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Monday Thoughts 11.14.22

“Stepping onto a new path is difficult, but not more difficult than remaining in a situation which is not nurturing to the whole woman.”

Maya Angelou

“A part of me wants to keep my eyes closed and pull the covers over my head, block out the light trying to be turned on in my room….a part of me is so afraid to open my eyes because the very nature of waking up is to be aware, to be accountable, to be responsible for the healing of my life.”

Sarah Blondin

“You have the power to heal your life, and you need to know that. We think so often that we are helpless, but we’re not. We always have the power of our minds…Claim and consciously use your power.”

Louise Hay


#8 The fundamental object of life is emotional and spiritual growth.

Daily I put my life into a proper order, knowing which are the priorities.


Sobriety and Statement #8 are a portal for hope and healing. Before New Life, it was difficult to understand how anything could change, and I certainly had no concern about growth. Everything was a reaction to situations and alcohol only fueled the fire of already intense drama.

This Statement lays the foundation for growth, which is what sobriety and recovery are all about. The WFS Levels of recovery can identify movement and progress and can offer direction where development may be needed. It is important to remember that recovery is not necessarily a straight line like in this image, but more often than not it is all over, bouncing from one level to the next.

As your sobriety and recovery journey evolves, note where you are at the moment and embrace your growth. You have worked hard to be where you are. Keep aware of progress, set manageable goals, and set your priorities. Stay flexible and savor your 4C journey!

Hugzzz

Karen


Hi 4C Women,

Jean Kirkpatrick was so wise in having us identify ourselves as 4C women; that substance abuse was not our identity but how we coped. In recognizing recovery, I have always focused on the positive changes made. This is how I have practiced Statement #8 with sobriety as my priority and working towards emotional and spiritual growth and healing. My first priority was to become a facilitator. It gave me purpose, direction, and meaning. It still does.

After all these years, I am still learning from the women in the meetings and the friends I have made along the way. I think about all the WFS conferences I have attended (28) and the phenomenal information I gathered in helping me to move forward, heal, uncover, and discover my worth. One of the women in the group I facilitate said that she adds “discard” to those two words. And it dawned on me how true that is! I learned to discard the untruths that I formerly used to describe me, let go of the past filled with pain and discarded the blame game in taking responsibility for my mind, thoughts, and life. That’s quite empowering and I hope you each recognize and give yourself credit for the positive changes you are making.

Whether you are sober one day, one year, or several years, I hope you will take the time to consider all the changes you have made, including discarding those that no longer serve your well-being and writing them down.  When you begin to doubt yourself, your changes on that list will be the applause you deserve. As Karen said, “embrace” your growth whether you have one positive change or several on your list. Always remember that it is the change that matters and how it is impacting your life, and your recovery.

To better understand your priorities, how do you define emotional growth, and what that feels like?

How do you define spiritual growth and what that feels like?

Bonded in healing and growth in your emotional and spiritual journey, Dee


WFS Levels of Recovery


Level 1 –
Acceptance of having a substance use disorder, one that requires the cessation of substance abuse.
Statement 1

Level 2 –
Discarding negativity, releasing guilt, and practicing new ways of viewing and solving problems.
Statements 2, 4 & 9

Level 3 –
Creating and practicing a new self-image.
Statements 5 & 12

Level 4 –
Using new attitudes to enforce new behavior patterns.
Statements 3, 6 & 11

Level 5-
Improving relationships as a result of our new feelings about self.
Statements 7 & 10

Level 6 –
Recognition of life’s priorities; emotional and spiritual growth plus self-responsibility.
Statements 8 & 13


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If you already shop on Amazon, or if you’re looking for the perfect holiday gift for your loved one, we invite you to shop at smile.amazon.com and select Women for Sobriety as your charity of choice.

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Monday Thoughts 8.15.22

women for sobriety decorative image growth

“You can’t wait until life isn’t hard anymore before you decide to be happy.”

Nightbirde

“If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we aren’t really living.”

Gail Sheehy

“Love yourself enough to create an environment in your life that is conducive to the nourishment of your personal growth. Allow yourself to let go of the people, thoughts and situations that poison your well-being. Cultivate a vibrant surrounding and commit yourself to making choices that will help you release the greatest expression of your unique beauty and purpose.”

Steve Mariboli


#8 The fundamental object of life is emotional and spiritual growth.

Daily I put my life into a proper order, knowing which are the priorities.


There is an acronym that I turn to whenever uncomfortable feelings arise…….

Choose Having A New Growth Experience= CHANGE

Choosing to have a new growth experience, can close the door to self-judgment and harsh thoughts because it is now an opportunity to learn and grow. If I were learning a new language, would I condemn myself for not understanding…no…I would be gentle and encouraging. Accepting this wasn’t easy in early sobriety; I had to drop the image of the “been there, done that” attitude and become open to change. Statement #8 leads the way.

Active addiction is a language we are unlearning, while sobriety and recovery are our updated and life-saving language. We are learning about cravings, triggers, and how to manage our days. We learn new coping mechanisms and create lasting connections. We are learning to let go of what hurts our well-being or is traumatic to ourselves. Statement #8 in action also lays a foundation for the future, whether it be next week, next year, or five years from now.

Life has ups and downs, that’s a fact. Yet, we have the ability to be our own cheerleaders and to help another when they feel down. We learn to accept that we can reach out at any time. Learning can have its ups and downs too; we may find ourselves on the fast track and expand in growth while at other times we may feel growth is standing still. By embracing where we are and putting action into Statement #8, we grow in mind and heart.

Hugzzz

Karen


Hi 4C Women,

Through my ups and downs, I must say how incredibly grateful I am for the WFS program that has changed my life in such positive ways, especially with emotional and spiritual growth. Years ago, going through the down times felt as though they would never end. I just knew my sad, angry, disappointing, rejected, negative feelings would last forever. At least that is how I felt. This past week I experienced one of those down times and part of what got me through was realizing that this was my authentic feeling and just acknowledging that helped me. I’m a big believer in acknowledging all of our feelings to accept them, learn from them and grow emotionally and spiritually as Statement #8 guides us.

I was also supported by other WFS women who assured me my feelings were valid. What a gift to have these “cheerleaders.” I needed to remember this down feeling is just a part of life and the lesson I learned from Statement #8 is that while real, it is temporary. What WFS has taught me is to explore where the feeling is coming from, which for me, is usually a feeling from the past that brings it to the present, i.e., feeling invisible, unheard. Rather than being stuck in that feeling, I consider addressing the person by speaking my voice in a calm, yet assertive voice. I saw a quote on Facebook that is a good reminder for me:

“Communication is one thing but your tone while communicating with someone is everything.”

This is one of the reasons, I no longer feel bad if I don’t address a situation immediately because if I respond in anger or frustration, I might not get my viewpoint across or be heard. This doesn’t mean that I never address a situation immediately. A lot depends on how I am feeling, the situation, and the person who is offending or demeaning me. All I’m saying is I no longer stay in the “why didn’t I say this then?” because I still have the power to do it when I choose.

Consider all the positive changes in recovery that the WFS Statements have given us from personal growth, learning new coping tools, peace, hope, spiritual journey, choices, and coping tools – the list is long and I know you can add your own personal changes. All of these changes help us put our priorities in order.

What are your priorities? Think of a priority as something that gives your life purpose, direction, and meaning.

How have your priorities changed as you’ve grown emotionally and spiritually?

How do you nurture yourself?

How do you define emotional growth in recovery?

Bonded in learning to let go of what hurts our well-being (Karen) and move forward in nurturing, respecting ourselves, speaking our voice, and knowing our priorities, Dee


Women for Sobriety is asking women who use the New Life Program to take our 2022 Member Survey! This survey is designed to help WFS understand your needs, experiences, and satisfaction with the New Life Program by asking these types of questions:

  • About your substance use and its impact(s) on your life
  • About your recovery and your use of the New Life Program

We want to assure you that your responses in this survey are completely anonymous, and cannot be traced back to the respondent. No personally identifiable information is captured. Additionally, your responses are combined with those of many others and summarized in a report to further protect your anonymity.

TAKE THE SURVEY

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Monday Thoughts 5.16.22

women for sobriety decorative image growth

“She does not know what the future holds, but she is grateful for slow and steady growth.”
Morgan Harper Nichols

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.”
Robert Frost

“Remember, no effort that we make to attain something beautiful is ever lost.”
Helen Keller


#8 The fundamental object of life is emotional and spiritual growth.

Daily I put my life into a proper order, knowing which are the priorities.


When I find myself on the side of conscious growth, Statement #8 feels like a warm, cozy blanket. It feels comforting, even satisfying, and I am able to identify and acknowledge the path of growth, even if it was difficult or painful. Sobriety and recovery make this possible.

At other times, trying to practice Statement #8 can feel like a terrifying tornado blowing everything over in its path. Fear and uncertainty abound, and the fight/flight/freeze response is kicked into high gear. This is where sobriety sets the foundation for growth to take place. Through the WFS Online Forum or face-to-face meetings, we can learn new tools/skills to manage how we feel and gauge our growth.

My favorite aspect of this Statement is that there is no destination, and there is no one size fits all. It’s personal and it’s intimate. The object is simply growth. This version of me will be different from next year, five years, and so on. So in-between the comfy blanket and blustering storms, I embrace the possibilities and welcome 4C development.

Hugzzz
Karen


Hi 4C Women,
I always thought, and have shared this over the years, that I thought all my major life decisions would be made and completely accomplished by age 40. As I have grown older, way past 40, I learned gratefully that life provides numerous opportunities along with choices to continue achieving emotional and spiritual growth. As Karen shared, there is no destination but plenty of roads to travel.

One of my favorite things about the WFS program and this Statement, in particular, is that emotional and spiritual growth is a personal, individual, unique journey. How I define my priorities, my spiritual journey, and ways to achieve emotional growth belong solely to me. While we may share commonalities, our history, our openness to seek support, willingness to change, and setting specific priorities is our choice, and our decisions to make. And as we learn life lessons, we learn to set different priorities. That is the beauty of emotional and spiritual growth.

Before recovery, emotionally I was still thinking like a teenager who was hurt by her bio father at age 16. That life lesson changed me in a powerful but definitely not a positive way. It certainly affected my self-esteem; skewed my priorities. It took therapy and sobriety to address those issues and heal. Before I made those life changes, I had no idea of how to make myself a priority that would empower me to know my core values and create a New Life of self-love and self-worth. Through determined perseverance, thought patterns changed, behavior changed, and I became a New Woman! I started thinking about what mattered the most to me, known as core values. I questioned whether I was spending quality time on those core values, where my focus and time were spent.

I encourage you to make a list of your core values. Be courageous, and fearless in writing down what matters most to you. I say this because I initially found myself writing what I thought I “should” consider my core values according to societal standards. It was quite a challenge to be authentically and soulfully honest. I finally understood that if I was to grow emotionally and spiritually, I needed that complete honesty with myself. And I as grew over the years, my core values changed and shifted. It was exciting to recognize and be okay with that shift.

As you look over your core values, i.e., career, family and/or friendships, fun/recreation, health/fitness environment/home, money, significant relationships, and any important aspect of your life, how much time do you spend on them?

If you find yourself needing to shift your invaluable time according to your listing of core values, what is your action plan to start doing that?
How do you show up for yourself when setting priorities? In other words, are your core values connected to your current needs?

Answering these few questions will be a guide to making a conscious effort to set the right priorities that speak to your heart. I often think of our emotional and spiritual history as a compass, directing us in creating change, becoming resilient in the discomfort of healing, and pain, and value our worth.

Bonded in setting priorities and spending focused time on your emotional and spiritual growth, Dee


The 2022 WFS Conference – Bloom – will be in beautiful, fun, and funky Portland, Oregon at Portland State University.

Register now!!

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Monday Thoughts 2.14.22

dictionary image of the word "growth"

“That is what learning is.  You suddenly understand something you’ve understood all your life, but in a new way.”  Doris Lessing

“We go through life.  We shed our skins.  We become ourselves.”  Patti Smith

“We have to continue to learn.  We have to be open.  And we have to be ready to release our knowledge in order to come to a higher understanding of reality.”  Thich Nhat Hanh


#8 The fundamental object of life is emotional and spiritual growth.

Daily I put my life into a proper order, knowing which are the priorities.


When in school, graduation to the next grade was the goal. I lived life seeking a reward for my efforts.  Like a carrot on a stick in front of me, I blindly moved through life without really being in it.  Goal, reward, another goal, then missing reward.  Ut oh. Life began to feel like when Charlie Brown tried to kick that football that Lucy was holding.  Alcohol became the goal and I was flat on my back.  Growth stopped.

 Sobriety paired with the WFS New Life Program, and especially Statement #8, paves the way for growth to return.  Emotional growth was held back in active addiction, as well as mental, physical, and spiritual growth.  Statement #8 is about development instead of a destination.  This was a new and exciting concept to embrace and I still feel enthusiastic about learning.

Statement #8 has taught me that the ball wasn’t the point but the experience is.  Growth is ready and available anytime or anywhere.  Even the most accomplished continue to learn and grow, and there is a vast universe to delve into.  Begin where you are and expand learning.  The world is wide open!

Hugzzz
Karen


Dear 4C Women,

Learning is a never-ending journey and I am glad to have accepted that.  I use to be so hard on myself if I made a choice that didn’t support my emotional and spiritual recovery even when I thought it did.   When I finally decided to view my choices as learning tools, I experienced a whole new attitude about “me.”  I began to feel that emotional/spiritual growth and threw away that beating me up tool and started building a toolbox of “great try, wonderful acceptance of learning and growing emotionally and spiritually, positive change in attitude, keep going, you’re worth it.”

Why do we need emotional and spiritual growth? It guides us in recognizing our feelings as teachers and allies that are there to tell us what our needs are, whether our needs are being met, and what circumstances in our lives may require change in order to meet those needs.   That was hugely challenging as I was such a people pleaser that it seemed selfish to consider my needs first or at all.  Emotional growth taught me that I matter, that loving and respecting my value was what I needed in order to have compassion for myself as I had for others.  The biggest lesson was that quitting drinking was not the complete answer to recovery – not even close.  It became clear to me that it was about changing my thoughts which began to change my actions and reactions, making myself a priority in meeting my needs, uncovering my spiritual path, learning to be proactive, speaking my truthful voice and loving, respecting and forgiving myself enough to make these changes.

When you think about where you are at this moment in your emotional and spiritual growth, are you aware of your needs?  If not, what actions do you feel are important to take to know and meet your needs, to put yourself on your priority list?  I encourage you to start small and work through any fear of creating your personal path of emotional and spiritual growth if you realize that it becomes confusing, difficult, or uncomfortable.  For those who have been working on setting priorities, can you share with others how you were able to dig deep and discover your needs and follow through with actions to accomplish them?  We are together on this path.   This is the beauty of the WFS community.  We support, share and encourage each other.

As you go through this week, I hope you will consider setting priorities that are personal to you. In other words, not what you think or you are told you “should” do but what you discover matters to you.  May you discover and uncover your wants, needs and value, finding a way to meet them.  You deserve it!

Bonded in continuing to be open to learning and growing emotionally and spiritually, Dee


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Monday Thoughts 11/15/2021

“When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.”  ~~Harriet Beecher Stowe

“Be not afraid of growing slowly; be afraid only of standing still.”  ~~Chinese Proverb

“Life’s challenges are not supposed to paralyze you, they’re supposed to help you discover who you are.”  ~~Bernice Johnson Reagon


#8 The fundamental object of life is emotional and spiritual growth.
Daily I put my life into a proper order, knowing which are the priorities.


My relationship with growth ebbs and flows but thanks in part to Statement #8, I do feel a sense of greater balance. In one instance, I feel excited for the shiny newness, or a different way of living, much like in early sobriety.  I felt so alive and open to possibility, ready to take on the world while also feeling full of wonder.

Then there are times that I can flip into frustration, knowing that there is an avenue in front of me which I can either embrace and reap the rewards or reject, (even partially) holding myself back from growth. Additionally, if I compare myself to what others are or are not doing, I end up with growing resentments instead of emotional or spiritual growth.  Finding that balance can be key to keeping healthy momentum.

When I realize that everything is in a constant state of growth or change, I am able to redirect action back towards Statement #8. Our founder, Jean Kirkpatrick, PhD, wrote in our WFS Reflections for Growth booklet, “From sunrise to sunset, the day experiences many changes.  In fact, the changes are constant, although most of us are not continually aware of them – only the drastic difference between dawn, midday, twilight and night.  This is the way it is with each of us. We are in constant change but we don’t notice it until after the fact. Today I will be aware of the changes in myself.” This week, notice day to day changes while looking for areas where you can embrace growth.

Hugzzz
Karen


Hi 4C Women,

I love the quotes and recall how I remained stuck in stagnation, not believing my life would ever change.  Statement #8 helped me realize that it was “me” who had to change if I wanted to experience emotional and spiritual growth. The beauty of WFS is that spiritual growth is a personal path.  No one is insisting that there is only one way to achieve it.  For me, it became my faith in both myself that I could do this and in my personal religious faith.  I learned that emotional growth was accepting where I was at and having the willingness to explore those feelings without numbing, running or ignoring.  That is how I changed from believing my life was stuck to learning coping skills to deal with the negative times of life and become aware of the positive ones.  It’s amazing how I began to recognize that there were positive moments once I opened my heart and mind to it.

I also realized how exhausting it was to deny myself the possibility of a more balanced life.  I had to open the door and walk through it with hope.  I am so grateful that I took that risk.  I think of how powerful words are and if I were to move forward, I had to keep the promise I made to myself.  It had to be real because I wanted my sober life to be different.  I was tired of lying to myself, breaking promises to myself and standing still so to speak.  I wanted to create a balanced life, not run to a substance that promised me nothing but pain and regret.  While I still experience pain and, yes, regrets, I work through them.  I can’t change my decisions made with the best of intentions, can’t undo mistakes but I do have the courage to learn from them and gratefully have a support team of women who will listen without judgment.  Not having that judgment is such a safe feeling.  Gaining insight helps me in my emotional growth.  Emotional and spiritual growth is not a sprint but a journey of willingness to make those inside changes.  Those changes stick.

Do you know what your priorities are?  Do they match how you spend your time?  How can you add more of what you love into your day, week, month, year?  We all have responsibilities in our daily life which may include work, volunteering, household tasks (laundry, bills, grocery shopping, cleaning), family, etc.  It’s creating balance and finding ways of putting more of what we love, enjoy, feel enthusiastic about into our daily lives and that definitely includes the priority of practicing self-care along with all of it.

A couple of years ago, I wrote about authentic priority.  I’d like to share it again as the past couple of years have certainly had an impact on our lives in general, yet alone knowing what we need today to create a balanced life.
Authentic priority is:
Consciously chosen
Gives your life purpose, direction and meaning
Gives you enthusiasm, energy and motivation
Frees you from the forces of circumstance, expectation and habit, giving you a way to stay on the course you’ve chosen
Is realistic and attainable as an unrealistic priority will lead to frustration and disappointment

I hope these points on authentic priorities guide you to uncover and create your personal priorities in your emotional and spiritual growth journey.

Most importantly, remember this is your personal path and comparing to where others are at can be self-defeating.  There is courage in accepting yourself for where you are right now, this moment.  You hold the key to unlock the door to emotional and spiritual growth.  Yes, we learn and can be inspired from others yet it is our responsibility to listen to our needs, consider input from those who have compassion for our journey and slowly start practicing those well-deserved, empowering inside changes that lead to a balanced New Life.

Bonded in creating our personal emotional and spiritual growth, Dee


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Monday Thoughts 8/16/2021

“If nothing ever changed, there’d be no butterflies.”  ~~Unknown

“You have done all you can on a physical level, and now must enter sacred waiting.  The hardest most integral step is turning all over to the grace of life and the coming transformative powers born from the steps you have already taken.”  ~~Sarah Blondin

“Growth demands a temporary surrender of security.”  ~~Gail Sheehy


#8 The fundamental object of life is emotional and spiritual growth.

Daily I put my life into a proper order, knowing which are the priorities.


Learning that sobriety is the beginning of New Life, and recovery is the discovery of New Life, keeps me focused on moving forward.  In the beginning, it took all of my energy to just stay sober and during this time I felt like a sponge; absorbing information from all around me.  As I began to feel more comfortable, growth became more focused and directed inwards. This is where Statement #8 in action opens a portal for exploration.

Beginning to practice this Statement, I felt like an adult and thought why do I need to grow?  Yet as I traveled down the road of recovery, I soon realized that even though I was physically mature, my thoughts and mind tilted towards immaturity.  Yet, there was something quite positive in that knowledge: I was starting with a clean slate and was in charge of the chalk.  A masterpiece was ready to be expressed and created.

For me, Statement #8 will always be in motion and it is not a destination.  It is a road to define, explore and discover.  The WFS Program offers the starting direction and it is up to each 4C woman to set out and chart her own path.  I absolutely love that Statement #8 simply opens the door, yet we get to build and design our New Life.  This week, reflect on where you started and note where you are right now. How does it feel?  Do you feel content or satisfied?  What do you need right now? Where do you see yourself in 5, 10 or 15 years?

Hugzzz

Karen


Hi 4C Women,

Karen has presented some thought-provoking questions.  Thinking about what I feel right now, I find myself fluctuating between contentment and uncertainty.  And these fluctuating feelings are why I am so grateful to know that Statement #8 is all about accepting where we are at the moment, being able to grow emotionally and spiritually as we discover and uncover our needs, creating our own individual path.  Most important to me has been my willingness to change, to step out of my comfort zone at my own pace.  In the past, change was a scary place for me to even consider.  Usually, my fear of change was like most, the unknown, not being able to control an outcome, unrealistic expectations and wondering if I was making choices that would actually support my personal growth.

In our meeting, we talk about our authentic feelings of that day, and it has been a great source of understanding and comfort. The comfort is accepting and acknowledging all of our feelings.  It is teaching me that, with Statement #8 guiding us, there is so much insight to gain.  We not only acknowledge what we’re feeling but also why.  What happened that we are feeling sad, angry, joyful, content?  If our goal is to gain emotional and spiritual growth, understanding the reason for those feelings is key to learning the direction we want to go and to fill our tool box with impactful resources and knowledge of our inner needs to do so.  It helps us to consider whether we need to dig deeper into our needs and find a way to move forward or celebrate and even repeat the action of that joyful and contented feeling.  It’s like a puzzle that needs to be solved putting the pieces together, creating the big picture.

The action part of Statement #8 can be daunting – daily putting your life into a proper order and knowing what those priorities are. For me, it depends on what is happening in my life on any given day.  Sometimes it’s survival and other days, it’s exploring new directions.  I used to think priorities were the tasks that needed to be accomplished.  While I am a list maker and love to just check off those tasks, I do understand that a priority needs to match the genuine purpose of my emotional and spiritual growth.  This is how it was explained at a workshop I attended: A priority is whatever has first claim on your time, energy, and resources.  That one sentence stopped me in my tracks.  How do I spend my time and energy and resources?  Does it truly match my core values, what I consider the essence of who I am and want to be?  If my answer was giving back for what I have received in this New Life, does my priority reflect that?  One way to know your core values is to think about what feeds your spirit, what emotional needs are left unattended to begin the practice of self-care so that your core values become clearer.

Bonded in creating a huge tool box of understanding our emotional and spiritual needs and ways to support them, Dee


Hear more about Statement #8 in this video!


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Monday Thoughts 5/17/2021

“I’ve come to believe that each of us has a personal calling that’s as unique as a fingerprint—and that the best way to succeed is to discover what you love and then find a way to offer it to others in the form of service, working hard and also allowing the energy of the universe to lead you.”  ~~Oprah Winfrey

“The problem, often not discovered until late in life, is that when you look for things in life like love, meaning, motivation, it implies they are sitting behind a tree or under a rock.  The most successful people in life recognize that in life they create their own love, they manufacture their own meaning, they generate their own motivation.  For me, I am driven by two main philosophies, know more today about the world than I knew yesterday.  And, lessen the suffering of others.  You’d be surprised how far that gets you.”  ~~Neil de Grasse Tyson

“Always go with the choice that scares you the most, because that’s the one that is going to require the most from you.”  ~~Caroline Myss


#8 The fundamental object of life is emotional and spiritual growth.

Daily I put my life into a proper order, knowing which are the priorities.


Before New Life, there was a feeling of lack, fear and immobility that overwhelmed many aspects of my life. Yet who I am today is a direct result of choice, meaning and growth. Thanks to WFS and the 13 Acceptance Statements, I am able to enjoy a life of sobriety and recovery filled with dimension, opportunity and fulfillment.  Sobriety paired with Statement #8 in action is the core of inner growth.

Starting with the WFS Online Forum, I found my tribe.  For so long, feelings of being alone pervaded life but 4C women welcomed me with open arms and hearts.  It was so refreshing and I immediately felt connected.  Beginning to practice Statement #8 I felt unsure but decided to do the opposite of what my brain said and proceeded to walk into my fears and become unstuck.

After growing into Women for Sobriety and wanting to share the WFS Program, I thought about starting a chat meeting since I felt comfortable being online.  Yet starting a face-to-face group felt uncomfortable.  So, naturally I applied to become a F2F facilitator. Over 10 years later that decision, to look fear in the face and start a group, has been one of the most rewarding decisions.    What I absolutely love about this Statement is that it does not tell us how, where, why or when to grow, it simply encourages growth.  Forward progress, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant is still progress.  It moves us from one point to another and in the space in-between is where growth takes shape.  Oftentimes I am not even aware that growth has taken place, it simply appears as motivation, accomplishment or deeper connections.  It feels fulfilling and helps prevent relapse.  Growth is always evolving, shifting and changing and here are 4 helpful ways to engage with Statement #8:

  1. Define your own meaning:   You get to decide what meaning to give something or anything. Families, institutions, or social constructs can influence what something means to you, but you get to live with the meaning you assign something.  If it does not fit your heart and bring you balance, redefine it.
  2. Use trauma to grow:  When a dear friend of mine lost her life due to domestic violence, her brother, a policeman, began speaking in front of groups to educate about safety, options and agencies.  This helped him move through his grief, allowed him to give the trauma new meaning and he continues to help others 20 years later.  The lives this has saved is impossible to comprehend.
  3. Challenge fear:  Sometimes our fears prevent us from moving forward and growing.  Is there something that you can do this week that challenges a fear you have?  Move towards it.  (Unless it’s a grizzly bear in front of you, then of course run the opposite way!)
  4. There is no destination:  There is no end to growth, and it is different for everyone.  There is no finish line, to rush to win a race, it is a process that ebbs and flows.  Some years are filled with growth (2020 comes to mind with all the changes) while other times in life, growth is something that is felt long after it actually happens.  Enjoy the journey.

Hugzzz

Karen


Hi 4C Women,

Such great suggestions on how to develop emotional and spiritual growth.  I honestly thought my emotional growth would be completed by the time I turned 40!  Through WFS, I learned It was just the beginning and continues to this day as I get close to turning 76 in a couple of weeks.  I remain amazed and grateful that I have been open to change.  There was a time that I tightly closed the door, sealing it shut on change due to my fear of making unforgivable mistakes, having to live in continual regret or accepting responsibility for my choices.  That was a huge obstacle for me.  I have shared this often about being the queen of the blame game.  So, if I chose to practice Statement 8, I would have to be responsible for my emotional and spiritual growth.  Thank goodness, I unlocked the sealed door and walked through it with enthusiasm that I never dreamed possible.  I found spiritual growth a bit easier for me as I chose the path of faith to support me.  The emotional growth was quite a bit more difficult, yet my perseverance kept pushing me forward.

I found a message written by Nancy Cross in February 2013 in which she wrote about why we need emotional sobriety.  Among the reasons she listed, this one hit home:  To develop the confidence, satisfaction and resilience that comes from dealing with your emotions directly and effectively, rather than self-medicating to avoid pain.

Those words helped me realize that I did learn to challenge fear, heal and grow from some traumatic events, chose my path from all those who influenced me both positive and negative and learned that emotional and spiritual growth is full of timeless, powerful self-discovery.

Are you making time to reflect and discover what you need for emotional and spiritual growth?

Bonded in uncovering, discovering and setting priorities based on your personal emotional and spiritual journey, Dee


2021 WFS Virtual Conference “I’m Possible” Toolkits are shipping TODAY!

There are only 100 of these left so be sure to register by clicking here!

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Monday Thoughts 2/15/2021

“Remember that failure is an event, not a person.”  ~~Zig Ziglar

“When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.”  ~~Harriet Beecher Stowe

And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive.  You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over.  But one thing is certain.  When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in.  That’s what this storm’s all about.”  ~~Haruki Murakami


#8 The fundamental object of life is emotional and spiritual growth.

Daily I put my life into a proper order, knowing which are the priorities.


Sobriety and the embracing of Statement #8 have been life-changing, and it drastically simplified what my view of life was all about.  This allowed a feeling of self-worth to increase and a continuing pattern of growth to take place.  The end result feels incredibly freeing, while moving through can feel incredibly difficult.

The difficulties faced in life can be our greatest teacher.  Like the old Rolling Stones song, “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes you find you get what you need” feels on point; in the past I ran away from life with alcohol, yet sobriety and recovery bring fullness and growth to life.

In our WFS Program booklet It states, “Growth is an essential aspect of our recovery.  It is the process of learning who we are and where to focus our efforts for personal change.  Our morning meditation time, during which we read the Statements, gives us the opportunity to center ourselves and set priorities for the day.”  In the past, alcohol directed the days but today, 4C women everywhere get to set priorities and live for today while growing into tomorrow.

Here are 4 tips to embrace growth:

  1. Own your own power: Release the blame.  It is easy to blame others yet when we let go of that blame, we can create our own circumstance which empowers ourselves.  Reframing is a great tool to practice this.
  2. Embrace/look for change:  The old adage of “nothing stays the same” is true.  Look for even the smallest of ways to embrace change.  Early in sobriety, I challenged myself by going to unfamiliar grocery stores, switching routines, moving furniture in rooms etc.  It does not have to be monumental change.  Start small and work into bigger changes or challenges.
  3. Acknowledge your fears: What are you afraid of?  Dig deep and get to the core of a fear.  Maybe you do not like or are afraid of being alone.  Where did that originate?  What can you do today to overcome that fear?  Act, even the smallest of movements forward edge us into development and growth.
  4. Change YOU, not the world:  It can feel overwhelming/impossible to change events out of our control.  The day may be filled with rain or snow, which none of us have control over but you can use an umbrella and enjoy the patter of the raindrops or dress warmly and walk outside taking in the silence of newly fallen snow.  You can change your response to create a positive or rewarding experience.

Hugzzz

Karen


Hi 4C Women,

I wasn’t sure where to start with my comments.  As I read each of Karen’s 4 points, I thought oh, wow, that’s fabulous and I relate to that and oh, yes, I relate to that as well.  So, after I calmed my thoughts, I decided to share how I learned to work on each point.

#1 – Power/Release Blame.  Many of you have heard me over the years share how I was the “Queen of Blame” and I wore that crown each and every day.  It took away all responsibility for my choices, my responses, my willingness to change.  I was fearful of change because that meant I had to actually “change!”  While in therapy and finding WFS, I realized that if I took responsibility for my role in choices I made, I was actually becoming empowered and confident, releasing the fear of what might happen if I retired my crown.  Retiring that crown brought about such positive changes that I began wearing a 4C crown more befitting of the woman that was always there but living in fear.  What I also realized is that there were people in my life that hurt me, harmed me and played into my insecurities.  What I also learned is that as long as I allowed that to continue, there was no room for emotional or spiritual growth and I was giving away my power to them.  No more!

#2 – Embrace Change.  At one time, I hated change.  I resisted it as though it would be the end of the world once I accepted it.  As one of the members of my WFS group says, it’s not the end of the world until it’s the end of the world.  So, when I start thinking in those terms, I quietly realize that, again, I have choices.  I can choose to live in the fear of change or embrace it as Karen says, no matter how small.  I have actually learned to like change as I see it as a challenge to uncovering the fear.  A quote from Janet Jacobsen defines it so well for me. – “Fear is a great motivator.  It is designed to be compelling so that we take survival action in the form of flight, fight or freeze…OR, take THRIVAL action by facing the fear, feeling it fully, learning from it, and, therefore, freeing up all that energy for creativity and fun!”

#3 – Fear. My greatest fear was rejection which kept me from accepting responsibility and letting people hurt me because if I became assertive, they might walk away.  It was easier to silently blame others for where I was and cope by drinking.  And in some ways, it was easier.  I had to acknowledge that because taking responsibility meant I had to learn to handle rejection, even perceived rejection, to make healthier choices.  How in the world would I even live a life of emotional and spiritual growth if alcohol was making the choices?  Yes, easier to run and hide but oh my goodness, the rewards from being sober, being in charge of my life, putting my priorities in order, was incredible.  It was worth the hard work and I finally learned to love myself enough that rejection was no longer my greatest fear.

#4 – Personal Change. This is the crux of the whole Statement, the WFS program.  Change, scary and exciting all at the same time.  I sometimes reflect on the sad, fearful woman I was when drinking and I put my arms around her and tell her she is loved, lovable and worth every ounce of work she put into becoming the 4C woman she is today.  I hope you are able to do the same.  Statement #8 provides a path to healing, growing and empowering change.

What is or was your greatest fear in changing?

What lessons have you learned or are learning in facing your fears?

What are your priorities that support your well-being, your emotional and spiritual growth?

Have you learned to trust yourself in knowing that your priorities are what you need them to be right now and not what others may be telling you?

Bonded in daily creating our priorities to live a life of emotional and spiritual growth, Dee


Click here to read Promising Young Woman

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Monday Thoughts 11/16/2020

“There is comfort in acceptance.  There is unexpected growth of seedlings of life if we take the risk of opening ourselves up.”  ~~Jan Warner

“Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers simple.’~~ Dr. Seuss

“Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity.  It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity.  If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.”  ~~Brene Brown
_______________________________________________________________

#8 The fundamental object of life is emotional and spiritual growth.

Daily I put my life into a proper order, knowing which are the priorities.
_______________________________________________________________

Recently, winds of change blew through my New Life like never before. I have experienced a multitude of emotions and experiences over the last decade plus and the tools from the WFS New Life Program continue to help move me forward. Yet this was different. This time I felt helpless, but not hopeless, thanks to practicing Statement #8.

The threat of storms is a constant in life, but today I understand so much more that what I do before those storms even appear can make all the difference. In addition to the recent hurricane, I was hospitalized for COVID. While physically alone, I was connected emotionally which enabled me to focus my thoughts and priorities. Self-imaging became my go to tool as I envisioned my body fighting back and getting stronger. I pushed myself to make even the smallest of milestones and set goals for each day. Being connected to family and friends helped me cement attitudes and acts of healing. The years of growth from living the WFS New Life Program are a critical aspect of sobriety and recovery and helped my forward progress.

Gratefully, power is restored and a sense of healthy balance is settling in after this past uncertainty. Allow me to offer a huge thank you to Dee and the WFS office for the continuation of our Monday Thoughts. We are a great team of 4C women! Also, I wish to thank all health care workers for your care, dedication and commitment. You are our heroes as our world moves through this pandemic!

This week can be an excellent time to examine growth in your life. Where have you excelled? Where do you need more attention? Does your recovery need an update? Where do you see yourself next year? 5 years? 10 years?

Hugzzz

Karen


Hi 4C Women,
First, I would like to say that it was a privilege to write the Monday Thoughts while Karen was recovering from COVID. I am both thankful she is back home and that she was able to create the first part of this week’s Monday message. I really missed her inspiring, uplifting words.
I am repeating a message on Statement #8 from last year. I am doing so because it’s been an emotionally draining week and I realized my priorities needed a check-up! In addition to a family matter, my dear friend’s husband of over 54 years passed away on Saturday. She lost her son to cancer 6 years ago and her 17 year-old granddaughter 4 years ago in an accident. In addition, she has been in severe chronic pain for the last 25 years. My heart is breaking for her. We’ve been friends for 54 years, working together at the Redstone Arsenal in AL. She had a surprise baby shower for me and I for her. When her son was ill, one of my priorities was to visit her family every Wednesday and continued to do so after he passed away. With COVID I have not been able to visit and I think this is why this message has struck me so deeply.

As I read over the message, I began to realize what was missing for me this past week was my “authentic” priority. As I am expecting a similar situation this week, I really need to dig deep in determining how I will handle my feelings and my priorities. If we are to practice Statement #8 to its fullest, putting our priorities in a proper order requires serious reflection and understanding of our chosen authentic priorities, not what might have been chosen for us by the expectation of others, circumstances, convenience or culture. An authentic priority gives our life purpose, direction and meaning. It allows us to grow, to move toward wholeness and fulfillment. For me, sobriety was the first choice in setting priorities which led to clarity in my thinking. Over the years, my priorities have changed as I have changed. This is why emotional and spiritual growth needs to have direction and flexibility.

We have the freedom and ability to make decisions about our lives and the direction in which we wish them to go. In other words, we can establish our own priorities. We are not limited to reacting instinctively to our surroundings; we have the power to exercise control over our lives. This is an incredible power and if we want to make the most of our lives, to realize our potential, we need to use it consciously and wisely.

What is a priority?

Simply put, a priority is something of leading importance in your life.

A priority is what you live for, what gives focus to your life.

A priority is the shaping value around which the rest of your life tends to be ordered, for better or worse.

A priority is whatever has first claim on your time, energy and resources.

A priority is something you consistently prefer to (or feel you must) do, have, worked toward, think about or spend money on.

A priority can be consciously chosen or it can be set for us by outside circumstances.

Now think about your priorities in general. Which is your number one priority? After you answer that, determine if it is an authentic priority.

Authentic priority is:

Consciously chosen

Gives your life purpose, direction and meaning

Gives you enthusiasm, energy and motivation

Frees you from the forces of circumstance, expectation and habit, giving you a way to stay on the course you’ve chosen

Is realistic and attainable as an unrealistic priority will lead to frustration and disappointment

To determine if your priority is authentic but not quite sure, answer these last 3 questions:

Time: What do I spend my time thinking about?

Money: How do I spend my money?

Energy: How do I spend my energy?

I thought about my priorities and these questions helped me so much in thinking about how I spend my time, what causes or people I support financially and where I spend most of my energy. It all goes back, for me, to what an authentic priority is and answering those questions, was a real eye opener. I hope you are able to give serious consideration to the questions and most importantly, to your answers.

What I learned this week is that sometimes a priority is set by outside circumstances. The key for me is to accept it temporarily (that’s where flexibility comes in), reset my boundaries when the timing is right, take a deep breath and remind myself that this is a process, that I have made tremendous progress over the years and acknowledge the emotional and spiritual growth I have accomplished.

Bonded is setting priorities that support your life’s purpose and meaning, Dee

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Monday Thoughts 8/17/2020

“Don’t go through life, grow through life.”  ~~Eric Butterworth

“We can’t become what we need to be by remaining what we are.”  ~~Oprah Winfrey

“Be not afraid of growing slowly; be afraid only of standing still.”  ~~Chinese Proverb
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#8 The fundamental object of life is emotional and spiritual growth.

Daily I put my life into a proper order, knowing which are the priorities.
_______________________________________________________________

 Before my New Life, any growth was measured in height, weight, years and always against others. Today, with the WFS New Life Program and Statement #8, growth is an investment.  It is measuring myself against my own yardstick instead of comparing myself to the world.  It is a reflection of who I was yesterday, who I am currently and who I wish to be in the future.

Growth is as fluid as a river; winding, ebbing and flowing.  In sobriety and recovery, growth is critical to development and prevents relapse.  In our Beginner Collection booklet on page 79 it states, “The word ‘growth’ appears in the explication of almost every Statement.  ‘Growth’, or change, is the key to recovery.  It really means an exploration of ourselves.  It is a learning process of who we are and what we need to change.  The object of living is to find the best of ourselves and, when we do that, we experience emotional growth.  Spiritual growth is possibly the most important aspect of our recovery.  It means our acknowledgment that we are part of a larger whole.”

The WFS Statements encourage growth.  Each year, I reflect and take note of just how far I have come and focus on what’s next.  My first year sober was like a newborn, everything was brand new, fresh, and filled with learning.  I immersed myself on the WFS Forum and attended as many chats as I could.  I read the Statements forwards and backwards.  Today, I can either read or recite them silently, treasure time with other 4C women and connect spiritually.  Adapting to the ever-changing pace of life, growth is expected, contains wisdom and is the fundamental object of life.

Hugzzz

Karen

“““““““

Hi 4C Women,

Emotional and spiritual growth is a life-long process and I am so grateful for that.  It leaves me open minded to continue learning, understanding the need for positive change and discovering what my priorities are as my life is definitely not stagnant.  These past few months have made that evidently clear.  I have learned a lot about myself during this pandemic, what my current needs are and how to hopefully meet them as I now have different priorities.  Here is my WFS life-lesson – the 13 Statements of Acceptance for a New Life has already given me the coping tools as my foundation for recovery.  It has taught me to be resilient when I might have wanted to run in the past.   Not saying those thoughts don’t pop into my mind every now and then but I have also learned that those are brief moments and they do not scare me as they did in the past.  I know it is the action that follows the thought that sustains my recovery.   The action of letting go of the fear that these negative thoughts will sabotage my sobriety is why it is remains at the top of my priority list no matter how much time has passed and what the circumstances are.

As we work through the process of emotional and spiritual growth, I’d like to share a message from Nancy Cross, a beloved WFS member who gave so much while she was still with us.  “Recovery demands not that we heal every wound immediately, not that we battle a dozen fronts at once, but that patiently, we pick one area, start someplace.”  This is what I encourage you to do.  If you are struggling with where to start, focus on one thing that speaks to you now and identify the feeling that might be the key to uncovering your path to emotional and spiritual growth.  Is it fear, uncertainty, anger, resentment, disappointment, betrayal? These are just some feelings, however, there are many more.   Where is this feeling coming from – a person, a situation?   How can you face it and challenge its hold on your emotional and spiritual growth?  Our healing depends greatly on identifying the feeling, meeting our needs and in the process, understanding our emotional and spiritual priorities.  Can you list 2 or 3?  Do you have an action plan to tackle them in a manner that promotes and heals your fears, your wounds to experience emotional and spiritual growth? Consider sharing these with someone you trust to get feedback from their experiences.  I always appreciate the life experiences of others yet knowing we decide where we need to start or to continue moving forward.  Bonded in understanding and setting our priorities to attain emotional and spiritual growth, Dee


New Offering on WFS Online!

We are rolling out our recorded sessions from the 2020 Virtual Weekend Conference (as permitted by presenters) through a series of Watch Parties! Grab the popcorn and hop into the WFS Online Zoom Room to watch the recording. Discuss the session in the chat box in real time and stay after to chat as a group.

Access the event through WFS Online (wfsonline.org/events)

Registration is always free and easy!