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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+  Member Insights  +
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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!

WFS in Choice In Recovery Video Project


WFS has had the privilege of being part of an amazing video project that was hosted by Choice In Recovery organization and included several recovery organizations.  Several of our awesome 4C group leaders from Denver and Boulder Colorado debuted in it.  The video is now finished!  When I watched the final copy... it was just beautiful – tears of joy to see this project come to life.  Many, many thanks to Choice's founder, Irina, for channeling her passion and determination into creating the concept and structure for such a diverse and much-needed educational product for the public.  And kudos for all the folks that are in this video and shared their knowledge and care in helping others and for INSPIRING HOPE that we can all live a healthy, balanced life with dignity and grace.  And, Anna, the awesome videographer…words surpass me in seeing the finished, polished, visually and audibly captivating creation she has pieced together.  Well done all!    -Becky @ WFS

Click HERE to see the video.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Sobering Thoughts Article by Jean "Becoming"

(Note from the editor: Special request for this article to be reprinted...something about getting new resolutions... here is your inspiration!)

 

Jean Kirkpatrick, Ph.D., WFS Founder


 
     It seems fitting to start this New Year with some thoughts about how we will mold ourselves and how we will grow this year.
     So many of us simply make a list of resolutions for the year, promises of dream-like conditions that frequently have gotten lost in the shuffle by February 1.  And I mean more than simply making a resolution to stop drinking, as I used to do for so many years.  Now I no longer have to make that resolution, and I hope that is true for all of you.
     But I want more than just sobriety.  I don’t just want to be dry.  I want a whole new life, and I want to be a whole new person.  That means that, in this New Year, I will consciously strive to be the best of myself.  I will work toward that goal.
     My list begins with those things I desire the most; to be loving and kind; to be sincere and honest.  After those, I begin with the reinforcements of myself:  be confident and unafraid; be assertive and daring; be positive and enthusiastic; overcome problems with the least amount of stress as possible.
     Being the best of ourselves means that we must do a powerhouse job on self-imaging.  We must clearly know what we want to become before we can work at becoming it.
     Keeping resolutions is difficult because, to keep them, we must form new habits.  And forming new habits is just as difficult as breaking old ones.  The first habit we should form in this New Year is to read our list of resolutions every day, so that we can keep before us what it is we are trying to accomplish.  Without the constant daily reminder, we will surely fail.
     So, the first habit we will form this year is to read our list of “becoming” each morning, before we launch into our day’s activities.  Our second new habit will be to practice being confident and unafraid, assertive and daring, positive and enthusiastic.
     Becoming these is dependent upon our ability to image ourselves that way.  We must first use our imagination to see ourselves as self-confident and unafraid, assertive and daring, positive and enthusiastic.
     Before we can become any of these things, we must first see ourselves that way and must believe that we are capable of being those things.  We must begin with liking ourselves and believing in ourselves enough to know that we can be confident and unafraid throughout the rest of our lives.
     We live in a world of problems and stresses.  Even worse than that, we have to live being surrounded with people who are overcome by their problems:  personal, financial, ethical, moral, emotional, and spiritual problems.  Life is tough, and only some survive.
     The survivors are those persons who have a faith, above all else, that the world does have law and order, that a Universal Soul is in charge, and that they can overcome the immediate personal problems that are in the lives of each of us.
     The element of survival and triumph is in knowing that each of us is capable of far more than we think we are, that we can have confidence in ourselves to overcome stress, that we are molded by our thoughts and that those who think positively will move ahead of those who think negatively, for they will be moving backward.
     There is magic in self-imaging and it is for all of us merely by our being diligent in starting and forming a new habit:  to begin each day with the imaginative image of ourselves as self-confident and unafraid, assertive and daring, positive and enthusiastic.
     Begin this year with more than just resolutions.  Begin this year with the formation of a new habit that will make sobriety a marvelous experience of growth and personal triumph over otherwise defeating circumstances. ø
 
(This article is a reprint from the Sobering Thoughts newsletter, January 2000 edition and is in Volume 4 of the Collection of Sobering Thoughts Booklets and has comments from Becky Fenner.)
 
Comments from Becky:
      “To be or not to be”… that’s the question you need to ask yourself when you want to start a new life.  To be sober or to keep drinking; to be healthy or to be sick; to be courageous or to be fearful; to be loving or to be hateful; to be positive or to be negative; to be assertive and outgoing or to be timid and withdrawn.  This list poses some very real and very important decisions to make before you can visualize the new woman you want to become.  As Jean stated so well in this article, “We must clearly know what we want to become before we can work at becoming it.”
      Life can be tough at times, but I believe if you have an optimistic, confident attitude you can get through any situation that comes your way.  Build a firm foundation for yourself by starting with your self-esteem and self-worth.  You have the choice to create the life you want, but you need that determination to make it through the tough times.  As Jean suggests, start by making a new, daily habit of reading your list of ‘becoming’ qualities you want to have.
      Our thoughts are the most powerful tool we possess so use it wisely to create that new life for yourself… you can become a sober, 4C woman! ø
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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 17, 2017

Monday's Message ~ Statement #13


 
 
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“Energy and persistence conquer all things.”  -Benjamin Franklin

“Patience is necessary, and one cannot reap immediately where one has sown.”  -Soren Kierkegaard

“Every great dream beings with a dreamer.  Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”  -Harriet Tubman

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Statement #13, “I am responsible for myself and for my actions.”
I am in charge of my mind, my thoughts, and my life.
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+ Karen’s Perspective +
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        After a long 15-month gestation and worldwide audience, a new 4-legged life has come into this world which was watched by over a million excited fans.  It was a moment of bonding; the world became united in joy as this new mom gently nuzzled this precious babe.  I could almost hear a collective sigh of relief as she gave birth; my own breath quickened and my insides felt like they were smiling as the calf was born.
        Active use of the Statements, especially Statement #13, provides a natural course for progression in sobriety.  Like the extended period that is needed to bring a giraffe calf into the world, recovery requires patience, persistence and passion.  I recall several times in early sobriety when I wanted to be somewhere else on this journey.  I had felt frustrated, believing that I hadn’t achieved anything worthwhile, yet unknown to me at that time, I already had, I was living my New Life.
        As our New Life progresses, we can map out our path by choosing our thoughts and directing our actions.  Jean Kirkpatrick made sure that this Statement focuses on us; after all it would be impossible to “Be responsible for someone else and their actions.”  Responsibility, to me, means “to respond with my ability” not “respond with someone else’s ability.”  April, the giraffe, was quite capable of giving birth herself, she didn’t need anyone else to have her calf, and we get to watch this newborn enjoy a new life!  Hugzzz, Karen 

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+  Member Insights  +
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Hi 4C Women,
        I recall a time when I was so fearful of responsibility, making decisions and mistakes, that I could not imagine ever being in charge of my life.  Persistence and patience and going through a divorce are what forced me to change my attitude and way of approaching life.  Thank goodness I was sober and learning to put Statement 13 into action.  I didn’t have the luxury at one point to live in my fear.  I had to just do it - to be responsible for my life, my thoughts and my mind - again, my attitude.
        This is where Statement 2 was also a guide as negative thoughts ruled my life, my thinking.  How in the world could I be in charge of my life if I was always putting myself down, thinking the worst and not expecting anything to change.  No kidding.  I had to change.  I was in charge.  It finally sunk in and I began to soar.
        Lately, I have been struggling with family concerns and I have reached out for help and graciously received it.  However, I know that because of Statement 13, any decisions I make are my responsibility.  Any mistakes are mine and I’m okay with that.  Years ago, I would have fallen apart.  I’ve been crying a lot of tears, yet for me that is healthy, a release of sorts.  I learned that holding in my feelings is what use to get me in trouble.  It’s much healthier for me to speak and share my feelings than to hold them in as long as I know that I am in charge, that I am fully responsible for my responses.
        I recently came across a quote from Brene Brown and I thought it was fitting for how we help each other in WFS.  We don’t solve other people’s problems; we support each other through our life’s challenges:  “Together we will cry and face fear and grief.  I will want to take away your pain, but instead I will sit with you and teach you how to feel it,” Brene Brown.  I share this so that you will listen to the concerns, fears and grief of others with the compassion and understanding we learn in WFS.  It’s more than hearing; it’s about listening intently and letting that person know you care.  I have received all of this in WFS and am truly grateful.

·         How well do you listen?
·         Are you thinking of your response while the other person is talking?
·         How easily do you share your feelings or concerns?
·         What changes have you willingly made to put Statement 13 into action?
·         If you are struggling with being responsible for your mind, your thoughts, and your life - what fear(s) are holding you back?
--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's Message ~ Statement #7 & #10

 


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“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of those depths.  These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern.  Beautiful people do not just happen.”  -Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

“You have been criticizing yourself for years, and it hasn’t worked.  Try approving of yourself and see what happens.”  -Louise L. Hay 

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

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Statement #7, “Love can change the course of my world.”  Caring becomes all important.
Statement #10, “All love given returns.”  I will learn to know that others love me.
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+ Karen’s Perspective +
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        Easter is a special time of the year for me for several reasons.  First, it is a time of rebirth, renewal and discovery.  Secondly, it (usually) marks the arrival of longer days and budding greenery and lastly, Easter weekend was my first weekend sober.
        A few days ago, I marked ten years sober on the calendar while reflecting on the many, many changes in my New Life.  That one evening ten years ago there were no bells ringing or major closing ceremony as I contemplated sobriety; I simply knew something had to change, and that change had to come from me.  What I hadn’t realized was that this moment was brimming with love.
        The WFS Program and especially the “Love” Statements, #7 and #10 continue to provide an avenue for love to flourish.  It was love that opened my heart to hear what my family was saying, it was love that opened my eyes to the reality of my behaviors, and it is love that courses through my being allowing me to remain steadfast in my resolve.
        Days upon days I stayed on the WFS Online Forum, reading posts from women who understood.  A treasure box of knowledge lay open before me and I was hungry to learn.  I ventured into a scheduled chat and soon found myself laughing until my sides hurt or releasing tears and pent up emotions.  The Daily Pledge became automatic and I loved extending an open hand to the next woman ready to start her day.  I had bought my first Program Booklet, Jean’s books, numerous workbooks and soon had a favorite, the Reflections for Growth booklets.  Soon I had a library of WFS literature surrounding, encouraging and connecting me.
        Contemplating the future, I applied to become a Certified Moderator.  Even though I felt unsure about my abilities, my passion for WFS had been permanently set when I first read Statement #9.  Still my favorite, Statement #9 has been deeply freeing.  Before my New Life, I had carried so much guilt and was unaware how to move through it.  Today each Statement touches me in special ways.
        Who I am in this moment is not just a result of the past decade, but from every single moment beforehand.  Gratitude envelops my heart while love is freely given and returned.  Women for Sobriety provides the guideposts, while I provide the action with the result being a loving and fulfilling 4C life.
        Thank you, Jean; thank you, WFS, and thank you.  Hugzzz, Karen 

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+  Member Insights  +
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Hi 4C Women,
        Karen’s message brought tears to my eyes because it reiterates the love I feel from the women I have met, who have stayed and fought their way to a New Life, faced sometimes unbearable challenges and learned to love themselves and accept love from others.
        I had to laugh when Karen talked about her WFS literature.  You can imagine after 28 years just how much I have in my home.  The messages alone fill boxes!  I feel these messages are all part of the love support I have built in these many years.  I will read over some old messages and it brings back such fond memories and also reminds me of how much WFS has influenced my life, how blessed I have been to observe the emotional and spiritual growth of so many phenomenal women.
        Love truly can change the course of your world and it begins with learning to love yourself.  This is why Statement 9 is also my all-time favorite.  It’s difficult to love yourself when you are chained to the past.  Letting go and moving on to this beautiful New Life provides the foundation to handle the challenges that will continue to test you.  I have been facing very difficult times lately and while I acknowledge the feeling and accept it as my truth; I also am lifted up by the love surrounding me.  My decisions are my own to make, yet it is the loving support of others that provides the balance I need in order to move on.
        So I also say thank you to Jean, to WFS and to every woman who has inspired me and shown their love and concern when I have needed it.--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!