Monday, April 30, 2018

Monday Thoughts ~ Statement #5





“I decided to try—to like myself, love myself, be my #1 fan, my own best friend, believe that I’m good, I’m valuable, I’m a treasure…and life did not end.  It began.”  –Unknown 

“The soul becomes dyed with the color of its thoughts.”  -Marcus Aurelius

“I need to see my own beauty and to continue to be reminded that I am enough, that I am worthy of love without effort, that I am beautiful, that the texture of my hair and that the shape of my curves, the size of my lips, the color of my skin, and the feelings that I have are all worthy and okay.”  -Tracee Ellis Ross 

********************************************************************
Statement #5, “I am what I think.”
I am a capable, competent, caring, compassionate woman.
********************************************************************

      Doubt, fear, and insecurity can be a few of the lingering after-effects of addiction, which in early sobriety can feel unsettling and alarming.  With a clearer mind, questions can arise such as “what am I doing?”, or “is this all worth it?”  Thoughts such as these can dictate behavior and challenge resolve or commitments.  The WFS New Life Program, especially Statement #5 in action can cement sobriety and recovery while creating an insurance policy against relapse.
      In the WFS Beginner’s Collection on page 27, Jean writes, “We tend to act out what our mind is telling us about ourselves.  I used to be thinking, “I’m no good, I’m nothing.  I’m nobody and no one loves me.”  And that’s exactly the way I acted.  In our New Life Program, we begin to see ourselves as competent, worthwhile persons.”  Jean understood the results from thinking competent would create further encouraging thoughts, with each adding to New Life. 

An exercise in the WFS Beginner’s Special which Jean provided to aid in practicing Statement #5 is as follows:
a)      Write down what you think you are.  Use as many words as you can to describe yourself.  Try to use 30 to 50.  Spend much time at this, for it is very important.
b)     When you have finished this list, make a list, just as long, of what you would like to be, such as sober, kind, compassionate etc. 

This second list is to be read every morning and every night until doomsday! 

Childish, you say?  Try it.  Live it.  Believe it.  Then write to me after several weeks.  During the day, repeat the words you want yourself to be.  Say, “I am sober, kind….” This is a form of self-hypnosis.  Your mind will begin to accept these attitudes as real and you will become them. 

While Jean is no longer here to read our letters or emails, having passed away in 2000, maybe share how this exercise or how WFS has helped you live your New Life in a Face to face WFS meeting, WFS Online Forum or share on social media if comfortable.  If you are not involved in either, I invite you to join, or start a WFS meeting in your area or join the WFS Online community (and become a Certified Chat Leader!).  Your strengths will assist other women who are just beginning or about to begin their New Life! 

Hugzzz
Karen
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Hi 4C Women,
      How challenging this exercise was the first time I tried it.  The first part was easy because it didn’t say the words needed to be positive, just to describe who I thought I was.  However, the second part asking me to write 30-50 positive words to describe myself as I would like to be, now that was almost impossible.  It was scary to imagine I could be those things I so desired.  What if I wrote them, my deepest secrets of wanting to be assertive, bold, lovable, worthy and they didn’t happen.  It took a while before I realized what Jean was saying that how we think of ourselves is how we behave, how we show ourselves to the world.  Dr. Phil says we teach people how to treat us.  If we have such a low self-image, how can we teach others to treat us with respect, caring, love and worthiness if we don’t feel it for ourselves.  I believe creating a list will keep us focused on what we want and then work on developing a way to achieve it.
      I went to a family wedding this week-end and saw firsthand how what we think of ourselves can do great damage to our relationships, including the one we have with ourselves.  One person’s Insecurity turned into blaming and feelings were terribly, if not irreparably, damaged.  What started out as a beautiful celebratory event turned into a sad ending.  All because one person’s insecurity was expressed in such a hurtful, harmful manner.  What’s sad about this is that it was all about a “perceived” slight and what was positive is how the family pulled together in support of each other, to help heal.  I was at one time very sensitive to so called slights and made mountains out of the proverbial molehill.  It was my own lack of self-love, self-worth that continuously misinterpreted other’s actions and especially their intentions.  A strong self-esteem and dose of self-love helped me so much and I learned to express myself in a calm, loving manner so that my feelings are heard and I also listen in return.  It broke my heart to see such a sad ending to a beautiful week-end and I tried my best to encourage those family members to take a deep breath, apologize where needed and start making necessary changes to take responsibility where possible.  Feelings are raw right now and some apologies were made yet more needs to be accomplished.  I thought of Statement #5 and how powerfully important our self-image is and how rewarding it is to do the challenging work.  I am so grateful for WFS and the guidance it has given me to change my life, to love myself, to accept responsibility rather than blame and set boundaries for those who are going in a hurtful direction and mostly for not being in such pain that I would hurt others to relieve mine.  Thank you WFS and sobriety!

Bonded in learning to love ourselves fully,
4C WFS member
_____________________________________________________________________ 

Don’t miss this workshop at the
June 8-10 in Center Valley, PA 

Breath Dance
Experience therapeutic breathwork through the use of dance in conjunction with the breath. The works of Peter Levine (Waking the Tiger) and Bessel Van der Kolk (The Body Keeps Score) discuss how trauma is stored in our bodies. Tommy Rosen (Recovery 2.0) talks about trauma being at the root of addiction. The use of movement and breath can help integrate core trauma and enhance our new lives. Join us for this unique healing experience. 

During our time together, we will use dance and visualization to move through the Chakras and Levels of Recovery. The dance will be followed by quiet time for slow, connected breathing and integration. We will end the evening sharing our personal experience with the breath dance and connected breathing. 

Dress comfortably. Bring a yoga mat or blanket if you want to lay on the floor for integration. Chairs will be setup for those who choose to integrate while sitting up.
 
Sherry W/bear3gents (Peer Presenter)  -  Sherry is a moderator for a face to face meeting in Burlington, WI. Sherry is a certified breathworker and uses it in her therapy practice as well as offering breathwork to her community.
 
Jean H/Jean (Peer Presenter)  -  Jean is a chat leader, hosting the Wednesday night chat. She assists Sherry in community breathwork sessions. 

_____________________________________________________________________
© 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, April 23, 2018

Monday Thoughts ~ Statement #4




“I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.”  -A. Maslow

“We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.”  -Albert Einstein

“If you choose to not deal with an issue, then you give up your right of control over the issue and it will select the path of least resistance.”  -Susan Del Gatto

************************************************************************
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.
************************************************************************

      Before sobriety and New Life, a technique used in dealing with problems was much like the quote with the hammer; assailing any trouble with an attempt to escape.  The initial impulse was to complain, then drag as many people into the situation as possible while trying to get them on *my side*.  Avoidance soon became the norm until something else took its place, which usually was a consequence of a problem that I was already trying to evade.  Alcohol perpetuated this cycle, creating emotional burdens and the desire to escape.
      Women for Sobriety provides new tools for managing problems, and Statement #4 leads the way.  Affirming understanding and ability, Jean provides an avenue for solution by stating, “I do not permit problems to overwhelm me.”  Instead of retreating into alcohol with doubt or escape, problems now can be managed and moved through.
      With the practice of Statement #4, new tools come to light.  Sometimes what is learned solving one problem can aid in another.  This Statement can also lessen feelings of doubt.  Often, I had doubted an ability to solve something, yet solving even the smallest of problems heightened my feelings of confidence, which then spurred more energy to solve another.  While this Statement does not say how to solve, it can cement the belief that anyone can solve problems. 

Here is a 4-part approach for problem solving:
1.      Define the problem:  Do I have all the information?  Is the problem a symptom of something deeper?
2.      Collect solutions:  Oftentimes the first solution identified is not necessarily the best.  Can brainstorming help?
3.      Decide and Try:  Try, while breaking down a problem into manageable and solvable smaller problems.  It is much easier to take one bite of an elephant than trying to eat the whole thing.
4.      Evaluate:  What worked and what didn’t?  What did I learn?  What can I try to do differently?

Hugzzz
Karen
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Hi 4C Women,
      I sometimes tell myself that I now understand my ability to problem solve and not be overwhelmed by problems.  Like Karen, I feared decision-making/problem-solving because I had zero confidence in my ability to do so and even less understanding that a mistake could actually be a life lesson.  The fear was stronger than my willingness to take charge of my life.  I left that up to alcohol.  Not such a rewarding outcome!
      One of my coping tools now is to play the scenario backwards.  I think about what I would like (no guarantees) the end result to be and think of actions that would lead me to that result.  Letting go of expectations has helped me tremendously.  Not that I’m not disappointed if it doesn’t work out as I hoped but I am not devastated as I was in the past.  What I am recognizing lately, too, is the aspect of regret.  If I do nothing, will I regret it?  If I do something and it flies back in my face, will I regret doing it?  The choice goes back to how much does it matter, is it truly a problem that even needs solving or am I worrying about this specific situation in order to avoid a much deeper issue that does require a decision?  This past year has been a wealth of life lessons that has included mistakes that I have survived.  The important thing is not giving up, perhaps pausing for a while, taking a deep breath and, for me, keeping that aspect of regret/consequences of my decisions as my guide.  I encourage you to think about the questions that Karen posed, especially evaluating your choices.

Bonded in problem-solving,
4C WFS member
_____________________________________________________________________ 

Don’t miss this workshop at the
June 8-10 in Center Valley, PA 

Breath Dance
Experience therapeutic breathwork through the use of dance in conjunction with the breath. The works of Peter Levine (Waking the Tiger) and Bessel Van der Kolk (The Body Keeps Score) discuss how trauma is stored in our bodies. Tommy Rosen (Recovery 2.0) talks about trauma being at the root of addiction. The use of movement and breath can help integrate core trauma and enhance our new lives. Join us for this unique healing experience.

During our time together, we will use dance and visualization to move through the Chakras and Levels of Recovery. The dance will be followed by quiet time for slow, connected breathing and integration. We will end the evening sharing our personal experience with the breath dance and connected breathing.

Dress comfortably. Bring a yoga mat or blanket if you want to lay on the floor for integration. Chairs will be setup for those who choose to integrate while sitting up.

Sherry W/bear3gents (Peer Presenter)  -  Sherry is a moderator for a face to face meeting in Burlington, WI. Sherry is a certified breathworker and uses it in her therapy practice as well as offering breathwork to her community.

Jean H/Jean (Peer Presenter)  -  Jean is a chat leader, hosting the Wednesday night chat. She assists Sherry in community breathwork sessions.


_____________________________________________________________________
© 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, April 16, 2018

Monday Thoughts ~ Statement #3




“Happiness is not a goal; it is a by-product.”  -Eleanor Roosevelt

“A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery while on a detour.”  -Author Unknown

“No one is in control of your happiness but you; therefore, you have the power to change anything about yourself or your life that you want to change.”  -Beverly DeAngelis
 
************************************************************************
Statement #3, “Happiness is a habit I am developing.”
Happiness is created, not waited for.
************************************************************************

      Through the years, crafts have been fun hobbies and often I looked for exciting new things to do.  This led to a room full of projects in various stages of completion, which then led to feeling the opposite of my intentions; I felt guilt and anxiety instead of happiness.  Feelings of guilt escalated from not starting a new project and then anxiety settled in from merely looking at the unused art supplies.  WFS provides healthy ways of managing feelings in sobriety and recovery, and, with Statement #3 in action, I was able to reclaim joy and contentment with creativity.
      First, examining all the incomplete projects, I determined some favorite craft activities.  From there, I boxed up anything that was not a favorite and chose to give it away.  I shared acrylic paints with a woman who worked at a sandwich shop, a girlfriend was given alpaca fleece, and many items were donated to a center devoted to teaching art to kids.  This created a portal for happiness to develop.
      Feelings of guilt began to decrease and a sense of balance returned.  With a new focus on favorites, I am able to encounter opportunities to learn and experience the joy of creating.  Additionally, instead of feeling the need to collect more and more craft stuff, with Statement #3 in action, feelings of contentment outweigh chasing after flashy colors or bright lights.

Hugzzz
Karen
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Hi 4C Women,
      I am beginning to feel that much of my happiness occurs for me when I share or give to others.  I got that sense from Karen’s message as well when she graciously gave away her craft items.  I also have a big smile on my face when I decorate my house for the season or get organized.  It creates a sense of accomplishment and perhaps that is how I show my creativity.
      I am attaching a calendar “Action for Happiness.”  I saw it on a website http://www.actionforhappiness.org  and although it is dated for January, the activities could be used and repeated for every month of the year.  Some are very easy and quick while others require planning and time.  Either way, I hope you will be able to choose some that you feel could create happiness and share that with women in your group or online.  Jean said that happiness comes in moments, not at big events although that could be the outcome.  We are not able to command happiness to appear yet if we are aware of our surroundings, it will appear.  Be in that moment.
      As Statement #3 tells us, happiness is a habit we are developing.  It’s been said that when we give up one habit, it is important to replace it with another.  How wonderful that we can replace negativity, blaming others for our unhappiness and replacing it with awareness, discovery of what brings us joy and experiencing it authentically. 

Bonded in Joyful Happiness!
4C WFS member
_____________________________________________________________________ 

Don’t miss this workshop at the
June 8-10 in Center Valley, PA

Moderating Dynamic Meetings
For Certified Moderators and those seeking to become Certified Moderators…

This is a learning workshop! Positive tips, solutions and encouragement in leading or getting a WFS meeting started will be provided. This will be a sharing of experiences as well. Our goal is to keep the f2f meetings active and build confidence in creating new ones.

Some of the topics will include:
·     Locating a free meeting space
·     Promoting your meeting, and what to do if no one shows up
·     Following guidelines for moderating a meeting and what makes a successful group
·     Managing disruptive members and supporting women who struggle to maintain abstinence
·     Taking responsibility only for yourself - understanding that some women aren’t ready yet
·     What would be helpful in a training video
·     Sharing one positive tip

SusieM/SueBee12 (Peer Presenter)  -  Susie has been a Certified Moderator for the WFS New Life Program for 19 years and currently serves as the organization’s Vice President. She found WFS on what she thought was her last chance to stop drinking. “If I didn’t find something along my line of philosophy then I’d just forget it. Not try anymore. Lucky for me, I found Dr. Jean Kirkpatrick’s book ‘Goodbye Hangovers, Hello Life’ in my local library.” Susie believes that she was lucky to have a meeting only 15 minutes from her home and credits the New Life Program with saving her life. She feels that her long-term success in the program (20 years of continuous sobriety!) has been supported by being a CM. “The two meetings I moderate are for me, too. I get back way more every week than I could have ever imagined.”
Co-Presenters include Dee W/GrandmaD (Honorary Board Member, President of WFS from 2006 to 2017, Co-author of WFS Monday Thoughts, long term CM) and Joan S (long term, Board of Directors member, and Secretary of WFS). 


_____________________________________________________________________
© 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, April 9, 2018

Monday Thoughts ~ Statement #2





“Take a shower, wash off the day.  Drink a glass of water.  Make the room dark.  Lie down and close your eyes.  Notice the silence.  Notice your heart.  Still beating.  Still fighting.  You made it, after all.  You made it, another day.  And you can make it one more.  You’re doing just fine.”  -Charlotte Eriksson
 
“Life is too short to spend in negativity.  So I have made a conscious effort to not be where I don’t want to be.”  -Hugh Dillon
 
“We focus so much on our differences, and that is creating, I think, a lot of chaos and negativity and bullying in the world.  And I think if everybody focused on what we all have in common—which is—we all want to be happy.”  -Ellen DeGeneres 

************************************************************************
Statement #2, “Negative thoughts destroy only myself.”
My first conscious sober act is to reduce negativity in my life.
************************************************************************ 

      The journey of sobriety opens the door to recognizing negativity and Statement #2 encourages walking through, with action, can reduce the effects of self-damaging emotions.  This was a new concept, for the view I held closest was that life was painful and fighting back was necessary for survival.  Over time, alcohol had become closely guarded ammunition, yet it boomeranged right back and amplified pain.
      In GHHL, Jean states “Removing negative reactions from our lives is tough.  Old patterns and inclinations are hard to deal with.”  Yet, with the simple recognition of negativity, we are already moving in a different direction.  Slowly, reducing negativity becomes more manageable with the empowering results increasing determination. 

Some beneficial techniques to aid in reducing negative thoughts:

1.      Question your thoughts:  Ask yourself is this thought true?  Is this thought empowering or hurtful?
2.      Write out your thoughts:  Putting down thoughts on paper/journal can give repetitive thoughts an escape route.
3.      Create unique ways to release negative thoughts:  Wash them “down the drain” in the shower, let them go as a balloon, or lock them in a box.
4.      Share thoughts:  Share thoughts with a loved one, f2f group, online forum, spiritual setting or share in nature (a friend once laid her thoughts at the base of wise oak tree). 

Hugzzz
Karen
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Hi 4C Women,
      Ah, those negative thoughts!  I am going to a wedding in 2 1/2 weeks so I decided to go dress shopping.  After visiting 14 stores and trying on numerous dresses, I finally gave up.  It seems my stress eating this past year has definitely caught up with me.  Before this disastrous non-buying shopping spree, I decided to get a talking scale because it was free with my new health insurance.  Now what possessed me to do that is still questionable.  But on the scale I went and when this woman whom I don’t even know, told me what my weight was, I actually talked back to her saying I didn’t like her very much.
      The reason for this story is that negative thoughts started creeping into my head - the ones that said I am stupid, fat and ugly.  Now I haven’t heard them for a while but I have to say, they stung like a wasp (I like bees but not wasps).  Years ago, this would have led to a drinking binge just to drown out the hurtful thoughts that I am unlovable based solely on my dress size.  I am grateful that I haven’t had a drink in response to my overwhelming stress, yet as a 4C woman, I also know that stress eating isn’t healthy either.
      So, I sat quietly and thought about Karen’s first question.  What is true is that I am lovable and that lovability is not measured by a number on a talking scale or dress size.  I have worked hard to learn to love myself.  Now I am working on self-forgiveness as I accepted the fact that I have, all on my own, mistreated myself, my body and my self-esteem.  I read an article from The Clearing that says self-forgiveness is the process by which we release ourselves from judgments we’ve placed against ourselves.  When we accept that we are the only one holding the judgement, we can be the only one to release it.  As Statement #2 says, negative thoughts destroy only myself and it is my responsibility to stop, forgive and work through it.  It’s amazing how quickly the inner critic makes its appearance when in a vulnerable state of mind.  So rather than punish myself and continue to believe the inner critic of negativity, I decided to shut him down and shut him up by focusing on what I can do now to be my own best friend, to keep the self-love alive and in the present.  I do think all of Karen’s suggestions are what I need to do.  Perhaps if you are in a vulnerable state of mind, you might consider changing your negative inner critic self-talk by answering the questions as well and sharing if you choose.

Bonded in positive thinking!
4C WFS member
_____________________________________________________________________

Don’t miss this workshop at the
June 8-10 in Center Valley, PA

Sound Immersion: Release Tension with the Gong (Let Gong and Let Go)
Sit in a chair or lie down and listen. Participate (or not) in preparatory pre-gong warmups and breathing practices. Gongs rejuvenate the parasympathetic nervous system and positively affect overall body harmonics. “Sound is a uniquely useful medium for holistic approaches to health and wellness as it naturally unifies our entire being…our consciousness and our biology.” (“The Unifying Principle of Sound,” Thomas Anderson, in Being and Biology: Is Consciousness the Life Force? Edited by Brenda Dunne and Robert Jahn, ICRL Press, Dec. 2017.) Bring mat or blanket to lie upon. Whatever makes you comfortable. PJ’s fine. All welcome to listen and let go.

Priscilla e/Ruffy (Peer Presenter)  -  Priscilla has been a WFS member since 2006 and is a writer, yoga teacher, hike leader, and gong player. She’s been writing all of her life and has a book coming out in 2019: 50 Best Day Hikes in New Jersey (published by Appalachian Mountain Club). An accredited yoga teacher since 2012, she studies gong playing under Crown of Eternity. Learn more about Priscilla at www.priscillaestes.com/. 

_____________________________________________________________________
© 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!