Friday, July 29, 2016

Thoughts to Think About ~ Level 2

 


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WFS Statement #9, “The past is gone forever.”
No longer will I be victimized by the past.  I am a new person.
 ΓΈ
 “How can I forgive others for their mistakes
when I cannot forgive myself.”  -Karen Davis
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        Forgiveness is elusive.  We aren’t sure how it’s done, so we close our minds to it.  Resentments, on the other hand, are easy to understand.  They are seductive but deadly.  Why do we hang on to them?  What is our payoff?  Ironically, resenting someone else’s behavior or their success diminishes us.  Although we get a momentary sense of superiority when we judge them, we get no long-term benefits.  Much, in fact, is lost.
        Forgiving others, particularly those who have harmed us, seems unfair.  Why should we?  Those wiser than we say “Do it.”  Until we have tried forgiveness we can’t really know the blessing we’ll receive.  When we forgive others, we accelerate our growth.  We see opportunities that resentment blocked.  Forgiveness gives us the power to open doors and step into new, inspiring circumstances.
        Remind yourself that you are in control of your thoughts and actions.  You are never as helpless or in as pitiful a state as your ego would have you believe.  Remind yourself of the responsible person that you are – using the real definition of responsibility: the ability to respond, or the ability to control our responses.  Map out the worst case scenario and accept it.  You’ll often find that the worst case scenario isn’t as bad as the dreadful scenario that you have dreamt up in your mind.
        Deliberately forgiving myself for not being perfect will allow me to go easier on others too.  We’re all doing as well as we can, right now.  And that’s good enough!
EnJOY!  Nancy/fourcwoman

~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~

Hi 4C Women,
        I must admit that before WFS, I was a very judgmental person.  It probably boosted my self-esteem to believe that I behaved better than someone else.  WFS has taught me so much about myself and how to sincerely appreciate the struggles and challenges that others face and how they are working to change their lives.  I am grateful for the structure of the WFS meetings in that we support each other and do not make judgmental statements.  We share how we handled a situation and the difference it made in our lives.  This is how we create a safe place for sharing and hopefully provide choices for those who are unsure of decisions needed to be made.
        I am taking a Forgiveness class right now and it is amazing how strong a hold the past can still have on so many of us, especially when we believed we have let it go.  This, for me, is the deep work that needs to be done and is the most difficult.  I am learning once again that holding onto regrets, resentments and pain truly is holding me back.  It doesn’t mean that the hurt didn’t happen, but holding on does mean that I am holding myself hostage without a chance of true freedom.  Mostly it is forgiving myself for the choices I made, the unhealthy relationships I held onto to prove I was lovable.
        One group member made a comment that truly changed my way of looking at a particular situation – “You didn’t do it with malicious intent.”  And that was the truth.  I did the best I could with what I knew at that time and most importantly, who I was at that time.  Questions bombarded my mind - have I changed?  Would I make a different decision today?  Is my lifestyle showing and feeling that change?
        What an amazing gift to ourselves when we can forgive.  If there is still pain and that is acknowledged, then the work of healing can begin.  We can release the past and stop victimizing ourselves by a past that cannot be changed but can be healed with the willingness to do the work.  Are you ready?  Are you willing?
Love, Dee
_____________________________________________________________________
© WFS Inc. * Women for Sobriety, Inc., PO Box 618, Quakertown PA 18951
Email: contact@womenforsobriety.org  *  Ph: 215-536-8026  *  Fax: 215-538-9026
Follow us on Twitter: @WFS4C
DONATE NOW ~ Your Donations Help Support WFS’s Services ~ Thank you!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Monday, July 25, 2016

Monday's Message ~ Statement #3


 

“I’d be happy if….” 

҉


“Happiness depends upon ourselves.”  -Aristotle 

“Don’t rely on someone else for your own happiness and self-worth.  Only you can be responsible for that.  If you can’t love and respect yourself-no one else will be able to make that happen.  Accept who you are-completely; the good and the bad and make changes as YOU see fit—not because you think someone else wants you to be different.”  -Stacey Charter


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Statement #3, “Happiness is a habit I will develop.”
Happiness is created, not waited for.
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+ Karen’s Perspective +
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        Create my own happiness?  This sounded absurd before my New Life but as I began to learn how to practice Statement #3, something remarkable happened…….I felt authentic joy.
        For years I believed that happiness was something that I had to continually chase.  It seemed hard to come by and listened to countless people stating how to achieve this elusive feeling; from various ads (including for alcohol) to well-meaning family and friends.  What I discovered though that what was missing was simply………me!
        What I am still discovering through WFS is that no one else can tell you how, create or give you happiness.  It is a feeling that comes directly from within you.  No one else knows what will unleash pure joy from you.  There is no magic formula, no amount of alcohol, material things or persons that will create your happiness.  In fact, it is almost always that these things prevent happiness from arising.  Downing another drink only increases the separation between the states of bliss desired from our own current perceived lack.
        This is YOUR life.  Own it, create it and feel the joy that comes from the depths of who you are.
Hugzzz, Karen
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+  Member Insights  +
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        Jean wrote quite a bit on Statement 3.  She shared that she had many problems with happiness.  It became clear to her when she realized most of her sentences started with, “I’d be happy if...”  As she said, we do not find happiness; it is not something we get.  It happens on the inside of us.  Oh how I related to this.  There was always a condition to my happiness.  If I was thinner, I’d be happy.  If I lived closer to my family and friends, I’d be happy.  If I was more respected, I’d be happy.
        Thanks to Jean’s insights, I began seeking happiness using Statement 3 as my guide.  I knew I had to change my attitude about my circumstances and me (respecting myself first), learn to appreciate what I had rather than what I didn’t have, not put the burden or pressure on others to make me happy, discover what gives me joy (it changes over time), and being in the moment so I truly experienced happiness when it was happening.  Others can certainly add to our happiness by their caring support, fun surprises, even a card in the mail that we weren’t expecting.
        For me, the bottom line was learning to love myself, to be in a place of peace, to be my own best friend and create cherished memories whenever I could.  Jean also said that happiness came in moments as sadness comes into all of our lives and not acknowledging that would be denying our authentic feelings.  In fact, my therapist told me that the best revenge (authentic feeling as I was going through a divorce) was to live well and be happy.  I took that to heart and it helped even more in practicing Statement 3.
        My friend gave me a journal to write about my delights/happy moments in my daily life.  Others might call it a gratitude journal.  No matter what the title, it’s part of recognizing that we are creating our own happiness.  Consider this a treasure hunt for joy.  Remember that establishing what you value plays a part in finding joy and happiness.  ~WFS Member 

·         Do you know what you value?
·         Do you spend time on self-care that results in happiness?
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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

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

Thursday, July 21, 2016

WFS T-Shirts


WFS T-Shirts Available!



Limited Time Only for a $15 Donation




(For U.S. Residents only, postage will be covered by the donation.)


The design for the T-Shirt was created a member of the Champaign IL Group and over 100 T-Shirts were donated by the group as a fundraiser at our 2016 June Conference.  There is a limited amount of 2XL and Medium sizes; however we have several dozen of Large and Extra Large available (100% Cotton).  When making your donation at the WFS online catalog site (http://www.wfscatalog.org/Donations_c16.htm) please type in a note under ‘comments’ in the shopping cart that it is for a t-shirt and what size you prefer.  If you are in a foreign country and wish to purchase one, please email the WFS office for the shipping cost: contact@womenforsobriety.org.

"Those First Few Days Clean & Sober..." Article


Many thanks to Regina for mentioning WFS, along with a list of alternative recovery groups, in her latest web article (click on the title to go directly to the article):

10 Helpful Hints to Make It Through Those First Few Days Clean and Sober

                 By Regina Walker 07/19/16



Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Reflections ~ SOBRIETY


 { { { { { 

Sobriety

     Sobriety can be hell or sobriety can be the most marvelous time of our life.  I choose to make it the latter.  Those who find it a state of hell are those who are still wanting to drink.
 
     Today I cherish my wonderful new life.
 

 { { { { {

      As a woman who has struggled for many years with staying sober, I have finally discovered that until I was able to understand the underlying reasons for my urge to drink from the time I was a teenager I would never move into the happiness I now experience with sobriety.
      Many thanks to WFS.  I tried to make it to the Conference this year but it didn’t happen.  Definitely next year!  Maine Chef 62

{ { { { {

      Why do we as humans turn to self-destruction and abuse?  This is a question I often ask myself and the answer is so complicated that I have only begun to skim the surface.
      As we become sober, we talk about our journey.  A road of darkness is the path we were all once on.  In time you realize once you turn your metaphorical head lights on, the path that once felt so lonely, is actually quite a busy one.
      Emotions and vulnerability are words that many were brought up learning to avoid.  Maybe because it was not attractive to seem weak in our society, or to stand up for ourselves.  So we push those emotions deep down and find other ways to cope.  We become professional liars, and escape artists.  We stray so far from our center that we become totally different people.  No wonder we feel forced to press the self-destruct button constantly.  We don’t even know the person we are destroying anymore anyways.  We have become so disconnected from humanity and so self-absorbed that it feels strange to have a conversation with a pleasant stranger.  This is unnatural.
      We have to remember that many humans struggle with their emotions.  This is no longer a lonely road.  At times our emotions seem foreign and may make us feel weak.  Our society has created the signs that lead us straight to this dark road we once found ourselves roaming.  It has become much too easy to get there, and to stay lost there.  Unnecessary prescriptions, diets, vacations, material things, are all things being thrown on top of the real problem:  being unable to connect with yourself and others.  Just because self-esteem, faith, and compassion is not written on a prescription bottle does not mean it can’t help you.  We are the only ones that know what is best for ourselves.  It’s hard to find your way when you keep yourself in a repetitive, self-destructive lifestyle.  It’s what we’ve trained our brains to become accustomed to.  Often this lifestyle is what is accepted in society as well.
      It is not uncommon to feel at war with your emotions.  We have turned to self-medicating our deepest, purest self because we don’t understand it.  Then we become fearful of what we don’t understand.  Stomping on our feelings as if they were a deadly spider in our own home.
      As so many of us have found, once we gain the courage to face our fears, emotions, and past misfortunes we become incredibly strong.  That is key.
      We as humans have a duty.  We are compassionate and empathetic animals that yearn to connect.  When we begin to feel hopelessness, we must pick ourselves up.  We often do that by surrounding ourselves with positive people, or taking the time to connect with ourselves in meditation.  This new way of life we are navigating is actually that road less traveled.  A path that was always there, waiting for us to realize we were going the wrong way the whole time, waiting for us to turn back.
      Our troubles, our mistakes, and our misfortunes have only been the building blocks for us to become closer to one another.  When we come out of our dark cavernous thoughts and put our energy back into humanity, something positive, we feel that connection.  It should not be a taboo to be who you are, or ashamed of what you once were.  Shame is a shroud that keeps us hidden from the world.  Your past is a tool now; you use it to connect your present to your future and to bond with others in distress.  You can no longer self-destruct.  You are needed, wanted, a life worth saving.  A soul worth keeping pure, able to help and teach new generations the way to a fulfilling life.  A sober and happy life.
      Thank you to all the women who dedicate a part of their lives to helping others heal.
Lillian T. - Massage Therapist, recovering addict, WFS subscriber

{ { { { {

      I have been sober for a little over 5 and half years and, to be honest, my sobriety has not been pleasant.  Now don’t get me wrong, I have no desire to drink.  I accept the fact that I suffer from the disease of alcoholism and I know that drinking will not make anything better.  The main reason that my sobriety has not been pleasant is because of me.  I got sober, but I did not change my thinking.  Recently, with the help of the WFS Program and my therapist, I have come to recognize that this needs to change or else I will remain unhappy forever and sobriety will be a burden.  I have no desire to remain in my misery cage any longer.  I am trying very hard to change my thought process.  Some of the things I do to help keep me as happy, healthy and balanced as possible are as follows:
·         Read the WFS Statements every morning as well as a women’s meditation book entitled Each Day a New Beginning by Karen Casey.  I then journal about both the statement and the meditation.
·         Exercise every morning.
·         Try to eat a clean diet (no sugar, nothing white or processed and nothing fried).
·         Do a positive mind meditation in the evenings.
·         See my therapist every other week.
·         Moderate a weekly face-to-face WFS meeting.
·         I am currently reading a book called Unstuck by James S. Gordon, MD; which is a self-help guide to get over depression without the use of pharmaceuticals.
·         Take the WFS Daily Pledge every morning.
·         Use supplements and herbs to help with maintaining a positive mood.
 
      A few things that I have realized that I must do in order to have a happy sobriety and life are to always try to keep a positive outlook even when things are not going well.  Also when I am feeling down it is important for me to continue with my self-care and not neglect myself.  I am also working on trusting in the Universe.  It isn’t easy and I often struggle because I, unfortunately, have a lot of damage to repair from my past years, but I will never give up.  “AmyMarie”
 
{ { { { {

      The last time I saw “Harry” he was leaving our company for a promotion and higher pay.  I would miss him, though we had butted heads a few times.  Harry was a little rough around the edges but he had a good heart.  I was so proud of him when he stopped drinking years ago... prouder than even this opportunity for a higher position and more pay.  That was about 8 years ago now.
      I heard last week from a mutual friend that Harry was not doing well.  He was drinking again and his bosses were watching him carefully.  I felt sad remembering how he looked in his drinking days, sick and unhappy.  He nearly lost his job then, and only after a medical leave did he achieve sobriety and return to work.
      Harry’s recent relapse is a very sad reminder of what happens all too often.  I don’t know what he did in terms of maintaining his sobriety; we didn’t talk about those things.  I do know he continued to play Trivia at his favorite hangout (a tavern).  That worried me.  I wonder if something happened to trigger his relapse or if it was a slow slide.  Did he have a support group; did he ever really thrive in sobriety?
      Sad as it was to hear this news, it was good for me in a way.  I have been in recovery going on 7 years and maybe I am getting a little relaxed about it.  I haven’t been active online with my WFS sisters in a while.  I wonder from time to time if I could have a glass of wine with dinner.  But when I think about it, I remember how wine got hold of me and eventually made me feel terrible and very unhappy.  I don’t want to risk going down that road again.  I am very thankful that I am thriving in my sobriety.  So when I was having dinner with the friend who told me about Harry, I knew why I could not join her in a glass of wine.  Hugs, Zizzy
 
{ { { { {

      I don’t think my sobriety was ever hell.  At times it could be trying but I was so ready and so grateful to be sober there has always been an underlying joy in my sobriety.
      As I share with women who are new to recovery and struggling “no matter how hard it may feel to be sober it is so much easier than being a drunk.”  So true!  Mentally and emotionally we long for that drink as it has become our habit and our crutch, but physically our bodies are saying THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU.  At least that was my experience.
      It felt so good to wake up sober, with a clear head and a strong body.  I didn’t smell like red wine or beer and I could look at myself in the mirror and smile first thing in the morning.  I didn’t have to worry about who I called or what I said or call in sick or any of the other shameful things that used to visit me on a daily basis when I was drinking.  Nope, all I had to do was not drink that day.
      I was armed with plenty of tools, thanks to my sisters in sobriety and the WFS message board.  I could check in and celebrate another sober day and I had many cheerleaders!  I had no cheerleaders when I was drinking, but I had plenty of folks disappointed in me, mad at me and ashamed of me.  Yes, sobriety was so much better.
      Be grateful for your sober life.  You are not missing a thing!  If you are on the fence and worry that it’s going to be hard, know that it’s much, much harder living a life of lies, remorse, shame, and fear.  Not to mention a sick and hurting body.  Rather, change your thinking (the Statements can help you do this) and CELEBRATE YOUR SOBREITY.  You are worth it.  Onward!  Deb – Cornville, AZ
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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
 
DONATE NOW ~ Your Donations Help Support WFS’s Services ~ Thank you!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Monday's Message ~ Statement #5


 
Thoughts are Boomerangs 

҉


“Thoughts are boomerangs, returning with precision to their source.  Choose wisely which ones you throw.”  -Author Unknown

“By choosing your thoughts, and by selecting which emotional currents you will release and which you will reinforce, you determine the effects of your Light.  You determine the effects that you will have upon others, and the nature of the experiences of your life.”  -Gary Zukav, Seat of the Soul

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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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        One of the most exciting things we can learn about employing the WFS “New Life” Program is that we have the ability to influence our lives.  Statement #5 in action and the “crux of the Program” as Jean wrote, begins to shape days in fresh and often overlooked ways.  In the past, it was easy to blame someone else and point the finger but utilizing these five simple words creates sometimes astonishing results.
        Alcohol quickly removed the ability to think clearly, often with negative results.  After falling into a pattern of drinking and increasing problems, Statement #5 in action is a life changer.  Thoughts can be reined in and corralled instead of running wildly and those thoughts that were often silenced now have the opportunity to grow and blossom.  It is absolutely freeing to now have a choice.
        Visualizing thoughts returning just like a boomerang makes it easier to manage thinking.  Here are some examples: 

·         I am able _____ instead of I can’t _____.
·         I am closer to achieving _____ instead of I will never _____.
·         I tried and I have learned _____ instead of it’s impossible_____.
·         A few close people _____ instead of no one understands _____.
·         I choose to _____ instead of I don’t get to _____.
·         It’s not for me _____ instead of I hate _____.
·         I will give it a try _____ instead of I always fail _____.
·         I might learn something new _____ instead of it’s stupid to _____.
·         There is value in _____ instead of it’s no use _____.
·         That’s behind me _____ instead of change paralyzes me _____.
·         I am growing _____ instead of I’ll never get anywhere _____.
·         I am content _____ instead of I never get what I want _____.
·         I am a capable, competent, caring, compassionate woman _____ instead of I’m worthless ____.

What thoughts are boomeranging back to you in your New Life?  Hugzzz, Karen 

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+  Member Insights  +
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        Ah, the biggest boomerang and a red flag for me, is “regrets” - the if only’s.  When I start thinking of regrets, I get out a list I made a few years ago.  It still surprises me that there were so many regrets after years of recovery.  I believed I had let go of them (Statement 9) and then realized that while I had these regrets, at least on a list, I need to look at where I was in my life at that time.  Those decisions were not one of a 4C or even a 2C woman!  This is why I get that list out - to remind myself that I am not the same person, nor can I change those decisions and to focus on the hard work I have accomplished.  This is why I laugh at the old saying that if only I knew then what I know now, things would be so different.  Well, that’s impossible and that’s why knowing better know is what you have to work with.  That’s why I choose to look at mistakes, even regrets, as life lessons.
        We are meant to learn from our mistakes so that we can hopefully not repeat them.  This is always the challenge of sobriety and recovery because we have to learn some life lessons the hard way, repeating them until the lesson is learned.  What helps me is knowing that I can either be miserable and bound to my regrets that I cannot change or learning a hard life lesson and begin to change my behavior, my responses and even my relationships.
        Lastly, knowing what is my truth and what is the fantasy of the if only’s.  A friend told me that it is called rationalization and I think that’s a good description.  We can try to rationalize how our life could have been different if we behaved differently or we can acknowledge that we acted on what we knew at the time and work on letting go of what might have been.  After all, holding on won’t change a thing except to make us prisoners of the past.
        I have a night light that says to be the change you wish to see in the “world”.  I’d like to add to be the change you wish to see in your “life”.  That is Statement 5, learning to believe in yourself, building your self-esteem, self-worth, self-love so that you can give back what you have given yourself.  ~WFS Member

·         What thoughts are keeping you from being the change you wish to see in your life?

_____________________________________________________________________
© WFS Inc. * Women for Sobriety, Inc., PO Box 618, Quakertown PA 18951
Email: contact@womenforsobriety.org  *  Ph: 215-536-8026  *  Fax: 215-538-9026

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