Sunday, July 23, 2017

"You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today"  -Abraham Lincoln

"Responsibility to yourself means refusing to let others do your thinking, talking, and naming for you; it means learning to respect and use your own brains and instincts; hence, grappling with hard work."  -Adrienne Rich

The knowledge that we are responsible for our actions and attitudes does not need to be discouraging, because it also means that we free to change this destiny.  One is not in bondage to the past, which has shaped our feelings, to race, inheritance, background.  All this can be altered if we have the courage to examine how it formed us.  We can alter the chemistry provided we have the courage to dissect the elements.  -Anais Nin 
Recently, feelings of being overwhelmed have been bringing anxiety to light.  The desire to escape has entered my mind with feelings of uncertainty (fear) and being stuck taking hold.  While I have been unaware of a conscious desire to drink, the thought of running away is a big, red warning sign.  This is an indicator of imbalance which calls for immediate action and change.  Responsibility in action is key here.

Statement #13 in daily development provides the path for continued sobriety and recovery with an eye towards tomorrow and beyond.  Speaking with a dear friend who understands this journey, has helped immensely and has allowed me to see things from a different and clearer perspective.  Prioritizing and planning, increasing my meditation practice and reorganization has helped to center thoughts and reduce anxiety.  Writing in a journal has also been a trusted avenue for responsibility and awareness.

Oftentimes in recovery it can be easy to adopt a laid-back attitude which, when left unattended, can lead towards excess and negativity.  Excessive thoughts and lack of direction are not helpful and can be an instigator for negativity.  In our Program Booklet, Jean boldly states, “So long as we have just one single negative thought, we stand to lose our sobriety and we will always be off-balance with ourselves.”  By paying attention to thoughts and subsequent feelings, I can circumvent a negative spiral and respond with growing ability.  Sobriety and recovery using the WFS Statements of Affirmation is not some high-speed chase to an impending finish line, but rather an ebb and flow odyssey of magnanimous proportion.  Hugzzz, Karen 
I truly relate to Karen’s message.  As many of you know from my writings, I have been the caretaker for my daughter for several months.  It was becoming emotionally overwhelming and I started having those red flag negative thoughts.  What helped me was voicing my feelings, receiving compassion and understanding rather than judgment.  This is what WFS has done for me.  It helped me to learn to be responsible for my actions, for my decisions and it also provided a safe place to seek support.  It is harmful for my emotional well-being to isolate, keep my feelings hidden and hang on with clenched fists when all I need to do is say, “I need help.”  There is such great strength in asking for and receiving what we need to work through life’s challenges - and trust me, there will always be challenges.  This is why creating healthy coping tools, reaching out when needed and building that strong, solid foundation of resiliency is the key to remaining sober and clean.  It is so much more than not drinking or using.  It is what building resilience is all about.

I just read an article in AARP (yes, I am well past the 50 years of age requirement) about building resiliency.  The author thought that resiliency was the capacity to endure pain.  She learned that resiliency is the strength and speed of our response to adversity.

Hardships and traumatic events happen to all of us and are not evenly distributed.  Recovery does not start from the same place for everyone.  This is another aspect of WFS that I value, that we do not compare our histories or current situations because what matters is how all of that is impacting our personal lives.  Comparing one’s suffering over another’s can be risky.  We do not live other people’s lives.  We are in charge of how we solve and work on our own situations, seek guidance or input and offer that compassion so needed by each one of us no matter how small or large the issue.  We are bonded by that gift of giving and receiving without judgment.

And lastly, please remember to put balance in your life.  If you are feeling so stressed that negative thoughts start becoming the prominent thoughts, it’s time to see how you are nurturing yourself.  It was the support of a friend in my WFS group and the meal team at my church that made it possible for me to go to the WFS conference and to go on to visit my family and friends in PA and NJ.  I fearfully asked for much needed help and I abundantly received!

  • What are your coping tools for handling adversity?
  • What do you do to nurture yourself?
  • When is the last time you asked for help?
  • How do you practice being in charge of your mind, thoughts and life?
--WFS Member
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