Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Monday Thoughts ~ Statement #5



“Belief in oneself is incredibly infectious.  It generates momentum, the collective force of which far outweighs any kernel of self-doubt that may creep in.”  -Aimee Mullins
 
“Every mental act is composed of doubt and belief, but it is belief that is the positive, it is belief that sustains thought and holds the world together.”  -Søren Kierkegaard

“Keep your dreams alive.  Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination and dedication.  Remember all things are possible for those who believe.”  -Gail Devers

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Statement #5, “I am what I think.”
I am a capable, competent, caring, compassionate woman.
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      Alcohol destroyed any belief system before my New Life.  It was a slow and insidious process that developed over time, draining my spirit and altering perceptions.  I became unable to acknowledge strengths or abilities and extreme doubt took center stage.  Shrinking from life, I felt utterly alone and unworthy of anything.
      Statement #5, the “crux of the WFS New Life Program” as Jean Kirkpatrick stated on several occasions, provides a foundation for increasing self-belief and empowerment when practiced daily.  On page 17 of our Program Booklet, Jean asks numerous questions: “Do you know your own mind?  Do you know why you think your thoughts?  Are you aware of the mental place in which you live, the real environment that you create for yourself by your thoughts?  Or do you just let thoughts happen at random?”  Answering these questions can assist in wrangling thoughts of lack and self-doubt.
      Learning to manage thinking takes time and continuing effort yet the results can be incredibly satisfying.  For example, today I enjoy graphite drawing and watercolor to my heart’s content.  The repeated practice of Statement #5 helped me to stop comparing myself to my sister, who happens to be a professional artist.  At first, this was a new way to look at myself but I began to believe in my own abilities.  With each uncovered strength, it is possible to build more and more layers of competence and compassion, bringing 4C life to life!

Hugzzz
Karen
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Hi 4C Women,
      Those old negative messages about who we were, either in someone else’s eyes or even our own at a certain vulnerable stage in our life, puts up a big wall of doubt especially if that is our self-talk mantra today.  The church I am attending is doing a series on letting go. The first week was letting go of negative thoughts, second week was letting go of toxic people and today was all about letting go of the “should and should haves” and wanting so desperately to fit in that we lose our authenticity.  As I listened, I thought about how we all want acceptance, to be a part of something, to be heard.  For me, WFS provided that in immeasurable ways.  Holding on to the messages of the past, my inner critic, held me hostage to an identity that didn’t allow for me to grow emotionally.  How in the world could I really believe in Statement #5 if I held on to a definition of me that was hurtful and harmful to my well-being?
      A good place to start is to realize and believe that we all have gifts and talents.  Are you aware of your gifts?  Your talents?  Do you use them?  Share them?  Jean always said life is not a competition for when we start comparing, we usually find a way to diminish our gifts.  I loved that Karen shared her recognition of this when she started drawing and painting even though her sister is a professional artist.  I believe my gift is compassion yet if I compared myself to Mother Teresa, I would be embarrassed to even say the words out loud.  Yet it is my heart and I have learned to listen to it and appreciate that gift.  Now talent is another area I am still trying to figure out.  Perhaps talent and gift are closely related so I would say that I am talented at writing my feelings to share with others.  It’s important to remember that it is not conceited or prideful to acknowledge your gifts and talents.  That’s an old message.  We need to be our own cheerleader/best friend.  When we do, we pay attention to those gifts and talents, nurturing them and believing wholeheartedly that we are what we think.  I encourage you to think positive thoughts and live them.

Bonded together,
4C 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.
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Monday Thoughts ~ Statement #4


“You may not know it now, but you are stronger.  You are going to weather storms that come your way.”  -Robin Roberts

“You don’t have to get it right the first time.”  -Barbara Sher
 
“It’s our challenges and obstacles that give us layers of depth and make us interesting.  Are they fun when they happen?  No.  But they are what make us unique.  And that’s what I know for sure…I think.”  -Ellen DeGeneres

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Statement #4, “Problems bother me only to the degree I permit.”
I now better understand my problems.  I do not permit problems to overwhelm me.
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      In the past, it was easy to drink at upsetting emotions; I felt I was doing something as well as putting some distance between me and any issue.  Oftentimes unaware I was the owner of a problem, blame became easy and this pattern became cemented.  Soon, I was avoiding not just problems, but avoiding life too.  The world shrunk to a small area in my mind and isolation immediately took hold, zapping any ability to connect, learn or grow.  It was an emotionally/physically, empty painful time.
      Sobriety and Statement #4 in action provide a portal for accomplishment to flourish.  One single day sober can add enough mindset to carry on, thereby creating a continuing chain of accomplishment.  It felt wondrous to add up days sober, but more importantly, I was teaching myself to overcome difficulties.  Decisions began to come easier and understanding took hold.
      WFS provides a foundation for learning to solve life’s problems, such as not having to “get it right the first time.”  It is encouraging to know we each have what it takes and to not take life so seriously (what, me serious?) all the time.  The thrill that comes from overcoming is almost indescribable, it feels electrifying, energizing and shapes our very existence.

Problem solving is a skill that will expand over time.  Some points to consider:
·        Define and understand the problem.
·        Develop and explore options, there is no single plan for every problem.
·        Execute your options.  Action or inaction (sobriety is inaction with the substance).
·        Evaluate.  Are there other options available?
·        Input.  You do not have to be alone, it can feel better to have someone beside you. 

Hugzzz
Karen
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Hi 4C Women,
      Sometimes I will say to myself, “I now better understand I am able to problem solve so that problems do not overwhelm me.”  There was a time when I viewed everything as a problem.  There was little room for discerning between actual issues that needed to be resolved and just the ordinary everyday difficulties of life.  It was overwhelming and I lacked any self-confidence in my decision making.  It was WFS that taught me first to decipher between a real issue that needed attention and my approach to life that said everything was a problem.  It was the beginning of empowerment in trusting and believing I could change from fear to freedom.  I could silence that inner critic that tried to tell me I was incapable and stupid.  I appreciate Karen pointing out that we don’t have to get it right the first time.  It was the fear of being wrong and making a mistake that was a huge barrier in breaking out of that fear.  But that is how we gain confidence - by making decisions, learning from them and surviving if we didn’t make the best choice.  Striving to always be right is an impossible goal.
      This year has been a real emotional challenge for me.  I have needed and been grateful for the objective and non-judgmental input from my WFS sisters.  While the final decision is mine, it has been a gift to know that I had the support, encouragement and sensitive input I needed.  Sometimes when a problem is multi-faceted and we are so emotionally involved, it helps to have that impartial yet loving point of view to create a balanced outlook that certainly assists in our decision-making, problem-solving skills.
      In reflecting on Karen’s points to consider, I would encourage each of you to write answers to those points and remember to date them!  If you are not experiencing a current problem to be solved, consider a recent problem and how it was resolved.

Bonded together,
4C 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
Messages of Hope on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/womenforsobriety/
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 Thoughts ~ Statement #3



“Being happy isn’t having everything in your life be perfect.  Maybe it’s about stringing together all the little things.” –Ann Brashares 

“Never succumb to the temptation of bitterness.”  -Martin Luther King Jr.

“When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.”  -Helen Keller

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Statement #3, “Happiness is a habit I am developing.”
Happiness is created, not waited for.
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      Before New Life, happiness meant having life go my way.  If I didn’t get stuck in traffic or ended up with a three-day weekend, then life was good, and that meant I was happy.  Yet my alcohol use signaled quite the opposite, that I was trying to escape or run away from life.  In our Program Booklet, Jean writes “I was too deep into my feeling sorry for myself, waiting for the time when everything in my life would miraculously change, and then instant happiness would follow.”
      WFS has taught me that instant happiness is an illusion, and there is no magic formula.  What brings out feelings of happiness in one individual may not do the same for another.  Happiness is an inside job:  it’s personal, it’s unique and it’s created from within.  Little, every day choices when combined can add up to feelings of contentment and increased well-being.
      Today happiness continues to be an evolving journey and instead of trying to reclaim a joyful moment from the past, I can savor and feel satisfaction while focusing on creating continuing feelings of contentment.  WFS and sobriety make a great for a great habit! 

·        Which daily habits contribute to your happiness? 

Hugzzz
Karen
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Hi 4C Women,
      I love the updated wording of Statement #3.  To say, “I am developing,” instills hope and understanding that happiness is a treasure chest of moments created by our doing what brings us joy, contentment and peace amidst the challenges life presents to all of us.  I also love how Karen expressed that if her former definition of happiness was accurate, why was she escaping through alcohol?  Such a powerful question.  At the end of the day, have you ever left out a sigh of relief that you no longer had to pretend to the world that your life was full of happiness, everything was perfect and you could wipe that fake smile off your face?
      WFS has taught me to be as authentic as I possibly can; to express sadness or fear when it’s how I’m feeling and to express pure joy when the moment happens.  It helps us discover what makes us respond to people and situations, what we need to have a balanced life and be proactive in obtaining it.  Without authenticity, how can we develop happiness that is lasting and meaningful?
      While looking through my mounds of WFS papers (30 years this Feb.), I came across a list of questions I filled out in 1993.  I read them aloud to my daughter and realized that was the year before my divorce was final, before she moved to AL to live with her dad so she could continue college and a year before I bought my first home on my own.  So, to see a list of what made me happy during a very difficult transition was enlightening.  We laughed at some of the items I listed and others that are still the same to this day. 

This is how the paper began:
5 foundations of happiness:
1.      Self-acceptance
2.      Personal Growth
3.      Environmental Mastery
4.      Positive Relationships with others (today I would say with self and others)
5.      Purpose in life. 

Questions:
« List 10 things that bring you joy/happiness.
« Twenty things you’re grateful for.
« Finding treasure: Establishing what you value plays a part in finding joy/happiness.  For those attending f2f meetings, this is an opportunity to bring in and share what you treasure.
« Having an adventure:  Exploring and discovering new places, new people and new activities is an important element of being happy.  This adventure could be absolutely anything from volunteering where your heart feels full, taking a fun or educational class that you’ve been thinking of, a trip that’s within your reach - so many ways of experiencing a new adventure.

Remember to date your answers and perhaps in 25 years you can reflect on those answers just as I did and see how much WFS has helped in creating and developing your happiness.

Bonded,
4C 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
Messages of Hope on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/womenforsobriety/
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 8, 2018

Monday Thoughts ~ Statement #2



“Stress is something that is created in the mind, basically, it’s how we look at things.  So, our greatest defense against stress is the ability to change our minds; to change our thinking.”  -Goldie Hawn 

“Every day brings a choice: to practice stress or to practice peace.”  -Joan Borysenko 

“Stress is not what happens to us.  It’s our response TO what happens.  And RESPONSE is something we can choose.”  -Maureen Killoran 

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Statement #2, “Negative thoughts destroy only myself.”
My first conscious sober act is to reduce negativity in my life.
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      Reducing negativity using the WFS New Life Program is a courageous, daily act of strength which brings about feelings of ease and comfort.  Instead of blaming or trying to escape life, the goal of Statement #2 is to reduce negativity.
      Before New Life, negativity was hard to understand.  Life felt so difficult; waiting for the next bad thing to happen, afraid to turn the corner, life just felt unfair and I blamed everyone and everything.  From our Program Booklet, “We are sometimes sullen, withdrawn, and unable to cope.  There were times we drank or used to overcome negative thoughts, which only intensified our fears and perpetuated negativity.”
      Sobriety is the beginning of reducing negativity while the daily practice of Statement #2 can insure recovery.  Results vary from person to person, but some of the consequences of a reduction in negativity can be: increased skills in decision making/problem solving, increased health from feelings of balance, confidence and assertion, intimacy and connection, and of course, a more positive outlook paired with awareness.  Instead of life feeling a failure, life feels fulfilling! 

·        What are some strategies that help or work for you in reducing negativity?

Hugzzz
Karen
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Hi 4C Women,
      I have been fighting negativity this past year and what I’ve realized is that I can handle it.  I can take a breath, feel the anxiety, the fear and seek support and make a healthier decision in spite of my fears.  Here’s the best part-I am no longer permanently crushed, destroyed by a negative thought, situation or person.  In the past, I would have stayed in negativity, inviting it to my blame party that lasted for weeks, sometimes months, oh heck, honestly for years!  When I think back on the me I use to be, I know for sure that is not the trip back I want to take nor do I expect to.  I have learned a lot through recovery and WFS to NOT invite negativity a permanent residence.  Having Statement 2 in my heart, saying it over and over, has been a gift.  Life situations happen and feeling negative, lost or fearful is a human response.  It is the coping tools we use that helps us to reduce negative feelings from causing harm to our sobriety.  The biggest life lesson I have learned is to differentiate between what I call useless worry which leads to overwhelming negative thoughts and serious situations that require our need to problem solve before negativity is the only thing we have on our plate.  It is all about reducing negativity, handling life's challenges in a healthy, positive, productive way before we experience its destruction. 

Think about the last negative situation you dealt with. 

« How did you cope?
« What was the outcome?
« What did you learn about yourself, your decision-making skills, your confidence in handling a major or even minor challenge? 

The chart below describes the impact of stress on our body, mind, emotions and behavior.  In WFS, we learn to identify our feelings so we can begin to understand and make positive change.  I believe the chart below will be another avenue to explore those feelings as we identify our stressors.  Hopefully that knowledge of these negative effects will be a helpful guide for change in your New Life.
 
 
(Thank you to Pinterest for the chart.) 
Bonded,
4C 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
Messages of Hope on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/womenforsobriety/
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 2, 2018

Monday Thoughts ~ Statement #1


“You raze the old to raise the new.”  -Justina Chen

“New Year’s Day.  A fresh start.  A new chapter in life waiting to be written.  New questions to be asked, embraced, and loved.  Answers to be discovered and the lived in this transformative year of delight and self-discovery.  Today carve out a quiet interlude for yourself in which to dream, pen in hand.  Only dreams give birth to change.”  -Sarah Ban Breathnach 

“The price of discipline is always less than the pain of regret.”  -Nido Qubein 

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Statement #1, “I have a life-threatening problem that once had me.”
I now take charge of my life and my well-being.  I accept the responsibility.
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      This past year was filled with many firsts and numerous lasts, but one thing in common we share is our human spirit.  We have the opportunity to employ acceptance and gratitude for what was, while opening our hearts and minds to embrace what can be.  Maybe 2017 was a first year of sobriety or maybe you added another twelve months to your New Life, yet at the core; change, responsibility and action influence our well-being.
      Learning to live without the crutch of alcohol is a courageous act of love and Statement #1 is where it begins.  Embarking each morning clearly knowing what was said or done the night before is freeing, empowering and inspiring.  In our WFS Program Booklet, Jean states, “I have a life-threatening problem, but it no longer has me.  It no longer controls me.  I am the master of my actions, and I am the master of myself.”
      What will 2018 be like for you?  Here are some questions that can jump start your New Year: 

·        What are your goals and aspirations?
·        What is one thing you can do today to get you closer to that goal?
·        What will you create?
·        Is there a new skill or hobby you want to learn?
·        Is anything holding you back?
·        What are you resisting?
·        Is there something fearful that you are resisting?  Success?  Change?  Health?  Intimacy? 

      Resisting can also be healthy: resisting alcohol is the beginning of sobriety and leads into recovery.
      Be YOU.  Everyone else is taken.  Embrace your exceptional qualities and work on changing areas that you feel need work.  No one is perfect, allow yourself to be the best you.

Hugzzz and Happy New Year!
Karen
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Hi 4C Women,
      I was thinking about this past year and how much I am grateful for and what I have learned about myself.  It’s amazing to me that after all these years, I am still being taught life lessons.  I have to say that sobriety is not boring!  It may be extremely challenging at times but that is life and I am so glad that I am meeting these challenges with a clear mind and LOTS of loving support.  This is one of the reasons I have remained involved with WFS - the gift of receiving while also giving is precious to me and so invaluable.  Even though I have been sober a long time, the need for continued hope, acceptance and understanding is still with me.  When a new woman walks through the doors, I hope that is the feeling she is receiving.  Even though it may appear we have it all together, we share a history of struggles, disappointments, frustrations, pain and along with that, joy, peace, forgiveness, trust and compassion.  We start out wanting a New Life and if we stay with it, we create a New Life.
      So as the New Year begins, I encourage you to give back by sharing, giving hope and attending meetings, either f2f, online or BOTH, and give back the gift you received.  No matter where you are at in this recovery journey, you have something to offer.  For those who have been attending for a while, a new member is a gift of remembrance and gratefulness to be able to give the hope and encouragement they received in the beginning.  For new members, you are in a safe place to share, to be accepted and supported with compassion.  Either way, we are bonded together without explanation but with acceptance.

Bonded,
4C 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
Messages of Hope on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/womenforsobriety/
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!