Monday, May 22, 2017

Monday's Message ~ Statement #12



 

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 “It took me a long time not to judge myself through someone else’s eyes.”  -Sally Field

“Why should we worry about what others think of us, do we have more confidence in their opinions than we do our own?”  -Brigham Young

“The reward for conformity is that everyone likes you but yourself.”  -Rita Mae Brown

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Statement #12, “I am a competent woman and have much to give life.”
This is what I am and I shall know it always.
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+ Karen’s Perspective +
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        Sobriety and Statement #12 in action continue to assist in uncovering my strength and value.  In the past I struggled with identity; by comparing myself and only seeing value as it related to other relationships.  This left me in a people-pleasing mode which opened the door to emotional and physical abuse, and the phrase I uttered many times was, “I’m sorry.”  I had often felt alone in the world, helpless and invisible.  Alcohol fueled these feelings, with the world becoming more threatening while I slowly disappeared.  I tried to make up for these feelings by being the center of attention.  Today I understand that that was the only way I knew to validate myself.
        Initially, it was quite frightening to see or think of myself as a competent woman but I kept repeating this Statement in thought and in writing.  Saying these words soon began to feel empowering.  Daily sobriety and simple tasks began to add to a growing well of competence.  As my sobriety grew, so did the belief in myself.  Doubt began to dissipate, replaced with feelings of self-trust.  The more I trusted myself the more comfortable the world became.  This felt very new and exciting.
        The WFS Program is life-affirming and Statement #12 encourages introspection and acceptance.  Understanding value, I feel grateful for Jean and WFS.  I feel centered in life instead of trying to be the center of attention.  Measuring myself with my own yardstick, I release a need to compare.  With action and effort, (no matter how small) ability is increased, scope widened and I continue to become a blossoming, competent woman.  Hugzzz, Karen
 
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Hi 4C Women,
        Sometimes it takes a single word or phrase to lessen my feelings of competency.  In the past, I would hold onto that feeling and believe it as my truth.  As Dr. Phil says, it takes mega positive statements about someone to erase one negative.  It was recently pointed out to me as well about a Ted Talk given by Brene’ Brown where she talks about getting a job review and hears 30 things done well and one “opportunity for growth.”  We forget those 30 things and think only about the “one opportunity for growth.”
        It is amazing how fragile or vulnerable we can become even as we grow in our feelings of being a competent woman.  This has been my journey and I feel it’s important to share.  It’s vital to understand that one lapse in having a negative thought is only that - a lapse.  It is not falling completely back into the woman you once were who questioned her value.  Being in what I refer to as a gray area in our lives is okay.  It’s the staying there that can be problematic.  This temporary gray area is all part of the continuing journey of rebuilding the self-esteem, self-worth and self-love you need and deserve.  It is the reward for working hard on becoming that competent woman.  There will be times in our lives when our circumstances and situations may put into question just how competent we feel.  This is the time to reflect honestly on all that we have accomplished, to reach out to others who know and care about us because just as we encourage and support others, we can ask to receive it as well.  Let’s face it, we all need encouragement.  While the work is ours to do, we are not alone and when we are in a fragile place in our lives, it may be more challenging to bolster our self-worth all on our own.
        While we become independent women, we must always remember that we are also interdependent and that’s when we are mutually dependent in a healthy manner.

·         Who and what is part of your support system as your grow your feeling of being a competent woman?
·         Who can you reach out to reaffirm the positive changes you have been making?
·         What self-talk do you give yourself when the doubts come in?
--WFS Member

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© 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
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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, May 15, 2017

Monday's Message ~ Statement #9

 

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 “Sometimes letting go is simply changing the labels you place on an event.  Looking at the same event with fresh eyes.”  -Steve Maraboli

“Dear Past, thank you for all the lessons.  Dear Future, I am ready!!!”  -Anonymous

“Your past may have built you, but it never reduced you.”  -Bianca Sparacino

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Statement #9, “The past is gone forever.”
No longer will I be victimized by the past.  I am a new person.
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+ Karen’s Perspective +
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        “The past is gone forever” is such an incredibly freeing statement.  WFS and Statement #9 in action have helped me learn how to live with my past instead of trying to run away from it.  I feel a sense of comfort today which was not present before my New Life and can glean insight which assists in the upcoming moments.
        For years, I tried to escape my past with alcohol but this only reinforced the control it had over me.  Alcohol also affected how my mind recalled the past.  Oftentimes it exaggerated the fun times while downplaying the not so fun times.  It also served as a memory distorter, jumbling around facts and creating situations out of thin air.  Along with distorting past events, alcohol briefly erased unpleasantness from my consciousness, until the next morning when it reappeared two-fold.
        Learning to be comfortable with my past takes time and commitment.  Statement #9 helps me do this by affirming where I am in this moment.  While the past can mean 10 seconds ago or 10 years ago, anyway I look at it there is no “redo button.”  Since the past is gone, I can reframe the moment in a new light.  This brings a sense of wonder to the immediate moment, filling it with life and love.  A small example of this might be an impulsive response to a beautiful setting sun, wanting to capture the colors with a photograph for countless viewings later.  Instead of struggling to grab a photo, I can simply sit in the breathtaking stillness, cognizant of the beauty unfolding around me and allow the wonder to touch and fill my soul.  Appreciating the moment, I leave the sunset behind while the beauty of that precious moment courses endlessly through my spirit.  Hugzzz, Karen
 
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Hi 4C Women,
        Statement 9 - my all-time favorite!  I started moderating a WFS group in 1989 and at that time, my marriage was suffering.  Five years later I was divorced after 4 years of separation.  Statement 9 kept drawing me back into the present as I kept wondering how, after 27 years of marriage, that I still struggled with low self-esteem, fear of decision-making and guilt for not being able to make my marriage work.  I kept reflecting on the past and beating myself up for staying, for leaving, for emotionally hurting my children.  Finally, it became so clear to me that the “no longer will I be victimized by the past” was the key to release the past hurts, damage and pain because I was only hurting myself or so I thought.  I slowly began to realize that my negative feelings, thinking I could somehow change my feelings about the past without working on it, was also hurting my children.  It was that light bulb moment when I got it!  I could not change the past, absolutely impossible, but I could certainly learn from it, create awareness of how I allowed it to destroy my self-worth and not live in the pain.  I learned to temporarily sit in the pain, face it and find ways to change my thoughts, my attitude and most of all, my guilt and fear about what I could not change.  The more I practiced releasing the past, the more balanced my life became.  Even now when I need to communicate with my ex about our adult daughter who is very ill and he ignores me, I find myself hesitating out of fear.  I temporarily sit in that fear and the courage arrives to assure me that what matters is that I have my voice, I speak it and that is good.  After all, what can he do - divorce me?
        I encourage each of you to find ways to release the past, heal the pain, let go of guilt and live in the present so you can handle the current challenges that need your attention and cherish the good moments.  In other words, enjoy your New Life.  --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
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, May 8, 2017

Monday's Message ~ Statement #8





 
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 “Be patient with yourself.  Self-growth is tender, it’s holy ground.  There is no greater investment.”
-Steven Covey
 
“A woman is the full circle.  Within her is the power to create, nurture, and transform.”
-Diane Mariechild
 
“We do not need magic to transform our world.  We carry all of the power we need inside ourselves already.”  -J.K. Rowling

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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.
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+ Karen’s Perspective +
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     “Why can’t you grow up?  Why can’t you do what she/he does?  Are you always going to do/think/be that way?”  These were some of the negative self-talks that I had with myself before my New Life.  Repeatedly hearing these phrases from myself and occasionally others, left me feeling obsolete and unworthy.  Yet, under the influence I felt comfortable masquerading as me, oftentimes becoming the center of attention.
        Growth had been a frightening concept.  I equated growth with anxiety, much like the anxiety I had felt as a senior in high school, and I unconsciously avoided it.  Of course, I had felt grown up, but I was reacting to life through negative and unchallenged thinking.  Today, sobriety and Statement #8 in action create a portal for expansion.
        Whether it be spiritually or emotionally, today growth comes with an open mind and heart with the practice of Statement #8.  Instead of running away from an anxiety provoking moment, I can turn towards it, discovering strengths and uncovering abilities.  Taking this path, I can validate my being and affirm my worth which feels incredibly fulfilling and leads me into growth.  Prioritizing, which I also ran away from before sobriety, has now become an important factor in bringing a sense of balance to my life.  Discovering, enhancing and becoming is now my focus.  Hugzzz, Karen

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Hi 4C Women,
        What I appreciate about WFS is that spiritual growth has its own path for each of us.  For some, it may be nature and others it may be their faith.  There are no requirements, just your own individual path to follow.  I found that I needed a lot more emotional growth before I could explore spiritual growth.
        I love how Karen said that emotional and spiritual growth comes with an open mind and heart.  I relate so much to that as I definitely was close-minded in my blame game and growing emotionally had a whole different slant all those years ago.  Once everyone accepted blame for my life, I would be emotionally stable and grown - so I thought!  It turned out to be just the opposite.  It wasn’t until I took responsibility for my emotional growth, learned to understand me, my behavior, my actions, and my history, that I was able to make positive changes.  It actually was empowering to move forward, to be in charge and to find my voice.  I realized that in staying stuck, being numb, I was paralyzed.  I was losing sight of all the beautiful gifts of strength, resilience and courage I had inside me to make my New Life.  It took a while and there are times that I still struggle yet I know all of my emotional setbacks are just lapses in response to extreme challenges.
        I will not go back to the person I was before I quit drinking.  I won’t be crying for weeks and blaming everyone for my situation.  That knowledge alone is freeing.  Whether it is emotional or spiritual growth, there are no guarantees that life will be perfect, that we will have figured everything out.  It is a lifelong journey and it’s our choice to work through each challenge, to identify the feeling and move forward no matter how slowly or quickly.  I am a firm believer in acknowledging feelings because that gives us something to work with.  If I deny my disappointment, anger, resentment, frustration or other negative feelings, how will I ever uncover the why and discover the what next?  To me, that is emotional growth and the spirit will lead me, fill my heart and hold me up while I heal and learn.  --WFS Member
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© 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
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, May 1, 2017

Monday's Message ~ Statement #5

 

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“A single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind.  To make a deep physical path, we walk again, and again.  To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.”  -Henry David Thoreau

“Change your thoughts and you change the world.”  -Norman Vincent Peale 

“We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think.  When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.”  -Buddha

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Statement #5, “I am what I think.”
I am a capable, competent, caring, compassionate woman.
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+ Karen’s Perspective +
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        My ability to think and respond clearly was lost in my alcohol use.  Often, I just reacted instead of thinking something through.  I had been so immersed in thinking about alcohol, for example; when I would drink, with whom, etc. that most of my thoughts were measured against an alcohol yardstick.  Drama, negativity and pain quickly became a lifestyle.
        WFS and Statement #5, (which Jean hailed as the “crux of the Program”) provide the anchor for living a new life without alcohol.  Choosing my thoughts was a new concept for me, one that began with the practice of simply being aware of my thinking.  Initially it felt frightening with so many thoughts flooding my mind that I wished for the quiet to return, but I wanted sobriety more than silencing my mind.
        Statement #5 takes daily practice.  Before sobriety I had crafted a deep, alcohol flood in my mind.  I needed to build a bridge over this great expanse to maintain sobriety and enrich my life.  Realizing that this would take time, I began to search my thoughts.  Each redirection of thought, each time I stopped myself from taking a drink, I added another plank over the raging flood waters.  Soon I had a sturdy structure forming a path in my New Life.  As for that old yardstick, well it makes for a great walking stick on an exciting journey.    Hugzzz, Karen

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Hi 4C Women,
        I love this statement.  It takes a lot of hard work to change your thoughts about who you are if your self-esteem, self-worth is blocking you from self-love.  I disliked myself for such a long time, believed I was unlovable and not deserving of receiving love.
        Today I presented two brief presentations on WFS in our church services as I have been moderating a WFS group there for 10 years (March 5, 2007).  As I was explaining how we open our meetings, share a positive and end with the WFS motto, I recall a time when saying I was competent was beyond challenging and a positive that happened during the week – you’ve got to be kidding!  Now ask me for a few negatives and I’m on board.
        Reading the WFS Mission Statement and especially the WFS philosophy about releasing the past, once again helped me realize how WFS has changed my life.  When I think of how I identified myself, how negative I was and downright miserable, I shudder to think of what my life would be like today if not for sobriety through WFS.  It would not be a life.  I’m grateful that I have a New Life and can celebrate that rather than the other way around which would definitely not be a celebration.  I was almost going to cancel my presentation today because of extreme personal challenges and feeling down, yet I am glad I decided to follow through.  The service message was on hope and the pastor said that when we need hope, it’s important to reach out for it and when we have it back, it’s just as important to give it away to others.  That is what I have been receiving and I think that pretty soon I’ll be able to give back as much hope as I have been given.  The best part is that the meeting notice flier with the 13 Statements and contact info was inserted in 210 bulletins.  A few people thanked me on their way out and I’m “hoping” they will pass the info on to any woman who needs it.
        I’m attaching 5 questions that will be a guide in learning to build your self-esteem, to make each day count and focus on the lessons to be learned as you learn to love yourself.  --WFS Member 
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Every morning, answer these 5 questions.  This is about moving forward in leading a full life, learning to love yourself, taking risks, being responsible for your choices and the willingness to learn life lessons.  This takes perseverance, a strong desire to live an authentic life, to speak with a fearless voice, live joyously, be resilient and to have a deep caring and awareness of who you are today without judgment. 

1.    Do it!  Make the day count!  What am I going to do today to make this day count? 

2.    What can I do today to love myself? 

3.    Today I dare myself to..... 

4.    Today I take full responsibility for.... 

5.    What I most need to learn today is...
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© 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
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, April 24, 2017

Monday's Message ~ Statement #2

 


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“Because I remember, I despair.  Because I remember, I have the duty to reject despair.”  -Elie Wiesel

“Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will.”  -Zig Ziglar

“I am a big cock-eyed optimist.  I try to accentuate the positive as opposed to the negative.”
-Betty White

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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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        The WFS Program has been a life saver for me; allowing me to embrace life without alcohol while opening the door to new insights with active use of the Statements.  Before my New Life, I was unaware of how negative my thoughts had become and had no clue that I was drawn towards drama.  This line of thinking kept me in a constant victim type state of mind, which fueled my drinking.
        Statement #2 in action can be eye-opening; first with the awareness of thought, then with identifying negativity.  One experience still stands out for me, it was the first time I was conscious of removing negativity, as Jean Kirkpatrick mentions in our Program Booklet.  I had been outside in the field with the alpacas, and our guard dog, Speicher started to whimper which immediately caught my attention, and by the time I reached him, he was in a full-blown howl.  My eyes quickly scanned over him to see what was causing his agonizing pain.  Immediately I saw that his fur and skin were caught in the fencing.  Freeing him from the fence, his howl stopped and he romped off towards the now startled alpacas.  Strangely, I heard his howl again, but this time it was in my mind.  My heart was racing hearing this painful replay, and at that moment I consciously changed my thoughts.  Although I don’t recall exactly what I began to think about, the howl in my mind stopped.  Seconds later I heard it again, and again I stopped the replay.  It had been so hard to hear Speicher cry the first time and I wondered why was my mind trying to relive this pain filled sound.  I certainly didn’t want to hear that howl again.
        From that moment on, I realized that I could alter my thoughts instead of altering my mind.  This was quite the revelation and I felt the beginnings of a sense of security in my life.  The ability to change my thoughts is empowering and I soon realized that the world wasn’t against me but maybe my thoughts had been.  It takes continued and daily practice to manage my thoughts; Statement #2 provides the platform while I build possibilities.  Hugzzz, Karen

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Hi 4C Women,
        I have been practicing this statement diligently for several weeks as I have been taking care of my adult daughter and the unexpected stay of my 20-year old granddaughter and her 2 dogs.  I often wonder how I got to this point.  Have you ever believed that once you reached a certain age, life would be easier, calmer or settled in a basic routine?  I initially thought this when I was much younger.  I truly believed that when I turned 40, all my major life decisions would have been made.  Well, I turned 40+ and nothing could have been further from the truth.  I went through a divorce, house on the market for 9 months and living in an apartment with my 2 teen children, purchased my first house on my own, bought a car and worked long hours to support myself and family.  Eventually moved to AL 11 years ago and changes are still happening.  Never would have imagined this as I am in my 70’s and, once again, my thought that life would be easier, calmer and settled has been given the same wake-up call that I had in my 40’s.  Fortunately, I am equipped with coping tools from the WFS program, plenty more life experiences that has taught me that making mistakes are part of life and I am blessed to have lots of emotional support.  All of these factors have helped me cope in a very stressful time of my life.  I am sad, I cry, I hurt, get frustrated yet I know I have the ability to make it through these current challenging circumstances.  I also know that I need to set boundaries which is probably the most difficult when it comes to family as I am sure it is for many.
        Even the negative thoughts that creep in when I am feeling exhausted are, to me, a good sign because it tells me that I am aware, that I need to remember to take care of myself.  Years ago, the negativity would have pulled me down into a cycle of being only a victim, blaming others and feeling only hopelessness.  I wake up each morning and work on that reframing I talked about last Monday.  I do that positive self-talk which says I am grateful that I am in a place that I can handle this, that I have the strength and ability to do what I can and if that changes, I will make different choices, continue expressing my feelings and ask for help.
        Always remember that negative thoughts hurt us, it harms our self-esteem, our ability to cope in tough times.  Depending on our behavior and attitude, negative thoughts also hurt our relationships if we see the world in only a negative light.  As Dr. Phil has said, “How much fun are we to be around?”  So, the biggest lesson I have learned is that when I’m in in pain, that it is absolutely important to express my authentic feelings.  It is also important to share the joy when it appears; the appreciation for the support of others as building/developing healthy relationships gives us light in the dark times.  These beautiful, caring relationships provide laughter, love and much needed support.  It also makes it so much easier to return that light when those we care about need it back.

·         I ask you to consider what coping tools you have in place to handle negative thoughts?
·         Are you setting boundaries that support your ability to handle major challenges?
·         Do you know when to ask for help and how easy is that for you?
·         Do you find yourself playing the blame game, seeing yourself only as a victim, feeling hopeless?  If so, what plans can you make to help yourself?  Is there a Plan B?
·         Are you authentic in sharing your concerns or pretend everything is just fine?
·         Do you share your joys, your appreciation?
·         Who is part of your support system that makes you feel safe and willing to share?
--WFS Member
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© 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
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!