Monday, March 23, 2015

 Women for Sobriety, Inc.
Dancing Leaves, Silly Squirrels, Quiet Mornings


“You were born with potential.  You were born with goodness and trust.  You were born with ideals and dreams.  You were born with greatness.  You were born with wings.  You are not meant for crawling, so don’t.  You have wings.  Learn to use them and fly.”  -Rumi

“Be not afraid of greatness.  Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them.”  -William Shakespeare

“Nothing is more simple than greatness; indeed to be simple is to be great.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Statement #6, “Life can be ordinary or it can be great.”
Greatness is mine by a conscious effort.

Karen’s Perspective +
     In the WFS Program Booklet, Jean writes, “Although we only get a one way ticket through life, we speed over the miles as if we will make the trip many times, as if planning to enjoy it on a later trip.  We live as if there are an endless amount of tomorrows.”  This was how I thought, felt and behaved before my sobriety and my New Life.  I was so busy running to the next exciting event, with alcohol in hand, that it wasn’t long before I was knee deep into a pattern of unending inadequacy and no ‘thing’ was ever enough.  I felt an inauthentic feeling of life with capturing the thrill, the adventures and the antics, but it was always short lived and often never living up to my expectations.  No amount of fun, no amount of family, no amount of friendship and, certainly, no amount of alcohol was ever enough.  Thankfully, this is behind me today.
     Statement #6 in action brings a sense of fullness to my life.  I am able to slow down, pause and really enjoy the moment with conscious awareness.  On occasion, it can take added effort, such as when I am overly tired or physically not feeling well.  In those instances, I still try to remain present by acknowledging what I am doing, for example, if I am washing dishes I may silently say to myself “I am rinsing this lovely plate” or “I am drying this beautiful piece of glass” and I am able to shift into the moment at hand and reap the rewards.
     Reminding myself that greatness is within and surrounding me, I am able to relax and feel content with what is.  I no longer need to find the most expensive, most dramatic or outlandish of things to cover my feelings of lack; instead, I find more in the moment and be.
     My feelings of gratitude have increased tenfold and I am able to notice little things; the scampering of a silly squirrel, the dance of leaves as a vehicle goes by or the quiet morning being welcomed by sparrows.  Relationships are at a noticeably different level and I feel a sense of comfort often.  Life really is great!
     Of course, I still feel a thrill whenever the big moments in life come - weddings, graduations, reunions and the like; but, I no longer use them to feel alive.  I feel and know that I am alive and greatness envelops each moment.  Hugzzz, Karen

  • Do you recognize, create and accept greatness in your life?
+  Dee’s Insights  +
     Hi 4C Women, Gratefulness is something I learned in sobriety.  Not at first because as Jean wrote in the WFS Program Booklet, “When we stop drinking, we often go through a period of feeling not fully alive; we wonder what life is all about and whether sobriety is worth it.”  In putting Statement 6 into practice, I began to understand why just stopping the drinking would never be enough.  We’ve all seen people who stopped drinking but still thought and behaved in the same way.
     Changing our behavior, our thoughts, our attitude is hard, challenging work.  There were times when I thought life was flat, uncovering and discovering my feelings was very uncomfortable and thoughts about escaping into the numbness of drinking would creep into my mind and even my dreams.  I even hid my drinking from my therapist because I didn’t want to stop; which may sound odd since I was in therapy.  But then I was also in the blame game stage of life.  I went to therapy to see how I could fix everyone else and thought I would learn those tactics in therapy.  What a shock to realize that it was myself that I needed to change!
     I re-learned that lesson big time over the past year with my daughter’s health issues.  As much as I nagged, begged and prayed for her to take charge of her health, I was ineffective and, once again, I was faced with what I learned many years ago - that I could only change myself.  So I decided to focus on my own health for 2015.  I was not prepared for the barriers placed before me.  I started the year off with a mallet finger that requires wearing a splint for 2 months, followed by two and a half months of being sick with a sinus infection/asthma which put off my right knee replacement surgery.  After 4 rounds of antibiotics, thrush in my mouth from the antibiotics, weight gain from the prednisone, left eye bleeding from my tortured blood vessels, pain in my back, putting off getting my permanent crowns put on, my tooth implant of 6 years came off twice as well as a 5 year old crown, need a colonoscopy that I wasn’t expecting, my blood work showed I have a very low immune system and might need monthly 3-4 hour infusions at the hospital every 28 days and lastly experiencing numbness in my left leg.  All I kept thinking was I needed a redo or start-over to 2015.  It’s taking a lot of concentrated effort to be grateful but I am because my mallet finger is on my right hand and I am left handed; I didn’t have to go into the hospital for my asthma; I am feeling better and, most of all, I have so much loving support.  Can’t say I haven’t shed a tear or two but then WFS has taught me not to run away or numb my feelings so I am truly grateful for that.
     I don’t have to pretend that I am not scared or frustrated by the first few months of 2015; however, I have to balance that with gratefulness that there are solutions and choices to my health issues and I don’t have to drink away my feelings.  For that, I am most grateful to WFS and the Statements that remain a guide for introspection and authentic change.  I sometimes see “greatness” as “gratefulness” and, as Jean said, this is the time when growth must take place or sobriety will always be a burden.  I couldn’t imagine living this life with the feeling that sobriety is a burden.  For me, it is freedom!  What does it mean to you?  -Dee 
Thank you, Karen and Dee, for your words of encouragement and inspiration to lead us into the weekend!  ~Becky Fenner, WFS Director
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