Tuesday, May 1, 2018

“I decided to try—to like myself, love myself, be my #1 fan, my own best friend, believe that I’m good, I’m valuable, I’m a treasure…and life did not end.  It began.  ~~Unknown

“The soul becomes dyed with the color of its thoughts.”  ~~Marcus Aurelius

“I need to see my own beauty and to continue to be reminded that I am enough, that I am worthy of love without effort, that I am beautiful, that the texture of my hair and that the shape of my curves, the size of my lips, the color of my skin, and the feelings that I have are all worthy and okay.”  ~~Tracee Ellis Ross

Statement #5  I am what I think.

 I am a capable, competent, caring, compassionate woman.

Doubt, fear, and insecurity can be a few of the lingering after-effects of addiction, which in early sobriety can feel unsettling and alarming.  With a clearer mind, questions can arise such as “what am I doing?”, or “is this all worth it?”  Thoughts such as these can dictate behavior and challenge resolve or commitments.  The WFS New Life Program, especially Statement #5 in action can cement sobriety and recovery while creating an insurance policy against relapse.

In the WFS Beginner’s Collection on page 27, Jean writes, “We tend to act out what our mind is telling us about ourselves.  I used to be thinking, “I’m no good, I’m nothing.  I’m nobody and no one loves me.”  And that’s exactly the way I acted.  In our New Life Program, we begin to see ourselves as competent, worthwhile persons.”  Jean understood the results from thinking competent; it could create further encouraging thoughts, with each adding to New Life.

An exercise in the WFS Beginner’s Special which Jean provided to aid in practicing Statement #5 is as follows:

a)  Write down what you think you are.  Use as many words as you can to describe yourself.  Try to use 30 to 50.  Spend much time at this, for it is very important.
b) When you have finished this list, make a list, just as long, of what you would like to be, such as sober, kind, compassionate etc.
This second list is to be read every morning and every night until doomsday!

Childish, you say?  Try it.  Live it.  Believe it.  Then write to me after several weeks.  During the day, repeat the words you want yourself to be.   Say, “I am sober, kind….” This is a form of self-hypnosis.  Your mind will begin to accept these attitudes as real and you will become them.
While Jean is no longer here to read our letters or emails, having passed away in 2000, maybe share how this exercise or how WFS has helped you live your New Life in a Face to face WFS meeting, WFS Online Forum or share on social media if comfortable.  If you are not involved in either, I invite you to join, or start a WFS meeting in your area or join the WFS Online community (and become a Certified Chat Leader!) Your strengths will assist other women who are just beginning or about to begin their New Life!

Hi 4C Women,

How challenging this exercise was the first time I tried it. The first part was easy because it didn't say the words needed to be positive, just to describe who I thought I was. However, the second part asking me to write 30-50 positive words to describe myself as I would like to be, now that was almost impossible. It was scary to imagine I could be those things I so desired. What if I wrote them, my deepest secrets of wanting to be assertive, bold, lovable, worthy and they didn't happen. It took a while before I realized what Jean was saying that how we think of ourselves is how we behave, how we show ourselves to the world. Dr. Phil says we teach people how to treat us. If we have such a low self-image, how can we teach others to treat us with respect, caring, love and worthiness if we don't feel it for ourselves. I believe creating a list will keep us focused on what we want and then work on developing a way to achieve it.

I went to a family wedding this week-end and saw firsthand how what we think of ourselves can do great damage to our relationships, including the one we have with ourselves. One person's insecurity turned into blaming and feelings were terribly, if not irreparably, damaged. What started out as a beautiful celebratory event turned into a sad ending.  All because one person's insecurity was expressed in such a hurtful, harmful manner. What's sad about this is that it was all about a "perceived" slight and what was positive is how the family pulled together in support of each other, to help heal. I was at one time very sensitive to so called slights and made mountains out of the proverbial molehill. It was my own lack of self-love, self-worth that continuously misinterpreted other's actions and especially their intentions. A strong self-esteem and dose of self-love helped me so much and I learned to express myself in a calm, loving manner so that my feelings are heard and I also listen in return. It broke my heart to see such a sad ending to a beautiful week-end and I tried my best to encourage those family members to take a deep breath, apologize where needed and start making necessary changes to take responsibility where possible. Feelings are raw right now and some apologies were made yet more needs to be accomplished.

 I thought of Statement #5 and how powerfully important our self-image is and how rewarding it is to do the challenging work. I am so grateful for WFS and the guidance it has given me to change my life, to love myself, to accept responsibility rather than blame and set boundaries for those who are going in a hurtful direction and mostly for not being in such pain that I would hurt others to relieve mine. Thank you WFS and sobriety! 

Bonded in learning to love ourselves fully,
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.
Check out Women for Sobriety's Blog Site.
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