Tuesday, April 24, 2018

"I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.”      ~~A. Maslow

“We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.”  Albert Einstein

“If you choose to not deal with an issue, then you give up your right of control over the issue and it will select the path of least resistance.”  ~~ Susan Del Gatto
Statement #4
 “Problems bother me only to the degree I permit.
I now better understand my problems.
I do not permit problems to overwhelm me.
Before sobriety and New Life, a technique used in dealing with problems was much like the quote with the hammer; assailing any trouble with an attempt to escape.  The initial impulse was to complain, then drag as many people into the situation as possible while trying to get them on *my side*.  Avoidance soon became the norm until something else took its place, which usually was a consequence of a problem that I was already trying to evade.  Alcohol perpetuated this cycle, creating emotional burdens and the desire to escape.

Women for Sobriety provides new tools for managing problems, and Statement #4 leads the way.  Affirming understanding and ability, Jean provides an avenue for solution by stating, “I do not permit problems to overwhelm me.”  Instead of retreating into alcohol with doubt or escape, problems now can be managed and moved through. 

With the practice of Statement #4, new tools come to light.  Sometimes what is learned solving one problem can aid in another. This Statement can also lessen feelings of doubt.  Often, I had doubted an ability to solve something, yet solving even the smallest of problems heightened my feelings of confidence, which then spurred more energy to solve another.  While this Statement does not say how to solve, it can cement the belief that anyone can solve problems.

Here is a 4-part approach for problem solving:

1.       Define the problem:  Do I have all the information?  Is the problem a symptom of something deeper?
2.       Collect solutions:  Oftentimes the first solution identified is not necessarily the best.  Can brainstorming help? 
3.       Decide and Try:  Try, while breaking down a problem into manageable and solvable smaller problems.  It is much easier to take one bite of an elephant than trying to eat the whole thing.
4.       Evaluate:  What worked and what didn’t?  What did I learn?  What can I try to do differently?
Hi 4C Women,
I sometimes tell myself that I now understand my ability to problem solve and not be overwhelmed by problems. Like Karen, I feared decision-making/problem-solving because I had zero confidence in my ability to do so and even less understanding that a mistake could actually be a life lesson. The fear was stronger than my willingness to take charge of my life. I left that up to alcohol. Not such a rewarding outcome!  

One of my coping tools now is to play the scenario backwards. I think about what I would like (no guarantees) the end result to be and think of actions that would lead me to that result.  Letting go of expectations has helped me tremendously. Not that I'm not disappointed if it doesn't work out as I hoped but I am not devastated as I was in the past. What I am recognizing lately, too, is the aspect of regret. If I do nothing, will I regret it? If I do something and it flies back in my face, will I regret doing it? The choice goes back to how much does it matter, is it truly a problem that even needs solving or am I worrying about this specific situation in order to avoid a much deeper issue that does require a decision?  This past year has been a wealth of life lessons that has included mistakes that I have survived. 

The important thing is not giving up, perhaps pausing for a while, taking a deep breath and, for me, keeping that aspect of regret/consequences of my decisions as my guide. I encourage you to think about the questions that Karen posed especially evaluating your choices.  

Bonded in problem-solving,
4C WFS Member

Don't miss this workshop at the
June 8-10 in Center Valley, PA
Breath Dance
Experience therapeutic breathwork through the use of dance in conjunction with the breath. The works of Peter Levine (Waking the Tiger) and Bessel Van der Kolk (The Body Keeps Score) discuss how trauma is stored in our bodies. Tommy Rosen (Recovery 2.0) talks about trauma being at the root of addiction. The use of movement and breath can help integrate core trauma and enhance our new lives. Join us for this unique healing experience.
During our time together, we will use dance and visualization to move through the Chakras and Levels of Recovery. The dance will be followed by quiet time for slow, connected breathing and integration. We will end the evening sharing our personal experience with the breath dance and connected breathing.
Dress comfortably. Bring a yoga mat or blanket if you want to lay on the floor for integration. Chairs will be setup for those who choose to integrate while sitting up.
Sherry W/bear3gents (Peer Presenter) – Sherry is a moderator for a face to face meeting in Burlington, WI. Sherry is a certified breathworker and uses it in her therapy practice as well as offering breathwork to her community.
Jean H/Jean (Peer Presenter) - Jean is a chat leader, hosting the Wednesday night chat. She assists Sherry in community breathwork sessions.
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