Tuesday, June 23, 2015

 Women for Sobriety, Inc.
"Our recovery must be centered in now."


“For years I had been haunted by my past misdeeds, especially how I hurt my family.  We are able to forgive ourselves, sometimes, because we acted while drugged.  But those we hurt make us ache to change it all, to go back and do everything differently.  We fall into the ‘if only’ frame of mind, and then we are finished.  Our sobriety stands threatened.  Since we cannot change anything, we must give up this foolish exercise.  In order to change ourselves into normal productive drug-free persons, we must recognize futility.  The past is gone forever.  We goofed. But we can change.
     “Not only are we going to put the actions of our past behind us, but we are also putting aside our old patterns of thinking.  There is very little we wish to carry into our new lives from our pasts.  There may be some very good memories, but even these are of relative use to us, but the constant reliving of it or not reliving it is within our control.
     “Our pasts, of course, are never severed from our life's biography, but we should learn that we live in our minds.  Whatever our thoughts are, that is where we live, where we are, where our beings are.  If our thoughts are about the past, then that is where we are.  Living with these thoughts, bringing them forward into our conscious minds over and over, we are bound to play the ‘what if’ game.  And then we are finished.  Too many ‘what ifs’ will endanger our recovery and can lead us back to the old drinking ways.
     “Even though we have trouble with living in the present and feel scared about life and the reality of our responsibilities, we must recognize that these feelings are so much better than the ‘what if’ or the ‘if only’ feelings.  Our recovery must be centered in now.”   -Goodbye Hangovers, Hello Life by Jean Kirkpatrick, Ph.D.

Statement #9, “The past is gone forever.”
No longer will I be victimized by the past.  I am a new person.

Karen’s Perspective +
     Statement #9 is the one Statement that drew me in close to the Women for Sobriety Program. As soon as I read those words, I began to heal and transform my life.  The past was very painful for me and I was unaware that I had been desperately clinging; I had wanted a much different outcome.  Suddenly, with Statement #9, it occurred to me that “that was then and this is now.” My past began to make sense little by little and I started the process of learning how to let go.
     Through Statement #9, I learned that I was not present or living in the moment.  I was missing so much by focusing on painful yesterdays.  I actually did not know how to live in the moment.  I was either gripped with guilt or fretting about the future.  I wallowed in pity and negativity.  I turned to alcohol for relief again and again and again.  I had felt stuck and lifeless.
     Statement #9 continues to be my favorite of all the Statements.  It gave me a launching point to let go.  Understanding that I was holding on, I began to learn how to release the past.  I have let go of so much and have learned how to re-frame my thoughts.  When something from the past reappears today, I have the tools to shift my momentum and embrace the gift of now.  Hugzzz, Karen
  • Do you feel better equipped to live in the past today?
  • If not, what adjustments can you make and what can you release?

+  Dee’s Insights  +
     Hi 4C Women, Statement 9 is also my favorite statement for over 25 years.  I, too, lived in the past because I thought it was much better than my present.  Of course, I learned that the present became my past and I literally let moments of joy slide by without realizing it.  Being in the present moment takes a lot of practice and awareness.  Every once in a while, I am drawn back into the past by a situation or person who pushes my buttons.  Of course, I have also learned that most button pushers created that button and so I make a conscious effort to press stop in my mind before I am dragged back too far.
     In a way, it is a powerful reminder that I have moved very far along and that I am in charge of how I respond and for how long I choose to give it attention.  Years ago, I would be stuck for weeks at a time in the thoughts of regret, pain and unhealthy choices.  I can’t change the past; I learn and heal from it.  Why would I choose to victimize myself for something I can’t change?  I appreciate Statement 9 for helping me, for the most part, move past my regrets, guilt and shame and empowering me to not give free rent in my head to someone who doesn’t deserve it and who is going on their merry way without giving my pain a thought.  Now that is empowering!
     I am human and am not immune from feeling regret.  I have learned not to live there for too long when those feelings arise.  As far as those I have hurt; I let them know I cannot change the past.  I apologize and ask what I can do TODAY to heal the relationship, for that is all I can do.
  • Are you struggling with releasing the past?
  • Do you understand that releasing it gives you space to learn and heal yourself and relationships?
  • That having regrets is human nature and not an invitation to berate yourself endlessly for a past you cannot change?
  • It is an invitation to positive change, personal and emotional growth.  Will you accept the invitation?  –Dee
Thank you, Karen and Dee, for your words of encouragement and inspiration to start off our week! ~Becky Fenner, WFS Director
Email:  contact@womenforsobriety.org   *   Tel215-536-8026   *   Fax:  215-538-9026
http://www.womenforsobriety.org   *   http://www.wfscatalog.org

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