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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

“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

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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
_______________________________________________________________

#5 I am what I think.

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

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

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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.

_______________________________________________________________

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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Monday Thoughts 1/27/2020

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

“The soul becomes dyed with the color of its thoughts.” ~~Marcus Aurelius

“You are today where your thoughts have brought you, you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you.”  ~~James Allen

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#5 I am what I think.

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

_______________________________________________________________

Do your thoughts about your New Life reflect the life that you are living today? Our founder, Jean Kirkpatrick, Ph.D. used an empowering tool to create the life she desired; self-imaging. Self-imaging can help create the shift needed and it can begin with Statement #5.

Owning our thoughts can help pave the way to create a connected life. With 2020 being a year of envisioning for so many, it begins with our thoughts. Here is an article by Jean:

The Way it is

“WFS is a program of habit breaking and behavior modification through changed thinking. We live in our minds, in our thoughts. If our thoughts are poisonous, so too, will our actions be. If our thoughts are troubled, our actions are destructive to ourselves.

The WFS program is one of positivity, a program of positive imaging. As women, our greatest problem is the lack of a working self-image. We operate from an image given to us by our parents, or one parent, and then we operate from other images provided to us from other persons we are around. Because of this, the WFS program shows how to change into a positive way of imaging ourselves. Our keynote is: I am a competent, caring, compassionate woman.” And we literally think ourselves into this image and act from it.

We must begin to repair our opinion of self. We must view our good qualities and we must see ourselves as capable. Isn’t it strange that most women raise an entire family, yet see themselves as being incapable of doing anything?”

Statement #5 Tool: Self-imaging. Summarize your positive qualities. Define SMART goals; (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-based) Confront distortions in thinking, measure yourself with your own yardstick, accept and know you are adaptable and unique. If you would like to share a helpful tool for this Statement, email [email protected]

What do you envision for yourself?

Hugzzz

Karen

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Hi 4C Women,

Before WFS, I gave away my power, my self-esteem, self-love to the opinions of others or should I say the “judgment” of others. Most times, it wasn’t even the truth. It was my own distorted definition of who I thought I was. It may have started in childhood, bolstered by other authority figures and unhealthy relationships yet the outcome was the same – I drank because I felt unworthy, unlovable, not enough and a list of negative images. I had no idea of how to change that until WFS and much needed therapy. I am beyond grateful for learning self-love, self-worth and self-respect with the WFS Statements.

I bought a book at the WFS conference years ago entitled “The Self-Esteem Companion” by Matthew McKay, PhD., Patrick Fanning, Carole Honeychurch and Catharine Sutker. I guess it takes a group of people to teach others how to raise their self-esteem. It has wonderful exercises that I use to this day.

This is a visualization exercise. I hope you’ll give it a try.

Sitting in a chair, quietly speak these words to yourself:

I am a human being. I’m worthwhile simply because I exist and try to survive. I take care of myself. I take myself seriously. I correctly take myself into consideration in all matters. I have legitimate needs and wants. I can choose what I need and want without having to justify it to anybody. I make choices, and I take responsibility for them. I always do my best. Each thought and action is the best I’m capable of at the time.

Because I’m human, I make mistakes. I accept my mistakes without blame or judgment. When I make a mistake, I try to learn from it. I am imperfect, and I forgive myself for my mistakes. I know that others are equally worthy, equally imperfect. I have compassion for them because they are engaged I the same struggle for survival that I am.

I think this is a very powerful exercise and for me, it brings hope to working through my struggles and a measure of peace as I continue my healing process.

Think of the 4 and sometimes 5 Cs. How would you answer these questions?

I am capable of:

I am competent in:

I am caring about:

I am compassionate about:

I express courage by:

Bonded in knowing we are 4C women! Dee

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Monday Thoughts 10/28/2019

Monday Thoughts

“My mission in life is not to merely survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, and some humor, and some style.”  ~~Maya Angelou

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

“You may believe that you are responsible for what you do, but not for what you think.  The truth is that you are responsible for what you think because it is only at this level that you can exercise choice.  What you do comes from what you think.”  ~~Marianne Williamson


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


Statement #5 is an important cornerstone of the WFS New Life Program.  Jean Kirkpatrick, Ph.D., our founder, discovered the thought/action connection through her own journey of recovery.  This knowledge allowed her to learn how to adapt and live a full, sober life. Jean then shared this insight with the world by creating Women for Sobriety.

There is a Chinese proverb that states “be careful what direction your toes are pointed in as you will likely get there” and this is also true for our thoughts.  Whatever we think about most often, directs our attention and life.  Learning to adapt and manage thoughts is empowering and life changing.

Here are six ways by Melanie Greenberg, Ph.D. to be the boss of your brain:

  1. Listen and Acknowledge: Minds, like people, can relax and let go when they feel heard and understood.  Practice gratitude and thank your mind for its contribution.
  2. Make Peace with Your Mind: You don’t necessarily have to like the thoughts or agree with them; you just can let them be there in the background while you go out and get things done.
  3. Realize Your Thoughts are Just Thoughts: Our thoughts are passing mental events, influenced by moods, states of hunger, health, hormones etc. They are like mental habits, which can be healthy or unhealthy, and need time to change.  Just like a couch potato can’t run a marathon right away, we cannot magically turn off spinning thoughts without repeated practice. Be gentle with yourself.
  4. Observe Your Own Mind: Mindfulness includes gently bringing your mind back to focus as well as noticing when your mind wanders.  Like a good CEO, you begin to know when your mind is checked out or spinning its wheels, guiding it back to center or balance.
  5. Retrain Your Mind to Rewire Your Brain: Autopilot is not good for emotional functioning or well-being.  Over long periods of time, patterns become etched in our minds, cementing rapid response.  The good news is that we can rewire our brains from previous fear-based shortcuts into healthy and balanced decision making.
  6. Practice Self-Compassion: By practicing self-compassion, we can learn new ways of supporting ourselves in our suffering. Rather than criticizing ourselves, we can deliberately seek out inner and outer experiences that bring us joy or comfort; the beauty of nature, creative self-expression or memories of happy times with loved ones.

Being your own CEO, how do you manage your thoughts?
Hugzzz
Karen


Hi 4C Women,

As I read over the 6 ways to be the boss of my brain, each one is so invaluable and I honestly love the analogy of being the CEO of my thoughts.   I believe #5 stood out to me as there was a time when I would be on autopilot, a time when my self-esteem was practically non-existent.  My automatic response to many situations and relationships was that if anything went wrong, it was all my fault because I was stupid, inadequate, too needy, overly sensitive and lots of other esteem crushing words/thoughts.  What I realized is that I was trying to prove these thoughts to be true before the other person did when, in fact, that was probably the last thing they were thinking. I became good at projecting my thoughts as belonging to others.  Alcohol helped cover up those feelings but as we all know, a cover up eventually becomes clearly seen. A cover up is a camouflage that will never heal the pain of feeling unlovable or unworthy.  It is a temporary fix for a deep hurt.  And for me, my identify was wrapped up in the past.  Statement #5 became the building block for me to create my new, truthful identity of who I was in the present.  No more inner critic from the past trying to convince me I was wasting my time learning to love myself.  I gave my inner critic a name and when he starts to make me question my worth, I turn to my shoulder where he is sitting with a smirk on his face, and depending on what he is trying to falsely whisper in my ear, I tell him to be quiet (truthfully, shut up) or flick him off my shoulder.  I have worked darn hard on learning to love myself and no deceiver is going to take that away or have power over me.

I encourage you to practice the 6 ways to become the boss of your thoughts.  Love, nurture, praise, be compassionate with yourself as you would a loved one.  This will guide you to be who you think and know you are – a 4C woman!

Bonded in knowing I am who I think,
Dee

 

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Monday Thoughts 7/29/2019

Monday Thoughts

“Every thought has the power to bring into being the visible from the invisible. It is absolutely necessary for us all to understand that everything we think, do or say comes back to us. Every thoughts, word or action—without exception—manifests itself (in some way) as an actual reality.” ~~Ann Wigmore

“Your thoughts are seeds, and the harvest you reap will depend on the seeds you plant.” ~~Rhonda Byrne

“As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.” ~~Henry David Thoreau


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


Recently, I was wondering about the different thoughts that we can have. I was interested in using Statement #5 to reduce worry, and I dove deeper into the thought process. What I learned was surprising. In particular, one publication was quite helpful, and I will provide a link to the full article, but here is an excerpt:

“Your brain produces thoughts, as a biological function, to serve you. And discovering that each of these types of thoughts happen in completely separate brain regions means that we can be trained to use one of these more than the other.

We need a lot of attention to the present when we perform tasks, and we also need problem solving. Those are very useful functions. What we don’t really need is the narrative component of thought, the useless, endless chatter—the part that makes us feel a bit crazy and keeps us trapped in suffering.

Specific elements may differ, but the endless stream of chatter is something we all share. It worries us about what is yet to come; it belittles us; it disciplines us; it argues, fights, debates, criticizes, compares, and rarely ever stops to take a breath. Day after day we listen as it talks and talks.” ~~Solve for Happy by Chief Business Officer for Google X

“Switching your mind into experiential mode of thinking is a more powerful alternative. By focusing on our senses, our breath, smell, touch, sound and sight we turn off the incessant thinking.

Dr. Ellen Langer, a social psychologist at Harvard University, is regarded as the pioneer of mindfulness in the West. According to her research, we can shift our focus by flooding the mind with things that it can’t evaluate, or judge — things it can only observe. Here’s how she describes it:

Direct your attention outside yourself. Observe the light in the room, pay attention to whatever is on your desk, catch that smell of coffee percolating in the kitchen, notice the wood grain on the table, or listen to the distant sounds of cars in the street. Don’t let anything go unobserved. Notice every tiny detail around you. This is what you used to do as a newborn child. Just observe.

I sometimes use a modified version of this approach where I start naming objects in my mind as I notice them:

Desk, coffee, kitchen, wood, table, car, air conditioner, cool air….

And before you know it, the incessant thought vanishes. Because the brain is terrible at multitasking, it needs to stop all previous thinking to absorb new information. If the new information is processed in a different area of the brain, it is unlikely you will fall back into incessant thinking.”

Using a form of mindfulness, we can reduce the chatter and create the life we desire.

Here is the link to the full article

Which ways do you find effective in managing your thoughts?

Hugzzz
Karen


Hi 4C Women,

This reminds me of the workshop at the WFS conference a few years ago – Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life. It is amazing how our thoughts about ourselves can do so much damage to our self-esteem if we continue to believe all the negative chatter and input that is not our truth of who we are today. Our past can hold us prisoner until we begin to forgive ourselves by releasing the past and healing. If I looked at how I described myself many years ago, I would question, who was that woman? I didn’t work this hard and, gratefully so, to continue to demean myself in the present.

I urge you to stop and consider all that you have accomplished emotionally and spiritually at this very moment and every baby step counts! As they say, this is not a race, but a journey to a New Life of self-worth and self-love.

So, if you doubt that you are a 4C woman and want to eliminate those negative definitions of yourself, answer these questions:

Is this how I want to feel? Will this get me what I really want? How is this working for me? Is this my truth?

Bonded in knowing we are 4C women,
a 4C sister