Saturday, January 2, 2016

 Women for Sobriety, Inc.
"I promise to care about my life...."



The excitement and adventure of a new life promises each of us a challenging life’s journey.  Remember those hopeless days, filled with remorse and guilt, when nothing was able to rouse us from that fear and apathy?  Today I promise myself I will value my sobriety, my life, and promise of my life’s dreams.

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        I remember when I broke promises to myself and to others.  You see, I was sick.  I was so sick that I didn’t even know I couldn’t keep those promises I made.  The person I was hurting, and letting down the most, was myself.  I spent many mornings berating myself for being so weak-natured and self-indulgent.  I thought if I was hard enough on myself, I would just quit because it made sense, because it was the right thing to do.  I was a little more hard-headed than that.  I started off the day with, “I am NOT drinking today!” only to drink that very afternoon.  I opted to go to treatment and give myself a “real” chance at sobriety.  There I was safe and in an environment that essentially protected me from myself.
        I knew that the time had come to make a real commitment to sobriety.  It meant a half-hearted, frightened promise of abstinence.  As the days accumulated, I began to see where my strength, resolve, and promise lied, within my own heart and mind.  WFS had already begun to work its wisdom in my thoughts.  The idea that I was responsible for myself, for my disease, for the promises I would make to myself, wrapped itself around my brain.
        “I, Littlelamb, do solemnly promise to love my self.  I promise to care about my life and the lives of those I touch.  I promise to live out loud, without fear.  I promise to smile and laugh.  I promise to bring joy into the lives of others whenever possible.  I promise to forgive myself.  I promise to hold the broken in the palm of my hand with tenderness and to show myself the same tenderness.  I promise to not look back in shame, but ahead in hope.  I promise to not pick up the first drink, no matter what is going on in my life.”  Love, Julie “Littlelamb”  [September, 2010]
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Your support to WFS is always appreciated and greatly needed! Please find it in your heart to add WFS to your gift-giving list. Thank you!
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Best of the week from Choose Help

Hating the Holidays? Tips on How to Stay Clean and Sober

Hating the Holidays? Tips on How to Stay Clean and Sober
The holidays are a universally stressful time of year. For those of us in recovery, unique challenges demand our care and attention.
The holidays are once again upon us. It’s time to dread upcoming visits with family members, bemoan our financial insecurity, and look forward to the coming New Year with unbridled panic: ‘Tis the season to be incredibly stressed out.

It’s Sad not S.A.D.

Depending on your geography, this is a time of precious little sunlight and lots of precipitation. There’s no question that millions of Americans are affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.).
There should also be no question that quite often, depressive symptoms are better explained by the impact of unfortunate recurring experiences like... the holidays.

The Ghost of Christmas Past

The holidays are a time in which folks quite naturally reminisce. For many, this is a delightful bit of nostalgia. For millions of us in recovery (whether from addiction, trauma, an abusive childhood or other nightmares), recollection is at best bittersweet. At no other time of year was the contrast more apparent between how things were and how we wanted and needed them to be. The memories alone can overshadow any joy the current season holds.

Home for the Holidays

There is no greater sense of unwanted obligation than the compulsion to spend time with those who hurt us the most. We tend to be unwaveringly loyal to those undeserving of our devotion. Each year we return with a mix of false hope and cynicism, praying it will be different this time. When it’s not, we redirect our anger at ourselves for having expected anything better.
One of the more difficult aspects of recovery is that it practically guarantees a permanent gig as the black sheep of the family.
We long to have another family member join us on the journey. Too often we’re the only one who’s changing. The loneliness of being in a houseful of relatives can be overwhelming.
One of the best investments we can make is hitting extra meetings to help us survive the things we feel we must do. Google local meetings when you travel, call the helpline and hit online meetings. Don’t explain to your loved ones why it’s necessary to take a break, just assure them you’re a lot more fun when you spend an hour amongst those with similar struggles.

Broke not Broken

PricewaterhouseCoopers estimates that the average American will spend around seven hundred dollars on gift giving this Christmas.1 When we’re struggling to make rent, it’s easy to hate the expectation that presents be a priority. This is one of the biggest pitfalls of the season.
Instead, shift your perspective: Express a sentiment to your loved ones and focus on what you can give of yourself. It’s too easy to feel inadequate when we compare ourselves to others.

Toasting the New Year with a Cup of… Coffee

The holidays can be an incredibly difficult time to stay sane, clean, and sober. Holiday gatherings with friends, Christmas parties at work, and visits with family can be huge triggers. Even the traditional spiked eggnog or New Year’s toast can throw us into a tailspin. It’s vital that we make plans prior to going into the fray. We urge folks to spend time with sponsors and trusted others to identify what we can do to get through this (if indeed we’re ready) AND what to do if things start to come unraveled.

Looking Ahead

This is a time when we look to the coming year with anticipation. Some of us ponder possibilities while others focus on trying not to panic. Joyce Myers said it best, “I may not be where I want to be, but thank God I am not where I used to be.”2
Gratitude and attitude have a cause and effect relationship. One of the best investments we can make is noting our progress to date and mindfully choosing to take pride in it. Setting realistic goals for the near future makes sense, setting ourselves up with unrealistic New Year’s resolutions does not.
Spend as little time as you can reflecting on past regrets. They remain something you’re powerless to change. The most important thing about what’s behind us is that we survived it. What lies ahead is potential and far more worthy of our time and attention.

If you dread the holidays, take a moment and also read...

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And, as always, thank you for reading!
All the best to you and yours,

Martin Schoel,
founder of Choose Help
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December 2015
Dear Friends, 
     The clock is winding down on 2015. If you have not yet made your charitable contribution for this year, please consider making a meaningful gift to Livengrin Foundation. Your donation will help us to provide more than 4,000 patients and their families with life-saving treatment over the next year-offering hope and help to those struggling with this disease.

"I had a full scholarship to Livengrin. In the past, due to insurance (or lack thereof), I had never been given the opportunity to stay longer than 14 days in a rehabilitation facility. Nor had I been able to stay at one that was so helpful and comforting and so forthright in giving me the tools to stay sober. Livengrin provided me the stepping stones to finding serenity and a newfound happiness."

Livengrin alumnus

     Only 10% of those with an addiction receive the help they need, and even fewer are able to stay long enough so that the treatment can be effective. Many patients who arrive at Livengrin do not have insurance, or are underinsured, and cannot afford to pay for treatment. As a mission-based nonprofit, Livengrin provides charity care to those in need. We believe that lack of adequate health insurance or inability to pay should not prevent someone from getting treatment. After receiving a treatment scholarship, Livengrin alumnus Annie Murray was able to stay in residential treatment for the recommended 30 days. She said that the financial relief was a huge burden off her chest, allowing her to focus on her recovery and to make the most out of her time at Livengrin.Today, Annie has more than 18 months of sobriety, and she is grateful for the generosity of donors like you who helped make her recovery possible.

     Livengrin is here to serve you, your loved ones, and your community-to provide hope, healing, and recovery. In order to continue to provide life-saving services to patients and their families, we count on your support now more than ever. We ask that you consider making a gift as generous as you can afford so that we can continue to provide Charity Care and other core programs to the patients and families struggling with this disease.  Your donation will make a world of difference, an immediate impact that truly transforms lives.
Thank you for giving the gift of hope this holiday season.

Scott F. Blacker
Vice President for Development

Give the gift that lasts a lifetime.
The gift of recovery!

 Women for Sobriety, Inc.
Release the Past,
Plan for Tomorrow and Live for Today


“We must liberate ourselves from what was in order to be free for what is.”
-Jean Kirkpatrick, Ph.D., WFS Program Booklet

“You build on failure.  You use it as a stepping stone.  Close the door on the past.  You don’t try to forget the mistakes, but you don’t dwell on it.  You don’t let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space.”  -Johnny Cash

“When the past calls, let it go to voicemail.  It has nothing new to say.”  -Mandy Hale

Statement #9, “The past is gone forever.”
No longer will I be victimized by the past.  I am a new person.

Karen’s Perspective +
     This week we welcome a new year.  Yesterday is gone forever, replaced by unlimited new experiences and fresh perspectives.  Statement #9 in action is absolutely necessary to create our 4C sober tomorrows.
     Closing the year can be a wonderful time as the past is released and a clean slate is prepared for the upcoming year.  It can also be a time of insightful reflection; learning from trial and error as well and accumulating confidence.  It feels very freeing to live Statement #9 with an open heart and mind.
     Often times on our journey of New Life, there may have been moments that we wish we could erase and some that we desperately wish to hang on to.  Since we cannot hold onto or erase the past, we must learn how to live with the past behind us.  This means taking what may have appeared to be utter moments of pain or joy and turning them into moments of learning.  When we find growth from an experience, we can also find value and purpose.  This creates closure while opening the present.
     In our Program Booklet, Jean mentions the “only interest in the past is for it to act as a guide, a map, for what we want to avoid in the future.”  Understanding and accepting what previously worked and what did not, direction is unveiled.  Instead of jumping from one dramatic moment to the next, vision and purpose unfolds.  No matter what the past held, today is here and now.
     Our Mission Statement concludes with “Release the past, plan for tomorrow and live for today.”  Are you ready to do just that?  Happy 4C New Year!!  Hugzzz, Karen

  • What will you leave behind in 2015?
  • What will you prepare for in 2016?
  • How will you live today?

+  Dee’s Insights  +
     Hi 4C Women, 2015 was a difficult, challenging year, so I thought about Karen’s question regarding what I will leave behind.  I’m going to leave behind the mistakes I made and work on learning from them, to not care more than the other person does so I don’t become trapped and resentful in doing too much and letting go of the hurt and disappointment I experienced by doing too much for others (you all know I am NOT talking about friends!).
     I will prepare for 2016 by creating and actually following through on healthier boundaries and practicing better self-care, which means I need to put myself first rather than sacrificing my needs for those who don’t care as much as I do.  I am repeating that because I really need to learn this lesson.
     I did learn a lot about myself this year and one of the greatest lessons is that I matter and it is important to consider my needs and well-being.  Going on my trip to PA and NJ this past June was a huge wake up call.  I wasn’t going to go because I was fearful of leaving my daughter after she got out of the hospital.  It had been a month and the doctor told me I had better go on that trip because my daughter could handle it.  I also was hoping my granddaughter would step up to the plate.  Well, my granddaughter did not step up to the plate but my daughter survived without me! Wonder of all wonders.  I had such fun visiting my family and friends so I now recognize that this needs to be a priority for my emotional health.
     I am hoping that each of you will consider Karen’s questions and reflect in a manner that is not judgmental but definitely honest.  It is that honesty that will help us know what we need to work on and therefore create a more fulfilling and joyful life in 2016.
     For today, I will work on being true to myself and mostly to release the past so that I can heal, learn and become my own best friend.  –Dee
Thank you, Karen and Dee, for your words of encouragement and inspiration to start off our New Year!  ~Becky Fenner, WFS Director
Email:   *   Tel215-536-8026   *   Fax:  215-538-9026   *
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Upcoming Events
This free community seminar hosted by Livengrin's Family Services Department, will be presented by William J. Lorman, PhD, MSN, PsyNP.

Learn more about addiction and the recovery process from experts in the treatment field.

Monday, January 11, 2016
6:00PM - 8:00PM

Liz Russo is a native of Easton, PA and currently performs standup at festivals, casinos, colleges, and comedy clubs nationwide.

As a recovering alcoholic, in her comedy act, Liz often discusses her struggles with addiction and living in recovery.

January 16th, 2016 will mark Liz Russo's 5 year sober-anniversary and she wants to celebrate with laughter, while also giving back! 

Liz Russo presents a lineup of clean and sober stand-up comics to benefit the non-profit Livengrin Foundation For Addiction Recovery.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016 at 8:00PM

101 Founders Way
Bethlehem, PA 18015
Our monthly Alumni 12 Step Meeting in Shannahan Hall. Encourage your friends and fellow Livengrin Alumni to attend.

Sunday, January 17, 2016 at 1:00PM

4833 Hulmeville Rd.
Bensalem, PA 19020
Livengrin Foundation | 215-638-5200 | Email | Website