Monday, February 26, 2018

Monday Thoughts ~ Statement #9




“Today expect something good to happen to you no matter what occurred yesterday.  Realize the past no longer holds you captive.  It can only continue to hurt you if you hold on to it.  Let the past go.  A simply abundant world awaits.”  -Sarah Ban Breathnach
 
“We are products of our past, but we don’t have to be prisoners of it.”  -Rick Warren 

“But there’s a beginning and an end, you know?  It’s true that you can’t reclaim what you had, but you can lock it up behind you.  Start fresh.”  -Alexandra Bracken, The Darkest Minds 

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Statement #9, “The past is gone forever.”
No longer am I victimized by the past.  I am a new woman.
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      Trying to smother feelings of regret, I unknowingly cut myself off from living or experiencing life.  Replaying past events over in my mind, longing for different consequences and angrily blaming others, I attempted an escape through alcohol.  Yet try as I might, I simply was unable to escape from myself.  It was a painful way to exist.
      The results of living Statement #9 in action feel incredibly freeing and uplifting.  This Statement drew me right into the Women for Sobriety Program.  Statement #9 feels nurturing and validating each time I read it.  To me, it says you have felt pain and it may have hurt deeply, yet you are stronger than what happened and can move forward and not be defined by it.
      Statement #9 is also a reminder to embrace the beauty of the moment.  Over the weekend while driving, my husband and I witnessed an incredible sunset.  Bands of rain were cascading down beside the fiery, setting orb, casting a crayon box full of colors across massive cloud formations.  The area was vast and without a tree line, so we enjoyed this full display for miles, and it was spectacular!  I tried to capture this beauty with some photos, but none would catch the stunning magnificence, so I stopped clinging to the fleeting beauty and experienced the moment.

Hugzzz
Karen
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Hi 4C Women,
      The past was my constant companion for a very long time.  It held me captive from living in the present.  It blinded me to the amazing possibilities of a New Life.
      What’s incredulous is that while I was living in the past, I could only recall the good times, never the struggles or self-doubts.  I obviously had self-doubts about my ability to handle situations, make decisions and trust my instincts but I ignored all of that.  Letting go of the past meant an honest reality check of the truth - the whole picture of what was wonderful and what was not.  Those rose-colored glasses were becoming crimson red glasses.
      When I finally ventured into the present by reflecting and working through the grief and pain of the past, I finally understood that I had to take charge of my life.  The past looked “perfect” because I was so miserable in the present.  I took emotional abuse and believed it to be the truth.  Rather than becoming empowered, I shrank and hid.  How could I come from a position of power if I wasn’t my own advocate, my own best friend?  It was easier, or so I thought, to live in the supposedly perfect past than to begin healing, finding my voice, make very difficult decisions and discover how it felt to be in the present, aware of my choices, responses, reactions.
      The biggest challenge I faced in all of this was to forgive.  I had to forgive those who hurt me and that meant myself as well.  I realized I was hurting myself unnecessarily.  One thing I learned about forgiveness is that it doesn’t mean reconciliation or acceptance of mean-spirited people.  It means I can live in peace, heal from the pain, become a survivor and not a victim.  Living in the present also meant being aware of what my needs were, and are, and how to express them.  I forgave myself for dwelling and living in the past for way too long, for not being strong enough to stand up for myself and to work through all of the pain I numbed with alcohol.  It was not enough for me to just forget it, I had to heal from it.  This is why I cringe when I hear people say, just get over it.  That kind of letting go for me is not healing work.  It is temporary and in the past, was a trigger when the pain returned.  I called healing work the path to freedom and to this day, I still see it that way.
      I encourage you to think about what is holding you hostage, how you can work through and heal from that pain or grief and what are your current needs.  Can you express them with calmness and if they are not met, find another way to achieve them?  Peeling away the layers of pain while giving up my numbing agent (alcohol) was extremely difficult for me.  Through perseverance, I was able to experience the joy of freedom and empowerment.  Letting go of the past is the key to peace, contentment and the ability to handle the next challenge from a position of power and strength of mind.  And trust me, there will always be opportunities to use the tools of letting go.

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
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Monday, February 19, 2018

Monday Thoughts ~ Statement #8




“Times of transition are strenuous, but I love them.  They are an opportunity to purge, rethink priorities, and be intentional about new habits.  We can make our new normal any way we want.”  -Kristin Armstrong
 
“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.”  -Stephen Covey

“Nobody’s life is ever all balanced.  It’s a conscious decision to choose your priorities every day.”  -Elisabeth Hasselbeck

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Statement #8, “The fundamental object of life is emotional and spiritual growth.”
Daily I put my life into a proper order, knowing which are the priorities.
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      In our WFS February “Reflections for Growth” Booklet, Jean Kirkpatrick, Ph.D. writes “It was a severe adjustment for me—the change from a life of drinking to one of sobriety.  It meant an adjustment to a different pace of life; it meant changing the people in my life from heavy-drinkers to social or non-drinkers; it meant adjustment to my new self, one who had to adjust to handling tension, insecurity and sometimes fear.  Adjustments—a lifetime of challenge to us all.  Today I will adjust to the adjustments.”  From these insightful words, Jean understood the need to create a different set of priorities in her life.
      In early sobriety, remaining sober took the highest priority, but everything felt so off and it was a struggle to think of anything else other than drinking.  Trying to untangle my thoughts and readjust to a new sober life, I often asked myself, “Will this take me closer to or further away from sobriety?”  As the months went on, I thought less and less of alcohol and more about who I was and where I was going.  Growth, whether emotional or spiritual, began to ebb and flow much like in waves.  In retrospect, this was the beginning of actively practicing Statement #8.
      The WFS Statements in action enable the identification of priorities, and Jean became very adept in prioritizing not only her days, but her life.  Setting targets over a year out or even 5 or 10 years away, Jean orchestrated her life beginning with her priorities.  A clear path began to emerge, and through her efforts, Women for Sobriety went from a simple thought, to our well-loved recovery program!

·        What are the top ten priorities in your life right now?

Hugzzz
Karen
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Hi 4C Women,
      What’s so refreshing about the WFS program is the freedom to choose our individual spiritual path.  While WFS is not a faith-based program, my personal spiritual journey has been one of renewed faith.  I appreciate the freedom within the program to walk the path that supports my sobriety.  Each of us can choose our own individual path without judgment just as we grow at our own pace in our emotional healing.  The past 6 weeks our pastor’s message has been “Letting Go.”  I felt as though I was in a WFS meeting when he talked about letting go of the past, to forgive ourselves, to let go of toxic people, to honor ourselves and set boundaries.
      Today the message was about Lent and adding positive growth to our lives that will enhance it, nurture it and help us become more loving, compassionate people.  He said that Lent is not about punishing ourselves for being human.  I was so glad to hear that because that inner critic, who likes to visit me every once in a while, was starting to whisper his negative words in my ear about what I need to do to be more acceptable.  When the pastor said we reach a point in our lives when we say to ourselves, Time’s Up, I thought of the decision I made to quit drinking.  Time was up of trying to please everyone, saying yes when I wanted to say no, not loving myself, not setting healthy boundaries.  I needed to have authentic meaning in my life, hope and a purpose that would make my life count to me.  I wanted to prove myself worthy to others because I didn’t believe it myself.  Time was up for that kind of thinking.  And this message came just in time to swipe that inner critic off my shoulder.

Here’s the question posed to us:
·        What do you give pieces of your heart to?
·        Do you give pieces because it’s expected, to persuade others that you are worthy to bolster your self-esteem, to feel important or impress others, a distraction to escape from working on your emotional well-being or because you genuinely love those you are giving pieces of your heart to?
·        That’s when Karen’s question comes into play:  Do your top ten priorities fit within the pieces of your heart that you give away?

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, February 12, 2018

Monday Thoughts ~ Statements #7 & #10





“If love does not know how to give and take without restrictions, it is not love, but a transaction that never fails to lay stress on a plus and a minus.”  -Emma Goldman

“A lot of times, in our culture and our society, we put romantic love somehow on a higher plane than self-love and friendship love.  You can’t do that.  You have to honor and really fully invest in all these different loving relationships.”  -Delilah

“It’s all about falling in love with yourself and sharing that love with someone who appreciates you, rather than looking for love to compensate for a self-love deficit.”  -Eartha Kitt

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Statement #7, “Love can change the course of my world.”  Caring is all-important.
ยบ
Statement #10, “All love given returns.”  I am learning to know that I am loved.
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      From our Program Booklet on page 29, “Love is multi-faceted.  It can be shared in many ways.  We can receive love from friends, family, partners, colleagues, spouses, and even pets.  We can experience it through nature, companionship, romance or a sense of loving connection to the world.”  This is an incredibly powerful insight, for so often before sobriety and New Life, the word “love” was equated only with romance.  Love is simple, yet under the influence, love felt complicated.
      Statement #7 and #10 can sometimes be difficult for women to practice, but the mere fact of embracing the Statements can be viewed as an act of self-love.  Instead of using alcohol to compensate for a deficit in self-love, sobriety and recovery can become the sturdy foundation on which to build an ever-growing fortress of connection.
      Every day is an opportunity for love, yet with Valentine’s Day arriving later this week, we have added opportunity to embrace love.  Begin with yourself.  Maybe purchase that book you have hoped to read, or make an appointment for a massage.  Is there a new class that you are interested in?  Give yourself a Valentine by signing up.  No guilt, no objections.  It may feel uncomfortable at first, but you are worth it!

Hugzzz
Karen
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Hi 4C Women,
      One of my favorite updates to the Statements is in #10, “I am learning to know that I am loved.”  I drank to overcome the feeling of being unlovable.  It seemed my experience with love in many ways was rejection.  It clung to me and I didn’t know how to remove it.  That is, until I read the WFS 13 Statements of Acceptance for a New Life.  I realized I could actually experience healthy love in relationships, friendships and within myself.
      I recently read that love never holds people back from growing.  Love doesn’t diminish and it doesn’t contaminate.  That’s how I learned that in order to know love, I had to be my own best friend, to love myself first, to remove toxic people from my life and work hard at doing all of this.  For those of you who struggle with self-loathing, you understand how extremely difficult it is to change that around.  It took me quite a while yet the longer I remained sober and practiced the 13 Statements, the more it felt authentic.  Then one day, I looked in the mirror and my self-loathing mantra changed to “I love you.”  To this day, I remember that moment, surprised by it and yet so very grateful.  It was life-changing.  There are times when I say that WFS saved me.  I also acknowledge that WFS changed me in ways I would not have believed possible.  I appreciate that Karen shared how every day is an opportunity for love.  For me, Valentine’s Day was painful.  It reminded me that I was rejected, unlovable and I was so envious of those couples that shared this day, to be in love, supportive or each other.  Today, I rejoice in their love.  It’s a precious gift just as the one I gave to myself years ago when I looked at my reflection in the mirror and announced, “I love you” out loud.  Yes, love is multi-faceted and I am glad of it.

Here are 7 Steps to Self-Love in Recovery (Tori Skene, Sober Nation):
·        Pay attention to your thoughts
·        Positive support is key
·        Forgive yourself
·        Self-care
·        Find what you love 
·        Stop comparing
·        Appreciate what DO you have

How do you practice self-love in recovery and what is the love message you say to yourself each day.

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, February 5, 2018

Monday Thoughts ~ Statement #6





“I took back my life.”  -Etta James 

“It’s not about perfect.  It’s about effort.  And when you implement that effort into your life every single day, that’s where transformation happens.  That’s how change occurs.  Keep going.  Remember why you started.”  -Jillian Michaels

“Because I’m just an ordinary person that did some extraordinary things.”  -Donna Summer 

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Statement #6, “Life can be ordinary or it can be great.”
Greatness is mine by a conscious effort.
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      Have you ever driven down the road and realized a few blocks later you weren’t mindfully present?  You may have been physically present while driving but your mind was elsewhere.  This is very similar to how alcohol affected my life.  Alcohol removed the ability to experience simple, everyday moments.  Instead of being in the here and now, the anticipation of what might come next interrupted everything.  I hurried through this, to get to that; it didn’t matter what moment it was, all I wanted was to get away.  Sadly, for those few moments I didn’t want to end, an intense inner grieving had already begun.
      The WFS Acceptance Statements provide a blueprint for presence and Statement #6 leads the way.  Ordinary moments can become satisfying by practicing Statement #6, which uplift the senses and connect each other.  Slowing down to consider the moment as it is, can instill a sense of presence.  Definitions or labels can fall away upon further examination, leaving nothing but the beautiful moment to luxuriate in.  In the past I would see a cloudy rainy day as a total washout, and an excuse to drink.  Today, a rainy day brings the opportunity to hear pattering raindrops on the roof, a fresh clean scent and a healthy soaking for outside greenery.
      So how did Etta James “take back her life” and Donna Summer “do some extraordinary things?”  Conscious effort played a key role.  By practicing Statement #6, the ordinary becomes filled with greatness and effort becomes easier.

Hugzzz
Karen
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Hi 4C Women,
      This is part of a message I wrote 6 years ago, Feb. 20, 2012, regarding Statement #6.  Just as I have issues with throwing out papers, I also keep a log of my old Statement messages.  Statement #6 has always been a challenge for me, especially being in the moment and appreciating the ordinary.
      “I have moved over 15 times since I left home at 18.  The biggest adjustment was when I moved to Alabama the first time after being married only 3 months.  In a brief period of time, I started a new job, moved from an apartment in Huntsville, to 2 different houses in the country, then back to Huntsville and spent a year in California in between.  The loneliest time was living out in the country with 2 young children plus my former husband traveled a lot.  So my attitude was definitely the cup is half empty, if not empty.  I remember being so lonely at one time that I put my kids in the car without any luggage and was just going to drive up to PA (15 hours) to see my family, to feel accepted and loved.  So much has changed since that time - several more moves, a divorce, a job I loved, children grown, a granddaughter, loss of family and along with that, emotional and spiritual growth.  Without that personal growth, a positive attitude remained a challenge.  Sometimes it is difficult to rise above circumstances and having a positive attitude seems so out of reach.  It is complex and requires focus when those negative thoughts start creeping in.  Sometimes it’s complicated even more by our relationships, our work environment, even our location!  What I have learned over the years is that having a positive attitude helps in making decisions that are healing, that allow for healthier communication, acceptance and positive change.  So bloom where you are planted is my mantra at this stage in my life, however, I have also learned to bloom where I choose.  While that wasn’t always possible in my earlier years, I realize that as I became healthier, I had the ability and responsibility to make the glass half full.  What are your challenges in creating a more positive attitude?  What changes can you make to have the glass half full, if not overflowing?  Remember - Life can be ordinary or it can be great.  Greatness is mine by a conscious effort.  Love, Dee”
      Six years later, I would say that my mantra is the same and I am learning to appreciate the ordinary, to find it a comfort to stop, breathe and take in the beauty of nature, a child giggling, even the fragrance of clean laundry, a kind word!  Ordinary becomes extraordinary is we pause, breathe and observe.  Greatness can be in phenomenal events yet it is important to see it in our everyday lives.
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!