Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Monday's Message ~ Statement #2

 

Our Thoughts Direct Our Lives 

҉

 “Negative thoughts stick around because we believe them, not because we want them or choose them.”
-Andrew J. Bernstein

“Only allow yourself to think negative thoughts and/or complain about anything for three minutes, three times a day.”  -Karen Salmansohn
 
“You live with your thoughts – so be careful what they are.”  -Eva Arrington

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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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        One simple thing.  One simple thing ruled me before my New Life---my thoughts.  My thoughts dictated everything about my life.  My thoughts fueled my fears, doubt, insecurity, anger….but especially my alcohol use.  I could not see through the doubt…I fully believed and thought (and felt) that “there was no way that I could live without alcohol.”  It was as if I had an automatic button inside of me that when pushed, even just slightly, activated negative thinking that spiraled way out of control.
        Jean Kirkpatrick mentioned in our Program Booklet that “Negative thoughts cripple the spirit and paralyze thinking.”  I understand these words; I crippled my spirit and lost faith in myself with every drink I took.  Deep inside I felt like such a failure and no matter what I tried to do (not drinking until a certain time, for instance), I found myself drunk, agitated and lonely.  I was sure no one would understand me or what I was going through.  I was wrong.  Women for Sobriety provides the guidelines with the 13 Statements, while it is up to me to provide the action.
        Statement #2 in action is an effective way to combat negativity.  For me, learning to look past the doubt can be a daily practice.  Old habits can sometimes be triggered by current events so it is critical to continually be aware of negativity and take action to move through them.  Seeing through the clouds brings assurance and balance leaving negativity no room for growth.

I see through any doubt or fear.
Hugzzz, Karen

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+  Member Insights  +
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Hi 4C Women,
        One way I chose to get past the negativity that was recently building up within me was to get off Facebook for a few days.  It is amazing how much better I felt.  I began to realize how easy it is to fall into negativity if we allow it, that we do have choices.  While we don’t have to react to hurtful, harmful, cruel words, I also believe that as empowered women, we can express our feelings in a calm manner that lets others know they spoke or behaved inappropriately in an unacceptable manner or a hurtful way.  They may not listen or be open to change but speaking up for ourselves, without expectations, is important.  To deny feelings of disappointment, hurt or anger does not serve us well.  It could possibly lead back to past behaviors of numbing, running away and never finding our voice.  Now that’s negative!
        Even after all these years of sobriety, I felt I was losing myself to the negativity.  I had lost the ability to choose my fights so to speak.  In WFS, I have learned to listen and to be open to change.  I was starting to feel the listening was becoming one sided and the only person being affected was me.  Yes, negative thoughts destroy only myself.
        This is the one instance that I feel negativity serves a purpose.  It creates awareness that something is not right and we have the empowerment to choose a way to handle it in a positive way.  I feel this is especially true as we work on building our self-esteem, self-worth and self-love.  To accept hurtful behavior or words while in a state of transition of loving ourselves, can do a lot of emotional damage.  We may go back to old thinking that what has been said is true; that we are worthless, ignorant or unlovable.  This is why it is so critical that we address the negativity as quickly as possible, hold onto our truth, not the cruelty of another, and keep finding our powerful voice.
        We are amazing 4C women, working on building ourselves up, not down with negativity, and our actions, our words need to show that personal growth.  We are in charge of feeding our spirit with love and our thinking with positivity.  WFS Member
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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
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!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Monday's Message ~ Statement #7 & #10



҉

“Love recognizes no barriers.  It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.”  -Maya Angelou

“Letting go helps us to live in a more peaceful state of mind and helps restore our balance.  It allows others to be responsible for themselves and for us to take our hands off situations that do not belong to us.  This frees us from unnecessary stress.”  -Melody Beattie

“When you get to a place where you understand that love and belonging, your worthiness, is a birthright and not something you have to earn, anything is possible.”

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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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        In the WFS Program Booklet, Jean writes a very powerful observation:  “Love has changed the world for these many centuries.  We need only look around us to see what love has accomplished; or for that matter, we can look around us and see what hate has done to this world.”  Whenever fear or uncertainties arise, these words can bring focus and a shift in thinking which paves the way for love to expand.
        Alcohol gutted my ability to express love and to receive it.  Under the influence my perceptions were altered so much so that anyone attempting to give love or speak love, appeared life-threatening.  The freeze, flight or fight response immediately kicked in and I made choices that induced crippling emotional pain as well as deep shame and guilt.  I found myself in a loop of seeking and resisting love which was compounded by alcohol.
        WFS and practicing the “Love” Statements enable me to embrace love instead of trying to run away from it.  Although I have made progress using these two beautiful Statements, to me this is an ever changing process that ebbs and flows.  What I understand about love yesterday will not be the same in the future.  Love is like a newly planted forest, with each seedling growing into a towering, firmly rooted monument which continuously produces new saplings.  These fresh insights are protected under the hearty canopies of the elder branches, blossoming into the next generations of wide spread and enduring love.  Hugzzz, Karen

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+  Member Insights  +
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Hi 4C Women,
        Perhaps I needed love and approval so much from others that I didn’t realize that I needed to love myself first.  I was a people-pleaser.  I said yes when I meant no.  If I was demeaned, I ignored it.  If I felt unappreciated, I did more.  I married a man who rejected me which proved that I was unlovable.  On my own for 23 years as of tomorrow, I had to make a huge change in how I viewed myself if I was to truly believe that others loved me.  That shift was in learning to love myself, to feel worthy.  There are still times when I wonder how anyone could love me and I realize that is old thinking and usually happens when I am feeling sad or extremely concerned about a situation.  For me, that is the ebb and flow Karen mentioned above.
        WFS brings a sense of connectedness, belonging, being understood and bonded.  Those are such positive feelings and who wouldn’t want that in their world?  I still enjoy helping others.  It’s my inside reward that I cherish.  I just learned not to do it at the expense of my well-being.  That is the balance we all need to bring into our lives.  Learning to know that others love us is feeling compassion for them and for ourselves.  It is practicing Statement 7 and 10 with intention.  -WFS Member
_____________________________________________________________________
© WFS Inc. * Women for Sobriety, Inc., PO Box 618, Quakertown PA 18951
Email: contact@womenforsobriety.org  *  Ph: 215-536-8026  *  Fax: 215-538-9026
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, January 16, 2017

Monday's Message ~ Statement #11

 
Sober AND Happy 

҉
 
“Find ecstasy in life; the mere sense of living is joy enough.”  -Emily Dickinson 

“One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living.  We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today.”  -Dale Carnegie 

“Protect your enthusiasm from the negativity of others.”  -H. Jackson Browne, Jr.

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Statement #11, “Enthusiasm is my daily exercise.”  I treasure all moments of my new life.
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+ Karen’s Perspective +
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        In the WFS Program Booklet, Jean Kirkpatrick, Ph.D. writes, “Enthusiasm draws people to us, rather than sending them away.  It acts like a magnet, probably because so few persons are enthusiastic.  It is a rare sight.”  Before my New Life, I was as far removed from enthusiasm as I could possibly be; in fact, I often felt the complete opposite of enthusiastic.  I felt and exuded apathy, sending people far away while closing off so very many relationships.
        Alcohol is a great divider; it took me away from everything that I sought.  Joy, fulfillment, and/or connection were not possible while drinking.  Instead I felt anxiety, emotional turmoil, and utter loneliness.  The sorrow that I felt quickly became a lifestyle and I mistakenly thought alcohol would alleviate my overwhelming despair but it didn’t…..it only intensified it.
        Through sobriety and conscious awareness practicing Statement #11, I am able to feel genuine enthusiasm today.  A grand event such as a wedding can bring out vibrant and intense feelings of enthusiasm while a simple nod from a stranger can elicit a simple moment of pure connection.  No matter where on the spectrum of enthusiasm I may find myself, I am able to feel embraced in relationship, experience the brilliance of beauty and be connected to the pulsing energy of life.

Every day in every way I exercise enthusiasm.

Hugzzz, Karen

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+  Member Insights  +
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Hi 4C Women,
        I love when Karen said that alcohol is a great divider.  For me, it also became a great depressant.  At first it would make me happy, or just loosened me up enough to feel comfortable, and then crash came the depression.  Not every time, which is how sneaky alcohol can be.  One time, it is fun and the next, misery.
        Jean Kirkpatrick asked in her workbook diary to list the times we have been happy drinking.  I thought, she has got to be kidding.  But after thinking, I realized that there were happy times and yet the real question for me was how long did those happy times last and could I have been just as happy without the alcohol.  Well, years of sobriety have proven to me that happiness and enthusiasm are absolutely possible without alcohol.  I live in the authenticity of joy, not the fake beginnings of it, the whole deep feeling.  It is important to recognize this as sometimes we focus so much on the downside negativity of drinking that we miss the triggers when we feel that a happy occasion with a drink is different and we are fooled.
        Enthusiasm is finding what brings us joy in new adventures, discovering small joys along the way, feeling a smile cross our faces with either a cherished memory or an unexpected moment when someone calls us that we had been thinking about.  One of the most important life lessons I have learned is that just as we cannot continually fake happiness or enthusiasm, we need to be authentic with all of our feelings.  This is how we learn new coping tools instead of thinking there is something wrong if we start feeling sad or upset at a real life challenge.  Those feelings are natural - it shows we are human with needs and how important it is to have a strong support system in place that will make it safe to share these feelings and learn from others how to handle them in a healthy way.  It also makes those moments of enthusiasm even more precious.
 
·         Where do you find enthusiasm?
·         What gives you joy?
·         Can you recall any of those moments right now?
·         Do you have a strong support system and new coping tools that you use for those challenging times?
-WFS Member
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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
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!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Sobering Thoughts Article by Jean "A New Beginning"





by Jean Kirkpatrick, Ph.D.
  
     Each year at this time, I seem to write the same article and it is about hope, about plans and planning, about goals, about a new beginning.
     No matter where we are in our life, no matter if we are involved with something that was happening in December that will carry over to January, it is still a new beginning ... a renewal for every part of our life.
     The other day ... two days... there were a number of WFS members here so that we could make videos of WFS meetings and, in those two days, we held six meetings (yes, six meetings!) and it became very obvious that what we were talking about in each meeting, no matter what Statement we were working on, we were talking about hope, about the promise of the future being available to us so long as we worked at having it.
     Perhaps the key to a new beginning is hope, having a feeling of excitement that we can change the bad and we can have the good.  Maybe this sounds too much like Pollyanna, but if we don’t work toward the good, and expect it, how else could it be possible?
     There is much that surrounds us that is sad and, sometimes, overwhelming.  We see injustices everywhere and we are ever reminded that life isn’t fair, but we cannot give in to these negative observances.  We must know that there is also good in the world, that there are many things that are just, and there is kindness and consideration if we just look for it and participate in it, making it a better world for others and for ourselves.
     This is the month to make plans ... plans for the whole year.  This is the time to set goals, to make an agenda, to think in terms of twelve months and then to begin living it, putting the plan into action.  This is the new beginning.  This is the hope.  This is the action.
     So raise your glass of Perrier and toast the New Year with me. ΓΈ 
(This article is a reprint from Volume 12 of the Collection of Sobering Thoughts Booklets.)
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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
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, January 9, 2017

Monday's Message ~ Statement #3



“We are bonded together in
overcoming our addictions.” 

҉

 “Being happy never goes out of style.”  -Lilly Pulitzer

“Your success and happiness lies in you.  Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties.”  -Helen Keller

“Happiness is a choice.  You can choose to be happy.  There’s going to be stress in life, but it’s your choice whether you let it affect you or not.”  -Valerie Bertinelli

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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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        For me, happiness can be defined as contentment.  It is a feeling of peace, even under the most trying or chaotic of circumstances.  Through sobriety and practicing the WFS Statements, I am able to feel joy, balance and maintain a level of contentment that grounds me and aids in my recovery.
        Before sobriety and my New Life, each day was anything but content.  Chaos reigned supreme, with drama unfolding at every turn.  Panic, anxiety and loneliness had become a way of life.  Alcohol fueled my depression as well as skyrocketing any emotional (including physical and spiritual) pain.  I bounced from one drama to another; either creating it or chasing it, all the while denying any involvement.  Today I know these past behaviors were simply another ineffective escape type mechanism, just like alcohol.
        Along with establishing a stable frame of contentment, Statement #3 continues to assist me in understanding where happiness comes from by helping me shift responsibility back to where it belongs, inside of me.  No one else could possibly know what makes me happy so why would I expect to find it outside of myself?  Thanks to the WFS Statements, with sobriety and recovery at the core, I am able to continue to unleash happiness at any stage in life.

I am conscious of contentment and make happiness habitual.

Hugzzz, Karen

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+  Member Insights  +
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Hi 4C Women,
        Each WFS Statement is powerful in its ability to guide us toward a way of living that is authentic and grounded.  Statement 3 provided me with a huge wake up call.  For most of my life, I waited for happiness to magically happen, depended on others (sometimes demanded) them to create my happiness.  Little did I realize what a burden I was placing on others and what I was actually denying myself in learning how to create my own happiness.  I was usually disappointed in others and eventually in my life in general.  Then I read Statement 3 and finally woke up!  I understood, as Jean always said, that happiness came in moments - we just had to be aware of them.  Kind of hard to do when you’re looking everywhere but within to have that kind of insightful awareness.
        What I also learned is that I needed to build a foundation of contentment as Karen mentioned so that I could start creating joy within.  While life still is full of struggles that need to be dealt with, I know these are temporary (sometimes long temporary) yet I must rely on that foundation I built to get me through.  That means knowing I am not alone when I am feeling sad or struggling with a decision.  Even though I am in charge of my decisions, it doesn’t mean I can’t ask for help in seeing things from a different perspective.
        It’s amazing how much we can learn from others and what a relief not to feel as though we’re living stranded on an island with nothing or no one but ourselves to find all the answers.  Now that’s a burden!  As much as we are learning, we are also “unlearning” habits that hurt us, kept us stuck.  Isn’t it great to know that we are not perfect human beings, that there are ups and downs throughout life, that we’ll cope so much better with a strong foundation of peace, contentment and joy.  And to add to that, we are not alone, we do not have to retreat in our sorrow or fear.  We are bonded together in overcoming our addictions.  Now that is a source of happiness!  -WFS Member
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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
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!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

January 2017 Reflections

Excerpts from the January “Reflections For Growth” Booklet by Jean Kirkpatrick, Ph.D. 

Promises
January 6
    In the month of January, we are prone to make more promises to ourselves in the form of resolutions than we do at any other time of the year.
    But I wonder why?  Surely we can think about other resolutions during the year and promise ourselves additional changes in our lifestyle.
    Today I will pursue the promises I made to myself this year.
Faith
January 14
    Never give up having faith in what you can do.  Never lose faith in your goodness or greatness.
    Too often we lose this faith.  We get bogged down by small and unimportant trivia of each day, failing to take the time to renew our faith in ourselves.
    Today I will renew my faith in myself.  I will make the time.
Isolation
January 16
    There are times when each of us feels so totally removed from others that nothing seems to bridge the gap – no conversation, no touch on the arm, no embrace.
    We are out there – somewhere – all alone, unreachable because something separates us from contacting others.
    We have created our own isolation.  The real question is, will we perpetuate it?
    If we were to continue with drinking, we must surely and definitely perpetuate it.
Denial
January 28
    Sometimes our families deny our drinking problem.  Almost always we do.
    Each of us has denied our problem at one time or another.  Some of us, myself included, denied it far, far too long.
    Today I will realize all day long how wonderful it is to know that I am no longer trapped in the hell of denial.
Self-Expression
January 31
    So much of the world is in turmoil and so much of that turmoil is expressed in violence.
    It is certainly true that violence is a form of self-expression.  It is the anger, hate, and rage of the inner person translated into violent action.
    Self-expression need not wait that long so that it appears in violence.  Our emotions can be expressed without violence if we express ourselves daily.
    Today I will find ways to express my inner self.
[Thank you, “EmbraceLife”, for choosing this month’s reflections!]

Women for Sobriety’s Motto 

“We are Capable and Competent, Caring and Compassionate, always willing to help another; bonded together in overcoming our addictions.”
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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
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!