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Monday Thoughts 9/9/2019

Monday Thoughts

“Treasure the things about you that make you different and unique.” ~~Karen Kain

“A woman who expresses enthusiasm about whatever she is doing radiates an aura that makes persons in her presence feel good.” ~~Jean Kirkpatrick, Ph.D.

“Truth is the property of no individual but is the treasure of all men.” ~~Ralph Waldo Emerson


Statement #11
Enthusiasm is my daily exercise.
I treasure the moments of my New Life.


Traveling is a favorite activity and recently my new passport arrived in the mail. It was a moment of sheer exhilaration; it meant the door was open to anywhere in the world. I languished in that moment for what seemed like an eternity, savoring each turned page and wondering what stamp might reside there. I felt Statement #11 beaming from within.

In the past I was unable to embrace the joy of planning an adventure. I felt such a need to escape my daily life that getting away (whether with alcohol or an airplane) was more important than anything else. Just like with drinking, when I did arrive at a destination, I could barely enjoy myself since I was already dreading facing reality again.

Today, Statement #11 aides in a sort of mindfulness if you will, of the present moment. Being able to treasure or be in this moment, and the next fills life with living. It is just as fun to discover, decide and plan when being in the moment. Even when those moments are long gone, feelings of lack do not take up residence since it was enjoyed the first time. The adventure begins with a truth…. all those precious moments add up to one great experience; a lifetime of dynamic living.

Here are some questions from our WFS Program booklet on Statement #11:

  • How can you increase your enthusiasm today?
  • What energizes you naturally?
  • How can you enjoy what you currently have?

Hugzzz
Karen


Hi 4C Women,

I have been reflecting a bit on the past, looking through journals and WFS messages over the years. This helps me in recognizing how I have internalized the 13 Statements and what work I still need to do. Enthusiasm comes in spurts for me. A lot depends on what is happening in my life. While I have learned phenomenal coping skills in WFS, I have also learned that this recovery journey is not a straight line because life doesn’t work that way. For me, enthusiasm is more of a surprise and I love that. I have been in pain recently and that hinders my enthusiasm but I actually accept that and it’s okay for now. I still have those enthusiastic moments and it could be as simple as an email from someone I haven’t heard from in a while, catching up on what’s happening in their lives; a call from a friend that is a deep conversation scattered with a belly laugh or two; an unexpected card in the mail saying someone is thinking of me. All of that brings joy to my heart. It makes the pain or other challenges bearable. It’s a balance that I treasure. In looking over old messages regarding Statement 11, I came across two that couldn’t be further apart. I shared how I decided to make calls to friends on one Sunday after I experienced a youth service in church on “Where is the Love?” I also decided to call my daughter-in-law and ended up crying for a couple of hours from the hurtful things she said. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a date on the message and fortunately I don’t recall what she said that hurt me so much. They were married in 2011 so I’m sure it was in that year. Then I found a message that described the most wonderful moment with my granddaughter when she was 8 years old, visiting me in NJ. She asked me to dance while blowing bubbles. I hesitated but put the music on, twirling around and blowing bubbles all around the room. She started laughing and said, “I always knew there was a kid inside of you, Grandmom.” I learned in that moment to let go of hesitation and express childlike joy.

It is comforting to know that I can remember that moment and forgot the unkind words that hurt me. I choose to recall joyful moments as best I can and create more awareness of those enthusiastic ones that surprise and delight me!

A few questions regarding enthusiasm/joy:

  • What puts a smile on your face?
  • What do you find easy? (Fun leads to happiness and that leads to joy)
  • What sparks your creativity?
  • What would you do for free?
  • What do you like to talk about? (Ask your friends what topic makes your eyes brighten up)

Bonded in learning what brings enthusiasm/joy to our lives,
your 4C sister

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Noticing the Joy

‘When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,’ said Piglet at last, ‘what’s the first thing you say to yourself?’

‘What’s for breakfast?’ said Pooh. ‘What do you say, Piglet?’

‘I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?’ said Piglet.

Pooh nodded thoughtfully. ‘It’s the same thing,’ he said.”

                                                                                  — A. A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh

 

I have fond memories of reading Winnie the Pooh stories when I was young. What I love about Pooh, and the Hundred Acre Wood stories, is the childlike honesty they possess. There is no pretense except by Rabbit ~ but then, he represents adult behavior with all of its constraints. Eeyore, with his absolute lack of enthusiasm, is accepted by the others exactly as he is. I love that Tigger, as a newcomer and a troublemaker, is folded in with all of his faults and included as well.

Winnie the Pooh and his friends speak to the happiness, greatness, and especially the enthusiasm that we come to appreciate through our acceptance of Statements 3, 6, and 11. 

All of the (WFS) Acceptance Statements spoke to me in some way when I first found Women for Sobriety, but Statements 3, 6, and 11 were the least accessible for me as a newcomer. I did NOT feel happy, enthusiastic, or that life could be great again. I was at the bottom of a black hole. Frankly, the only statements I could easily grasp were Statements 1 and 2.  I clearly had a life threatening problem and negativity was rampant in my thinking. Whenever Statement 11 was discussed, I put on my sarcasm hat and participated with my tongue-in-cheek: “I will enthusiastically try to survive my cravings.” “I am enthusiastically trying to fix my failing marriage.”

My inner cynic was strong… and it took a long time to soften to the happiness/joy statements enough to begin to work on them. Even then, I had to focus on the very small. I found joy in a sunrise or the smell of the desert after rain. I found enthusiasm for Earth on walks with my dogs and in the silence and beauty of my surroundings. I’ll come back to the smell of freshly baked bread and how a beautiful loaf could put a smile on my face like nothing else. Waking up without shame ~ yes, I could embrace that enthusiastically, but I could not face the rest of my sober days with the same level of joy and acceptance until I finally turned the corner on what, how, and why I was doing this. 

My “sober firsts” were a mixed bag. I was in a good place on my birthday and on the 4th of July.  I did my first Wimbledon finals and birthday weekend without alcohol. It was just lovely. My first vacation was a nonstop struggle ~ I could see the beauty of the coastal Carolinas, but I could not feel it. My first sober holidays were filled with fear, but ultimately became full of pride for devising a plan and sticking to it. 

The first time I realized that someone didn’t like me, and I neither needed to change nor feel badly about it, was eye opening. I recall feeling like I was going to lose my mind around my one year mark, but then SO MANY people told me that was absolutely normal. I recall the day that I realized that I didn’t know how many sober days I had accumulated… I actually had to count. I cried for the joy of that ~ it was my new normal and that day I knew I had found my New Life!

The big events are easy to treasure. Who would argue with the birth of a first grandchild? But the small ones ~ the little stuff ~ well they are the yeast. They fill my life and lift it to voluminous proportions. I simply have to take the time to notice. 

I had an epiphany at about six months. I was walking my dogs in the desert where the sunrise is almost always glorious. I noticed that day that I was walking under pink clouds. I had been focused on the ground ~ rattlesnakes are real and some focus on the path in front of me is always necessary ~ but I had stopped to look around and take in the clouds. Sobriety is like that. The pink cloud is always there. I just have to pause and appreciate it. That is Statement 11 in a nutshell for me… noticing the joy.


Statement 11: Enthusiasm is my daily exercise.
I treasure the moments of my New Life.


Emily K.

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Monday Thoughts 6/10/2019

Monday Thoughts

“I love those connections that make this big old world feel like a little village.” ~~Gina Bellman

“I am a part of all that I have met.” ~~Lord Tennyson

“Sometimes, reaching out and taking someone’s hand is the beginning of a journey. At other times, it is allowing another to take yours.” ~~Vera Nazarian


Statement #11
Enthusiasm is my daily exercise.
I treasure the moments of my New Life.


The last few days have been overflowing with love, connection and enthusiasm. Close to 150 women attended our 2019 WFS Conference, breaking our previous attendance record. The weekend was brimming with enthusiasm, from our fun and music filled Friday night Welcome Ceremony with Karlee Fain and Karen Drucker to when we gave and received hugs and said our last goodbye’s on Sunday.

Statement #11 in action is filled with connection and mindfulness, just like this past weekend. We came from a wide radius, converging together to bring enthusiasm, recovery and New Life to life. Saturday, a surprise allowed us to embrace our child-like enthusiasm and get down to really playing. The robust day was filled with workshops, auction and concluded with our new Joy of Transformation evening activity.

Countless women left on Sunday feeling recharged, re-energized and filled with enthusiasm. A heartfelt thank you to each of our passionate volunteers for making this weekend possible; WFS could not exist or be able to provide services without your dedication and effort. You bring life to this empowering organization.  If you were not able to attend this year, today is a great day to begin planning for next year! See you in 2020 in Minnesota!

What was your favorite part of the weekend? Please write to us and let us know! WFS would love to share your thoughts and experiences!

Hugzzz
Karen


Hi 4C Women,

Enthusiasm, joy, happiness and love was certainly felt this week-end at the WFS Conference. Many new faces and treasured women from the past. I enjoyed every moment and wish it could be more than a week-end. I would be hard pressed to say which moment created enthusiasm the most, which moment would be the most treasured as I felt my heart completely filled with love and especially hope for each and every woman who attended.  The openness, sharing and joy expressed in the workshops, welcoming and closing ceremonies, tears of gratefulness and caring while we chatted and ate meals together, were collectively the true expression of Statement #11.

As I think about my ordinary, everyday life back home, I realize there are many treasured moments as well. There are certainly up and downs, give and take and often I take those treasured moments for granted. I believe the conference reminded me how very blessed and fortunate I am for such an empowering program that changed my life and most of all for the women I have met, who have become my friends and walked this journey together, creating a support system most people could only dream of.

So, for those who attended the conference, I hope you take the spirit of enthusiasm home with you and share it with those women who were unable to be part of this “Hello Happiness” weekend. I encourage you to reflect on your New Life and recognize the treasured moments as you practice this amazing program.

Bonded together in treasuring the moments of your New Life,
A 4C Sister

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Monday Thoughts 3/11/2019

Monday Thoughts

“If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you, if the simple things of nature have a message that you understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive.” ~~Eleonora Duse

“Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.” ~~Greg Anderson

“When you start using senses you’ve neglected, your reward is to see the world with completely fresh eyes.” ~~Barbara Sher


Statement #11
Enthusiasm is my daily exercise.
I treasure the moments of my new life.


Not long ago, a friend shared with me that if you want to get good at playing the piano, you need to practice every day and don’t just rely on what you learn at the piano lesson. Applying this sentiment to sobriety and the WFS New Life Program helps put motion into the Statements. Instead of just reading the Statements every day or attending a face to face meeting or online chat, it becomes more about living the Statements each moment.

Putting life into the Statements each day is living with enthusiasm. Before sobriety it was easy, if not normal to push through the day in search of something else more colorful, interesting or exciting. While this is a way to move through each day, it eliminates the ability to “treasure the moments” of New Life.  Then, at the end of the day or week, an emptiness can settle in along with wondering “what on earth am I missing?”

Statement #11 in action is the answer for slowing down, experiencing and treasuring the moments in life. In our WFS Program Booklet, answering the three questions below can add fullness, motion and contentment to each day.

How can you increase your enthusiasm today?

What energizes you naturally?

How can you enjoy what you currently have?

Hugzzz
Karen


Hi 4C Women,

For me, the key word is “treasure.” I am extremely sentimental and have a difficult time letting go of so many things I treasure from my past to the present. There’s a lot about decluttering on the internet and one suggestion is to keep only items that give you joy. That presented a dilemma for me. For example, I just redecorated my Christmas tree to a Spring tree and I could feel myself smiling ear to ear as I put each ornament and creative item on the tree. Even the physical pain of carrying those heavy containers diminished as I pulled out each colorful Spring, bunny, chick, needlepoint item to display on the tree and in my living room. My daughter always asks why I go to so much trouble each season to change the decorations and it all comes down to joy. I couldn’t even begin to throw away any of these cherished, treasured, smile-producing items!

Enthusiasm, joy and treasuring moments is such a personal choice. It is more than words, it is a feeling with action propelling it. Think about the last time you were filled with enthusiasm. When you share that with others, it is amazing to discover the many diverse ways we feel and experience enthusiasm. It goes back to the awareness of the joy in our daily lives. When I reflect on my drinking days, I can now appreciate the simple yet powerful moments of enthusiasm that I am so aware of today, no matter how small. It’s a gift to be able to experience, acknowledge, treasure and be in that moment.

I encourage you to answer Karen’s questions along with when was the last time you were filled with enthusiasm?

Bonded together in enthusiasm,
4C WFS Member