Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Monday Thoughts 05/27/2019

“Even though you may want to move forward in your life, you may have one foot on the brakes. In order to be free, we must learn how to let go. Release the hurt. Release the fear. Refuse to entertain your old pain. The energy it takes to hang onto the past is holding you back from a new life. What is it you would let go of today?” ~~Mary Manin Morrissey

“Self-acknowledgment boosts your emotional and spiritual immunity, giving you the strength you need to release the past and rise above fear, doubt, or resignation.” ~~Debbie Ford

“Forgiving does not erase the bitter past. A healed memory is not a deleted memory. Instead, forgiving what we cannot forget creates a new way to remember. We change the memory of our past into a hope for the future.” ~~Lewis B. Smedes

Statement #9
  The past is gone forever.
No longer am I victimized by the past. I am a new woman.

It easily became a habit, drinking at something that had happened that morning, last week or ten years ago. It was never a solution and quickly became a way of life. Instead of moving through uncomfortable feelings, I created more of what I was attempting to evade. Over time, this led to a seemingly endless cycle of emotional distress and attempts to escape.

The absolute beauty of Statement #9 is how life-changing it is when practiced. Old wounds can become windows into clarity, strength and wisdom. Rewriting history to create a pavement of balance encourages living life in the present and embracing what is and can be.

In our WFS Program booklet it states, “By releasing the past, the present comes alive and we can experience life with fullness and hope.” Imagine only looking in the rear-view mirror when driving. How far can you safely go without hitting curbs or running a stop sign? With occasional glances backwards, life can become filled with beautiful scenery while heading to new destinations. 

Here are a few ways which can aid in releasing the past:

· Understand you are holding on: It is impossible to let go if you do not accept that you are holding on in the first place.

· Redefine a painful, past experience: Is it possible to look at a painful experience as a new beginning? Practice looking at the past as a bystander instead of participant.

· Lean into the present: Notice how it feels to sit, stand, or simply be. Observe how the chair or earth is supporting you, what is it like to be present? It is not possible to be fully present and stuck in the past at the same time.

What works for you in practicing Statement #9?
Hi 4C Women,
I lived in the past for many years. The past of my youth, before marriage, was always the best in my mind which I now realize was unrealistic. My marriage was a combination of love and pain but I chose to only remember the pain for a long time. The pain justified my actions and kept me stuck in both my unrealistic youth memories, wishing for the impossible - to go back. Rather than understanding that I was in charge of how I viewed the past and how it shaped me by my own choices and actions, I just kept running from the truth. While I can't or won't deny the pain, I will not live in it today because I cannot change the choices I made back then. I can choose to appreciate how much strength I have gained, the ability to voice my feelings, to learn what are my red flags/triggers, to stop the negative thoughts and just say, I didn't do this or that so why stay stuck in anger and regret. I ask myself, what can I do NOW? Being able to look at the past and accept the lessons I have learned surprised me when I realized that was how I was beginning to reflect on the past. In doing so, it has helped me to make wiser choices, to respect myself and live in authenticity.

 I think the most challenging parts of the past to let go of involve my family. As a mother, sister, daughter and wife, I sometimes wonder and, yes, wish I could go back and change my decisions. I feel inadequate and angry at myself for not doing better but as the saying goes, you do the best you can with what you know at that time. So, after my personal pep talk to counter those negative thoughts, I go back to the question I shared above - what can I do now? How can I put those invaluable lessons into practice?  

Most of all, I need to forgive myself. As long as I am willing to learn, to make healthier choices, I cherish the ability to forgive myself as much as possible. When I struggle with it, I ask myself what would I say to friend if they came to me with guilt, shame and regrets? That answer is about self-forgiveness, to be our own best friend as we are to others.  

Bonded in letting go of the past and healing for our future, A 4C Woman
Expressive Writing: A Guide to Wonder and Well-being

Are you feeling stuck in sobriety? Feel a rut in your recovery? Something truly magical happens when we take pen to paper. This workshop can open a portal to possibility and unleash adventure in your New Life.

Beginning with the discovery of what feelings and emotions are, we will dive into expressive writing for well-being. We will learn about how writing is healing for the physical body as well as the mind, and about different methods of writing aimed for specific results.

Let the fun begin now! Go to your local store or bookstore and browse the aisles. Find a notebook or journal, one that catches your eye or maybe you just love the colors. Whether your journal is hand-made or store bought doesn’t matter, what matters is what you put into it.

Get ready for a discussion and bouncing ideas off each other for writing prompts. Together, we will begin your page one. Your writings will be as personal as you are, and there will not be any requirement to share any of your writing.

Karen Hamm (Coral63), Peer Presenter

Karen Hamm is a passionate volunteer for Women for Sobriety. After becoming familiar with the New Life Program, Karen started the WFS Tuscaloosa group in 2010. She later joined the WFS Board of Directors and now serves as Chairman of the Board. Karen has been instrumental in leading the organization towards growth and also serves on the Materials and Literature Management Team. Karen has continued the legacy established by "fourcwoman" in continuing the Monday Thoughts weekly message, and her previous email series was published by WFS in the A New Life Journey booklet collection. Today, Karen lives with her husband on the Alabama river and enjoys life on the water. She spends her spare time sketching, painting, and leading WFS into the future.
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