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Monday Thoughts 8/19/2019

Monday Thoughts

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror, I can take the next thing that comes along.’” ~~Eleanor Roosevelt

 “Confidence isn’t thinking you are better than everyone else, it’s realizing that you have no reason to compare yourself to anyone else.” ~~Maryam Hasnaa

 “When I take good care of myself, it lifts my spirits, boosts my confidence, and makes me feel strong. When someone tries to throw me shade, it bounces right off. I look those haters straight in the eye, keep my chin up and shoulders back. Because I know I’m a fierce queen—and they know it too.” ~~Alyssa Edwards


Statement #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.


For years I lived life through a lens of comparison, which only fueled feelings of escapism and drinking. I hadn’t realized how limiting it was when looking at side by side accomplishments, physical appearances or abilities. Instead of measuring myself with my own yardstick, I fell short every time; it became a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Statement #8 is a deeply personal Statement; it focuses on individual growth. When creating the WFS Program, Jean understood that growth was an essential part of recovery. Learning who we are from our core to outside relationships assists in managing each aspect of life. It lays a healthy foundation of being.

Emotional and spiritual growth instills confidence in addition to each of our other 4C’s. By measuring ourselves with our own yardstick, we open a portal for self-assurance and satisfaction. Life can feel upbeat, instead of feeling beaten down with the continued practice of Statement #8. Here are a few ways to jump start this empowering Statement:

  1. Understand your strengths and weaknesses: Each of us crawled before we walked, so start where you are. Where do you excel? Where would you like to improve?
  2. Trust yourself: You can do anything that you set your mind to. If you fall short, understand you will get closer next time. Keep going.
  3. Step out of your comfort zone: Sure, our comfort zones feel safe and secure, but there is more out there. Being vulnerable opens unknown rewards. It’s worth the discomfort to get there.
  4. Receive positivity: Do you cringe when you receive a compliment? Embrace it instead. Try not to discredit praise when it comes your way. For the most part, each of us has earned the compliment, receive the gift that it is.

Hugzzz
Karen


Hi 4C Women,

I am learning that self-care is a top priority. Being a former extreme people pleaser, I usually was at the end of my priority list if I was on it at all. I realized that I actually love helping people. It is rewarding and brings me joy. What I also realize now is that I must balance that with taking care of me, putting me at the top of my priority list. That became evident with the recent chronic pain I have been having. I tried everything to relieve it and finally decided to go to a pain clinic to get an epidural/steroid shot in my spine, at the source of the pain. As I looked around the room, I saw so many people with that look of severe pain on their faces, in the way they walked (hobbled) around in the waiting room. I wondered how long it had taken them to be a priority. I am feeling so much better today and wished I had taken this step sooner. However, it brought me right back to how long it took me to realize that I was worth having a new life in recovery. More than not drinking but changing my priorities, my negativity, my way of handling life’s challenges – all of which I learned to do through the WFS Program. Statement #8 might have been one of the hardest to tackle because I had lost my emotional bearings and my spiritual life was non-existent. I felt empty. The longer I sat in the waiting room, the more I pondered how many women are denying themselves a new life, waiting for the right time to make the decision that they deserve to feel strength in their emotional and spiritual well-being. I guess the answer might be found in Karen’s 3rd question – to step out of our comfort zone, work through the pain of change to a life of emotional and spiritual growth. It is so worth the journey.

In 2008, Nancy Cross shared this from Volume III, “A Year of Sobering Thoughts” written by Jean Kirkpatrick. It focused on giving ourselves space to figure out how to make ourselves a priority: “When we give ourselves space, we give ourselves a chance to grow. Space can be a vacuum or it can be a growing place. Assess the time you give yourself. Is your space a vacuum or a growing place? Is it a time for you to think, to plan, to dream, to grow… to just simply be you? Make a time each day for growth!” All of this takes courage, being vulnerable, creating confidence, having faith in ourselves that we can do it, and most of all, learning to love ourselves as we are at this very moment, no judgment or comparing to others.

Bonded in making ourselves a priority,
your 4C sister

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How Do You Get It?

I’m struck by the fact that many women out there want to ‘get it’ but don’t know how.  The elusive ‘getting it’ – What the heck is ‘it’?  You know, I know, she knows, we all know what ‘it’ is!  The ‘it’ is a struggle-free sobriety, ‘it’ is staying sober, and I’ll go as far as to say that ‘it’ is also recovery.

You are going to change your life!  Your old way of life isn’t working for you, so here’s how you can change it.  It goes without saying that you must stop poisoning your system. Get rid of all the alcohol you have ~ dump it, flush it, don’t buy anymore of it… just get rid of it.  Here’s an easy three-step plan on what you’ve got to do when you’re wanting to drink/use: 1. make a plan, 2. make a plan, 3. make a plan.

Ok, so what do you do?  This getting it can be a hard thing to attain, I know.  Getting it takes determination and work – that is all up to you!  I can’t tell you exactly what your plan will be; your plan will be as unique as you are.  And yes, YOU are a unique, special person.  As we at Women for Sobriety (WFS) like to say – you are 4Ccapable, competent, caring and compassionate.  You’re changing your life, remember?  And you’re going to start looking at yourself in a new way, a way that will let you lead a ‘New Life’ – one without having to drink/use to get through it.

Part of your plan might include asking a professional for help.  Part of your plan might be using the WFS online forum–a lot. Part of your plan might be attending some sort of support meeting locally.  Part of your plan might be going to work without any money/credit cards in your pocket/purse so that you can’t buy anything to poison yourself on the way home.  Part of your plan might be figuring out a new routine to your day – maybe you’ll take a different route home; maybe you’ll do something else to relax at the end of the day. Your plan needs to be rock solid and air tight! There are so many great plan ideas on the WFS Online site. Check them out! 

Let me also recommend that if you don’t have any WFS literature that you go about getting some, and while you wait for your order – go to the WFS website and read some of the great resources there.  Read other information about addiction to learn what you’re doing to your body.

You need to take some time EVERY day (most people use quiet time in the morning) and reflect on the WFS Acceptance Statements, or concentrate on just one.  Think about how that particular statement(s) applies to your life.  Try thinking about your life with this slant on it, the New Life slant.  Remember, your old life is not working for you. You’re NOT going to get through life anymore by drinking.

Jean Kirkpatrick, Ph.D. is the founder of WFS and she authored several books and booklets.  My all-time favorite is The Program BookletThat little booklet costs just $5 and spells out how this New Life Program works – You may order it here!  

I also highly recommend Goodbye Hangovers, Hello Life and Turnabout.  If you feel you can’t afford them right now, go to your library and get them that way.  If your library doesn’t have the books, get them through an inter-library loan – this is what I did initially, in a town of 535 people!  

Are your eyes glazing over because you’ve read this before?  Reading what Jean Kirkpatrick wrote is KEY to ‘getting’ this program.  So are you going to pull out your excuse book and tell me why you can’t get anything on WFS to read?  Get a grip, put the excuse book away, and start reading. Start changing your life today. You change by NOT drinking/using and by changing how you think and approach life.  You CAN do this! The support you will receive from WFS participants is immeasurable, it is comforting and I am always awed at how amazing the women are. The WFS website and the new online site is full of great information.  But YOU are the one who has to do the work of getting sober.

I ‘got it’ that I can’t drink/use anymore.  My old way of life wasn’t working. I use the WFS New Life Program every day, because it helps me grow and thrive – emotionally and spiritually.  It affirms that I am a 4C woman, and then some!


Statement 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.


Wishing you all the very best success in getting it.  Believe you can do it!

 

Bonded,
Sue Kapacinskas
Certified WFS Moderator
Champaign, IL

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Monday Thoughts 5/20/2019

Monday Thoughts

“You try something, it doesn’t work, and maybe people even criticize you. In a fixed mindset, you say, ‘I tried this, it’s over.’ In a growth mindset, you look for what you’ve learned.” ~~Carol S. Dweck

“If you are outgrowing who’ve you been, you are right on schedule. Keep evolving. ~~Lalah Delia

“Feeling at home with ourselves and being able to create a spirit of place that nourishes us physically, emotionally, spiritually is a goal worthy of our highest priority.” ~~Alexandra Stoddard


Statement #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


Our founder, Jean Kirkpatrick, Ph.D., understood that growth is critical to sustaining and enjoying sobriety and recovery. Without growth, life remains stagnant, unmoving. Statement #8 encourages growth in life; imagine a seed pushing through a shell to unfurl its stem and leaves. Without growth, the seed never feels the sun and simply withers.

It states in our WFS Program booklet, “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.”

What actions can be taken to expand our growth? Here are a few examples that can lead towards emotional and spiritual growth:

  • Seek understanding: Even when nothing initially makes any sense, seeking and being open to understanding allows for personal growth and development.
  • Embrace independence: Instead of relying on what others think, say or do, owning thoughts, actions and purpose leads to greater depth, growth and feelings of contentment.
  • Check instant gratification at the door: Often a first impulse is to get over something ASAP. Moving through discomfort long enough to seek additional information or solution lays a foundation for emotional stability.
  • Invest in truth: Commit to stating, knowing and hearing the truth no matter how uncomfortable or stressful that truth may be, can lead to expanding strength and integrity.
  • Relationship: Connection is a key to growth; nothing grows in a vacuum. Seeing and participating in relationships to life outside of the self is connecting and an opportunity for growth and learning.

What actions have helped you practice Statement #8?

Hugzzz
Karen


Hi 4C Women,

Each of the example actions that Karen shared are great tools for change. After all, that is what WFS is all about and why I value the lessons each of the statements has given me over the years. Emotional and spiritual growth is a lifetime journey. There are situations I’ve experienced that let me know I have achieved the growth I was working towards and at other times, I realize there is more to learn. I am grateful that I can look at it that way rather than start in the negative self-talk of the past at how inadequate, ignorant or foolish I was in my decision-making. It was all or nothing thinking.

For me, spiritual growth is that quiet time I give to myself to breathe, to pause and take in the small wonders around me. It’s challenging at times to create that space and I have to say that it is one of the things I have to remind myself to do. I’ve been on my own for over 25 years and so I am use to being in charge of everything. That’s the reality. However, sometimes “everything” feels like a tornado sweeping me up and I’m wishing I could land safely in a place of peace and joy. When I start thinking like that, I know I have some work to do to create that place myself, especially since tornadoes do not gently place you anywhere!

I have this Life Balance Wheel on paper. Every once in a while, I look at it and do a self-check of how I spend my time.  It lists different areas of life with numbers to be circled that indicate your level of satisfaction – 7 being completely satisfied and 1 being completely dissatisfied. After you circle the numbers and connect them, the question asked is to imagine how your car would travel if the wheels were in this shape. In other words, do you give enough time to what matters in your life, what is in your heart, what gives you joy? This is all part of the spiritual journey. While there are certain obligations we all have to be responsible for, it is important to pay attention to the spiritual growth of our life journey. Do you have the balance in your emotional and spiritual growth that supports you as much as you deserve? If not, how can you begin to find and create that balance and satisfaction with how you spend your time?

Bonded in finding balance on our emotional and spiritual growth journey,
A 4C woman

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Monday Thoughts 2/18/2019

Monday Thoughts

“Be the reason someone believes in the goodness of people.” ~~Karen Salmansohn

“What’s the greater risk? Letting go of what people think—or letting go of how I feel, what I believe, and who I am?” ~~Brene’ Brown

“Carry out a random act of kindness, with no exception of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.” ~~Princess Diana


Statement #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.


During this “Random Acts of Kindness” week, (Feb 18-22) Statement #8 enables kindness and compassion to flourish. Being kind to ourselves with a dedication to sobriety and recovery opens a portal for kindness to expand outward.

In our WFS Program Booklet, Jean writes “When we finally learn that we are not the center of the world and that self-inflicted pain produces nothing, then we are able to turn our eyes outward, toward the spiritual.” The simplest acts can be incredibly spiritual, and yet very individual as Statement #8 eludes to.

Emotional and spiritual strength can include these or other aspects:

  • Connection to something outside of ourselves
  • Joy for life
  • Ability to laugh, even at ourselves
  • Gratitude
  • Self-worth, self-esteem, self-value
  • Feeling balanced in life
  • Adaptability
  • Giving without needing a receipt

What else can you add to this list?

Hugzzz
Karen


Hi 4C Women,

Alcohol produced that self-inflicted pain and while pain still comes into my life with gusto at times, I am beyond grateful for the new, healthy coping skills I have learned through WFS and mostly for the loving, compassionate support I have received all these years from the women in WFS. It has kept me afloat when I felt as though I was drowning in pain. When I think back to feeling I could handle everything on my own, I know that it’s much better traveling this road with 4C women.

In 2013, Nancy Cross wrote a definition of emotional sobriety and abstinence. I have read it many times, especially when I am having those trying times. I’d like to share it with you.

Emotional Sobriety and Abstinence

Simply put, abstinence is not recovery. It is merely the cessation of addictive behavior – the starting point of recovery. Abstinence can last a day, a week or indefinitely. What gives abstinence staying power, and turns it into true recovery, is the development of solid emotional self-management skills. These skills are both the foundation and the long-term task of recovery.

Why You Need Emotional Sobriety

  1. To avoid relapse/recurrence of use
  2. To be able to recognize and ‘collaborate’ with your emotions as teachers and allies that are there to tell you what your needs are, whether your needs are being met, and what circumstances in your life may require change in order to meet your needs.
  3. To develop the confidence, satisfaction and resilience that comes from dealing with your emotions directly and effectively, rather than self-medicating to avoid pain.
  4. To become the person you want to be – so your actions are congruent with your values and aspirations for your life.

As you add to the list Karen presented in her message, consider how you can, or do, develop your own emotional sobriety in building self-management skills in creating your strong foundation of recovery.

Bonded in setting priorities, meeting our needs and growing emotionally and spiritually,
4C WFS Member

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Monday Thoughts 11/19/18

Monday Thoughts

“There is a universal, intelligent life force that exists within everyone and everything. It resides within each one of us as a deep wisdom, and inner knowing. We can access this wonderful source of knowledge and wisdom through our intuition, an inner sense that tells us what feels right and true for us at any given moment.” ~~Shakti Gawain

“There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.” ~~Nelson Mandela

“Growing up is difficult. Strangely, even when we have stopped growing physically, we seem to have to keep on growing emotionally, which involves both expansion and shrinkage, as some parts of us develop and others must be allowed to disappear…. Rigidity never works; we end up being the wrong size for our world.” ~~Jeanette Winterson


Statement #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.


The meme’s and quotes are readily found; “I am not adulting today” or “Who let me adult? I can’t adult.”  It can be easy to fantasize about a younger or past self, a self with less responsibility or a snapshot of a simpler time, yet to maintain sobriety and recovery continued growth is essential.

The practice of Statement #8 can feel obvious when returning to a place that remains unchanged, whether it be a physical location or even a relationship.  Sometimes the differences are stark, at other times growth may not be quite as visible. In early sobriety the freedom from substances are vivid, almost if a whole new world just opened up.

Over time though, growth can be shelved or its priority lessened. From our Program Booklet, “We can gain useful self-knowledge from reflecting on our life experiences. Continued emotional growth improves our ability to manage the ups and downs of life. It provides us with our own path to emotional peace and contentment. We uncover our inner strength.” Here are 4 questions for continued growth:

  1. Are you aware of your strengths and weaknesses? This awareness can help maximize strengths while encouraging growth in other areas.
  2. Do you practice personal responsibility?  In-between a life situation and your response to it is a fleeting moment when you decide how to respond.
  3. How do you define your ideal self? You can increase emotional and spiritual maturity when you define what this means for you.
  4. How do you acknowledge growth in your life? Comparing ourselves to where we were as to where we are now can move us forward. Liking who you have become can propel us onward.

Hugzz
Karen


Hi 4C Women,

The guidance for emotional growth as expressed in the Program Booklet is an accurate description of what will keep us on track to understanding what our priorities are – a continuing exploration of our life experiences, willingness to accept what needs to change and an action plan(s) to create the growth we desire to be able to establish our priorities.

I found an article online from Lifescript.com/well-being/articles that provided 10 Steps Toward Spiritual Growth that reflected the WFS Program so well that I would like to share them in this message:

10 Steps Toward Spiritual Growth
By: Ashleigh Frank

Spirituality is a belief system in which a person seeks to relate to the rest of existence (whether that is God, humanity, the universe, nature or life itself). It is a pursuit of peace, love and understanding. Many people want you to believe that the secret to spiritual growth and development can be found in a book, a lecture or some other product that will magically unlock the doors to happiness. But the truth about spiritual growth is that it comes from within. It is all about you and the way that you view the world. Here are 10 steps to help you on your journey of personal spiritual growth, and none of them cost a thing.

1. Want Change

It may sound silly, but the first and most important step toward personal spiritual growth is the desire to grow. All of the self-help classes, spiritual gurus and inspirational books in the world won’t make a lick of difference until you make a conscious decision to change. Spiritual growth and development is not a goal; it is a lifelong journey that requires time, energy and dedication. If you are looking for a quick fix or overnight results, you will be disappointed. When the novelty of your new spiritual growth technique wears off, you may be tempted to give up. It is much easier to let life carry you along as it pleases. The only difference between people who exist and people who really live is motivation. If you are properly motivated, keep reading.

2. Start Small 

There are many spiritual practices out there, and information is readily available over the Internet. But don’t make the mistake of trying to take on too much too soon. It is best to start with one new practice. Begin a meditation, prayer routine or yoga class at your gym. Attend a lecture on reiki at your local community college. Once you are comfortable with your new skill, add another element.

3. New Adventures

One of the great joys in life lies is learning new skills. If you never tried anything new, your life would grow stagnant. Take up an activity that you are curious or passionate about, such as writing poetry, practicing yoga or painting water colors. Enjoy the process of learning and improving your new skills. By embracing people and things that are outside of your ordinary routine, you open yourself to personal and spiritual growth, and you diminish your fear of the unknown.

4. Release the Past

The past is history, and there is nothing you can do to change it. Holding on to past events keeps you from experiencing new ones, and the emotional baggage will only weigh you down. Accept these past events, both good and bad, as learning experiences and move on with life.

5. Take Responsibility 

Sometimes you cannot control the events that happen to you or the people who do them. But you always have control over how you respond. Focusing your attention on what or who caused a problem does not offer any solutions. Instead, concentrate on your response and what you can do to improve the situation and prevent it from occurring again.

6. Pause and Reflect

Life moves so fast that sometimes it is important to stop, take a step back and really examine yourself and what you are doing. You can do this by practicing meditation. Meditation allows you to quiet your mind and clear your thoughts. Through meditation, you can step outside yourself and observe your life. Are you using your time wisely? Are you taking proactive steps to reach your goals? Are you happy? These quiet moments of reflection, when performed regularly, can help you right yourself on your spiritual path.

7. Stay Open

From a young age we are taught to judge and label actions, thoughts, words and people as “good,” “bad,” “right” or “wrong.” Whether we realize it or not, we are constantly judging others by how they look, what they say and more. But to feel connected to everything around you, first accept people and things as they are. It takes a conscious effort to stop looking through the lens of a critical eye, but if by looking for the possibilities and potential resources in life, you begin to grow spiritually.

Consider the difference between these two life philosophies: “Everyone is out to get me” and “Everyone is doing the best they can.” Imagine how much more stressful the first person’s life must be? Allow others to be themselves around you. Treat their uniqueness with respect rather than criticism. Remember, love is the heart of spirituality.

8. Appreciate the Present 

It is easy to get caught up in a materialistic mindset and focus on wants, needs and desires. When you begin pursuing possessions, you lose sight of what you already have. The world becomes an obstacle, standing between you and what you desire. Increase your personal spiritual growth by developing what you already have. When you do this, the world becomes an ally in helping you achieve your goal.

9. Accept Unhappiness

We all know someone who seems perpetually happy. She is always smiling, and her can-do attitude never fails. You might envy this person or even resent her. You might think, She’s so lucky. I wish I could be that happy. In reality, happiness is not a personality trait. It is not a gene that some people are born with and others aren’t. Happiness is a choice. And unhappiness is a natural part of life.

Everyone has their good days and bad days. It is how you deal with those bad days when they come along that matter. You are quick to treat your physical ailments, so don’t hesitate to treat your emotional and spiritual ailments (such as depression, insecurity, fear, mood swings and bad tempers). Use meditation, yoga, prayer or relaxation techniques to soothe your soul when you find yourself unhappy.

10. Don’t Fear Mistakes

Mistakes and bad decisions are some of our greatest teachers. If you never did anything wrong, you would never learn anything new. Think of mistakes as opportunities to learn and grow, and give yourself full license to make them. We are all imperfect people. If you are able to embrace your imperfections and laugh at yourself, you will become more flexible and open-minded. Remember: We live in an imperfect world so that we can better understand perfection.

Have patience on your quest for spiritual growth. The process toward enlightenment is slow and unnoticeable at first, and you may feel compelled to give up. Just keep in mind that spiritual growth is a lifelong commitment to love, peace and understanding, and it is meant to be taken one day at a time. Like so many other things in life, spirituality is about the journey, not the destination. To quote the Buddha, “There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting.”

Everyone’s spiritual journey is extremely personal. I hope you find some wisdom, guidance and/or support in your spiritual journey to love, peace and understanding with the suggestions above.

Bonded in creating emotional and spiritual growth.
Love, 4C WFS Member