What Is Women For Sobriety?
Women for Sobriety Group is a women-only secular support group for women battling substance use disorders. The non-profit organization provides women the chance to recover from alcohol and substance abuse with a self-help angle. Women in this group share their personal experiences and their hopes for the future while developing warm friendships with other women. Members of the group are encouraged through positive reinforcement and thinking, health changes (meditation and exercise), and connection through group participation.
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Women for Sobriety offers an innovative guide called the “New Life Program” which nurtures each woman’s possible low self-esteem, low self-worth, depression, humiliation, and shame that can factor into substance use disorders. Women for Sobriety can be used alone or combined with other treatment methods and educates members with the New Life Program. The group remains funded by group donations, literature sales, annual weekend conferences, and fundraising activities.
The History Of Women For Sobriety
The Women for Sobriety Group began circa 1974, founded by Jean Kirkpatrick, Ph.D who was a sociologist struggling with alcoholism. She realized there was a lack of support groups focusing on women’s unique journey and healing needs. Kirkpatrick developed a system inspired by Ralph Waldo Emerson and The Unity Movement of New Thought. She studied the effects of meditation and visited Alcoholics Anonymous, and was inspired by the women’s movement during her era. Pulling from her insights and experience, Women for Sobriety was born.
Her program offered women empowering and reflective statements through the “New Life” program and the “13 Statements Affirmation” and became a non-profit organization. In the same year Kirkpatrick founded the group, “500 Women Alcoholics” seeking more information in “50 major cities.” After the meetings occurred, the founder drafted newsletters with content to help women maintaining emotional and personal wellbeing for alcoholism. The group became popular, and men became interested, leading Kirkpatrick to create “a companion version of the program” for men, dubbed as Men for Sobriety.
The New Life Program: The Women For Sobriety Acceptance Statements
Women for Sobriety Group offers its own doctrines called the 13 Acceptance Statements inspired by transcendental thought and Kirkpatrick’s philosophies. These differ from the 12 Steps and has a basis in the “New Life Program.” The program was created to enhance the overall life of women members and change their thought process. The New Life Program is available in a book and is most effective when repeated each day. Many of the 13 affirmations encourage positive thoughts, which shape perspectives, as well as sustain personal accountability for choices.
Acceptance Statements Of Women For Sobriety
The 13 affirmation statements differ from affirmations used in support groups like the 12 Steps. Although both encourage personal and spiritual growth, the 13 affirmation statements are as follows:
- I have a life-threatening problem that once had me. I now take charge of my life and disease. I accept the responsibility.
- Negative thoughts destroy only myself. My first conscious sober act must be to remove negativity from my life.
- Happiness is a habit I will develop. Happiness is created, not waited for.
- Problems bother me only to the degree I permit them to. I now better understand my problems and do not permit problems to overwhelm me.
- I am what I think. I am a capable, competent, caring, compassionate woman.
- Life can be ordinary, or it can be great. Greatness is mine by a conscious effort.
- Love can change the course of my world. Caring becomes all important.
- The fundamental object of life is emotional and spiritual growth. Daily I put my life into a proper order, knowing which are the priorities.
- The past is gone forever. No longer will I be victimized by the past. I am a new person.
- All love given returns. I will learn to know that others love me.
- Enthusiasm is my daily exercise. I treasure all moments of my new life.
- I am a competent woman and have much to give life. This is what I am, and I shall know it always.
- I am responsible for myself and for my actions. I am in charge of my mind, my thoughts, and my life.
The 13 affirmations differ from the 12 Steps in their form—affirmations. Acceptance statements are grouped into 1 of 6 categories depending on the level each individual is on, called “Levels of Recovery.”
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Although Women for Sobriety and other support groups offer tools for recovery, women battling addiction are strongly advised to get treatment first. This step allows therapists to truly dig deep with the individual and unravel problematic motivations for substance abuse disorders. This step also provides women with detox programs and healing methods to use without solely depending on another medication or the support of others for help.
Once treatment and detox occur, each woman knows she has taken the first step in changing her life. This will result in her having tackled deeper issues before entering support groups and benefitting from her peer group. If you or a loved one is struggling with a substance use disorder, contact a treatment provider for help finding available support groups and other treatment options.
Krystina Murray has received a B.A. in English at Georgia State University, has over 5 years of professional writing and editing experience, and over 15 years of overall writing experience. She enjoys traveling, fitness, crafting, and spreading awareness of addiction recovery to help people transform their lives.
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- WomenForSobriety.com. (2018). Women For Sobriety. Retrieved on July 9, 2019 at https://womenforsobriety.org/
- WilliamWhitePapers.com. Fenner, R.M. Gifford, H.M. (2012). Women For Sobriety: Thirty-Five Years Of Challenges, Changes and Continuity. Retrieved on July 9, 2019 at http://www.williamwhitepapers.com/pr/WFS%2035%20Yrs%20ChallengesChangesContinuityArticle.pdf
- WomenForSobriety.com. (2018). New Life Program. Retrieved on July 9, 2019 at https://womenforsobriety.org/new-life-program/
- StarTribune.com. Smetanka, Mary Jane. (2009). Overcoming Addiction Is The Only Beginning At Women For Society. Retrieved on July 9, 2019 at http://www.startribune.com/overcoming-addiction-is-only-the-beginning-at-women-for-sobriety/79772377/
Reviewed by Certified Addiction Professional:
David embarked on his journey into sobriety in June of 2005, which led him to his current career path as a Certified Professional Addiction Recovery Coach in private practice in Greater Nashville. David is also a public speaker and the author of two books. David is cohost of the weekly Positive Sobriety Podcast, as well as being a frequent contributor to various articles and recovery based materials. As a member of the National Association of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC), David works closely with area treatment centers, recovery orientated nonprofit organizations, as well as being a keynote speaker for various recovery-focused events.
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