember is that happiness comes in moments. This Statement does not mean that we are to be happy all of the time. That would be impossible, like being perfect is impossible. What I appreciate about WFS is that I can acknowledge all of my feelings. I can work on gaining insight into them rather than numb or run away from them. This is why Statement #3 guides me to have balance in my life, that among the hurt and sadness we all experience at times, we can also feel great joy. For me, the best part is that I also understand that what brings me happiness changes over time. I love that because it provides opportunities to try different things that I would not have considered before. 

What have you tried recently in creating happiness/joy?

Are you open to exploring different avenues to achieve those moments of happiness?

How do you handle disappointment if happiness isn’t the outcome of your creation? This question is important as sometimes when our plans don’t work out as hoped, we might judge our decision/choice harshly believing we’ll never get it right. So, I encourage you to learn from that and start trying something else. It’s sort of like the plan for triggers. If disappointment is a trigger, what is your plan to cope with that?

What is the last happy moment you experienced?

I love decorating over the holidays and keep my tree up all year as well as nick-nacks. When I get up each morning, I walk around my family, dining and, living room to take in all the cute decorations that make me smile. My neighbor knocks on my door when there is a beautiful sunset and that moment of nature’s beauty is memorable. I used to love going to amusement parks but my physical health doesn’t fit in with that joy. This doesn’t mean there isn’t something else I can do. Reconnecting with friends or women in WFS that I haven’t seen or heard from, brings me phenomenal joy when they respond to a text or email. Again, for me, it is connecting to others who have crossed my path, loving friendships that have enhanced my life, and being a facilitator that has given me a purpose in this life.

Bonded in discovering our joy, creating moments of happiness, and being open to new opportunities for happiness, Dee


Swag still available, remember to keep bloomin’

Posted on Leave a comment

Monday Thoughts 4.11.22

Image - Hello Happiness - smiley face

“Happiness is a choice.  You can choose to be happy.  There’s going to be stress in life, but it’s your choice whether you let it affect you or not.”

Valerie Bertinelli

“If you learn to really sit with loneliness and embrace it for the gift that it is…an opportunity to get to know YOU, to learn how strong you really are, to depend on no one but YOU for your happiness…you will realize that a little loneliness goes a LONG way in creating a richer, deeper, more vibrant and colorful YOU.”

Mandy Hale

“Dedicate yourself to the good you deserve and desire for yourself.  Give yourself peace of mind.  You deserve to be happy.”

Hannah Arendt


#3 Happiness is a habit I am developing.

Happiness is created, not waited for.


Choice?  I have… a…. choice? This was new. For years I was under the assumption that people were born lucky and enjoyed all that there is to life.  In my eyes they seemed to have it all yet the cynicism (and alcohol) within kept me from understanding or seeing development and progression of true happiness.  WFS and Statement #3 in action changed that.

In the WFS Program booklet our founder, Jean Kirkpatrick, PhD writes “Happiness never came to me until I learned the secret of making it for myself, of finding an inner glow that somehow made all other things right.”  Paying close attention to how she was feeling, Jean identified where she could choose her reaction and Statement #3 was created.

Last week I put action into Statement #3 when some travel plans were heavily delayed.  The old me would have flashed into anger and blame and drank at this sudden and seemingly unlucky event.  That didn’t happen.  I am a 4C woman and have choices today.  Instead of fighting over what was, I accepted, then embraced the changes. Watching others who angrily reacted with yelling, this shift helped maintain balance and perspective.  The end result was the same, only delayed.  During that time, little gifts came into view, a blanket and first in line for standby and then home safely.  Life is what you make it, so why not make it happy!

Hugzzz

Karen


Dear 4C Women,

I always think of the WFS program as choice and change.  I can make a choice and I can make a change through that choice.  Happiness is one of those choices.  I use to be a very envious person and so I related to Karen’s thoughts about some people being born lucky and I wasn’t one of them.  Little did I connect my attitude towards creating my own happiness.  What I learned is that life is full of ups and downs, happy times and sad times.  I focused way too much on the down times in describing my life.  The good, happy times were a fluke and sure enough the other shoe would drop and validate my outlook on life.  Alcohol certainly didn’t provide me with insight to see that I had created this lopsided view of happiness, joy in my life.  I’ve had some beautiful moments of happiness.  Yet, my outlook, my attitude kept me from seeing the balance and learning that I could and needed to work on embracing those happy moments and create more of them by being proactive. 

I am a firm believer in acknowledging authentic feelings.  It helps me to identify what’s going on in the depth of my heart.  It validates those feelings which then becomes a guide for me to work through and understand the sad and angry feelings to create the balance I yearn for.  It’s been more challenging over the past two or so years to see the balance.  I can’t deny that.  I’m not alone either as we all have been experiencing the sad aspects of the pandemic, losing loved ones, being sick ourselves, being unable to visit loved ones, working in isolation from home, learning new ways of coping that for many of us, we were not prepared for such extremes.  And now the helpless feeling of the war in Ukraine.  When I experience those feelings, I have a coping tool that helps me.  I go back to the basics.  I make a list of what I am grateful for, the loving people in my life, my support system, appreciating what I do have, what I can still physically do and work on putting needed self-care back into my routine.  Doing that creates a sense of balance and hope.  My greatest gift in recovery is hope.  For me, hope is my foundation.  Hope fuels my proactive side.  Creating happiness is all part of that.  When I read Karen’s experience at the airport and her attitude about the situation, it was and is a powerful example of how our attitude, our thought process can completely change the entire experience. 

I do believe that others can provide and add happiness to our lives.  The imbalance is when we depend solely on others to do that.  Our expectations are too high along with the cost to our relationships.  We get disappointed, angry or confused about relationships if that is our only source of joy or happiness.  And what an unfair burden to place on someone.  So, this week, perhaps make a concerted effort, a plan, to create happiness in your life.  It can be as simple as calling someone you’ve been missing, reconnecting with enthusiasm, doing something you love by volunteering, sending a “thinking of you” card to brighten up someone’s day, be spontaneous and say yes to an unexpected invitation, turn on your favorite music and sing along (no judgment on your singing abilities!), dance with abandon around the room and discover or rediscover what brings a smile to your face and share the experience! 

Bonded in creating balance, practicing self-care, being authentic and proactive in experiencing joy and happiness, Dee


women for sobriety teddy bear challenge lilbear quote

Our community has reached a total of $5,132 … 10% of our goal.  You can make a difference if you donate!

Every dollar is important. 

Donate to the TBC online:

womenforsobriety.org/donatetbc

or download this form to mail in your donation.

Posted on Leave a comment

Monday Thoughts 1.10.22

“There is an amazing power getting to know your inner self and learning how to use it and not fight with the world.  If you know what makes you happy, your personality, interests, and capabilities, just use them, and everything else flows beautifully.”  ~~Juhi Chawla

“I wanted a perfect ending.  Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end.  Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment, and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next.  Delicious Ambiguity.”  ~~Gilda Radner

“So many people waste time waiting for good things to happen to them.  But sometimes we need to make good things happen.  And when we finally start doing that, we often see there were good things in our lives all along.”  ~~Caroline George


#3 Happiness is a habit I am developing.

Happiness is created, not waited for.


“What makes your insides smile?”

Another 4C woman asked that question on the WFS Online Forum some years ago and it struck me deeply.  First off, I could not recall that kind of joy or happiness before sobriety and recovery. Alcohol had altered my thoughts and mind to the point that everything felt like a struggle.  I fought against seemingly everything. Statement #3 immediately became a welcome new concept.

Our founder, Jean Kirkpatrick, Ph.D. understood this need and created Statement #3.  In fact, Jean knew this so well that she wrote in our WFS Program booklet “For many years, I was convinced that some people were just naturally happy and others were not.  And most of the time, I was not happy.  I was too deep into my feeling sorry for myself, waiting for the time when everything in my life would miraculously change, and then instant happiness would follow.”

Happiness is not instant like oatmeal or grits, but it can be created.  When I was growing up, the sound of racecars at a local track rumbled through my bedroom window while drifting off to sleep.  My brother even raced there for a time.  Yet when I became an adult, I waited for race tickets to magically appear.  They never did. As my interests continue grow and evolve, I know that thanks to sobriety and Statement #3 in action, I have the greatest ticket there is …. a ticket to my beautiful 4C life!

Hugzzz
Karen


Dear 4C Women,

My first thought was how much can be purchased online these days, how easy and convenient to get practically anything we desire delivered right to our front door.  Yet, as Karen describes, we have the ability to obtain, free of charge, no shipping costs, the ticket to creating our own happiness.  The big difference is that we have to know what to include in that ticket to happiness.

It can start with the question Karen presented, “What makes your insides smile?”  I must admit that what makes my insides smile, in addition to facilitating WFS meetings and writing the Monday Thoughts, is connecting with family and friends in person up North and the hope of eventually seeing my son who moved to CA over 2 years ago.  That is not possible for me right now so I have to dig deeper to create that personal ticket to happiness in the present.  I believe the pandemic has left many of us questioning how to create happiness in uncertain times.  Yet, uncertain times have been around for centuries and I’m sure our ancestors had to cope with this very issue of creating happiness in difficult times.

I researched on the internet for a list of things to make you happy.  As I was searching through a myriad of lists, I came across one that had answers from children.  It was so authentic, some material things that kids love and others were deeply caring feelings from the heart.  So, I was thinking that’s what I need to do; create a list of gratitude for what I have, appreciating those heartfelt and material things.  I love my DVR because I can watch my shows whenever I want.  Believe it or not, years ago I would stay home to watch a favorite show rather than attend an event.  I’m grateful for Zoom and Facebook where I can access people I love, people I have lost contact with.  My brother-in-law passed away in April and I was able to virtually attend his funeral in PA through the internet.  I wish I could have been there yet what a gift to be a part of it virtually.  I wrote a memory letter that was read, watched as my nephew, who is a pastor and conducted the service, walk over to my sister/his mom and asked her if she wanted to dance to one of my brother-in-law’s favorite songs.  My sister has Parkinson’s so just seeing that smile on her face as my nephew helped her stand and dance in place is a beautiful memory I will treasure always.

I am grateful for electricity and that became so apparent when we experienced power failure during the 2011 tornadoes.  I can’t tell you how many times during the week that I flipped on light switches, the microwave, and tv.  I’m also grateful for modern medicine, researchers, and scientists that continue to search for answers to help heal or at least improve people’s health. Most of all, I am grateful for WFS and how it changed my life and has given me the opportunity to share it with so many women over the 33 years I’ve been a part of it.  I have support, I’ve given support and the reward is, as they say, “priceless.”

I encourage you to create your list of gratefulness and perhaps as you do so, you’ll uncover what authentically creates happiness in your life, both materially and in the heart.  Hopefully, this list will also help you to include more of what brings you joy into your everyday life or add it back in.

Bonded in developing happiness, joy, and gratefulness, Dee


CALL FOR PRESENTATIONS

Do you have a particular interest or expertise that you can share with the WFS community during our 2022 Annual Conference?

WFS is planning for our in-person conference and seeking workshop presenters for the event.  The conference theme of “Bloom” opens up a very wide range of potential workshop topics related to recovery and emotional and spiritual growth.

Please consider giving back to WFS by designing and presenting a workshop. We have so many talented and knowledgeable women in our community that the possibilities are endless for topics and content.

Proposals for workshop topics are due January 31st, 2022.

https://womenforsobriety.org/community/#

Posted on Leave a comment

Monday Thoughts 10/11/2021

“Live your life, sing your song.  Not full of expectations.  Not for the ovations.  But for the joy of it.”  ~~Rasheed Ogunlaru

“You are your own worst enemy.  If you can learn to stop expecting impossible perfection, in yourself and others, you may find the happiness that has always eluded you.’  ~~Lisa Kleypas

“Being in control of your life and having realistic expectations about your day-to-day challenges are the keys to stress management, which is perhaps the most important ingredient to living a happy, healthy and rewarding life.”  ~~Marilu Henner


#3 Happiness is a habit I am developing.

Happiness is created, not waited for.

It was not until sobriety and recovery that I became aware of how expectations altered life experiences.  As a child, they created a sense of routine and security. Yet growing into adulthood, many expectations felt overwhelming and created a deepening wedge of shame and guilt.  Alcohol had become an escape route but the WFS New Life Program provides healthy direction and empowering tools.

Statement #3 encourages development. Happiness is a habit I am developing.”  It allows us to be where we are and work towards increasing feelings of happiness or contentment.  When expectations are lowered, whether in ourselves or others it can increase feelings of balance and stability.  This can increase insight towards further development thereby creating a healthy cycle of growth.

In our WFS Reflections for Growth booklet, our founder Jean Kirkpatrick, PhD wrote “Happiness is a state of mind first.  Then it becomes a state of being.”  This week, examine your thoughts and identify where you are actively developing a foundation for happiness.  Release what no longer serves you or brings balance or joy.  Adjust your beliefs, assumptions and/or expectations to meet your goals and aspirations.  How can you increase your feelings of happiness?

Hugzzz

Karen


Hi 4C Women,

Happiness contentment, joy, appreciation are all positive words leading us to developing awareness of what creates those feelings.  I have this great book, “Field Guide to Happiness” by Barbara Ann Kipfer.   Her book is full of ideas, questions, and activities that I have used in the past to uncover what is my happy path in creating moments to treasure.  I am a list maker so some of the activities spoke my language.  Her philosophy about lists is keeping track of wishes and things one is happy or grateful for and discussing the importance of the little things in life, the details.  Lists can be soothing, funny, a balm to the cluttered, ever-moving mind.  Lists make us think and sharpen our minds

The first question helped me to take a look at my environment which I had never considered.  I was asked to list things I am happy about in my home environment.  Examples: favorite books in the bookcase, comforting sounds of a wind chime, clear view of seasonally changing nature, caller id, even garbage pick-up day.  For me, it’s decorating my artificial tree for each season.  As I unwrap each treasure, I feel myself smiling and grateful for the memories these items evoke and awareness of the changing of the seasons.  I also love hearing the birds chirp in my backyard or sitting on the porch chatting with my neighbor.  It reminds me of growing up, living in a row house, and sitting on the porch conversing with neighbors next to me or waving hello to the neighbors across the street.

Then she asked for a list of things you were happy about yesterday!  Wow, this year has made that list challenging but doable.  Example: Making it through the green light, rerun of your favorite show, the luxury of a shower.

It’s a big book so I will share just a few more questions to guide you in creating your awareness.

Happiest Moments/Situations List.  This list is to acknowledge we survived tough times but also that we have experienced good times.  A reminder of appreciating those moments, remembering the positive, joyful feelings we experienced and how we are continuing to develop and create awareness of happiness that has special meaning to us.

Make a list of what you value most – your quality core values and elaborate on what you can do to strengthen them in your life.  Think about how you spend your time.  Is it in correlation with your core values?

Make a list of what makes you happy in your life roles.  I am a single woman, mother, friend, volunteer and making a list of how each role makes me happy was quite eye-opening.  Because WFS is not a program of judgment, it was refreshing to be totally honest with each role and see how I can increase the happiness factor or lessen the less positive factors.

Make a list of all your achievements – big and small.  We need to be our own cheerleader.  Looking at the list of achievements, can you feel the happiness that acknowledging these moments brings to your life?

Before you go to bed, make a list of 10 things that made you feel happy during the day.  That will be very helpful in answering the question about what made you happy yesterday!

Make a list of things you can do to add beauty to your life that cost little or no money.  Sitting on my porch costs nothing yet it brings back happy memories while I am creating new ones.

And finally, with all this awareness and creation of happy moments, think of ways to share joy with others.

Bonded in creating awareness, moments of joy, appreciation for what we have and sharing it with others, Dee


Shop on Amazon?

Shop through smile.amazon.com instead and a portion of your purchases will go to WFS – at no cost to you. Designate WFS as your charity today!

https://smile.amazon.com/ch/23-1972763

Posted on Leave a comment

Monday Thoughts 7/12/2021

“Investing in yourself is the best investment you will ever make.  It will not only improve your life, it will improve the lives of all those around you.”  ~~Robin Sharma

“Do you want to be right, or do you want to be happy?”  ~~Unknown

“A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees.”  ~~Amelia Earhart


 #3 Happiness is a habit I am developing.

Happiness is created, not waited for.


Recently, feelings of agitation have crept their way into some conversations.  Upon discussion and internal investigation, applying Statement #3 was the solution.  Holding certain expectations had led to an increase in frustration and since none of it was under my control, I could only change my response.  Wanting to be happy instead of being right allowed me to let go of that frustration and reclaim feelings of ease and balance.

Before New Life it was easy to blame other people or circumstances for my unhappiness.  Yet this removed my ability to move through whatever the situation was and brought about feelings of emptiness.   By shifting focus and releasing blame, developing healthier habits began to take center stage.  Much of it came about because of something simple, like kindness.

There are some life situations or occasions where happiness may feel difficult or impossible, much like when moving through deep grief or sudden sorrow.  At these times it is helpful to adjust Statement #3 to fit your needs.  Instead of “Happiness is a habit I am developing, I might focus on “Self-care is a habit I am developing or “Compassion is a habit.”  By tailoring this Statement to fit our needs, we are acknowledging and validating our feelings while taking important actions toward balance.

Hugzzz

Karen


Good Morning 4C Women,

I love the interchanging of words that Karen suggested for Statement #3.  Goodness knows I certainly needed them this past week.  I had to laugh when my first change in wording was, “Happiness is my family actually following through on my words of wisdom!”  Of course, reality sets in and I have to accept that this thinking might be better suited for Statement #4 (problems) or #13 (responsible for myself), so back to happiness as I choose to create it.

What I so love about WFS is its flexibility in practicing the action part of the statements.  While the first part is the belief – believing I am able and willing to develop the habit of happiness; the action part is for me to create and not wait on others or even situations to achieve those “moments” of happiness.

Jean Kirkpatrick described her awakening to knowing it was up to her to create happiness when she realized every sentence about happiness in her early recovery started with, “I’ll be happy if…”  Just as I jokingly and honestly said “I’ll be happy when…”  Think about how you approach creating happiness.  Do you find yourself consistently saying “if” and “when” or have you been able to embrace the action part of Statement #3 to I “am” creating, not waiting for?  While Jean understood that material things we saved or planned for could bring joy, a sense of achievement, I know that Jean wanted each of us to dig deeper, to go beyond the material belongings.  One of the greatest joys, achievements, for me was becoming sober, experiencing authentic happiness.  No pretending, just feeling it.

Do you recall the first time in sobriety that you found yourself giggling, laughing hard and loud, experiencing pure joyfulness and even questioning how this could be happening sober?  That’s the beginning and as we keep moving forward, it’s amazing to discover it wasn’t a fluke, that we really felt genuine happiness.  It opens us up to discovering new activities, new adventures, possibly returning to former fun activities to find out if they still bring the joy we once had and creating healthy relationships because we are being open and true to our source of happiness – ourselves!  In all the changes WFS offers to us, one of the greatest rewards is how we view ourselves.  I know with each passing day, month and year, I became happy with the woman I was becoming.  I learned the coping tools for when the negative thoughts came in – you remember Ed, my inner critic from last Monday’s message – well, without WFS, how would I have researched and discovered that I had the ability to name and tell my inner critic that he was not welcomed to lie about me anymore?  How could I search for my happiness without tips from WFS on how to start and continue on that path?

Friends absolutely add to my happiness, but they are not the sole source of it as it was in the past.  I was completely dependent on others to provide my happiness and that became quite a burden for them and a huge disappointment for me if they didn’t live up to my expectations of them.  I am so fortunate to be surrounded by supportive women in my life.  It truly adds to the happiness factor.  I also appreciate that when I am feeling sad, angry, frustrated, or overwhelmed, that it’s perfectly fine and healthy to acknowledge those feelings. In fact, expressing my feelings has helped me to understand myself a bit better as I work on the “why” of those feelings.  I do not ignore or run from them or use substances to numb and bury them. These feelings are not wrong or bad, words I do not ever use because WFS helped me realize that these feelings are an authentic reaction to life.

It’s also a huge gift knowing it’s safe to express and acknowledge ALL feelings and that in itself creates balance in my life.  It’s not all negative as I use to believe, and I am not waiting for someone else to fill the empty space of unhappiness.  That is my responsibility.  As a friend said, “I’m the captain of my ship.”  So, where I choose to go sailing in this life and how I respond to all of it is up to me.   My journey is sprinkled with the reality of life’s events/situations, and I am in a much better place to handle it as best I can.  Well, I can especially handle the happy moments!  As Jean said, “We can change our thinking, which will change our behavior.”

Bonded in creating happiness, joy in our recovery and believing that we deserve it, Dee


WFS is Hiring for a Volunteer Coordinator Position!

 

Click here if interested to apply by July 14th

Posted on Leave a comment

Monday Thoughts 4/12/2021

“Happiness is a direction, not a place.”  ~~Sydney J Harris

“It is not about how much we have but how much we enjoy that makes happiness.”  ~~Charles Spurgeon

“Learn to value yourself, which means, fight for your happiness.”  ~~Ayn Rand


#3 Happiness is a habit I am developing.

Happiness is created not waited for.


Last week, I reached a milestone that initially felt impossible; 14 years of sobriety.  This is a testament to the many changes that I continue to make, both large and small and everything in between.  It is through the WFS New Life Program that connections are made and cherished, continuing clarity grows and most importantly, adaptability takes center stage.  Statement #3 is critical to creating, adapting and maintaining sobriety and recovery.

In our WFS Program booklet, our founder, Jean Kirkpatrick, Ph. D, writes, “For many years, I was convinced that some people were just naturally happy and others were not.  And most of the time, I was not happy, I was too deep into feeling sorry for myself, waiting for the time when everything in my life would miraculously change, and then instant happiness would follow.  Happiness never came to me until I learned that the secret of making it for myself, of finding an inner glow that somehow made all other things right.” This is an empowering shift that helps create the happiness we desire.

Instant happiness cannot be made without awareness or effort.  Much like making instant oatmeal or mashed potatoes, there is a process that takes place beforehand.  Seeds must be planted, grown and gathered.  Ingredients are then collected and blended.  Packaging, delivery and stocking take place before you purchase and then finally you can add hot water to create a seemingly instant meal.  Happiness falls into the same process.  Just like Jean, it is up to each individual to create their own recipe, live the process and cultivate their happiness.  What will you create today?

Hugzzz

Karen


Hi 4C women,

First, let me wish Karen congratulations on 14 years of sobriety.  Her writings continue to inspire me and I am grateful for her sharing this beautiful gift with all of us.

Creating happiness this past year has been difficult for many of us and yet perhaps needed more than ever before to counteract our isolation, loneliness and loss that comes in diverse forms.  I have learned over the years to create my own happiness so it was a bit surprising that I didn’t have more resiliency in keeping happiness alive and well during the pandemic.  I often think of Jean’s words that we wait for the big moments of life – graduations, weddings, reunions – to define our happiness.  Those are the high points of life.  We must create the others (happiness) out of the threads of everyday ordinary living.  Perhaps this is where the struggle has been this past year – the major change in our everyday ordinary living.

There seems to be nothing ordinary about it in reflection on how our everyday lives use to be.  I have heard the words boring, lonely and frustrating over and over again.  I’ve said those words myself.  What helps me the most is that we are going through this together.  In the past, I felt as though expressing my sadness and pretending I was okay, even faking happiness, was what was expected of me.  Now we are a collective group of women, experiencing similar feelings and the support has been absolutely amazing.  It is a powerful gift to be standing together, helping those who need it most and bringing to light one of the most empowering gifts of WFS – HOPE.

After each meeting, phone call, text or email, I am filled with the hope of the bond we share, being understood and accepted in my lowest moments, acknowledged in my triumphs and overcoming adversity.  In fact, those moments of comfort lead to joyful feelings that I might not have had without the women in WFS.

This hope I have reminds me to keep searching for new ways of creating happiness including something old in perhaps a new way.   I love dancing but my back and knees don’t exactly cooperate yet it doesn’t mean I have to stop trying to do some form of dancing that brings me great joy.

I have also learned that forgiveness of myself and others leaves a lot more room in my head for creative ideas as well as energy better spent for discovering my personal happiness tools.

Years ago, Oprah had a page in her magazine called, “Something to Think About.”  As you can guess, I still have several of those pages.  Here’s one on Happiness that I’d like to share:

All of us yearn for a life filled with joy.  In the quest for happiness, though, we often overlook the good that’s right in front of us.  Try to pause, even for a moment, and ponder the joy that already exists in your life.  You just might see it’s everywhere you look.  Find a quiet spot to sit and consider the following ideas.

  1. What gives you the greatest joy – and when was the last time you felt that joy?  Starting now, how can you incorporate what pleases you most into your daily life?
  2. Each day for a week, make a list of the things that bring you delight.  At the end of the week, hang the list on a mirror to remind you of all that’s positive in your life.
  3. How much joy you experience is connected to how open you are to receiving it.  Do you believe you are worthy of it?  How might the way you see yourself be robbing you of  happiness?
  4. Who in your life brings you the most contentment?  Are you depending more on your spouse, partner, friends, family to bring you satisfaction than you are on yourself?

The last question was the most challenging for me in the beginning of my sobriety.  It took a long time to start understanding that my total dependence on others to make me happy was a heavy burden I placed on them.  Now I see them as adding to my life and I am truly grateful for their love, compassion and acceptance of who I am.  That’s one of my greatest joys.

Bonded in developing our happiness tool box, Dee


Perks of Conference Registration

Perk: WFS would like as many women as possible to attend the Conference, so this virtual conference is SUPER affordable! There are three rates for registration — access to the Conference sessions/activities are the same, no matter what rate you choose:  $75 – $50 – $25. (The $75 Benefactress Rate helps fund scholarships and $25 of it is tax-deductible for US residents.)

Perk: If you’re one of the first 400 women to register, you’ll receive a clear, plastic WFS “I’m Possible” Toolkit full of recovery essentials. Not only will the WFS Program Booklet be in the kit, but so will a special Limited Edition WFS Statement Card Set, a travel-sized journal, & a worry stone with the I’m Possible! logo on it. You’ll also be ready for your next trip, as this plastic tote meets TSA guidelines for travel-sized toiletries. Win-win-win!

Perk: Conference Registration will allow women to utilize the REPLAY feature. The keynote speakers will be recorded, as will most breakout sessions. The recordings will be available for viewing during the two weeks following conference 24/7 (through June 27).  You’ll be able to view the sessions you wished you had time to go to, at your convenience in that two week timeframe. With 18 Breakout Sessions to choose from, the Replay feature is a wonderful way to attend more of the interesting topics that will be presented over the course of the conference weekend.

Perk:  Icebreaker activities! This year, WFS volunteers have put together a fantastic pre-conference week of activities. Registered conference attendees will be able to meet other WFS sisters in a casual setting before the live formal sessions begin. The Icebreakers are ‘meet & greets’ with fun topics. The schedule for the icebreakers is available on the conference page – just click on “Pre-Conference Activities Begin June 6” in the Agenda section.

Register Now

Posted on Leave a comment

Monday Thoughts 1/11/2021

“The best time for new beginnings is now.”  ~~Unknown

“If you don’t like the road you’re walking, start paving another one.”  ~~Dolly Parton

“Nothing can dim the light that shines from within.”  ~~Maya Angelou

“The best time for new beginnings is now.”  ~~Unknown

“If you don’t like the road you’re walking, start paving another one.”  ~~Dolly Parton

“Nothing can dim the light that shines from within.”  ~~Maya Angelou


#3 Happiness is habit I am developing.

Happiness is created not waited for.


Happiness today feels real and authentic thanks to the WFS New Life Program and Statement #3 in particular, yet before my New Life it felt ephemeral and unreliable.  It felt like the other shoe was about to drop at any moment, so living in fear became the norm.  Like a dazzling and beautiful butterfly, I was forever trying to catch happiness and hold it close, but it was gone even before realizing it was there.  Alcohol and drugs can have that effect.

Understanding that we create our own happiness and that it comes from within is a concept that can bring freedom, balance and contentment.  Before sobriety, it was easy to assume that things, people or alcohol (drugs) were the key to happiness but the fact is that lasting happiness originates from inside.  In our WFS Program booklet our founder, Jean Kirkpatrick, Ph.D. writes, “Happiness never came to me until I learned the secret of making it for myself, of finding an inner glow that somehow made all other things right.”  Even in the midst of uncertainty (fear), we can move through difficulty and maintain balance.

An example of keeping a sense of balance comes with my sweet, canine companion who wagged his tail into my heart just a few years into sobriety and recovery.  Recently he has been diagnosed with cancer.  While this news can be anxiety inducing, there is an underlying sense of ease.  Instead of drinking at an issue to escape it, managing and moving through emotions with a sober and clear mind allows for the moment to be experienced, even savored and expressed.  This is where the crossroads of growth and understanding meet.  So, while time may be limited, there is no limit to the amount of pure joy, happiness and love that unfolds from within.

Hugzzz

Karen


Good Morning 4C Women,

I learned a lot about myself in practicing Statement #3.  At first, I was quite reluctant to accept that I was responsible for creating my own happiness.  I learned two things from accepting this responsibility.  One, it is actually possible and two, I can experience happiness from others as long as I am in the moment of appreciating and embracing the joy they are bringing to me.

Previously, I leaned solely on others to bring me joy so I was always waiting, putting a burden on others to make me happy.  The word habit was the key to changing my thought process.  I sort of overlooked that word when I realized that most of my drinking decisions were based on habit.  A bad day at work, an argument, a disappointment, rejection, loss and an endless number of situations created the habit of responding with drinking to avoid and quiet those feelings.  So, if my habit was to expect others to make me happy, my new habit had to be for me to find what brings me happiness and develop a new habit.

As many of you know, I am a keeper of papers – lots of papers.  I found a questionnaire on happiness that I filled out back in 1993.  I always try to date my papers so I can see what personal growth I have made and learn where my current focus needs to be.  I got divorced in 1994 after 27 years of marriage so the answers from 1993 give me a lot to reflect on in 2021.  And remember, these questions were on happiness!  Unfortunately, I cannot remember where these questions came from yet I think they are just as relevant today as they were back then.

Before the questions, there was a list of 5 Foundations for Happiness:

Self-Acceptance, Personal Growth, Environmental Mastery, Positive Relationships with Others, Purpose in Life.

What do you think of these?  Any you would add?

Here are the 2 questions:

10 things that give you joy/happiness/pleasure:

Identify 20 things you’re grateful for:

I listed 17 things that gave me joy.  I am sharing this with you because if I had not dated this questionnaire, I would have never believed that I could list that many things when going through a divorce.  I had been sober for 5 years and practicing the WFS Program which is why I know I was able to list so many.  I had developed a habit of creating happiness through Statement #3.  Some of the answers are quite comical as technology has certainly advanced since 1993.  Some of my answers were foods that are microwaveable (guess there weren’t that many in 1993), answering machine, panty hose that fits, plus size clothes in petite (that goes back to the panty hose that fits).  I listed 21 things I was grateful for and those were more serious except for I don’t have to iron because of wash and wear and men with long hair.  I have no idea about why I was grateful for men with long hair but not having to iron is still something I am grateful for.

I hope you are able to answer these questions with thoughtfulness, a bit of humor and finding that you are developing a habit of creating your joy, happiness, contentment – whichever word fits you.

Bonded in developing a new, healthy, well-being habit of happiness, Dee

Be sure to read the WFS Winter Newsletter

Posted on Leave a comment

Monday Thoughts 10/12/2020

“The less attached you are, the more peaceful you are.”  ~~Anonymous

“Learn the difference between connection and attachment.  Connection gives you power, attachment sucks the life out of you.”  ~~Anonymous

“Let go of expectations.  Let go of your attachment to outcomes.”  ~~Anonymous
_______________________________________________________________

#3 Happiness is a habit I am developing. 

Happiness is created, not waited for.
_______________________________________________________________

Before my New Life, attachment meant nuts, bolts, and screws; today it takes on a different and unexpected yet empowering definition.  The WFS New Life Program and Statement #3 in action enable happiness to flow from within and connection to flourish.

Understanding that I was holding on to people, things, expectations, and concepts was a new consideration in sobriety and recovery.  This gem of perception enabled new interpretation and acceptance of what was, instead of what I wanted to be attached to.  Instead of “needing alcohol to live life,” I was able to embrace sobriety and connection followed.

By redefining the meaning of attachment that something is given, whether it be a memory or experience, a portal for happiness is created.  With an eye open to possibility, the act of clinging can be reduced, and happiness increased.  Oftentimes, Statement #3 relates more to contentment than happiness, yet deep down, it can be true that contentment creates happiness. Today, 4C women all over the world create their own happiness and contentment by releasing unhealthy dependencies and attachments while defining their lives.

Here is some helpful information to release attachments to feelings by Lori Deschene:

Understand that pain is unavoidable. As the saying goes, pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.

Vocalize your feelings. Feel them, acknowledge them, express them, and then let them naturally transform.  Even if you want to dwell in anger, sadness, or frustration—especially if you feel like dwelling—save yourself the pain and commit to working through them.

Write it down. Then toss it out.  You won’t always have the opportunity to express your feelings to the people who inspired them.  That doesn’t mean you need to swallow them.  Write in a journal.  Write a letter and burn it.  Anything that helps you let go.

Xie Xie. It means thank you in Chinese.  Fully embrace your happy moments—love with abandon; be so passionate, it’s contagious.  If a darker moment follows, remember; it will teach you something, and soon enough, you’ll be in another happy moment to appreciate.  Everything is cyclical.

Yield to peace.  The ultimate desire is to feel happy and peaceful.  Even if you think you want to stay angry, what you really want is to be at peace with what happened or will happen.  It takes a conscious choice.  Make it.

Zen your now.  Experience, appreciate, enjoy, and let go to welcome another experience.  It won’t always be easy.  Sometimes you’ll feel compelled to attach yourself physically and mentally to people and ideas—as if it gives you some sense of control or security.  You may even strongly believe you’ll be happy if you struggle to hold onto what you have.  That’s okay.  That’s human nature.

Just know you have the power to choose from moment to moment how you experience things you enjoy; with a sense of ownership, anxiety, and fear, or with a sense of freedom, peace and love.”

How do you release attachments in your New Life?  Do you recognize past attachments?

Hugzzz

Karen


Hi 4C Women,

Oh, those darn attachments!  When reflecting on past attachments, I now understand how they kept me stuck to what was and not even imagining what could be if I worked through the past to let go and heal.  The energy it took to hold onto attachments was suffocating.  I did not realize it at the time because I had not grasped the concept that I was the creator of my own happiness, peace, and contentment.  In my mind, only the past offered that.  HOWEVER, if that were completely true, if I really looked hard at my past, I might have asked myself why I chose to drink to numb my pain, my hurt.  I also learned through practicing Statement #3 that there were happy moments in my past yet most (not all) of them were from what others had done for me.  In other words, I placed most of my happiness on the shoulders of others.  What a burden that must have been for them.  The biggest lesson I learned from Statement #3 is that happiness comes in moments and it is the awareness of those moments that we need to nurture.  The foundation of contentment and peace that I was building was becoming a solid groundwork for the awareness factor.  I also realized that others can add happiness/joy to my life yet it is my responsibility to create a solid foundation towards creating it.

I love that Karen pointed out that pain is inevitable.  It is like grief.  We all experience it.  How we work through it, heal, and build an internal dialogue of positive self-talk is crucial.  I do not ignore pain the same way I do not ignore those happy moments.  They are all a part of teaching me ways to cope and ways to appreciate in real time.  It creates a feeling of authenticity.  Pretending I am in a place of peace when I am not is being untrue to myself and to my support system that cannot help me if I am not being honest.  It is such a balance of receiving support when I need it and sharing my joy when it happens.

What gives you peace of mind and helps restore you?

What is one of the funniest things that has happened to you that makes you smile whenever you think of it?

If you could plan one thing that you know makes you feel joy/happiness, what would that be?  Even with the pandemic, we can still dream, hope, and make a happiness plan.  I love going to Christmas Shops, taking in all the beautiful decorations/ornaments, music (there’s always music playing that makes me so happy) and going to zoos as I love the playfulness of the animals.  While I may not be able to do that now, just researching and planning for it makes me feel great joy in my heart and I am smiling now just thinking of when it will happen.

Bonded in creating our happiness, contentment and peace, Dee

Posted on 2 Comments

Monday Thoughts 7/13/2020

“You can only have bliss if you don’t chase it.”  ~~Henepola Gunaratana

“The thing everyone should realize is that the key to happiness is being happy by yourself and for yourself.”  ~~Ellen DeGeneres

“Seek it outside and you’ll be exhausted.  Seek it inside, you’ll find a path.”  ~~Maxime Lagace’
_______________________________________________________________

 #3 Happiness is a habit I am developing.

Happiness is created, not waited for.
_______________________________________________________________

We are living in complicated and uncertain times.  This can be a distraction from feelings of balance, happiness and even understanding.  Life can feel overwhelming even without a global pandemic at our heels, yet Statement #3 in action is key to maintaining sobriety and recovery while unleashing and expanding inner contentment.

Pre-sobriety, happiness was an ever-elusive thing that I was trying to catch and cage.  Once felt, desperation to keep it and never let it go resulted in missing it while I had it. Most often it had come from outside of myself. This created a continuing cycle of seeking, skipping over and then seeking happiness again which included alcohol.  It was almost impossible to see the forest through the trees.  Gratefully, sobriety and Statement #3 in action foster feelings of balance, contentment and happiness.

Feelings of happiness were released from within in early sobriety by just staying alcohol free hour by hour and day by day.  Having joy come from within shifted the previous cycle; unleashing happiness came from my own thoughts and actions.  WFS and practicing Statement #3 taught this new concept which continues to shift and evolve.

Some questions to ask yourself are:

·    Are you aware of your sources of happiness?

·    What is your routine to create happiness?

·    What other words describe happiness?

Hugzzz

Karen

““““““““““““““

Hi 4C Women,

Jean shared that she created this Statement because she had so many problems with happiness.  It got to the point in her recovery where she realized she could no longer go on saying, “I’d be happy if…”  It took her a long time to realize that she was listening to, and reacting to, that helpless child in her and that this automatic reaction/response could be changed by her!  She realized that happiness was not the acquisition of “things” but rather having a positive view of herself.

It is amazing what a positive attitude can do to build a strong foundation of contentment, peace, joy – whatever word you choose.  This foundation, I have found, has kept me grounded for the most part in these uncertain times.  I say for the most part because as I have mentioned often in my messages, I feel it is of utmost importance to identify, acknowledge and express all of our emotions.  They help us process what is happening and how to work through it as best we can.  I also understood that people can “add” to our happiness just as we can add to theirs.

There are ways to create happiness in our environment and I have shared this in the past as well.  I’d like to share them again as I really found them to be easy and doable in developing those happy moments.

·    Describe your favorite songs and how they make you feel.  Music stirs powerful emotions.

·    Read something that you “want” to read.

·    Create a spiritual or cheerful place on your desk or your nightstand.  (I created this on my nightstand and change it often with a special photo, card, book, or other special memento.  It’s the first thing I see in the morning and when I go to sleep).

·    Approach new experiences as opportunities to learn rater than occasions to succeed or fail.  Doing so opens you up to possibilities and can increase your sense of happiness.  (I did this when presenting the workshop at our first WFS virtual conference.  It made a difference).

·    Seek out personal quiet time – resisting the idea that it’s a waste of time or it’s not working for you.

·    Open up your options for using simple means to raise your spirits.  Whatever you choose should replenish you, add to your fulfillment, nurture calmness or patience or general happiness.

·    Give – in any way you can – time, help, money, stuff.  By being fully present and cultivating gratitude, generosity and kindness, we can find the renewable source of happiness in ourselves in each moment.

·    Drift – Let your mind drift for a few minutes.  Watch the clouds floating by or the fish swimming in an aquarium; observe the wind in the trees, a fire in the fireplace, stars in the night sky.  Let go and let be.  Observe without judgment.

·    Create something you can tend to.  We often tend to the little rips, tears and loose buttons of life.  But how about tending something where you are actually nurturing growth?

·    Add dance.  Dance when the spirit moves you.  Disappear in the dance.  Dance as if you are expressing your gratitude for living.  In general, let life be more of a dance and less of a battle.  Dance a little bit each day.

I hope you will consider doing some of these ideas to create your personal happiness.  You might even write about it in a journal, a scrap of paper or notebook.  Refer to it when you wonder how in the world can you develop happiness in these uncertain times.  You might be happily surprised!

Bonded in developing happiness, Dee