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Monday Thoughts 1.23.23

women for sobriety decorative image enthusiasm

“The way you tell your story to yourself matters.”
Amy Cuddy

“Learn to differentiate between the sound of your intuition guiding you and your traumas misleading you.”
Unknown

“Being optimistic is like a muscle that gets stronger with use…You have to change the way you think in order to change the way you feel.”
Robin Roberts


#5 I am what I think.
I am a capable, competent, caring, compassionate woman.


Sobriety and Statement #5 encourages identifying, adjusting and exercising thoughts. Our founder, Jean Kirkpatrick, PhD realized the importance of managing thoughts as she developed the Women for Sobriety program. In an article Jean wrote about WFS she states, “The philosophy of the Women for Sobriety ‘New Life’ Program is that the image precedes our actions. Whatever we think, we eventually act out. If our thoughts are always negative, our actions will also be negative. If our thoughts are positive, so are our actions. One writer once said a garden of weeds cannot produce a beautiful flower. This is also true of our minds. If we have upsetting thoughts, we cannot have a serene life. We have the power of changing our way of thinking. We live in the atmosphere created by our mind and our thoughts.”

For me, Statement #5 is the glue that bridges all of the other Statements together. It is from this core that a sturdy foundation is cemented. Once I began to grasp my thinking, managing them became an important and healthy new habit. A helpful tool that I use daily is asking myself the question, “Will this line of thinking take me deeper into sobriety and recovery or further away?” Immediately I am able to assess thoughts and make changes as necessary. Oftentimes this one question helps identify anxiety and offers deeper insight.

This week, equip yourself with Statement #5 and challenge any long held belief system.  What limiting story are you telling yourself? When you identify one, switch your story to one of empowerment. For example, with a family member who is a professional artist, for years I felt not good enough creatively. Hiding in the shadows and trying to copy her style left me with deep feelings of inadequacy. Once able to identify this, I reframed my story from one of being less than to one of discovery. Today I have many creative outlets, from acrylics to writing and many things in-between and am happily content.
What will you uncover and discover this week?

Hugzzz
Karen


Hi 4C Women,

The 2nd quote Karen shared “Learn to differentiate between the sound of your intuition guiding you and your traumas misleading you” immediately spoke to me as I realized years ago that I didn’t trust my instincts at all. I made decisions based on my traumas as I truly believed they were my identity. I was damaged, unworthy and a product of my painful choices. I am beyond grateful for Jean creating this Statement as it became a goal for me to change my definition of me! I started learning from my past rather than beating myself up and making healthier choices based on the ever-changing way I saw myself. I started using positive affirmations and even today, I am learning new ones.

In the past few years, I started telling myself I can do this rather than I can’t when feeling slightly overwhelmed or an old untrue message tried to whisper in my ear how I wasn’t smart or creative enough. Just changing can’t to can helped me feel more confident and definitely becoming more 4C. It is absolutely incredible how powerful the impact of positive, affirming words can change the image of ourselves and fuel our empowered actions to follow. I also gave myself time out, a brief retreat when needed, without criticizing myself as lazy. I began to listen to my intuitions as to what my mind and body needed without judgment. Beautiful feelings that I mattered and it was my responsibility to make sure I took care of myself.

Have you ever asked yourself, “Who do I think I am?” The authentic answer to that question is a guide to what work still needs to be done and what work has been done. We are ever evolving and must be willing to seek our truth so we can change our belief in ourselves. This transformation is a process and a rewarding one. In my lifetime, I never thought I would get to the place where I cared more about how I viewed myself than what others thought of me.
Here are 4 questions I have asked over the years around Statement 5. I have 4 response sheets to these questions and since they are dated, I am so fascinated by different answers and yet some similar answers. It is such a mix and I am so glad to look back and acknowledge where I’ve grown and what personal growth stills needs work. It is that authentic look that keeps me focused and growing in my 4Cness.

1.    Capable of:
2.    Competent in:
3.    Caring about:
4.    Compassionate about:

Bonded in creating the most positive, powerful definition of ourselves by practicing Statement 5 with the strong belief in change and personal growth, Dee


WFS Online: Join (if you haven’t already) and visit often!!

The new WFS Online platform is a space to access virtual meetings, make the daily pledge, and give/receive support 24/7!

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Monday Thoughts 10.24.22

women for sobriety decorative image 4cs

“If you take care of your mind, you take care of the world.”
Arianna Huffington

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

 “Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.”
Anne Lamott


#5 I am what I think.
I am a capable, competent, caring, compassionate woman.


My mind, thoughts, and life were not anything that I gave attention to before sobriety and recovery. Most of the time, I bounced from one particular drama to another, never really stopping to consider how or why things happened the way they did. Yet Statement #5, the center of the WFS New Life Program opens the door to mind our minds.

Active addiction removes the ability to think clearly and short circuits or hijacks the reward center. This can lead to feelings of anxiety, irritability, and paranoia. Yet the human brain is remarkably resilient, and can create new pathways (neuroplasticity) in sobriety and recovery, and here is where Statement #5 comes in. By taking charge of and managing our thoughts, “We create a new self in our mind first” as our WFS Program booklet states.

I recall feeling overwhelmed when first beginning to recognize my thoughts. It was so LOUD in my head! So many ramblings, and constant conversations about negativity or dread, and fear. LOTS of fear! I felt like I was afraid of everything. I judged myself, then judged the judgments. It felt like I was caught in a loop of meandering wild thoughts. There was no order, only chaos. But through this wild zoo, I became the gatekeeper. Writing down thoughts enabled me to stick them on paper instead of having them fly through my brain. Guided meditation taught me how to lengthen the pause between thoughts, and the women in our WFS face-to-face group and WFS Online Forum shared their techniques for managing their thoughts. Some days are easier to manage, and others more difficult, depending on factors like energy levels or time of year. With continued practice of Statement #5, we are capable, competent, caring, and compassionate women. What is your go-to tool to manage your thoughts?

Hugzzz
Karen


Hi 4C Women,

I love how Karen gained awareness in understanding that she was the gatekeeper of her thoughts.  Being the gatekeeper is a powerful position and Statement #5 directs us to use that power wisely for our own well-being and personal growth in recovery.  I hid my power because I was afraid of being rejected and ridiculed as was my experience. That history I carried within my thoughts was stronger than my ability to see I was truly in charge of changing history going forward. Becoming sober gave me clarity and when I initially began saying positive words to describe myself, it was a huge challenge.

I remember the first time I asked the group I was facilitating to describe themselves using 50 words. There was laughter and horror being expressed. As I looked around the room, I saw women staring at the blank piece of paper with an incredulous look that I would expect them to have 50 words when they could barely provide 2 or 3. The laughter was the unease of writing any positive words about themselves as that would be considered conceited, something they grew up hearing. When I said they could use authentic words as to how they saw themselves on that day, they seemed relieved. It is amazing how many of us have been taught that saying and believing positive descriptive words was not ladylike! I asked them to date their responses and the next time we did this exercise; they could visually see their personal growth in how they viewed themselves. Today, when I start doubting my belief in myself, I tend to go back to Statement #9 and remind myself I am not the same person, I am a new woman. I have worked hard for positive change and built my self-esteem, self-love, and self-worthiness with all the tools the WFS program has provided. It is a continuing process and knowing that, gives me peace.

I now realize that asking anyone to provide 50 words to describe themselves is daunting. In reflection, I keep asking myself, “What was I thinking?”  So below are questions I feel are more doable.  And remember that this is a process of personal growth and being authentic is a wonderful way to see how we have grown and where we need to focus to keep the process going in a positive direction.

Questions:
This makes me unique:
I feel strong/empowered when:
I accept myself for:
A quality I am proud of:
Today I am grateful for:
I did my best to overcome:
The most significant positive change I have made:
Date: _________________

Bonded in awareness of becoming your empowered 4C self, Dee


Save the Date: Volunteer Orientation Opportunity!

Date: Tuesday, November 1th 2022 at 8:30 pm US/Eastern

Learn more about the History of WFS, join other 4C women looking to volunteer, and hear about all the wonderful work our current volunteers are doing!

To receive the Zoom meeting information email: [email protected]

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Monday Thoughts 7.25.22

“A lot of the pain that we are dealing with are really only thoughts.”

Anonymous

“You are not a helpless victim of your own thoughts, but rather a master of your mind.”

Louise Hay

“One small positive thought in the morning can change your whole day.”

Anonymous


#5 I am what I think.

I am a capable, competent, caring, compassionate woman.


In our WFS Program booklet at the beginning of Statement #5, four valuable questions lead the chapter. The first question asks, “Do you know your own mind?” Before sobriety and recovery, ignoring thoughts was a standard way of life. Yet today, I understand that my drinking was an attempt to escape the conversations and thoughts jamming up my mind.

In the past, I believed what my mind was saying without reservation and in early sobriety, the top priority with thoughts was much like that of a firefighter. I was going head-to-head against suffocating and heated thoughts that led back to drinking. Triggers appeared to surround me, but I was learning how to challenge what my mind was telling me. What helped more than anything during that time was the knowledge that I could object to intrusive thoughts and replace them with constructive thinking. This was a new concept, and it felt empowering to reclaim my thoughts and wake up sober each day.

Moving into long-term recovery, I shifted into managing thoughts as a daily task. By beginning each day by reading the Statements, I set the tone and focus for the day. It is helpful to remember that no two days are alike; some days may be easier while other days may be more difficult to manage thoughts. When it feels difficult, I revert back to the Statements and choose one as a mantra. Usually, my go-to is “I am a competent woman.” This reinforces and guides my thinking into a more manageable and comfortable space. Additionally, connecting with other 4C women is incredibly helpful, either through the WFS Online forum, face-to-face meetings, or Zoom. Mind your mind every day!

Hugzzz

Karen


Hi 4C Women,

I love that Karen said there are no two days alike. It took me a while to recognize that and rather than beat myself up for not living the Statement as I thought I “should,” I accepted that this was where I was at on any particular day and tried my best. I didn’t give up and say, “oh what’s the use?” but chose to be kind and nurture who I was at that moment. It was no longer about being impossibly perfect but mostly not giving up. What did change with that approach and attitude is that I no longer felt less than, incompetent, unworthy, and all those negative words I used to describe myself.

Along the way, WFS sisters have added to the 4C description, and here are some of theirs and mine:

Courageous in walking into a f2f meeting or attending that first Zoom meeting, to overcome the great fear of not knowing what to expect

Confident in the willingness to change

Committed to change even when those doubts come in

Can do – the thought that replaces doubt and encourages positive, incredible possibilities

Choice maker – I have the ability and coping skills to make healthy choices for my well-being

Credible, becoming credible to yourself and instilling that credibility to others as you keep moving forward on your recovery journey

Changing – what I value about WFS as it guides me to change the most important part of recovery – the inside self.

Communicator– learning to share with a clear mind, getting to know and express your needs, and understanding that you deserve to have those needs met by you as well as in important relationships.

Compromiser – another aspect of communicator that teaches us that compromise is an important part of meeting our needs and others by active listening, and remembering we all have needs. It’s how we communicate and react in a respectful, hopefully, calm manner, that builds healthier relationships.

Creative – While I or you may not be creative in the artistic sense, we have created a New Life!

And all these words add up to my favorite – can do! Whenever I feel overwhelmed or unsure, I tell myself I can do it, or at least I am willing to try. If it’s beyond my capabilities, at least I tried. Best of all, my inability does not delete or take away from all that I have and am working on accomplishing. Its lessons learned, limitations noted and accepted, and on to the next.  Mostly, I have found that the image I create in my mind being a 4C woman is the way I begin to show up in this world.  That’s powerful and empowering.

What positive words would you add?

Throughout the day, think about how you talk to yourself? Would you talk to a friend in the same manner who was seeking encouragement and support? Remember this if you start to berate yourself and think how does this fit into becoming or maintaining your 4C self? Just as WFS is a program of acceptance, always remember that this acceptance includes YOU accepting yourself this moment, this day as you learn, grow emotionally, and build up that toolbox of coping skills. The thoughts and the words you speak to yourself can be transforming, uplifting, and absolutely necessary.

Bonded in becoming and accepting ourselves as we journey on, Dee


women for sobriety on-demand conference

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Monday Thoughts 4.25.22

women for sobriety decorative image 4cs

“It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.”
William Shakespeare

“We are no one else.  We are ourselves.  We must be that, with no regrets, if we wish to be happy.”
Donna Goddard

“Sometimes it takes a wrong turn to get you to the right place.”
Mandy Hale


#5 I am what I think.

I am a capable, competent, caring, compassionate woman.


The WFS New Life program, and especially Statement #5 opened my eyes to how I was living life for everyone else.  Over time, the child I once was easily morphed into the thoughts, ideas, aspirations, and goals of those around me.  Desperately trying to fit in, I quieted my own thoughts and feelings which left me as a version who fit others.  Who I was disappeared and alcohol easily became an emotional escape mechanism.

Learning my own thoughts in sobriety felt overwhelming at first, but quickly became a journey of discovery.  Exploring what I thought of something was like building an updated version of myself.  Writing thoughts in a journal or even simply jotting down quotes that I related to was exciting and refreshing.  My outlook shifted and I began to find my voice.  I even learned how to say no without regret and the learning continues every day. It’s no wonder why our founder, Jean Kirkpatrick, Ph.D. made Statement #5 the center of our program.

In our WFS Program booklet, it states, “Since we no longer choose to drink or use as an escape, repairing our sense of self becomes essential.  We can do this by learning new tools for changing our thinking, to help guide us into a rewarding sobriety.”  Each day this week, examine your thoughts.  Do your thoughts bring you deeper into sobriety and recovery or further away from it?  Is there a part of you ready to be uncovered?  What tools do you use to create and live your authentic life?

Hugzzz
Karen


Hi 4C Women,

I say very often that I have found my voice and I know it was found through the WFS program and especially Statement #5.  Before recovery, what I thought of myself was not exactly self-esteem building or empowering.  It was challenging enough to introduce myself as a competent woman at a meeting yet to add more positive adjectives/nouns to describe and define myself seemed an impossibility.

These questions helped me to think about how I see myself:

What do I do consistently well?

What are my strongest traits/characteristics?

What do I respect about myself?

How do I feel about speaking my voice?

I feel empowered when…

One of my favorite songs about self-realization is “Here I Stand” by Karen Drucker on her “The Heart of Healing” album.  I listened to it many times and shared it with my WFS group as it truly expresses my journey to living Statement #5.  I emailed her letting her know how much this song represented me and WFS with its emotional and spiritual growth, empowerment, and belief in self.  She was happy that I shared it with other WFS 4C women and hoped I would continue to do so.

“Here I Stand.”

Here I Stand Words & Music: Karen Drucker & Sloan Wainwright This song was written with another one of my favorite singer/songwriters, Sloan Wainwright. We got together and talked about what was going on in our lives and realized that we were both finally feeling that we had let go of the old stories of not enough, and giving our power away. This song is a celebration for anyone who is willing to stand up and claim their power.

“I was a little girl who never spoke her mind.

I wouldn’t rock the boat, I couldn’t cross the line,

but every step that I’ve taken, every pain, every tear,

has led me to the woman who’s standing right here.

I got so tired of giving myself away,

always looking for someone to tell me I was okay.

I got to a place where I could trust my heart,

it was the perfect place for a brand- new start.

Chorus: Here I stand in my power.

Here I stand in my power.

Here I stand in my power.

Here I stand. (Here I stand) Here I stand.

I am a warrior. I am invincible.

I am as strong as steel and I am capable,

and I am soft as a feather light and free,

and the truth that I know, healing begins with me.

Chorus Bridge: Here I stand. Here I stand. Here I stand.

With all that I’ve been through, there ain’t nothin’ I can’t do…

Chorus

 

©TayToones Music BMI 2015 & Derby Disc Music SESAC From Karen’s CD: “Joy In Our Hearts” and “The Heart of Healing 2″

So empowering and so … me from not speaking my mind growing up to the woman standing in her power and knowing that healing began with me!

Bonded in loving ourselves, healing ourselves, and being empowered to define ourselves in a positive light, Dee


Every dollar is important.

Donate to the TBC online:

womenforsobriety.org/donatetbc

or download this form to mail in your donation.

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Monday Thoughts 1.24.22

new podcast episode new faces of recovery

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”   ~~Ralph Waldo Emerson

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

“Don’t waste your energy trying to change opinions…do your thing, and don’t care if they like it.” ~~Tina Fey


#5 I am what I think.

I am a capable, competent, caring, compassionate woman.


“Will people still like me? Will I fit in? Will I be treated differently?”  These are just some of the questions that burned in my mind walking into this new sober life.  Without a clue as to what was in store, sobriety and recovery became a healthy way of life thanks to the WFS Statements and the New Life Program.

Statement #5 is the foundation that all the other Statements build on.  From those five simple words comes a life of fullness, balance, and authenticity.  In the past, it was simple for me to try to “be” someone else.  I was forever comparing and complaining, wondering how to be like them.  I looked to everyone else for input into my life yet the cost was high…I lost myself.  This Statement doesn’t read I am what someone else thinks…. It states triumphantly I am what * I* think!

In our WFS Program booklet, it states, “The way we experience our life is a result of our thoughts.  With our mind, we shape our day.” Each morning I begin the day reading the Statements.  It sets the tone for the day and helps keep my mind focused.  With the endless supply of distractions in this world, this one act opens the door to keeping an eye on my thoughts. The awareness helps to identify patterns and connect with what matters to me.  After all, I am a capable, competent, caring, compassionate woman!

Hugzzz

Karen


Dear 4C Women,

My addiction enhanced my lost feeling and it took a while for me to realize that in order to practice Statement #5, I had to take responsibility for finding the authentic me and be my own cheerleader.  Part of that was setting boundaries with my own thoughts.  Yes, my negative thoughts about who I was did not support the woman I yearned for, the woman I lost and left behind in my addiction.

I know we talk about setting boundaries for others in order to protect ourselves from toxic relationships.   I finally understood that my negative thinking about myself was hindering any possibility of becoming the 4C woman I wanted to be.  I set boundaries on my negative description of myself.  The moment I started negative self-talk, I stopped and replaced it with positive self-talk.  Even if it was one word, i.e., stupid, I would immediately change it to smart.  I am smart.  I am wise.  I am becoming a 4C woman.  It is amazing how after becoming sober, the negative thoughts were still there, an automatic response.  It took consistency, commitment, and courage to practice Statement #5 and know that in changing my thoughts, I was on my way to believing I was and now am a 4C woman.  One way to help identify the positive qualities you possess is to think about the inside gifts you have that you share with others, with the world.  Nancy Cross once wrote in a message with a great question.  “What Makes Me Unique?”  We all have gifts, uniqueness, positive qualities that we need to acknowledge whenever the inner critic shows up trying to put the past into the present with old, destructive messages.  We learn and grow each day on this amazing and challenging journey.  It is what Jean learned about herself and then taught us – to release the past, build ourselves up with empowering, loving words, to keep moving forward with compassion for ourselves.

My favorite 5 questions, which includes courage, for Statement #5:

I am capable of….

I am competent in…

I am caring about….

I am compassionate about…

I express courage by…

Bonded in believing and living our lives as 4C women, Dee


Listen to an episode of The Think Courageously Podcast

Featuring Adrienne Miller from WFS

Episode Here

new podcast episode new faces of recovery

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Monday Thoughts 10/25/2021


“The only person who can pull me down is myself, and I’m not going to let myself pull me down anymore.”  ~~C. Joybell C.

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

“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

 #5 I am what I think.

I am a capable, competent, caring, compassionate woman.


In our WFS Program booklet it states “The way we experience our life is a result of our thoughts. With our mind we shape each day.” Active addiction warps thinking. Before New Life, thoughts were chaotic, unbalanced and oftentimes tied to the extremes. There was no middle ground or gray area. It was either all in or nothing and life felt exhausting because it was. Sobriety and Statement #5 in action can change that and open a portal for balance.

With a mind clear of alcohol or drugs we can be aware of our thought processes. My favorite way to connect with my thinking is through journaling. Even if I am unaware of my thoughts on a particular day, I can review the words and get a good glimpse. It even helps to identify patterns of thought that I may not otherwise notice. This is especially helpful when emotions are intense or life feels exceptionally busy.

But I love what Jean says to do in her book Goodbye Hangovers Hello Life “Say it a hundred times a day: ‘I am what I think.’ Then make up several sentences to be repeated after that. Tell yourself with every breath, ‘I am a capable person.’  In addition to thinking it, begin to know it. This is not making up a false picture. This is coming to know the real you. You are a capable person. You probably always have been but have defeated yourself in everything you ever attempted before ever getting started.”  This week, reinforce who and what you would like to be. Repeat every day and pay attention to how you respond to your encouragement. You are a capable, competent, caring, compassionate woman!

Hugzzz

Karen


Hi 4C Women,

Last week, the Monday Thoughts talked about understanding the difference between assertiveness vs aggressiveness.  I’m hoping you were able to practice some of the ways to be assertive.  I love how Statement #5 is a follow up in creating positive images, empowerment and setting boundaries on who we think we are – “our” current personal definition, not one from old messages.  It is who we are today as we work through changing and challenging those old messages that leads to healing.

If you are reading this, please add courageous to your 4C woman identity.  You are courageous that you acknowledged your problem that once had you and followed the path of seeking positive support and guidance through WFS.  As Jean said, say it a hundred times a day and know it is your truth.  Just as initially introducing ourselves as competent women may feel or felt extremely uncomfortable, eventually it feels right, truthful and our actions reflect that.  We are competent, assertive, courageous women.  That is the truth we can live by each day.

What is standing in your way of knowing this?

Are you defining yourself with extreme negative comments with no regard to your strengths and achievements?   Are you willing to work diligently on changing this internal dialogue? Do you believe you deserve to recognize your worth on this recovery path?

Recently a dear friend sent me a beautiful quote and I used it at the closing of my zoom meeting last week. I would love to share it with all of you as it fits this Statement so beautifully.

“No punishment anyone might inflict on us could possibly be worse than the punishment we inflict on ourselves by conspiring in our own diminishment” – Parker Palmer in I will Not Die an Unlived Life by Dawna Markova.

To practice this thought:

Conspire in your own enhancement.  Name one quality or accomplishment you cherish in yourself.  The answers shared last week were touching and such a joy to have each woman consider a quality or accomplishment she cherished.  It was so personal and uplifting.  I am encouraging you to consider how you would answer this question.

Bonded in becoming and knowing we are in charge of defining who we are.  Old messages are thrown out, believing we deserve a New Life is our path today, Dee


2021 Ho9liday Sale

You are invited to a new event, sponsored by the Creative Crew!

A Holiday showcase of handmade items by our sisters will be for sale. There will be quilted items, glass pieces, notecard sets, jewelry, a bee themed journal and more! 100% of the funds will be directed to Giving Tuesday to support WFS.

What you need to do: 

  • Register or Sign In to the Holiday Sale Catalog at The Creative Crew Holiday Sale.  TIP:  If you registered for the Conference Auction in June 2021, your login is still active. If you do not remember your password, you can request an email to reset the password.
  • You may preview items online, as they are added to the catalog!
  • The Holiday Sale opens at 10am US/Eastern (your timezoneon November 5 and closes with the auction ending at 9pm US/Eastern (your timezoneon November 6.

The Creative Crew is a new group and we welcome all sisters in WFS. We share our projects using any media and inspire each other, forming priceless connections. And sometimes we collaborate on a project! If you would like to join us at our monthly meeting, please send an email to [email protected] or come checkout our connection group on WFS Online named The Creative Crew!

Mark you calendars for the sale and have a safe Halloween!

Hugs and Aloha,
The Creative Crew

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Monday Thoughts 7/26/2021

“Success is a state of mind.  If you want success, start thinking of yourself as a success.”  ~~Joyce Brothers

“We only see what we want to see; we only hear what we want to hear.  Our belief system is just like a mirror that only shows us what we believe.”  ~~Don Miguel Ruiz

“Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will.”  ~~Zig Ziglar


#5 I am what I think.

I am a capable, competent, caring, compassionate woman.


Addiction fuels a circle of deception, especially with our thoughts but with Statement #5 in action that circle can be broken and new patterns of thought embraced.  The WFS New Life Program encourages self-examination, and this Statement where we examine our thoughts resides at the core of that exploration.

In our WFS Program booklet it asks “Do you know why you think your thoughts?  Are you aware of the mental place in which you live, the real environment that you create for yourself by your thoughts?  Or do you just let thoughts happen at random?”  Answering these questions can direct our thoughts and build a stable platform for further growth in our New Lives.

Here are a few ways to help identify and shift thoughts:

  1. Sit in stillness:  Each day give yourself permission to sit without distraction for 5 minutes, shut off the tv or phone and close your eyes.  What thoughts are coming to mind?  Are your thoughts hurried?  Are your thoughts centered on contentment or do you have worries?  This is the time to notice and identify what you are thinking.  This may be a new concept (it was for me!) and new does not mean bad or wrong.  It can be the first action to managing thoughts.

 

  1. Create a thought diary:  Jot down some of the major thoughts that you noticed in those five minutes of stillness. Give yourself time to do this, write down your thoughts for at least a week, more is helpful.  Do you notice a there to your thoughts?  Maybe of not enough or too much or maybe thoughts of the future?  Are thoughts fearful or simple uncertainty?  Be specific.

 

  1. Examine your thoughts:  You can gain deep insight by reviewing your thought diary.  Do you see a pattern?  Where are you doing well and where do you need to shift your thought process?  Is there something driving your thinking? Is this thought taking me closer to or further away from sobriety and recovery?  Be honest with yourself.

 

  1. Shift or reframe unhelpful thoughts:  You can redefine a long held thought or belief and concentrate on changing your internal dialogue.  If you have thoughts of “I’m not good enough” challenge that thought and repeat affirmations such as “I am a competent woman” or write out ways that you have achieved something, no matter how small.  This simple shift can help redirect thinking and over time help you to recognize thoughts that do not empower or embrace you. Make this a daily part of your recovery routine.

 

Hugzzz

Karen


Hi 4C Women,

I remember the first time I read Statement #5 and thought, wow, do I really want to share with others what I think of myself?  For so many years, I questioned my confidence, my competency.  I found it difficult to say I was a competent woman.    Finally, after introducing myself as a competent woman at the WFS meetings, it felt comfortable, almost believable!  As I began believing, I began behaving.  I finally understood that my self-esteem was almost non-existent, that even when I was praised for doing something well and appreciated it, I didn’t feel it within myself.

At one of our WFS meetings, the question was asked as to how we show up for ourselves.  Do we show up seeking approval from others and still not have faith in our own accomplishments, compassionate acts, capabilities?  Do we let our self-care evaporate so we can prove ourselves worthy by always doing for others?  I know that was me at one time.  This is why I so desperately needed the guidance of the 13 Statements to change my thinking, my actions, to do more than just stop drinking.  Rather than saying my extremely negative mantra every day, I began to replace it with one of the 13 Statements.  Each one became a ladder of personal growth.  I was no longer digging myself out of a hole of unworthiness, incompetency and insecurities.  I became a 4C woman.

Write about a moment you were brave and just went for it.  I came across this question and gave it great thought.  It reminded me that there have been many times in my life that I was brave but discounted it or never gave myself credit for it.  How about you?

I plan to do the sitting in stillness exercise.  It is new for me and I’m so curious as to where my thoughts will go in those 5 minutes of stillness, no tv, no phone!  Of course, an exercise of this kind requires the follow through described in 2-4 and that will be the key to learning how I am authentically feeling, thinking and handling my current situation.  I’m hoping you will try it and share your outcomes with others with whom you trust.

Bonded in believing, behaving and shouting out loud that we are 4C women who bravely went for it, Dee

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Monday Thoughts 4/26/2021

“Your thoughts shape your vision.   You see what you choose to see.”  ~~Anonymous

“What’s on your mind becomes what’s in your life so think the thoughts you want to see.”  ~~Karen Salmansohm

“You are not a helpless victim of your own thoughts, but rather a master of your mind.”  ~~Louise Hay


#5 I am what I think.

I am a capable, competent, caring, compassionate woman.


Sobriety and the practice of Statement #5 enable rewarding changes to take place.  Before New Life, thoughts can be repetitive, disruptive, and quite chaotic.  Active addiction severs our ability to manage and/or direct thoughts, often resulting in impulsive or invalidating behaviors. It becomes a difficult and destructive cycle.

Yet the simple concept of managing our thoughts changes everything.  Our founder, Jean Kirkpatrick, Ph.D., came to understand this after her last relapse and believed Statement #5 to be the core of the WFS New Life Program.  It is from our thoughts that we can create our future.  In our WFS Program booklet it states “It is important for all women to know, and use, the power of their mind and thoughts.  However, it is most important for women with drug and alcohol problems to use our minds to enhance our well-being.  We can consciously build positive images of ourselves.  We create a new self in our mind first.”

Here is an excerpt from the WFS Beginner’s Collection (pages 66-67) from Jean that highlight this discovery for her:

“I remember a day when I was extremely depressed.   I stood by a window in my living room and, while looking out, I felt the terrible weight of depression that had hung over me all morning.  At that moment I was unaware of my having permitted myself to feel that way.  In a way, I was doing everything to keep the depression.  Suddenly, I decided I was tired of feeling this way.  I began to think about my life in a totally different way and I began to feel better.  Instead of seeing only the gloomy side of the situation bothering me, I began to think about it in completely different thoughts, and the depression lifted.

To this day, I am still awed by the knowledge of how quickly we can change any situation by changing our thoughts.  Every thought is a planted seed that will soon bear fruit.  This is the history of our thoughts.  They precede our actions; they create our life.  And this is the history of our actions.  Whatever our actions, we can discover the reason for them by examining our thoughts we entertained before the actions took place.  Our mind is like a sea.  It can be placid and calm or it can be turbulent.  Unlike the sea, we can control it.  We are not subject to weather to control the calmness or turbulence of our mind.  We are the caretakers of what the conditions will be.  We are truly the masters of our fate.  Mastery of this Statement amounts to mastery of life.  It is the keystone to recovery.”

This week, pay closer attention to your thoughts.  See if there is something that you need to shift your thoughts on.  Jot down thoughts in a journal and watch your progress over time.  You are a 4C woman!

Hugzzz

Karen


Hi 4C Women,

Karen and I wanted to be sure and recognize that when Jean spoke of her depression, she was not referring to clinical depression which would be needed and helped with medical attention.  Having negative thoughts of how we view ourselves can be a response or reaction to a situation or person that is rooted in our emotional history.  It’s human nature.  What matters is how we internalize it in the present and how we then react.  Do we value another’s opinion of who we are over what we think of ourselves?  As we work through our internal dialogue, it’s important to remove old messages from the past that no longer are our truth today and do not serve us well on this sober recovery journey.

I am careful as well to discern between depression and just feeling downright sad.  This past year has given me plenty of opportunities to feel sad and rather than deny or escape those feelings, I continue to practice the tip given by one of the women in my group who asks herself “why” when she is feeling sad or a myriad of different feelings.  It has been so helpful as I uncover and acknowledge the reason for a particular feeling.  It does not come out of nowhere for me.  I use to take everything so personally and now I use the coping tool of what is my truth, my perspective and make a decision on what the next step is and it might be absolutely nothing!  I stick to that, take a deep breath and move on.  If I feel it is important to address, I will consider my options.  After all, I have spoken out loud and to myself that I am a 4C woman so figuring out how I am going to handle my feelings, is the choice I make.

I have also learned that I will no longer let shame and guilt be the yardstick of how I measure my worth.  This Brené Brown quote expresses so well what shame can do: “Shame corrodes the very part of us that believes we are capable of change.”

WFS is all about change, removing shame and guilt to become a 4C Woman.  Here’s what I discovered I was guilty of before and early in my sobriety – not standing up for the woman I was becoming, not respecting the journey I survived and becoming a thriver, accepting and believing old cruel, unkind definitions of me from the past including the ones I spoke to myself, denying ways to practice self-care as I didn’t deserve it, holding on to regret, resentments that left little room for a New Life and not knowing how to set healthy boundaries to protect and enhance my emotional and spiritual growth.  Does any of this sound familiar?  It’s empowering to know what you use to think or perhaps still think because that is the guide of what needs to be worked through, to change for your well-being.

I’ve asked these questions before and I hope you will take the time to answer, date your answers and the next time you begin to question yourself, revisit your answers.  And if they provide a guide for empowering personal growth and change, consider it a beautiful gift you are giving yourself and your recovery.  And feel free to add to the 4Cs as your emotional and spiritual growth blossoms!

I am capable of:

I am competent in:

I am caring about:

I am compassionate about:

Bonded in being/becoming a 4C Woman, Dee


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Monday Thoughts 1/25/2021

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“The only approval you need is your own.”  ~~Amanda Gorman

“What do you mean I have to wait for someone’s approval? I’m someone.  approve.  So, I give myself permission to move forward with my full support!”  ~~Richelle E. Goodrich

“You’ve been criticizing yourself for years and it hasn’t worked.  Try approving of yourself and see what happens.”  ~~Louise Hay


#5 I am what I think.

I am a capable, competent, caring, compassionate woman.


Beginning early in life, seeking approval from outside of my self was a path that easily led towards manipulation, imbalance, and low self-esteem.  Not fitting in, disapproving, never enough, hopeless; these were just some of the ever-present thoughts before sobriety and my New Life.  Living life on a track of self-denial and discouragement was the result of alcohol use and increasing isolation.  Once condemning thoughts took over, life felt increasingly bleak, uneasy, and depressing yet Statement #5 in action helped to change course and move into empowering directions.

Becoming aware of thoughts enables the ability to shift lanes in thinking.  Initially, it felt overwhelming to decipher what I was saying internally.  It was like walking into a room where hundreds of people were shouting all at once.  Yet by reciting the Statements (out loud helps me the most) each day, quieting down thoughts became easier.  This gave me a calmer lane to steer thoughts. This daily practice continues to keep thought awareness in the forefront so they may be channeled and challenged.

Knowing my own thoughts enables approval of them.  I can ask myself “Does this thought take me closer or further away from sobriety (or a goal)?”  This has prevented relapse many times.  A meditation practice also keeps thoughts from becoming overwhelming and can offer pause.  Even just five minutes a day can assist in thought management.  Here are a few helpful techniques to aid in practicing Statement #5:

  • Opposite thinking:  Angry thoughts?  Shift thoughts towards something that has brought you joy.  Writing it down focuses the mind even more.
  • Imaging: Distressing thoughts? Imagine being in a place of comfort.  Fully describe in your mind what this place is like.  Is it a beach?  What does the sky look like?  What do the waves sound like?  Fully embrace this place.
  • Get moving:  Being physical can offset thoughts.  One time I grabbed a broom and started sweeping when fearful thoughts were overtaking my mind.  Almost immediately my thoughts were focused on the floor instead of the imagined fears.
  • Snap it out:  Wear a rubber band on your wrist and whenever unruly thoughts enter, snap the band.  It is a physical sensation to stop unwanted or unhealthy thoughts.

What assists you in practicing Statement #5?

Hugzzz

Karen


Good Morning 4C Women,

I love the quotes that Karen shared with us.  Each is a fabulous way to start the day along with reading the 13 Statements.  Like Karen, there was a time when speaking anything but negative self-talk seemed an impossible task.  What I said to myself in the mirror each morning was anything but positive.  It is, as Karen says, the action process of each Statement that begins to change our thoughts and our actions.

For Statement #5, it is critical to see ourselves as 4C women, one thought, one image change at a time.  I have heard over the years that it feels conceited or selfish to love yourself.  That is certainly a challenging battle to overcome yet, just like sobriety and recovery might have seemed impossible, learning to love yourself is doable.  It, in fact, is critical to your well-being.

Have you ever made a list of what you love about yourself today and how you currently practice self-care, self-love?  If you are struggling with listing what you love about yourself, think of those closest to you that you love.  Do you see a pattern of qualities that you love about them?  Can you attribute those qualities to yourself and learn to love and accept yourself in the same way?

Making a self-love list is a good start to sorting out the truth of today and dismissing/releasing the negative messages of yesterday that are no longer supporting your well-being, your sobriety. In fact, many of those old, invalid messages are from people who were themselves unhealed, creating fear within you of being abandoned, unworthy and unlovable.  If it wasn’t for the 4Cs, I am not sure if I would even have known where to start.  Yet, I began to believe that I was compassionate and caring.  Believing I was competent and capable took a bit longer.  But that is the beauty of emotional growth – it is a process and we do this individually and with purpose

Questions to consider that I found in my huge mound of papers.  Not sure from when or where yet I believe they are questions to get you started or continuing on your 4C journey/path to self-love, self-caring:

What do you need to be more at peace with yourself, living from a place of love instead of fear?  (i.e., forgiveness, setting boundaries)

What am I holding onto that isn’t serving me anymore?

What fulfills you?  Not sure, think of how you spend your time and is it fulfilling you?  How can you incorporate the things that fulfill you into your life more?

What is your truth (or essence) when everything else is stripped away?  This is who you believe you are, not anyone else’s definition of you, especially the negative messages from the past.

What do you do to make yourself feel better?  This is really important when you are feeling down and getting stuck in negative energy.

How could you love yourself enough to … forgive yourself, nourish yourself, move your body, feed your soul, live in the moment?  In other words, start loving yourself enough to take care of yourself the way you deserve.

Answering these questions and using the techniques Karen shared will be helpful in the process of catching our negative thoughts and having a way to turn them around quickly with positive self-talk and self-love as the result.

Bonded in strengthening our self-love to know that we are 4C woman today and every day, Dee


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Monday Thoughts 10/26/2020

Impossible and extremely difficult are as unalike as the desert and the ocean.”  ~~Richelle E. Goodrich

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

“Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do.” ~~Dr. Benjamin Spock
_______________________________________________________________

#5 I am what I think.

I am a capable, competent, caring and compassionate woman.

_______________________________________________________________

Statement #5 is the essence of the WFS New Life Program and one that continues to enlighten different aspects of sobriety and recovery. It is extremely freeing to understand and know that each of us is in charge of our own thoughts no matter how uncomfortable or difficult that they may be.

Last week a wonderfully independent, enthusiastic friend, loving mentor and strong woman passed away after a contented, full life.  My whole body felt the sadness immediately. Sitting with these feelings of grief, my thoughts turned to her life.  I recalled the many past conversations and life events. What an honor it has been to have shared in her insights, outlook and giggles.  A long ago, retired elementary teacher, she had the playfulness of a third grader yet displayed the insights of a master who knew what people needed on the inside. Life was a question and she craved learning. Listening was a skill that she possessed, which she absolutely delighted in.  People were drawn to her genuineness.  Living her life with purpose and passion, her guiding light will forever be bright.

Of course, the tears have flowed yet Statement #5 has been instrumental in processing thoughts and emotions.  It is because of the WFS New Life Program and all the incredible 4C women who practice the Statements and live life just like she did, love grows and expands.

Hugzzz

Karen


Hi 4C Women,

As I read Karen’s message, I was touched by the impact her friend had on Karen’s outlook in her New Life; how Statement #5 helped her process this deep loss.  It brought into focus how many amazing women I have met over these 33 years and the incredible impact they have had on my life.  I have been writing Monday Thoughts since 2007 with our beloved Nancy Cross and before that, articles for Sobering Thoughts.  It is the WFS program and the women who practice it that have inspired me all of these years. Putting Statement #5 into action was a turning point for me.  When I recall the words I used to describe myself before WFS, I cringe.  I am what I think was a litany of negativity.

Almost a year ago, our group answered questions related to Statement #5 and I know my answers would have been quite different before WFS. This is why I date everything so when I do an exercise such as this, I can see the personal growth I have made and also where I need to focus on additional positive change.  Life presents so many opportunities for gaining insight into who we are, how we see ourselves participating in our New Life and the need to recognize how much we have and are becoming 4C -5C women – adding Courageous!  Here are the questions:

1.     I am capable of:

2.    I am competent in:

3.    I am caring about:

4.    I am compassionate about:

5.    I express courage by:

This has been a trying time for many of us as we travel on an uncertain journey with much isolation and perhaps questioning our coping with it.  In this time, I find myself asking what fulfills me and how am I taking action to incorporate that in my life.  I may not be able to do it now yet I can dream and hope because I am capable of making plans, competent in carrying through when the time is right, care enough about myself to know a plan is practicing self-care, realize what my passion is deep in my soul and am courageous enough to have the patience and perseverance to be hopeful my plan will happen in due time.  I would never have had this mind set before WFS.  So beyond grateful for changing my definition of me from negative, discouraging and dismissive to one of loving, caring and hopeful.  As the saying goes, it’s priceless.

I’d like to close this message with these 2 additional questions:

1.    What fulfills you?

2.    Do you have an action plan and patience filled with hope that you will be able to fulfill that dream when the time is right?

Bonded in creating our own personal, positive definition of who we are, Dee