Tuesday, July 21, 2015

 Women for Sobriety, Inc.
Life is Change, Growth is Possible
Choose Wisely

 Change doesn’t have to be hard; here are 10 steps to help make it easier.
Smoothing Transitions

1.  Begin by making small changes or break up large scale changes into more manageable increments.  This can make you feel better about handling the changes you are about to make while making you more comfortable with change in general.

2.  Mentally link changes to established daily rituals.  This can make changes like taking on a new habit, starting a new job, or adapting to a new home happen much more smoothly.  For example, if you want to begin meditating at home, try weaving it into your morning routine.

3.  Going with the flow can help you accept change instead of resisting it.  If you stay flexible, you will be able to ride out change without too much turbulence.

4.  When a change feels most stressful, relief can often be found in finding the good that it brings. An illness, a financial loss, or a broken relationship can seem like the end of the world, yet they also can be blessings in disguise.

5.  Remember that all change involves a degree of learning.  If you find change particularly stressful, try to keep in mind that after this period of transformation has passed, you will be a wiser person for it.

6.  Remember that upheaval and confusion are often natural parts of change.  While we can anticipate certain elements that a change might bring, it is impossible to know everything that will happen in advance.  Be prepared for unexpected surprises, and the winds of change won’t easily knock you over.

7.  Don’t feel like you have to cope with changing circumstances or the stress of making a change on your own.  Talk about what s going on for you with a friend or write about it in a journal. Sharing your feelings can give you a sense of relief while helping you find the strength to carry on.

8.  Give yourself time to accept any changes that you face.  And as change happens, recognize that you may need time to adjust to your new situation.  Allow yourself a period of time to reconcile your feelings.  This can make changes feel less extreme.

9.  No matter how large or difficult a change is, you will eventually adapt to these new circumstances.  Remember that regardless of how great the change, all the new that it brings will eventually weave itself into the right places in your life.

10.  If you’re trying to change a pattern of behavior or navigate your way through a life change, don’t assume that it has to be easy.  Wanting to cry or being moody during a period of change is natural.  Then again, don’t assume that making a change needs to be hard.  Sometimes, changes are meant to be that easy.
-Madisyn Taylor

Statement #4, “Problems bother me only to the degree I permit them to.”
I now better understand my problems and do not permit problems to overwhelm me.

Karen’s Perspective +
     It didn’t dawn on me until recently that I have viewed change as a big problem.  For a long time, my mind defined change as a calamity.  For instance, when my routine is suddenly out of order or something different happens other than my normal expectation....bingo....CHANGE.  I can feel completely off kilter and worry has an open portal to invade and take over.  Thankfully, I have Statement #4 to realign myself.
     Alcohol exacerbated every problem in my life and, while I may have escaped momentarily, I paid deeply for it.  I still had the original problem and had now added even more problems... hearty hangovers, increasing paranoia and ever-diminishing self-esteem to name but a few.
     Sobriety and Statement #4 in action are a CHANGE diffuser; they lessen intensity and provide a stable platform.  Change only bothers me to the degree that I permit it to!
     It is comforting and empowering to know that I am employing some, if not all, of the above mentioned strategies and notice each of them fits quite nicely with Statement #4.  Breaking down something into smaller increments is something that I did early in sobriety and still do today.  Early on I felt overwhelmed with the thought of not drinking for the rest of my life, so I created a new outlook.... I can be sober for 24 hours....and when that felt like too much, I broke it down further. Now, a number of years later, sobriety and recovery for the remainder of my life is not only completely doable but comforting as well.
     When I quit smoking, I used the Statements to help me and listed thirteen positive things that I would get from quitting...one for each Statement.  By looking at what I was gaining instead of only what I thought I was losing ...I did not allow that change to overwhelm me.  Today I am breathing free and enjoying the many benefits of a smoke free life.
     The more I practice Statement #4, the more able I feel and the more I learn about myself and about life.  Sobriety is not a guarantee of a perfect life but it is the beginning of learning healthy and empowering coping skills that make life enjoyable and love filled.  My favorite quote about CHANGE comes from Dr. Phil and it is one I share often.....  Hugzzz, Karen


  • What will YOU choose today?
  • How will you manage change today?

+  Dee’s Insights  +
     Hi 4C Women, I love what Karen said, that “Change only bothers me to the degree I permit it to.”  I was so fearful of change that I even gave up a free trip to Hawaii and Switzerland many years ago because I was so unsure of how I would handle the change of being in new surroundings.  It still surprises me today because I left home at 18 to go to work in Washington, D.C.  Yes, I was scared and yet I didn’t use anything I learned in that transition to overcome my fear of change.  Three months after I got married, my former husband got a job in Huntsville, AL and, again, I was terrified of moving.
     As I reflect on all the changes since then - moving 14 times, 2 children, a divorce, promotion at my job, losing my mom and dad, daughter being hospitalized - I realize I needed Statement #4 long before I discovered WFS.  Since we cannot change the past, I have learned through WFS to learn from the past and leave regrets where they belong - gone!  I absolutely HATED change until the day my boss told me in my performance review that I was nothing but a maintenance person, no creativity whatsoever since my promotion.  I cried for days, and then I got mad!  This is why I related most to #4 in the first part of this message about when change feels most stressful, relief can often be found in finding the good that it brings.  An illness, a financial loss, or a broken relationship can seem like the end of the world, yet they also can be blessings in disguise.
     After I dried my tears, I decided to face my fear and made a ton of changes.  Even I was shocked at how creative I became, how I tackled really big challenges and by the end of the next year, I created over 17 new programs.  I think I overdid it; but, it was the catalyst I needed to realize that my fear had held me back for many, many years and I missed out on a lot of opportunities. Drinking only masked my fears and certainly kept me stuck in an unhealthy mindset of fear and unworthiness.
     I say this each time Statement #4 is discussed - there is a difference between real issues that need attention and problem solving and worrying to the point that everything is a problem.  I encourage you to embrace change at your own pace, to face your fears with the help and support of others who have experienced similar fears and found ways to cope and make positive changes. Thank goodness we are not alone on this journey.
     I, too, have a favorite quote – “Life is change, Growth is possible, Choose wisely.”  -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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