Tuesday, October 24, 2017

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be?” ~~Marianne Williamson

“If we did all things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.” ~~Thomas Alva Edison

“I’ve finally stopped running away from myself. Who else is there better to be?" ~~Goldie Hawn
      Alcohol had an insidious way of decreasing my belief system. Initially under the influence, I felt a sense of power and courage unknown to me. Yet over time, my drinking carved out caring, carved out abilities and soon found myself unable to believe in anything other than alcohol. My relief system had robbed me of my belief system.

Sobriety and Statement #5 encourage a shift in thinking. Learning to examine thoughts, I initially felt fear and wondered where in the world all this babble was coming from. It was exhausting trying to learn what I was thinking, but with growing awareness, a long-lost ability began to surface. The influence of alcohol lost its power and I began to learn how to manage thoughts. 

Challenging self-defeating thoughts, I began repairing my belief system. “Why couldn’t I?” became a daily question which led to new opportunities and adventures, renewing a sense of self. Building upon uncovered strengths, I began to understand the value of sobriety and recovery and this diminished craving and made triggers less of a trigger. With this healthier sense of belief and self, I am capable, competent, caring and compassionate!
Hi 4C Women,
I relate to Karen's description of being robbed of her belief system by her "relief" system. My belief system was already in shambles before I completely depleted and defeated my ability to change that negative definition of me with alcohol. The stronger my feelings of inadequacy grew, the more I ran away by numbing those feelings. This past year has challenged my belief system to the core. While I sometimes go back to wondering just how 4C a woman I am, I must remember that I am definitely stronger, more competent than I was when I started this recovery journey. I share this because I once believed that sobriety alone would be the key to living a fantastic, stress-free life. If I have learned anything over the years, it is that there is no perfect life, no smooth sailing just because I am sober. If I had not learned this life lesson, I am not sure I would have remained sober throughout the years and most of all, believed in my ability to handle some very devastating situations. This is where I use the coping tools learned in WFS. I dig my heels in and put that positive self-talk into high gear. It doesn't end there though because I have also learned that I do not have to go through these rough times alone. I ask for help which is not easy. I believe many women feel this way. We were taught to be caregivers, to make everyone happy and putting ourselves first was considered selfish or conceited. What a defeating message and with such crushing consequences. So I cry when I feel it and also laugh spontaneously when that feeling arrives in my heart. Sobriety is not a guarantee that life will be easy. What it does offer is the ability to build confidence, to learn problem-solving skills, make healthier decisions, ask for help, express uncomfortable feelings rather than numb or run away from them, to feel pain and survive.  As long as I am learning new skills, I am growing.

I have learned to expect challenges and not fall totally apart because of them. Now that was something I never believed could happen. I still have moments when I question my ability to handle the toughest situations yet truly believe in the deepest part of my soul that I can. Just need to take a breath, a moment, and tell myself - stop, pause but keep going knowing that long and big journeys begin with small steps. Set backs are a part of life and trusting we can handle the outcome without numbing, retreating completely within our addiction, is crucial. It is the time to speak up, to reach out and to recognize if we are isolating too much or pretending we're just fine when we are not. Keeping silent will cause us unneeded harm. I say, no more hiding! The end result is the reward of sobriety - freedom, choice, support and sharing and believing in those 4C characteristics within each of us.

I was thinking of this question asked by many adults when I was growing up if I asked for something they thought was extravagant or if I behaved inappropriately in their estimation: Who do you think you are?!!!! Well, let me tell you today who I think I am! It would be a much different answer. How about you?  

-WFS Member 
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