Tuesday, July 14, 2015

 Women for Sobriety, Inc.

“If you doubt you can accomplish something, then you can’t accomplish it.  You have to have confidence in your ability, and then be tough enough to follow through.”  -Rosalynn Carter

“I was doing something I’d never done before.  And what will I be able to do tomorrow that I cannot yet do today?”  -Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

“If you never try, you’ll never know what you are capable of.”  -John Barrow

Statement #12, “I am a competent woman and have much to give life.”
This is what I am and I shall know it always.

Karen’s Perspective +
     “Always.”  That’s still the hardest part for me.  “I shall know it always.”
     Doubt is a sneaky little feeling that can strike at any time and in any place.  In the past, I wore a dark, heavy cloak of doubt and wrapped myself in a scarf woven from the finest excuses.  I was actually really good at making excuses; and, sadly, I was good at believing them too.
     Alcohol had a way of preventing me from believing in myself.  I guess it was the fact that I would start the day affirming to myself that I would be able to manage alcohol that day.  By nightfall, I was completely lost, under the influence and another token of my competence had been easily removed.  I became filled with shame, guilt and deep feelings of incompetence.  I felt empty and such a failure so often that I just stopped trying.  Sadly, I even stopped trying to live.  I felt it was just. too. hard.
     Thankfully those days are far, far behind me.  Yet they also serve a purpose; they help me to understand and embrace who I am and where I am in this moment.  The clarity that sobriety brings helps me to see doubt for what it really is; fear.  Simple fear.  When I dig down deep to find the origin of my doubt, most often I am able to release the negativity and replace it with an attitude of trying.  I can, at least, try.  I can try, try again; and, at least, know what does not work and learn something valuable along the way.
     Today I feel competent because I am competent.  I know my competence and also am not afraid to say that I don’t know something or that I need some help.  This was almost impossible before my New Life.  Statement #12 changes all that.  Practicing this Statement, I reinforce my strengths.  When doubt suddenly appears, I am able to take a moment, pause, see it for what it really is and move through it.  No longer stuck wearing that heavy darkness, I am able to live in fearlessness and freedom!  I AM A COMPETENT WOMAN!!  Hugzzz, Karen
  • How do you respond to doubt in your New Life? 
+  Dee’s Insights  +
     Hi 4C Women, Doubt and excuses really described me before I started living my New Life.  Even in early sobriety, I had a difficult time believing I could handle life’s challenges.  This is why I loved started the meetings by introducing myself as a competent woman.  Alcohol is what I used to cope, it was not my identity.  The more I said “I am a competent woman,” the more I began to believe and behave as though it was my truth.  Jean was such a smart woman, knowing how difficult it was to actually believe we were competent.  I am so grateful that she chose that word to identify ourselves in order to see ourselves in such a positive light.
     Yesterday I had to take my granddaughter to the ER and, as I was driving there, I thought, why is it always me that has to be the responsible one?  I just got through the difficult and scary month of my daughter being diagnosed with Diabetes, financially supporting her and having her stay with me; learned I could not have my knee replacement surgery because my immune system won’t handle it, went on vacation and learned that my granddaughter’s grandfather passed away and I was a day late for the funeral; and now my granddaughter has a severe kidney infection.  It is a serious situation as she had kidney surgery when she was only a year old and the doctor said this could lead to kidney issues as she got older.  So, as I am driving, I thought I am the responsible one because I am competent and can handle it.  Years ago, I would have completely fallen apart.  Too much all at once would have destroyed my ability to remain calm at all!  I have also learned over the years that I can ask for help and that there are friends who let me vent, cry and work on facing these challenges.
     I am not perfect, no one is perfect and sobriety/recovery does not guarantee we will always make the right decisions.  What it does give us is hope, clarity to focus on problem solving, the ability to know when we need to ask for help and actually do that, to realize that it is okay to feel fear, anger, disappointment and all those unsettling feelings and to LEARN new coping skills.  As the saying goes, “It is not what happens to us, it is what we do with what happens to us.”  So if you make a mistake, remember it and choose differently the next time.  It is not an excuse or reason to drink/drug, to return to those old coping habits.  It is the opportunity to practice competency as you build that treasure chest of new coping skills/tools.  Each time you handle a situation with a positive outcome (or not), practice saying, “I am a competent woman and have much to give life.  This is what I am and I shall know it always.”  Soon enough, that treasure chest will be bulging with wonderful coping tools and the best part is that you can share that life experience with others who are struggling.  Remember to give what we need to receive.  That is exactly what Jean did when she created the WFS program.  -Dee
Thank you, Karen and Dee, for your words of encouragement and inspiration!
~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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