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Women For Sobriety, Inc

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Women For Sobriety can help you recover!

Women For Sobriety, Inc. (WFS) is an addiction recovery group for women who suffer from alcoholism. The non-profit addiction recovery group was created by sociologist Jean Kirkpatrick in 1976 as an alternative to the traditional 12-step programs of recovery such as Alcoholics Anonymous and other such recovery groups. Today, there are more than 250 Women For Sobriety (WFS) groups around the world.

The WFS recovery program is offered to women only. Here, women alcoholics attend meetings that focus on womens issues specifically. While Women For Sobriety is not a radical feminist group and they are not anti-male, the group is solely open to women due to the delicate topics that are covered during meetings which take a primary focus on issues that are directly related to female alcoholism.

Jean Kirkpatrick, the founder of WFS, had attended AA meetings for years and was still unable to maintain her own sobriety which is why she started the New Life program of Women For Sobriety. She discovered the methods of maintaining her own sobriety through trial and error and used her own knowledge of sociology to back up her new found ideas many of which came from the writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson.

She designed WFS to encourage open sharing with a focus on improving the self esteem of women alcoholics. The Women For Sobriety program aims to reduce guilt that is felt by women who suffer from alcoholism and does not require women to admit to being powerless the way AA and other 12-step programs for recovery do. WFS is a non 12-step program of recovery that encourages completed abstinence from alcohol and does stress spirituality as a fundamental object of life but describes the solution to alcoholism and an addiction to alcohol as being within the mind of the woman and not related to a “Higher Power” the way that a traditional 12-step program would.

The Women For Sobriety Program

Women For Sobriety was built on 13 affirmations that encourage female members to change their self image as well as their view of the world. Members of WFS do not label themselves as alcoholics or addicts, they take a similar approach to SMART Recovery in that WFS members accept their own recovery. Self control and rational thinking are emphasized throughout the groups.

WFS recognizes that a fundamental problem with women alcoholics is a lack of or a low self-esteem. This condition happens to be reinforced more in the life of a female than it typically is in a man’s life which is why women require different treatment than men. Women For Sobriety members take a focus on their own responsibility for their actions and their alcoholism, they do not place the blame on a Higher Power. In order to increase the self-esteem of women alcoholics, WFS encourages a positive attitude and discourages any type of negative thinking which can contribute to low self-esteem.

Members of WFS are taught that they do have the power to make positive change in their thinking and in their actions. The program takes a similar approach to recovery from addiction as a cognitive behavioral therapy technique which is used in many treatment centers and programs around the world.

13 Affirmations of Women For Sobriety

WFS is built on 13 affirmations that represent six distinct levels of growth. The 6 distinct levels of growth are that members accept the physical nature of alcoholism, remove negativity, learn to think better of themselves, change their attitudes, improve their relationships and change their life’s priorities. The 13 affirmations that are followed are:

  1. I have a life threatening problem that once had me.
  2. Negative thoughts destroy only myself.
  3. Happiness is a habit I will develop.
  4. Problems bother me only to the degree I permit them to.
  5. I am what I think.
  6. Life can be ordinary, or it can be great.
  7. Love can change the course of my world.
  8. The fundamental object of life is emotional and spiritual growth.
  9. The past is gone forever.
  10. All love given returns.
  11. Enthusiasm is my daily exercise.
  12. I am a competent woman and have much to give life.
  13. I am responsible for myself and my actions.

Women For Sobriety Meetings

WFS meetings range from 2-20 members in size. The best group size for a WFS meeting is 6-10 women and a moderator. The women sit in a circle and the group opens with a brief reading from the 13 affirmations followed by the WFS purpose which is to help women recover from alcoholism. Group members openly discuss issues from a list of topics which include acceptance, stress, compulsions, procrastination, or specifically one of the 13 affirmations. This concludes the first part of the Women For Sobriety meeting which is followed by a 15 minute break.

The second part of a WFS meeting is a time for women to discuss what happened during the previous week. Every member is given the chance to talk and is encouraged to address at least one positive behavior or event from the previous week. Sharing is to be kept positive so members are asked not to discuss previous drinking experiences at the WFS meetings. Finally, when the meeting is complete, a closing ceremony is performed in which members hold hands and say, “We are capable and competent, caring and compassionate, always willing to help another, bonded together in overcoming our addictions.” That is the WFS motto.