Women for Sobriety, Inc. is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping women overcome Substance Use Disorders. Founded in 1975, it was the first national self-help recovery program for women. The WFS New Life Program helps women achieve sobriety and sustain ongoing recovery. This blog is being preserved as an archive, as new posts are now being made on our main website, womenforsobriety.org.
and opinions of you and stuff like that, those will change, but your opinion of
yourself does not have to be based on what other people say.So I just learned that my inner voice has to
be louder than their outside voice.”-Jennifer
“Seek out that
particular mental attribute which makes you feel most deeply and vitally alive,
along with which comes the inner voice which says, ‘This is the real me,’ and
when you have found that attitude, follow it.”-James Truslow Adams
“That inner voice has
both gentleness and clarity.So to get
to authenticity, you really keep going down to the bone, to the honesty, and
the inevitability of something.”-Meredith
alcohol drenched inner-voice was non-stop complaining, firing bolts of energy
from one neuron to another, high-jacking my ability to think clearly.This cycle of negative thinking created a
deep groove in my mind, with the slightest agitation launching a flood of
jumbled thinking.Once on this negative
path, it was easy to settle in and stay for the long haul.
and Statement #2 in action alleviate many of the complications from negative
thinking.Instead of feeling overwhelmed
with fearful or anxious thoughts, I can comfort from within.My inner voice has become a friend again; a
part of me that is authentic and real.It
took some time to begin to trust this inner voice again but sobriety and
recovery continue to strengthen inner communication.
is comforting to reach for Statement #2 in times of crisis or uncertainty.Seeking guidance from within, I can pause
instead of making knee-jerk reactions or exploding in anger.Examining negative thoughts enables skillful
thinking and options can come to light.The
deep negative channel from long ago has become filled with intuition and
guidance which assists in feelings of balance.Hugzzz,
Balance - in times of great stress and huge
challenges, I yearned to find a way to become centered, focused and able to
have a positive outlook.Overcoming
feelings of inadequacy was the first obstacle.That feeling only caused more self-inflicted pain and a false self-image
based on others “assumed” opinion of me.I eventually learned to turn off that negative inner critic even when he
was screaming old “false” messages in my ear.I began to find my truth, my new identity of being a 4C woman.Slowly I began to stop the inner critic from
trying to take away the positive image I was creating of myself.He was a stubborn critic yet I am pleased to
say he is quiet for the most part.Only
when I feel overwhelmed and fearful does he try to make a comeback.He is a sneaky guy.But I am a 4C woman and he’s not a match for
all that hard work I’ve done.
Think about the negative messages you send
a true fact or is it an old message?
it advance and protect your emotional and/or physical health?
is your fear of showing the world your authentic self?
Here are some exercises from Stand Up for Your Life by Cheryl
Richardson that might help you work on facing your inner critic and develop a
·Monitor your thought for one day.Write them down.Don’t judge these thoughts; just become a
witness to your inner dialogue.At the
end of the day, go back and review what you’ve written.What percentage of your thoughts build you
up, give you confidence or support your well-being?What percentage brings you down or prevents
you from fully expressing your power?Are there any themes?
·Once that is accomplished, develop an inner
ally by identifying 5 of your best character qualities and create 5 “you”
statements to remind you of how powerful you are.
·Learn to watch your words – revise your
vocabulary!Make a list of 3 old words
or phrases and use the new words or phrases you’ll replace them with.
·List 5 ways in which you will change your
*I will stop doing:
*I will start doing:
·Identify your outer allies.
·Find your power song/songs and play it/them
pocket sized, WFS Program
Booklet has seen better days.Even
though it is tucked neatly in a blue-faded paisley cover, the pages continue to
wear away.Fingerprints, smudges and
creases are strewn from the first to the last page.The staples that once held this treasure
together have given way and each page is cluttered with penned in notes.Looking over the pages, eerie and discolored
splotches line many of the pages, previously left over from my highlighting
provides the Statements, but the action comes from within.Statement #1 begins the process by
acknowledging the problem, and it is life-threatening: relationships, beliefs,
health, spirit, self-worth, values, consciousness, they were all threatened by
my drinking.Life felt scary,
overwhelming, and emotionally devastating.It was a painful way to exist.
#1 frees me to live and not merely exist.I get to experience every day with new vision and new meaning.This freedom provides a continuing drive to
learn, explore and discover.Though the
pages of my WFS Program Booklet remain tattered, I am living a New Life with
contentment, possibility and passion.Hugzzz, Karen
Hi 4C Women,
charge of my life was something I never believed possible.I became a prisoner and keeper of the key
that could set me free if I chose to acknowledge my problem.Acknowledgement took a while because I didn’t
want to accept responsibility for my actions.That would mean I had to actually change my behavior, my attitude and my
instant gratification in coping with life’s challenges.That’s a lot of work!What I gained from all that work is freedom -
pure and simple.No wasting time, no
blaming everyone for my unhappy life, no wasted money and especially no more
missing out on those precious and treasured moments that I learned to become
aware of with purpose.Statement #1
taught me a big lesson.While I
connected to the WFS program, I realized what Karen said, the action comes from
within.Otherwise, the Statements are
just words on a piece of paper that sound great but without action, without
making the choice to accept and acknowledge my problem, nothing changes!
does not promise a perfect life.What it
does provide is a new way of living.Learning
healthier coping tools, learning to heal from the past and practice
self-forgiveness, building self-love, self-worth and so much more.To think all of this became mine by
acknowledging and accepting responsibility for my choices.
have this list of how to overcome emotional roadblocks by Bob Livingstone
outlining why we are reluctant to face our emotional pain.One point really shouted out to me – “Learning that the energy invested in
pushing the pain away is not worth the price of becoming physically ill, drug
dependent, or devoid of feelings.This
energy can be instead used for recovery, spiritual awakening, self-direction,
and confidence building.”This, to
me, is what can be the reward of practicing Statement #1!
do you think will be among the positive changes that could take place if you
said yes to Statement #1?
is the fear in acknowledging and accepting that you have a problem?
you have accepted Statement #1, what changes have been the most powerful in
you seek input from others or is the fear of feeling inadequate getting in the
Minnesota Recovery Connection’s
annual Walk for Recovery is a way to celebrate recovery, show your support,
generate hope, reduce stigma and offer living proof that recovery is real!Come on out and visit WFS’s booth and say ‘hi’
to our 4C women from the Twin Cities Groups!
The annual Expo is FREE to the
public, with educational workshops, resources, and solutions for addictions and
behavioral health.This is an
opportunity to meet many of the leading professionals in the addiction
treatment and behavioral health arena.If you heading to the convention center, stop by and visit our WFS
members from the Sun City Group – just look for the WFS Banner!
The Summit is free of charge and
open to anyone who wishes to attend, however, this event may be most
interesting to medical and behavioral health professionals, criminal justice
professionals, prevention professionals, and student.WFS’s Board Member, Britt Rodriguez, will be participating
in a break-out session entitled “Many Paths to Recovery” - a grand opportunity to
learn more about the variety of choices available for those seeking recovery
from alcohol and drug addictions.
Recovery Month Event: “Out of the Flames: Transforming Addiction into
an Extraordinary New Life”
Where: CATHE House of Healing, Burlington Wisconsin
Come and celebrate Recovery Month
and create a stronger recovery community!This is open to the general public, individuals curious about recovery,
and those active in recovery.The event
will feature the film “The Secret World of Recovery” followed by a short panel
discussion with members from a variety of recovery groups and other community
providers interested in recovery.WFS group
moderator, Sherry, will be on the discussion panel and members will be setting
up a table display… locate our banner and stop by to pick out a FREE
affirmation for the day!
WellSprings Third Addictions and Recovery Expo
Where: Hosted by WellSprings Unitarian Universalist Congregation
@ the Montgomery School in Chester Springs PA
Addictions & Recovery Team provides compassionate, nonjudgmental presence
for individuals and families within WellSprings who are struggling with
alcoholism and other addictions, and helps connect people with resources for
recovery and healing.This will be the 3rd
year for their Addictions and Recovery Expo.Come out and meet our WFS Board Member and Moderator, Joan, and her Phoenixville
Group – they’ll be setting up a table exhibit to share information on our
Multiple Pathways of Recovery Conference
Where: Charlotte Harbor Conference Center in Punta
This conference is bringing
together recovering leaders from many different pathways, and organizations and
providers of recovery services to share and educate one another about the ways
people live in recovery.Every day there
will be opportunities to learn about recovery options and meet the
representatives of major organizations in the addiction field.Adrienne Miller, WFS Board V.P., is winging
her way to Florida to represent Women for Sobriety!
“Whatever happens, I’ll just keep moving
forward.Like an avalanche.”-Michelle Phan
by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing
at what you want to change, gather a few people who believe in it like you do,
and start moving forward.It’s important
to remember that you don’t always need a destination.Sometimes, you just have to make forward
motion.And you absolutely can.”-Debby Ryan
doesn’t mean the end of problems but it does offer a clear way to move through problems and into solution,
which fosters growth and confidence.In
the past, alcohol clouded thinking; often leaving me feeling overwhelmed or
unable to deal with an issue.Additionally,
I drank -at- problems.A tough day at
work or fight with family would be all the justification I needed to escape
into alcohol.This further exacerbated
everything; I still had the original issue plus a hangover.Over time, problems went unsolved and
I understand that problems are temporary while solutions are permanent.Some problems can take longer than others to
conclude, yet by practicing Statement #4 I am better able to stay focused and
not exaggerate an issue.Instead of a
problem feeling overwhelming or threatening, I can choose to see a problem as
an opportunity for growth.
problems can also become some of the best teachers.Through them, I have found strength,
resiliency and greater understanding and appreciation.At one time in my life, the prospect of
driving a car was terrifying, but now, driving is a joy.Answers to difficult questions have come to
light moving through problems and it feels empowering to be standing on a solid
foundation of solutions.
Hi 4C Women,
love Karen’s sentiment of feeling empowered to be standing on a solid
foundation of solutions.There was a
time when I felt completely incapable of making any decisions.I was fearful of making a mistake and being
harshly judged.Of course, I was the
main offender in judging myself.When I
became separated from my husband, I had no choice but to start trusting my
instincts, to learn from my mistakes rather than punish myself and to recognize
whether something was truly a situation that needed my attention in problem
solving or a situation that I had blown up from that proverbial molehill into a
mountain.Fortunately, I was sober and
had been in therapy yet after years of negative thinking about my capabilities,
it was challenging to see myself differently, in a positive light.Any mistake in judgment created a life-time
fear and believe me, I made a lot of mistakes but I had that aha moment realizing
we were created to be real, not perfect.Perfection can be a huge destroyer of our self-esteem.
began to recognize that I allowed problems to grow like a wild fire in my
mind.It was exhausting.I found myself making assumptions that didn’t
even relate to the “presumed” problem.I
believe it finally turned into an issue of control.If I couldn’t control every aspect of my
life, control the outcome, then I was inadequate.Practicing Statement 4 truly changed my
approach to understanding that I was more than capable of making decisions no
matter what the outcome.That was a
major turning point in my New Life.Now,
many years later, I am so grateful for the guidance
WFS gave me.I said goodbye to the
fearful woman and welcomed a 4C woman.I
sure was glad to meet her and keep her.
encourage you to consider how you view your decision-making skills, your
ability to problem solve.
you judging yourself too harshly?
you able to move through, learn and forgive yourself for past mistakes?
you seek input from others or is the fear of feeling inadequate getting in the
are bonded together and that includes learning from each other.We are wise and caring and have so much to
offer this world!
*Today is 9/11.As I reflect on that day, and considering
what so many people are going through at this very moment due to the
hurricanes, fires and loss of life, my heart is filled with awe as thousands of
people throughout the nation are helping those in great need.We remain a country of courageous people,
helping others as best we can and showing our love, our special bond for those
struggling in ways we can only imagine.It
is encouraging and heartwarming to witness the caring support being given today
as we did on 9/11.This outpouring of
love is who we truly are.-WFS Member