Monday, September 19, 2016

Monday's Message - Statement #1


“Dare to Soar” 

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“The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.”  -Ralph Waldo Emerson 

“There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”  -Alice Walker

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Statement #1, “I have a life-threatening problem that once had me.”
I now take charge of my life and my disease.  I accept the responsibility.
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+ Karen’s Perspective +
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        I have not once regretted waking up sober.  It is a feeling of simple joy, to open my eyes at the light of day and know exactly what I did the night before.  I know who I spoke with and I know what I did.  It gives me great comfort to begin and end the day sober, present and discovering.
        Uncovering the reasons behind my alcohol abuse is a continuing journey.  There is no single reason or factor; instead it is comparable to peeling an onion with another layer underneath the previous one.  What I initially thought and felt about why I drank is different from what I feel today.  The WFS Program and Statement #1 assist me every--single--day.  It is the one Statement that I simply cannot live without.
        Earlier this week I was downsizing a jewelry box and found a little treasure; a small felt pouch that contained some well-loved items.  Inside this purple pouch was a small stone with the inscription “Dare to Soar” and a hand written note of affirmations.  The paper was quite worn but as I carefully unfolded the note the words were still crisp and powerful.  My mind recalled the countless times I held tightly to this little bag of love and I unfolded the last remaining item, a tiny copy of the Statements.  I smiled ear to ear.
        Though I no longer carry this little pouch in my pocket, I still carry its contents; now it is in my heart and soul.  Each Statement resides within me, touching my life in never ending ways while bringing joy to life.  Hugzzz, Karen
 
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        When I reflect on having a life-threatening problem, I think of the threat my choices had on my life while drinking.  Sometimes I shudder at the lack of accepting responsibility in my decision-making.  Taking charge of my life was a scary thought, yet an action I was being asked to accept in Statement #1, to actually be accountable, to accept the consequences.  Let’s face it, I wanted to do what I wanted to do and alcohol was a great excuse, at least in my mind.  I was lonely so I drank.  I was fearful of speaking my voice, so I drank.  I hated myself, felt rejected, so I drank.  The list became quite long.
        When I made the decision to stop drinking, I would have NEVER, EVER believed that I would learn to love myself, to overcome my fear of rejection, to love myself enough that anyone who entered my life would enhance it and not be it!  I was so fearful of being on my own again, having to make my own sober decisions and yet here I was, doing just that.  I have learned so much through WFS - from loving myself, finding my self-worth, making mistakes and learning from them (no more identifying myself as stupid) and embracing change.  Now that was a milestone.
        If you are struggling with sobriety/recovery, consider why you are holding onto unhealthy choices.  What is the reward in harming yourself and your relationships?  Now that may seem like a strange question when the end result of drinking/drugging is obvious, yet I know I held on to drinking because I didn’t have to think of how lonely I was, that I was in an unhappy marriage of my choosing, that it was easier to stay stuck than consider the unknown or what if I proved that I was as stupid as I believed, that on my own sober, I was lousy at decision-making?  My reward was not having to test those possibilities, to just numb my feelings and hope they would miraculously change without any personal growth of my own.  And perhaps that is the scariest thought of all - leaving even the worst situation for the unknown, unfamiliar.
        So consider this option -visualize your life with freedom, availability to do what you love for yourself and others, clarity, self-love, self-worth, self-respect as the goal with the support of those who understand.  Can you see yourself in that picture?  I encourage you to start identifying your greatest fears, be willing to work towards addressing these fears with a strong support system and by utilizing the WFS program.  Learn to accept responsibility for the changes you are willing to make and leaving behind the negative consequences of your previous actions.  Realize you will make mistakes yet know these are life lessons, not punishment, that will help us to become even better at problem-solving and decision-making.  Soon you will have the life you want and deserve as you accept responsibility and take charge of your New Life.  -WFS Member
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© WFS Inc. * Women for Sobriety, Inc., PO Box 618, Quakertown PA 18951
Email: contact@womenforsobriety.org  *  Ph: 215-536-8026 *  Fax: 215-538-9026
Daily Inspirations on Twitter: @WFS4C  *  Check out the WFS Blog: http://wfsorg.blogspot.com
DONATE NOW ~ Your Donations Help Support WFS’s Services ~ Thank you!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Thoughts to Think About - Self-Acceptance #5



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

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“We want to be somewhere else, and don’t know where
– we want to be someone else and don’t know who.”
~Jean Hersey~

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No matter what my imperfections,
no matter what my wishes for changes in my life,
and no matter what others say today…I’ll accept myself.
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        Acceptance!  It’s human nature to want acceptance.  As children, we crave it from our peers, which is why bullying is so painful.  As far as I am concerned, whoever coined the phrase “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” was wrong, wrong, wrong.  Words do hurt and their effect can last a lifetime.  This is why accepting ourselves is key to building healthy self-esteem.
        Accepting, approving and loving who we are, where we are right now, is crucial.  It is the key to lessening the effects of hurtful words or actions by others.  I can still remember specific words said to me throughout my life that crushed my spirit.  It took a very long time to quiet those words in my head and realize that I was in charge of accepting myself.
        As I began to make changes in my thinking and my behavior, I actually began to like who I was becoming.  For me, acceptance began to look and feel differently as I began making those “inside” changes.  I mean, you can’t be a bully and expect self-acceptance because that’s who you are and to heck with how your actions/behavior affect others.
        In order to build healthy self-esteem, you need to truly feel good about your actions and your words.  Now, I wasn’t a bully but I was a people-pleaser and all I ever got back from that was feeling used and resentful and absolutely no self-respect.  I thought I was getting acceptance from others but all I was getting was walked on - at my own doing!  I do believe that in order to achieve acceptance from others, it needs to begin with yourself.
        How would you complete this sentence:  To develop self-acceptance, think about something you don’t like about yourself.  Then say aloud, “Even though I don’t like __________, I still like myself!”  One way to determine if your words or behavior are helping you reach your goal of self-acceptance is to ask yourself if you feel happy with the things you do and the way you do them.
        I would encourage you to follow up with considering how important is the thing you don’t like about yourself, what changes (if any) you can make and how that would impact your self-acceptance.  Remember, the past can be healed and we can change.  It’s hard work, yet the rewards are so worth it.  For that’s how we transform ourselves into 4C women!
-WFS Member
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© WFS Inc. * Women for Sobriety, Inc., PO Box 618, Quakertown PA 18951
Email: contact@womenforsobriety.org  *  Ph: 215-536-8026 *  Fax: 215-538-9026
Daily Inspirations on Twitter: @WFS4C  *  Check out the WFS Blog: http://wfsorg.blogspot.com
DONATE NOW ~ Your Donations Help Support WFS’s Services ~ Thank you!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Monday's Message - Statement #4


Focus on Abilities not failures

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“The best way out of a problem is through it.”  -Author Unknown

“A problem is a chance for you to do your best.”  -Duke Ellington

“The problem is not the problem.  The problem is your attitude about the problem.  Do you understand?”  -Captain Jack Sparrow, Pirates of the Caribbean

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Statement #4, “Problems bother me only to the degree I permit them to.”
I now better understand my problems and do not permit problems to overwhelm me.
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+ Karen’s Perspective +
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        Escape was the way I dealt with problems before my New Life.  Alcohol was the vehicle for this escape and no matter how hard I tried, I could never evade a problem.  I constantly felt overwhelmed by issues and the desire to run increased.  In fact, by trying to escape, I complicated every problem and reinforced feelings of incompetence within myself.  I was teaching myself to fail and sadly, I was getting good at it.
        The WFS New Life Acceptance Statements provide a new vehicle for transformation.  Statement #4 paired with an openness to change, brings about new insights through discovery.  Change becomes less scary and less frightening as confidence builds from learning new experiences and new ways of doing things.  After all, life is not static but continues to grow and evolve.
        With Statement #4 in hand, I began to teach myself about abilities instead of failures.  Of course trying does not equal succeeding but I was learning how to try.  Instead of escaping, I was learning to stay in the moment and experience what the issue was.  I began to move through problems instead of away from them.  Then something amazing began to happen; I was teaching myself how to manage and move through a problem, I began to feel stronger, less afraid and capable of finding solutions.  I learned the problem wasn’t really the problem but my thoughts about the problem were the problem!  Hugzzz, Karen
 
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        I once was a worry warrior!  No problem-solving or seeking insight for me, just worrying.  I want to make a clear distinction between situations that require problem-solving, decision-making and just plain worrying about everything!  Those crucial situations are not in the same league by any means as worrying about everything.
        I found that being a worrier about everyone and everything was a great distraction from looking at my life, to creating change, being responsible for my choices.  I saw myself as a victim of other people’s behavior so what could poor little me do but sit comfortably in my worry chair.  I also worried about things that had nothing to do with me or my direction in life.  I truly thought my worrying would solve other people’s problems but that wasn’t my job or my right to intrude and hamper their progress in learning to tackle their issues.  I was depriving them of what I myself needed - to learn the difference between needless worry and serious issues, to develop coping skills, problem-solving and decision-making abilities.  Solving a real life issue is a step in the right direction yet it is the follow through that teaches us whether or not we were successful or made a mistake.  This is where we really learn about our ability to accept responsibility for our choices and LEARN from them.  I once read that worrying is deceptive.  It’s your brain telling you there’s a way to control something that you actually can’t control.
        So if you find yourself needlessly worrying, either about someone else or everything else, reflect on why you choose to spend so much energy for nothing, if you are fooling yourself that you can control someone else’s life, hampering their growth or running from making decisions in fear of failure rather than creating invaluable life lessons and personal growth.  -WFS Member
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© WFS Inc. * Women for Sobriety, Inc., PO Box 618, Quakertown PA 18951
Email: contact@womenforsobriety.org  *  Ph: 215-536-8026  *  Fax: 215-538-9026
Daily Inspirations on Twitter: @WFS4C  *  Check out the WFS Blog: http://wfsorg.blogspot.com
 
DONATE NOW ~ Your Donations Help Support WFS’s Services ~ Thank you!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

September Reflections

Excerpts from the September “Reflections For Growth” Booklet by Jean Kirkpatrick, Ph.D.


Reliability
September 5
    Confusion in our world -- political confusion, emotional confusion, and personal confusion is known by so many.
    But for me, there is a deep reliability in my solid sobriety for providing me with a chance for growth.
    Begin to rely on your sobriety as a chance for growth.
Forgiveness
September 10
    Over those many, many years of drinking, so many persons forgave me for my insults, my rudeness, my lack of consideration for them.  Would I have been so generous?
    Now, during these remaining years of sobriety, I will exercise forgiveness too.  I will be as forgiving of others as others forgave me.
Dependency
September 14
    Each of us has dependency needs and independent ones too.  The perfect balance is not to be very, very dependent or very, very independent.
    We need others but we also need our own space.
    Today I will examine how dependent I am upon others.
Assertiveness
September 21
    Generally speaking, women have been taught to be passive persons.  As little girls, this meant being seen but not heard.
    As grown women, it means a subtle pressure of frustration.
    And this is what we must overcome with a new feeling of assertiveness.
Anger
September 28
    Is anger the end result of smashed dreams, unfulfilled hopes, unrealized wishes?
    Is anger that emotion that wells up in us when we feel useless, unfulfilled, helpless, unsuccessful?
    Anger is useless -- it is crippling -- it is an emotion that overrides us if we permit it to.


Women for Sobriety’s Motto

“We are Capable and Competent, Caring and Compassionate, always willing to help another; bonded together in overcoming our addictions.”
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© WFS Inc. * Women for Sobriety, Inc., PO Box 618, Quakertown PA 18951
Email: contact@womenforsobriety.org  *  Ph: 215-536-8026 *  Fax: 215-538-9026
Daily Inspirations on Twitter: @WFS4C  *  Check out the WFS Blog: http://wfsorg.blogspot.com
DONATE NOW ~ Your Donations Help Support WFS’s Services ~ Thank you!

Monday, September 5, 2016

Reflections - TOLERATION


{ { { { { 

Toleration 

     This week we will pursue our feelings about toleration.  Several years ago I had no concept whatever of “toleration,” for I had none.
     Why is it that alcoholics are so intolerant of others, yet we ask others to tolerate us?
     Today I am grateful for the changes in me.

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      Toleration can be difficult.  Being negative and intolerant is easy; it doesn’t require insight or understanding.  But being tolerant is something we can learn.
      I certainly needed others to tolerate me when I was drinking.  It was a contradiction; I couldn’t tolerate myself, yet I asked for toleration.
      We all know that tolerance is acceptance of people who are different or who are difficult.  Tolerance is allowing that person to be who they are, as long as they are not harmful to other people.  Tolerance requires intelligence; it also requires a caring and compassionate heart.  I have come to understand that strength is required to be a compassionate, tolerant person.
      I think that I feel the need to be tolerant because I am grateful.  When I needed tolerance it was given freely.  I was loved when I was not particularly lovable.  When I stopped drinking and needed advice and counsel, I was accepted by the women of WFS.
      When I am intolerant, perhaps it is because I am forgetting how it feels to be in the other person’s shoes.  Let me always remember.  Hugs, Zizzy

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      As I grow in sobriety I also grow in tolerance.  I observe this growth in my interactions, especially with difficult individuals.  Last week I had an opportunity to deal with a person who is actively drinking and not very nice.  Instead of getting mad, I recognized my former self in this person and felt my heart swell with compassion.  My kindness to them cleared the air and the situation was resolved.  I don’t think this person was used to others treating them kindly.  I’m glad I could do this for her.
      I was so intolerant in my drinking days, especially when I was hungover.  I threw fits in stores with clerks and yelled at customer service reps over the phone.  They were just doing their job but I would get frustrated so easily.  I’m sure I put out a horrible energy and others responded in kind.
      Now it’s just the opposite.  I’m calm and patient and generally happy.  That’s what people feel and it’s what I get back.  I marvel at my “good luck”!  People are so nice!  I used to joke when I got sober that everyone changed!  Everyone was so kind and helpful!  It was me who changed.  We get back what we give out.
      It’s such a sad way to live – that vicious cycle of drinking, hangover, intolerance, and expectations.  I’m so grateful to be sober, to live an authentic life, filled with love and kindness, compassion and caring.  I look at how far I’ve come and realize I’ve become that 4C woman I used to dream about.
      Stop drinking, use the Statements and you will too.  Onward!  Deb - Cornville, AZ

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      My experience with being an intolerant alcoholic seems rooted in the common knee jerk reaction most people have with being called out.  Get them before they get you...the best defense is a good offense...question me or look at my behavior at your own peril.
      Hiding our addiction is so important.  Anything that threatens that behavior must be crushed with the overreaction of intolerance.  We’ve all heard the remarks, “Who are you to question my drinking, eating, over-medication...who are you to question anything...let she who is without sin, throw the first stone.”
      It’s so important for us to protect our disease and we will go to any length to protect ourselves from ourselves.  That, in a nutshell, sums it up.  Even when those who love us try to reach us, and oftentimes we react with anger and retribution.  How dare they???  Who do they think they are....immediately doing an inventory of their wrongdoings.  Anything to deflect their concern.
      I heard an interesting quote this morning about eating disorders, “It’s not what you’re eating, it’s what’s eating YOU.”  So true for all of us struggling with addiction.  I’ve been doing lots of research about my own history with addictive behaviors.  There is so much great stuff out there.
      One of the many reasons I’m so grateful to WFS is the lack of intolerance.  So many women feel safe to write that they are struggling...”losing the battle”...on the edge...feeling ashamed.  What a wonderful sense of human acknowledgement.  It is hard to stop and to understand why the allure of any drug that “makes” us feel better but does the opposite.
      I’ve also been blessed to find the books written by Brene Brown regarding shame.  She writes about the connection between addiction and shame.  Why every slip and every failure contributes to the idea we have in our addled brains that we can’t do it, that we’re not worth it, that we deserve the derision and humiliation our drinking wreaks on our lives and those we love.
      Intolerance is one of the tools we carry to stave off the scary possibility of a life without booze.  Without real, credible substitutions for our “best friend” we white knuckle our way through by holding on for dear life to not drink or drug.  The fear of not having that drink there to cushion reality is very real.  Substance abuse is a medical condition.  The last time I decided to quit I did it alone in my apartment.  I was very sick and probably should have gone to a hospital.
      Why didn’t I go?  Been there...done that...three times.  Always was the star patient until I got home and had to deal with reality.  I had tried AA many times.  I agree with many of the concepts of AA, but could not deal with the darker parts of other struggling alcoholics giving advice about how to stay sober.  Don’t take any meds prescribed by your Doctor...it’s just another addiction.  And then the infamous 13th step....I talked with a dear male friend who has been sober in AA for over 20 years about this 13th Step.  He was honestly surprised.  He had never heard of WFS.  Not surprising since I mentioned the organization to the staff at the rehab hospital I spent a week at and never heard of the women based approach to sobriety.
      Their attitude was similar to the tolerance issue.  “We believe in the AA program.”  I was not offering WFS as a substitution for AA, but as an alternative for women.  I would think that substance abuse professionals would welcome additional resources and not blow off the idea that any other organization could offer women a better alternative.
      Tolerance seems to increase with inner understanding.  The better we understand our own shortcomings as human beings, the better we do at understanding the shortcomings, real or imagined, in others.  Many thanks, Maine Chef
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© WFS Inc. * Women for Sobriety, Inc., PO Box 618, Quakertown PA 18951
Email: contact@womenforsobriety.org  *  Ph: 215-536-8026 *  Fax: 215-538-9026
Daily Inspirations on Twitter: @WFS4C  *  Check out the WFS Blog: http://wfsorg.blogspot.com
DONATE NOW ~ Your Donations Help Support WFS’s Services ~ Thank you!

Monday's Message - Statement #2


Combating Negativity = Lifestyle Change

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“With the new day comes new strengths and new thoughts.”  -Eleanor Roosevelt

“Hate is self-inflicted torture.  It hungers for revenge, damage, division and violence, but is never satiated.  Hate is a psychological hell to which we condemn ourselves and endeavor to burn others.”  -Steve Maraboli
 
“Our overcoming is in the exact proportion to our becoming.”
-Jean Kirkpatrick, Ph.D., WFS Program Booklet 

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Statement #2, “Negative thoughts destroy only myself.”
My first conscious sober act must be to remove negativity from my life.
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+ Karen’s Perspective +
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        Me have negative thoughts?  What negative thoughts?  I pondered these questions as I began to learn about the WFS New Life Program.  I was not drinking, yet my mind continued to focus on the same barrage of ugliness.
        Being honest with myself, I began to recognize the negativity that was running circles in my mind.  Admittedly, it did not feel good to be aware of this but once I acknowledged it, it felt good to move away from that habit and a habit was all it was.
        As I began to embrace Statement #2, I realized that combating negative thoughts was a daily task.  It was not something to cross off of a list or to achieve and then move merrily on; it is a lifestyle change.  It didn’t take long before I began to see and feel results; I felt freer, lighter and I felt a sense of ease growing in and around me.  This was new!
        Having altered my morning routine as of late, I am beginning to see that negativity is sneaking back into my daily scope.  Feeling off emotionally and responding in haste can be signs that I have to make a greater effort in managing negativity in my life.  This may include writing down thoughts in a journal or adjusting my schedule to include some exercise, meditation and a creative outlet.  Asking a friend for insight is an excellent way to gain perspective as well.
        Jean mentioned in our Program Booklet, “so long as we have just one single negative thought, we stand to lose our sobriety.”  Scary!  Something as simple as one scrap of negativity can alter everything.  Hugzzz, Karen
 
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+  Member Insights  +
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        Now that is scary to think that one negative thought could put our sobriety at risk.  Perhaps it is how we cope with that negative thought that determines how at risk we are.  I have found that when negative thoughts enter my mind, my best defense is to share it with someone I trust.  It loses its power when I speak it out loud.
        Years ago, I found I could live in negative thoughts for a long time and while I hated feeling that way, I didn’t know how to stop.  Negativity became the habit, as Karen shared, and the one way to break a habit is to replace it with another one - a healthier one!  That is when I decided I needed to practice Statement #2 and that started with awareness.
        What helped me in the beginning was listening to others and how I felt after being with them.  Did I feel lifted or drained?  Did I feel I was helpful in some way?  Did this person accept my feedback based on my life experiences?  Did I get a sense that she even heard my feedback?  This is when I realized that my negativity was hurting me and those I spewed only negativity onto.  There is a HUGE difference between needing support and encouragement in working through life’s challenges, willingness to learn coping and problem-solving skills then just being completely negative without a desire to get feedback, to work towards change, and to only vent.  Don’t get me wrong.  I believe in venting.  It helps clarify what is frustrating us or making us angry.  The second part of venting, though, is figuring out what needs to be done.  This is where the problem-solving skills start to develop.  This is also how I recognized that I had a very negative attitude and was not really seeking to identify my true feelings, accept positive support, change my approach or even let go of what was creating my negativity.  I was surprised to learn that sometimes the best solution is to let go of what is causing so much angst.
        Another thing I have learned along the way is patience because, goodness knows, a lot of people were patient with me.  I truly believe that negative thoughts are a sign that something is possibly hurting us and it’s our responsibility to figure that out.  I am so grateful for the supportive women that I am privileged to know through WFS, guidance of the 13 Statements and I know in my heart, that putting these Statements into practice has created my New Life.  -WFS Member
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© WFS Inc. * Women for Sobriety, Inc., PO Box 618, Quakertown PA 18951
Email: contact@womenforsobriety.org  *  Ph: 215-536-8026  *  Fax: 215-538-9026
Daily Inspirations on Twitter: @WFS4C  *  Check out the WFS Blog: http://wfsorg.blogspot.com
DONATE NOW ~ Your Donations Help Support WFS’s Services ~ Thank you!