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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


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Monday Thoughts 4.25.22

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“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


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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


Don’t miss out on getting your 2021 WFS Virtual Conference Swag here!

https://womenforsobriety.threadless.com

Sales end April 30th @ 5:00 pm EST

 

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Monday Thoughts 1/25/2021

women for sobriety decorative image woman stretching

“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
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#5 I am what I think.

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

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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

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Monday Thoughts 7/27/2020

“I love who I am, and I encourage other people to love and embrace who they are. But it definitely wasn’t easy – it took me a while.”  ~~Serena Williams

“My feeling is that labels are for canned food……I am what I am and I know what I am.”  ~~Michael Stipe

“I’ve realized that I am who I am and that is it.  Like it or lump it.  I’m not around to please anyone anymore, and it’s a huge relief.”  ~~Kristin Scott Thomas
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#5 I am what I think.

I am a capable, competent, caring, compassionate woman.
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Sobriety and recovery help me to learn who I am.  Before my New Life, I could describe things about myself but I lacked the understanding and knowledge of who I am at my core. Alcohol removed the ability to comprehend myself, however, Statement #5 in action continues to educate me about me. It is a continual process of discovery and it begins with thoughts.

Yet why is it important to know oneself?  According to Meg Selig, author of the article in Psychology Today, “Know Yourself? 6 Specific Ways to Know Who You are,” there are a number of reasons why you might what to know yourself and how to know yourself:

·  Happiness: You will be happier when you can express who you are.  Expressing your desires will make it more likely that you get what you want.

· Less inner conflict: When your outside actions are in accordance with you inside feelings and values, you will experience less inner conflict.

·  Better decision-making: When you know yourself, you are able to make better choices about everything from small decisions like which sweater you’ll buy to big decisions like which partner you’ll spend your life with.  You’ll have guidelines you can apply to solve life’s varied problems.

· Resistance to social pressure: When you are grounded in your values and preferences, you are less likely to say ‘yes’ when you want to say ‘no.’

· Tolerance and understanding of others: Your awareness of your own foibles and struggles can help you empathize with others.

· Vitality and pleasure:  Being who you truly are helps you feel more alive and makes your experience of life richer, larger, and more exciting.

Now that you are convinced that self-knowledge is worth having, we’ll move on to those ‘VITAL Signs’ of self-knowledge.

The Building Blocks of Self: Your VITALS

The capital letters in VITAL signs form an acronym for the six building blocks of the self, or VITALS for short.  The letters stand for Values, Interests, Temperament, Around-the-clock, Life Mission and goals, and Strengths/Skills.

V=Values: such as helping others, being creative, health, financial security and so on are guides to decision making and motivators for goals.  Research shows that just thinking or writing about your values can make it more likely that you take healthy actions.

I=Interests: Interests include your passions, hobbies, and anything that draws your attention over a sustained period of time.  To figure out your interests, ask yourself these questions: What do you pay attention to?  What are you curious about?  What concerns you?  The focused mental state of being interested in something makes life vivid and may give you clues to your deepest passions.

T=Temperament describes your inborn preferences.  Do you restore your energy from being alone (introvert) or from being with people (extrovert)?  Are you a planner or go with the flow type person?  Do you make decisions more on the basis of feelings and thoughts or of facts?  Do you prefer details or big ideas?  Knowing the answers to temperament questions like these could help you gravitate toward situations in which you could flourish and avoid situations in which you could wilt.

A=Around the clock Activities: The ‘around the clock’ category refers to when you like to do things—your biorhythms.  Are you a morning person or a night person for example?  At what time of day does your energy peak?  If you schedule activities when you are at your best, you are respecting you innate biology.  As I look back on my life, I realize I’ve been a morning person since birth.  Those fun sleepovers with girlfriends?  I loved being included, but I didn’t like staying up late.

L=Life Mission and Meaningful goals: ‘What have been the most meaningful events of your life?’ You may discover clues to your hidden identity, to your career, and to life satisfaction.

S=Strengths: Strengths can include not only abilities, skills, and talents, but also character strengths such as loyalty, respect for others, love of learning, emotional intelligence, fairness and more.  Knowing your strengths is one of the foundations of self-confidence; not being able to acknowledge your own superpowers could put you on the path to low self-esteem.  Become a person who “takes in the good,” listening for compliments and noticing skills that could be clues to your strengths.  Likewise, knowing your weaknesses can help you be honest with yourself and others about what you might not be good at.  You might decide either to work on those weaknesses or try to make them a smaller part of your personal or professional life.

Even if you know your VITAL Signs, it’s hard to remain true to yourself because you are constantly changing and because society’s values often conflict with your own.  I love this quote from author Gretchen Rubin:

“My first commandment is to “Be Gretchen”—yet it’s very hard to know myself.  I get so distracted by the way I wish I were, or the way I assume I am, that I lose sight of what’s actually true.”’

These are practical and extremely beneficial ways to begin to know ourselves and what we think.  Jean reflected how Statement #5 is the “crux” of the WFS New Life Program and that many of the other Statements are built on the strength of this one.  This week pay attention to your VITALS and discover more of who you are in your New Life.  For starters, each of us are capable, competent, caring, and compassionate!

Hugzzz,

Karen

“““““““““““`

Hi 4C Women,

I appreciate and love the invaluable tips Karen provided all of us to discover and understand through our VITALS on how we become 4C women.  When I was about 6 years old, my parents decided to give me dance lessons to bring me out of my shyness.  I’m not sure how that correlates but they thought it was the answer.  I never thought of myself as shy or an introvert but more of an observer which as an adult, helped me develop feelings of empathy and compassion for myself and others.  I would describe myself as an observant extrovert.  I do know that my enthusiasm and energy rise when I am with people.  This is one of the reasons I love the f2f meetings so much and miss being with the group members.   I am grateful for Zoom because without it, I would be missing everyone even more!

I encourage you to get out a piece of paper or journal and answer each of the VITAL questions.

Values:

Interests:

Temperament:

Life Mission and Meaningful Goals:

Strengths:

What have you discovered about yourself?  Were there any surprises?  How will your understanding of who you are today change your decision-making, choices, how you spend your time and what nourishes your spirit?  Always remember to be true to yourself.

Bonded in learning our VITALS as 4C Women, Dee

 

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Monday Thoughts 4/27/2020

“She believed she could, so she did.”  ~~Unknown

“Just one small positive thought in the morning can change your whole day.”  ~~Dalai Lama

“Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.”  ~~Marthe Troly-Curtin

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#5 I am what I think.

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

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Statement #5, the core of the WFS New Life Program, lays the foundation for who we are and where we are going. For many women, this can be a new way of thinking and an enormously powerful assertion. In the past, it may have been more comfortable to have someone else dictate who we were or how to live our life.

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.”

It is critical to oversee our minds, especially now with uncertainty in the news and on social media. Being able to create a pause, or distance between unhealthy or repetitive thoughts takes daily practice. One of the most helpful tools I learned to let go unproductive thoughts came from a guided meditation. While I cannot recall the author, the speaker described a small, cool stream outlined with trees. Imagine yourself sitting comfortably along the edge of the water. A large, bright yellow leaf gently falls from a tree and lands on top of the water near you. If there is a thought that you would like to let go of, picture that thought as that yellow leaf. Your eyes are staring at this leaf. It glides down the stream, slowly at first, twirling round and round. You do not chase after it but continue watching it. You can see distance now between you and leaf and soon, it is only a tiny speck of color, then it is gone. It held your gaze but you did not run after it, you did not try to catch it, you simply let it go. This one tool consistently aides in releasing what is no longer needed.

How do you manage your thoughts today?

Hugzzz

Karen

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Hi 4C Women,

With so much time for reflection, I have been finding many of my writings from over the years and I am grateful to have them.  During this current time, I find myself starting to question who I think I am.  Before sobriety, I constantly questioned my positive characteristics and honestly, when asked to list as many positive qualities as possible, I was fortunate if I got past 3 and that was a struggle.  The lists I have made over the years are like a history lesson of my own personal emotional growth, my nurturing and beginning of the planting of positive seeds to answer the question, “Who do I think I am?”  I feel that with the social isolation, I have lost some of my identity and my purpose not to mention my energy level is so up and down.  Thank goodness for WFS and Karen’s message to remind all of us that while circumstances have changed, our core foundation of who we are remains strong and if it’s not where you wish it to be, we have the time, support and encouragement to begin or continue building it.  And the best part, for me, is that I no longer see my inability to do certain tasks (computer technology, fixing broken items, learning a new skill, etc.) as weaknesses.  I see them for what they are – just things I’m not gifted with as I have other gifts, talents, skills as we all do.  I have learned to seek help with what I cannot do and share with others what I can.

One of my favorite exercises for this statement is to list as many positive qualities, talents, characteristics as possible on a 3×5 index card and on the front in bold letters, write STOP.  Keep it in your purse and whenever you start any negative self-talk, the negative adjectives that you feel define yourself, take out the STOP card, turn it over and read the truthful definition of who you are in your own words.  You could even ask others what positive word they would use to describe you and include that.

2nd exercise:  Practice this exercise and use it whenever you need a quick reminder of how to feel good about yourself.  Exercise from“The Self-Esteem Companion.”

1.  Recall a time when you felt really cared for and loved.

        It can be a big event or a small moment.

2.  Think back to a time when you felt really successful.

        Anytime will do as long as it provides a strong memory

of your feelings of success.

3.  Remember a time that you did something important for

someone else.  It can by any moment of selflessness

that’s important to you.

4. Look for a memory of loving someone else.  Think back to

a moment when you felt love for another very strongly,

when that feeling filled your heart.

I’ve done this exercise a few times and it’s amazing how different the answers were depending on what I was feeling or experiencing that day.  What I love about this exercise is that the answers don’t require a huge event, although that is certainly just fine if it is a big event in your life.  Big or small, it’s about those moments of awareness that remind you how much you matter, how much positive feelings/moments you have experienced when you give quiet time to reflect.  What this exercise has helped me do in moments of doubt, of feeling sad or missing out, is that no matter how big or small, I have been fortunate enough to have experienced these moments of being cared for, love/loved, successful and gave selflessly as so many are doing right now.

Bonded in being part of a phenomenal group of 4C woman, Dee

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