Thursday, August 23, 2018

We're moving!


The Official WFS Blog is relocating!

New blog posts will now appear on our main website:

Keep an eye out for more frequent posts including program announcements, new meeting listings, guest blog posts, and more! This blogger site will be maintained as an archive for those who wish to explore past inspirations.

Thanks for being a dedicated reader, and we will see you on womenforsobriety.org!

Monday, July 23, 2018

Monday Thoughts ~ Statement #4





“Done is better than perfect.”  -Sheryl Sandberg

“Expect problems and eat them for breakfast.”  -Alfred A Montapert 

“If you can’t go straight ahead, you go around the corner.”  -Cher 

***********************************************************************
Statement #4, “Problems bother me only to the degree I permit.”
I now better understand my problems.  I do not permit problems to overwhelm me.
*********************************************************************** 

      Before sobriety and New Life, attempts at solving problems involved running away, denial and oftentimes, breaking down in tears.  I felt so inept at solving problems that a mere inkling of a problem brought intense anxiety which I tried to soothe with alcohol.  Of course, this never worked; the problem was still there plus now additionally, the hangover.
      In our Program booklet, our founder, Jean Kirkpatrick, Ph.D., writes, “Learning that I didn’t have to react to everything with upsetting emotions was an important part of my recovery.”  Discovering middle ground emotions assist in developing problem solving skills which can reduce overwhelming emotions.  Overtime, these new skill sets can lead to increased feelings of balance.
      Sobriety and recovery encourage problem solving.  No matter where you are on this 4C journey, a brief reflection on the first month of sobriety brings problem-solving to light.  Challenging thoughts about drinking or using while embracing new tools and skills is Statement #4 in action.  From this New Life beginning, the satisfaction of remaining sober is born and can fuel decision making.  This change in direction opens up endless possibilities. 

Hugzzz
Karen
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Hi 4C Women,
      Over the years, I have started using the word “concern” as it always makes me feel that I am in a problem-solving mode rather than just worrying about anything and everything.  Statement #4 has helped me understand that worrying solves nothing although it can be the catalyst for awareness of a real issue that needs problem-solving/decision-making or wasting valuable time for something I have no control over.  I once read a definition by Dr. Edward Hallowell who wrote Worry: Hope and Help for a Common Condition.  I haven’t read the book but his definition stuck with me.  “Worry is nature’s alarm system.  It’s sort of like blood pressure.  You need some level to be alive and healthy.  It’s when the alarm goes off for no reason or the level stays too high for too long – that’s what Dr. Hallowell calls “toxic worry” - that problems arise.  When asked how do we know when our worrying has crossed the line, the answer was to look closely at the sources of our worry when it holds us back from doing what we want, from making decisions or living as fully as we’d like.  I believe those are great guidelines to help us recognize the difference between worrying and concern.

Dr. Hallowell suggests:

1.      Never worry alone:  Making contact with another person and sharing your concerns is often the best way to combat incessant worry.

2.      Get the facts:  A lot of times, worry is based on lack of information or misinformation.  Simply gathering data can help you develop a plan of action or even decide you don’t need to worry after all.  (I suggest also contacting a human being, not just the internet, with the knowledge you need.  -Dee)

3.      Make a plan of action:  By making a plan, you assume control of the situation.  “Worry loves a passive victim.”  The more you put yourself in control and reduce your vulnerability, the less you’ll feel toxic worry.

 
The following checklist is a tool to help us understand the word power of “worry” and “concern” and how it can help us move in the direction of problem-solving.  It is from Ascent Advising website. 

When considering the differences between worry and concern, consider these distinctions:

§  Worry distracts us; Concern focuses us.

§  Worry disables planning; Concern helps us plan.

§  Worry blurs our vision; Concern clarifies our purpose.

§  Worry tends to give up; Concern perseveres.

§  Worry exaggerates; Concern pinpoints problems.

§  Worry focuses on self; Concern cares for others.

      Thirty years ago, when I first discovered WFS, each one of the 13 Statements of Acceptance for a New Life dramatically changed my life and Statement #4 was definitely a huge motivator in relieving me of my “Queen of Worry” crown.  What a relief.  I hope you will consider the suggestions and definitions above and learn how to change worry into concern and how to begin making an action plan with the input of those you trust! 

Bonded in not permitting problems to overwhelm us,
4C WFS member
_____________________________________________________________________





Explore our updated website.

 
 
 
 

_____________________________________________________________________
© Women for Sobriety, Inc. | PO Box 618, Quakertown PA 18951
Email: contact@womenforsobriety.org | Ph: 215-536-8026 | Fax: 215-538-9026
Join our Email Service by clicking HERE or text your email address to WFSORG at 22828.
Daily Inspirations on Twitter: @WFS4C | Check out the WFS Blog: http://wfsorg.blogspot.com
Messages of Hope on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/womenforsobriety/
When you shop at smile.amazon.com, Amazon donates to Women for Sobriety.
PayPal Giving Fund: 100% of your donation reaches WFS and contributes to our mission.
 
DONATE NOW ~ Your Donations Help Support WFS’s Services. Thank you!

Monday, July 16, 2018

Monday Thoughts ~ Statement #3




 
“The most simple things can bring the most happiness.”  -Izabella Scorupco

“We need to reshape our own perception of how we view ourselves.  We have to step up as women and take the lead.”  -Beyonce 

“In a time of destruction, create something.”  -Maxine Hong Kingston 

******************************************************************
Statement #3, “Happiness is a habit I am developing.”
Happiness is created, not waited for.
****************************************************************** 

      Alcohol or other substances of abuse can appear to bring happiness momentarily, but underneath a desire to escape or run away, feelings of emotional pain can linger and increase.  As sobriety and recovery flourishes, Statement #3 encourages the creation of genuine and concrete happiness, turning this action into a habit, and into a healthy new skill.

Here are 4 ways which can aid in creating happiness:

1.      Begin your day with intention:  As Jean Kirkpatrick encourages in our Program booklet on page 3, take a few minutes each morning to reflect and read the Statements.  This can also be a good time to set an intention:  focus on being patient with family or friends or prioritizing your day or tasks.

2.      Be physical:  Walk, run, stretch, dance, exercise.  Give a hug, get a hug!  Moving the body releases endorphins, which trigger positive feelings.

3.      Mindfulness:  Focus on where your mind goes in certain situations.  Need inspiration?  Watch inspiring videos, get creative and get connected!

4.      Close your day with gratitude:  Have you considered how your eyes, ears, family, pets, home or sobriety make a difference in your life?  Ruminate on gratitude and it quickly becomes a healthy habit. 

What are some ways or examples that you are making happiness a habit in your life? 

Hugzzz
Karen
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Hi 4C Women,
      Creating a habit takes practice.  I have been practicing developing happiness for a very long time and in looking over the many books, messages and inspirational quotes I have in my possession, I realized I have developed a strong foundation of happiness, joy and peace.  I have especially needed and utilized this foundation the past couple of years because I have also experienced deep sadness, frustration and a bit of resentment.  Here’s the good news - I am no longer the woman who clung to and lived in constant negativity without any hope of a situation, my attitude or response changing.  Everything changes!  Life is not static, it is evolving just as we are with the tools and guidance of the WFS program.
      I found a tear out sheet from a very old Oprah Winfrey magazine about joy and happiness.  Here are the questions and exercises to do: 

·        What gives you the greatest joy - and when was the last time you felt that joy?  Starting now, how can you incorporate what pleases you most into your daily life?

·        Each day for a week, make a list of the things that bring you delight.  At the end of the week, hang the list on a mirror to remind you of all that’s positive in your life. 

·        How much joy you experience is connected to how open you are to receiving it.  Do you believe you are worthy of it?  How might the way you see yourself be robbing you of happiness? 

·        Who in your life brings you the most contentment?  Are you depending more on your spouse, friends, family to bring you satisfaction than you are on yourself? 

      That last question fits right into Statement #3.  Please note that it says who in your life brings you the most contentment.  It does not say that others cannot do that as it is followed by asking if you are more dependent on others to do so.  That is the key question.  We all are interdependent.  People in our lives bring different things to us - laughter, love, adventure, listening, helping, quiet assurance, compassion, joy and so many other emotional needs.  They are there to support, encourage and even bring balance when we are struggling in figuring things out.
      The important part of Statement #3 and the posed questions is that we need to be part of creating the path to joy, happiness and contentment.  We are not alone yet we cannot expect others to completely fill that void in our lives.  It is unfair to them and to ourselves.  It robs us of our ability to be creative, to uncover and discover our needs and how to meet them.  I hope you will take the time to consider the questions and do the exercise of writing the “delightful” list along with Karen’s fantastic suggestions.

Bonded in developing happiness,
4C WFS member
_____________________________________________________________________




Explore our updated website.



_____________________________________________________________________
© Women for Sobriety, Inc. | PO Box 618, Quakertown PA 18951
Email: contact@womenforsobriety.org | Ph: 215-536-8026 | Fax: 215-538-9026
Join our Email Service by clicking HERE or text your email address to WFSORG at 22828.
Daily Inspirations on Twitter: @WFS4C | Check out the WFS Blog: http://wfsorg.blogspot.com
Messages of Hope on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/womenforsobriety/
When you shop at smile.amazon.com, Amazon donates to Women for Sobriety.
PayPal Giving Fund: 100% of your donation reaches WFS and contributes to our mission.

DONATE NOW ~ Your Donations Help Support WFS’s Services. Thank you!

Monday, July 9, 2018

Monday Thoughts ~ Statement #2

“Don’t get upset with people or situations, both are powerless without your reaction.”  -unknown 

“Between stimulus and response there is a space.  In that space is our power to choose our response.  In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”  -Victor Frankl 

“Sometimes it’s best to stay quiet.  The silence can speak volumes without ever saying a word.”  -unknown 

******************************************************************
Statement #2, “Negative thoughts destroy only myself.”
My first conscious sober act is to reduce negativity in my life.
******************************************************************

      Life before sobriety and recovery was focused on arguing.  Quick to choose sides, arguments erupted easily and with the addition of alcohol, emotions escalated into all out wars.  Even when alone, it was easy to engage both sides, continuing fights or disagreements in my mind, acting almost as if the amount of time spent fighting would mean winning.  (Which it never did!)  This was an especially painful way to live; emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually.
      Statement #2 in action, paired with sobriety can de-escalate or even prevent arguments from taking place.  Understanding emotions and reactions can set the tone to reduce negativity.  While this is a continuing process, a reduction in negativity makes room for different responses and a sense of balance.
      Responding differently can include not responding at all.  Instead of going off like a ballistic missile when cut off in traffic, a pause or moment of reflection redirects from attaching to aggression and/or anxiety to simply continuing a drive.  Overtime, the small changes in response can add up to self-compassion and satisfaction.
      The acronym R.A.I.N. is a form of mindfulness from Michele McDonald which can reduce negativity in the example of being cut off in traffic: 

·        Recognize what is going on:  A car just cut you off.
·        Allow the experience to be there, just as it is:  Refusing to engage or flip off car who cut you off.
·        Investigate with kindness:  Maybe that person is trying to get to a hurt loved one in the hospital.
·        Natural awareness which comes from not identifying with the experience:  Simply driving on your way. 

Hugzzz
Karen
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Hi 4C Women,
      I so appreciate how we can practice and internalize Statement #2 as it relates to our own personal lives.  It is what creates our individual successful path to recovery.  I was not one to express myself as I feared confrontation, so my negative thoughts remained focused on my inadequacies - real or imagined.  We all have areas of our life for which we aren’t trained, knowledgeable or able to comprehend (for me, mostly technology).  What I have learned is that it is not a reflection on my capabilities or intelligence.  It is actually a sign of strength to be able to recognize we need help and to ask for it.  Why would I continue to say negative thoughts about myself to myself when there are areas that I am definitely competent in and others that require assistance, help and input from others who have the knowledge and skill I don’t.  So for me, I am no longer crippled by a negative thought that in the past kept me paralyzed with fear, fed my intense sense of incompetency and discouragement.  This Statement has definitely reduced negativity in my life and I am grateful.
      So, rather than harming yourself emotionally with negative thoughts, think about the strengths, knowledge, life experience and abilities that you do have.  And when you do ask for help, you are also building up the confidence of the person you asked in addition to learning something new.
      I picked up this book, “The Law of the Garbage Truck” by David J. Pollay a few years back at the WFS Conference.  This is his description/pledge of the law of the Garbage Truck:

I do not accept garbage in my life.  When I see Garbage Trucks, I do not take them personally.  I just smile.  I wave.  I wish them well.  And I move on.  And I do not spread garbage to others.  I am not a Garbage Truck!  I do not accept garbage in my life. 

      In one chapter he said that we don’t need to suppress or deny bad memories and negative thoughts when they appear, just smile, wave, wish them well and move on as his pledge says.  This exercise helps in not diminishing your joy, your confidence or your belief in what is good and possible in your life.
      The next time a negative thought appears, reflect on it for a moment and then try just smiling, waving goodbye and wishing it well as you move on.  How does it make you feel?  Hold onto that feeling and practice it often! 

Bonded in reducing negativity in our lives,
4C WFS member
_____________________________________________________________________
Happy Birthday WFS!


Please take a moment to reflect on your 4C journey as WFS celebrates 43 years of empowering and inspiring women in building a sober New Life. We thought this was a great opportunity to share this article from 1975 about our budding organization. Thank you for sharing your strength, encouragement, and support with all your sisters in recovery and WFS!_____________________________________________________________________



Explore our updated website.





 
____________________________________________________________________
© Women for Sobriety, Inc. | PO Box 618, Quakertown PA 18951
Email: contact@womenforsobriety.org | Ph: 215-536-8026 | Fax: 215-538-9026
Join our Email Service by clicking HERE or text your email address to WFSORG at 22828.
Daily Inspirations on Twitter: @WFS4C | Check out the WFS Blog: http://wfsorg.blogspot.com
Messages of Hope on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/womenforsobriety/
When you shop at smile.amazon.com, Amazon donates to Women for Sobriety.
PayPal Giving Fund: 100% of your donation reaches WFS and contributes to our mission.

DONATE NOW ~ Your Donations Help Support WFS’s Services. Thank you!

Monday, July 2, 2018

Monday Thoughts ~ Statement #1



"In one and the same fires, clay grows and wax melts.”  -Francis Bacon

“I found that every single successful person I’ve ever spoken to had a turning point and the turning point was where they made a clear, specific, unequivocal decision that they were not going to live like this anymore.  Some people make that decision at 15, and some people make it at 50 and most never make it at all.”  -Brian Tracy 

“When we argue for our limitations, we get to keep them.”  -Evelyn Waugh 

******************************************************************

Statement #1, “I have a life-threatening problem that once had me.”

I now take charge of my life and my well-being.  I accept the responsibility.

******************************************************************

      Recalling those first few weeks of sobriety and New Life, the struggle was so raw, all too real and quietly intense.  Unknown to the rest of the world, a fight was underway and uncertainty filled the senses, but something else was present too; an air of accomplishment.  Waking up sober felt thrilling; gone were the hangovers and fears of what I might have done the night before.  This was different.
      The WFS New Life program kicks off with Statement #1.  In our Program booklet, our founder Jean Kirkpatrick, Ph.D. writes, “I have a life- threatening problem, but it no longer has me.  It no longer controls me.  I am the master of my actions, and I am the master of myself.”  Reading these words for the first time, Jean’s strength and determination leapt off the page, encouraging and inspiring me to continue.
      There is a moment in time when a decision can become a turning point.  In Jean’s book Turnabout she writes, “The decision to quit must spring from the despair or anger or disgust with self which must be accompanied by a deep and sincere desire to change, to remake life in a new mold.  The decision must come from the realization and acceptance that your present way of living is futile and that a new way must be found.  It is extremely important to know that you are not hopeless and that, with help, you can put this blight out of your life.”  Women for Sobriety is a beacon of hope for women everywhere.  If you are struggling, help can be found here:

Hugzzz
Karen
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Hi 4C Women, 

My turning point was hearing Jean speak at the YWCA over 30 years ago.  I had just been promoted to Director of the Women’s Center Dept. and heard about Jean and her empowering recovery program.  Part of the YW’s mission statement is the empowerment of women and girls.  I thought this was a perfect match and I so wanted to help other women.  As I drove her back to the hotel after her speaking engagement, I asked her if she thought I had a problem.  I can still her words echo in my ear - If you have to ask, you do!  I already knew that, yet was hoping she would be part of my denial plan.  She was way too smart to engage in my foolish denial scheme.  I wanted to be in charge of my life and the first step was to stop drinking.  My goal was to become a group moderator and I am grateful to this very day that I accomplished that goal and continue to moderate meetings.  What WFS has taught me is that it is not about stopping the addiction, but changing my negative thoughts, my self-loathing, and hopelessness to becoming the capable, competent, caring, compassionate woman I needed to be in order to be in charge of my well-being.

There is a lot of discussion about core issues that need to be identified if we are to move forward in being empowered.  Recovery is a time to uncover those core issues that kept us stuck in the past and that they are not our identity today or possibly ever!  For me this is the place I started at to understand why I chose to believe only the negative input and discard any positive part of me.  It fed my low self-esteem as though I was at a banquet.  I had the choice to change that, to learn to love myself. 

·        What are the old messages you are still carrying with you today and why do you think that is? 

Once you have uncovered your core issues, take the time to define or redefine your values, your purpose, your joy, your vision as a 4C woman.  Set boundaries and create a plan that leads you into new possibilities.  Sounds so exciting.  Are you ready and willing to do that? 

Finally, how would you define what your New Life means to you?  I often think of the words freedom, availability, choices.  As you work on taking charge of your well-being, add more words to your list.  Keep it handy and let it be the banquet that feeds your New Life. 
 
Bonded in accepting responsibility,
4C WFS member
_____________________________________________________________________
© Women for Sobriety, Inc. | PO Box 618, Quakertown PA 18951
Email: contact@womenforsobriety.org | Ph: 215-536-8026 | Fax: 215-538-9026
Join our Email Service by clicking HERE or text your email address to WFSORG at 22828.
Daily Inspirations on Twitter: @WFS4C | Check out the WFS Blog: http://wfsorg.blogspot.com
Messages of Hope on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/womenforsobriety/
When you shop at smile.amazon.com, Amazon donates to Women for Sobriety.
PayPal Giving Fund: 100% of your donation reaches WFS and contributes to our mission.

DONATE NOW ~ Your Donations Help Support WFS’s Services. Thank you!