Women for Sobriety, Inc. is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping women overcome Substance Use Disorders. Founded in 1975, it was the first national self-help recovery program for women. The WFS New Life Program helps women achieve sobriety and sustain ongoing recovery. This blog is being preserved as an archive, as new posts are now being made on our main website, womenforsobriety.org.
Sobriety and Statement
#13 in action set the path for the continuation of New Life.Jean Kirkpatrick created the WFS New Life
Program to be woven as a fabric into the lives of the women who practice it.With this practice, a shift in thinking can
occur.In our Program
booklet on page 34, “Often our thoughts are formed by past experiences,
actions, and attitudes inherited from family and society.By understanding our thoughts, we can accept
responsibility for our actions.We recognize we have options and choices.”
There is a distinct
freedom that comes from recognizing options and choices.Early on in my own journey, this was
difficult to see since the focus was simply on staying sober.Yet with the practice of the WFS Statements,
especially Statement #13, a revolution of thoughts occurred and the illusion of
powerlessness shifted into choice and options.Feelings of inability were released and with
each decision, the long-held fears about responsibility vanished.
It seemed as if a whole
new world opened up.Feelings of
empowerment began to flow in, slowly at first then as if by magic, this new
sense of self actually felt the words: Capable, Competent, Caring and
Compassionate.This concept felt sturdy, and thoughts of
responsibility were no longer fearful.Embracing
confidence, self-esteem and self-worth create the cornerstones of an empowering
Hi 4C Women,
I am faced with a decision and I feel inadequate, indecisive or fearful, I say
this statement out loud and it truly makes a difference.This statement stops the negative thoughts
right in their tracks.I am an empowered
woman and to me that means that while I may struggle with a decision or choice,
I know it is mine to make and even if I choose incorrectly, so what!I will survive; I will seek support from my
4C sisters and I will learn.
this article online by Brad McDonald of Sandler Training on taking charge of
life, one decision at a time.These are
·Increase in self-esteem.Whether you are right or
wrong, you’ll feel better just by taking ownership in a decision.
·Development of decision
tree mentality.You learn that decision-making is a process,
not a single event.You make a decision,
evaluate, and then make the next decision.
·Breaking of paralysis
and inhibitions.Procrastination results in no changes, status
quo, and paralysis.Making decisions
leads to action and moves you forward.
·You own yourself.When you make a
decision, you own more of yourself; you are taking charge of your life.Also, you will learn that there are few bad
analyze decision making and discuss the process of making the best and most
effective decisions.Here are some
things to consider:
§Understand the BIG PICTURE.Be very clear about what
it is you want to accomplish in the long run, but don’t go at it with tunnel
§Set goals and recognize the need to risk.If you have written
goals, you are part of your own plan.Otherwise,
you are part of somebody else’s plan – your choice.
§Develop a Plan; Evaluate the Risks; Let it sink in.If you set goals and
take some risk, you will experience some fear.Own the fears but don’t cave in to them.Rather, ask yourself if the risk is acceptable using the worst case
scenario; if not, this is the time to turn back.Otherwise, move ahead and commit totally.
you have worked the process out correctly – ACT, GO; MOVE: GET THE JOB
DONE.This is the true key to
motivation: Get moving, get the momentum and you gain power.Too many people sit around waiting to be
motivated – as if some chemical reaction will take place and get them magically
started.The only thing that can
motivate you is you.
§Have the courage to fail.You will probably fail
in some part of your plan.Don’t blame
others.If you really own your
decisions; you’ll own the successes and failures that they bring.
looking over his thoughts on decision-making, one thing really stood out for me
and that was “motivation.”I have been inspired
by many 4C women, yet motivation has been the hurdle I have and continue to
struggle with at times.In reflecting on
Statement #13, it is so clear to me that motivation is my
responsibility.Motivation is my
follow-through for the gift of inspiration that I’ve been handed.The question is how do I create the habit of self
-motivation?If I am to act, go, move,
get the job done, what is blocking me from doing so?How would you answer these questions?
was a dark shroud that hung heavily across my life before sobriety and
recovery.It affected each aspect of
life; from who I believed myself to be, to what was or wasn’t possible.It would insert different levels of
uncertainty and it was especially loud whenever an attempt was made to step out
of a comfort zone.Doubt would scream
“It’s impossible! - Don’t even try! and
Who do you thinkyou are?”With a negative pathway as wide as this,
alcohol easily slid right in and took up residence.
sobriety and the WFS New Life Program and, in particular, Statement #12, doubt
can be evicted.Like a magician using
smoke and mirrors, doubt is an illusion.In our WFS
Beginner’s Collection booklet on page 46, the exercise asks us to “List all
your accomplishments, all the things you can do; sing, write, play the piano,
do bookkeeping, teach, repair appliances, speak foreign languages, drive a car,
type etc.”From this one list, the
illusion of doubt will lessen, while confidence and competence increase.
upon each of your abilities, an increase in feelings of competence arises.Instead of finishing the above described
list, maybe add to it every week, month or year to witness the progress.Take many factors into consideration.Maybe you began to play guitar last year and
can strum quite a few songs yet also add the fact if you can now say “no” without
guilt, meditate/ journal daily or finish what you started.Paint your competence with a wide brush,
enjoying your uncovered and bright New Life!
Hi 4C Women,
am grateful for Statement #12 as I doubted my competency for much of my younger
life.Now that I am 73, younger is up to
at least 55!Drinking certainly didn’t
help but was a wonderful excuse for my disillusioned lack of adequacy in
decision-making.I discovered that it
was my fear of failure and making a mistake in choices that fed my negative
thoughts.Going through my divorce was a
kick in the butt to start believing that I was competent and thanks for WFS, I
actually started trusting myself.I
survived failures, mistakes and acknowledged the positive outcomes of my
decisions when they occurred.It wasn’t
all or nothing, it was learning to accept and cope in a much healthier way.
are some questions if you are struggling with believing you are a competent
woman and have much to give life:
·What makes us think we don’t measure up?
·Why do we expect so little from ourselves?
·What kills our self-respect?
The answers vary.Consider
*Are we looking too much for the approval of others?
*Are we perfectionists, expecting too much from ourselves?
*Are we intimidated by the lost battles and failures of the past?
*Are we over-impressed by the success of others?
*Are we trying to escape responsibility by claiming to be a
*Are we lacking a sense of proportion?Do we tend to make mountains out of molehills?
*Is our sense of humor weak?Can we laugh at ourselves?
These are such great questions.I hope you will take the time to reflect on the questions you feel
resonate with you.
“If you approach each new
person you meet in a spirit of adventure, you will find yourself endlessly
fascinated by the new channels of thought and experience and personality that
you encounter.”-Eleanor Roosevelt
“Live your truth.Express your love.Share your enthusiasm.Take action towards your dreams.Walk your talk.Dance and sing to your music.Embrace your blessings.Make today worth remembering.”-Steve Maraboli
“Enthusiasm is a divine
Can you feel it?The enthusiasm and joy from Conference
weekend has been spread across the country, across the world even, brought to
life from one woman’s past determination and enthusiasm for a New Life.Through her own discoveries, our founder, Jean
Kirkpatrick, PhD, opened a portal for incredible possibility.Through this portal, enthusiasm continues to
grow and evolve.
Our opening ceremony certainly
evolved, and we let go…literally!Moving
and magical, whispers of enthusiasm began to build.Saturday morning, Karlee Fain, our inviting
keynote speaker took us into thrive mode, sending us off to empowering
workshops and wonder.Auction time
filled our hearts and our totes with brightly colored quilts, masterpieces, an
absolutely stunning scrapbook and many other gems to either share or sweetly
Statement #11 was in full display
during karaoke on Saturday night and we closed our weekend securing our
connections.Feeling refreshed and
renewed, emails and phone numbers were shared, and new friendships cemented.Thank you for being a part of this treasured
weekend.Ride your wave of enthusiasm!
Hi 4C Women,
The conference was a joyful, enthusiastic,
soulful event.We bonded with
understanding and acceptance.I am at a
loss to fully express the loving support shared throughout the weekend and that
doesn’t happen often for me.
Nancy Cross once wrote that Enthusiasm is
like the jet fuel for motivation.How do
we sustain it?Are we running on empty,
so busy with everyday tasks that we lose our enthusiasm for even the smallest
moments of joy or those spontaneous moments?
proactive * Be reasonable*Be
are a few tips on being passionate in order to continue feeling enthusiasm:
What puts a smile on your face?Is there a particular event, a particular
topic that makes your whole face just lighten up?Whatever it is that makes you smile, and
makes you happy whenever you encounter it, this is a sign of something you are
passionate about.I truly believe that
happiness and passion walk hand in hand.Both require each other.So,
following what makes you truly happy is a wonderful way to figuring out what
you were put on Earth for.Think about
something that you do or that perhaps you used to do that brings total peace to
you when you do it.Peace is happiness,
and happiness is passion.
What do you find easy?Usually, what we find easy for us to do, will
be related to what we are passionate about.It’s very hard to hate something that is very easy for us! For example, let’s say you are naturally good
at playing the piano, you will find the activity easy, and this ease makes it
much more fun for you.Fun leads to
happiness and happiness is synonymous with passion.So, assess everything that you do, whatever
it is that you find really easy and fun, this may very well be your passion.And don’t think that anything is off limits
What sparks your creativity?Think about something in your life where you
seem to always expand its horizon, always coming up with new, fun, and exciting
ideas relating to that subject.Whatever
makes you creative, is probably something that you are very passionate about.
What would you do for free?In this society, we are ruled by the almighty
dollar.That’s the way the system works,
and that’s the game we have to play.The
problem is, this leads many people to seek making money first, instead of what
makes them happy.I have read countless
number of stories about stock brokers and doctors for example, leaving their
high paying positions to follow what they really love.There is a reason for that.I truly believe that if you follow what you
are passionate about without thinking about if it will make you rich or not,
you will end up being successful.Doing
what you have a passion for brings out your best, and this leads to greatness. Greatness breezes to success. Do you think that the most successful people
in the world got to where they are because they wanted to get rich? Absolutely not, they did what they were so
passionate about, and their immense success was just a byproduct of their
dedication. So, think about something
that you would just love to do, even if you were not getting paid. Think about
something that you look forward to do, something that you wish you could do all
What do you like to talk about?The topics of conversation we have can
definitely tell what we are interested in, and this is a good way to find out
what we really enjoy in life. Most of
the time, we aren’t totally aware of this. This is why, a very good way to figure this
out properly, is to ask your friends. Ask
them what they believe you like to talk about the most. Ask them what topic makes your eyes brighten
up, and changes your entire behavior. I
can guarantee you that some of their answers will be surprising to you. Some of these things weren’t that clear to you,
but your friends can see the reaction on your face that you can’t see yourself.
Try it out, it’s a very insightful
exercise, and one that can direct you closer to figuring out your passion.
What makes you unafraid of failure?When we do what we are passionate about, we
have total confidence in our abilities. This
makes us not worry about failing, because in our mind, how can we fail when we
do what we love? Doing what you love is
a success in and of itself, so failure is like an impossibility. Think of something that you just do or want to
do, no matter what. Something that you
do not have second thoughts about. Think
about something that you feel you must do and that failure is not even a
concern of yours, because the mere act of doing it is like the journey and the
destination all wrapped up in one. This
may very well be your true passion.
This last one
reminded me of the encouraging words we heard throughout the weekend.It’s all about trying, facing the fear and
letting it go in order to fill our lives with something that provides meaning,
joy and enthusiasm.What would that be for
in treasuring those moments of enthusiasm in our New Life,
“Learning to love yourself is easier when you have someone to show
you how.”-Martina Boone
“Love is multi-faceted.It
can be shared in many ways.We can
receive love from friends, family, partners, colleagues, spouses, and even
pets.We can experience it through
nature, companionship, romance, or a sense of loving connection to the world.”-WFS Program booklet
“All recovery roads lead to the ability to love and be loved.”-Nancy Cross
In a few short days, over a hundred twenty women will be
converging in a quaint little town in Pennsylvania.Suitcases and auction items are being readied
and the WFS office is in full swing.Thanks
to dedicated volunteers and our steadfast office crew, Conference 2018 will be
underway in just days!
Our founder Jean Kirkpatrick PhD, in her
own search for a New Life, has given each of us a new way to experience
sobriety; to enjoy the present, leave the past behind while planning for tomorrow.What a gift of love the WFS Program is and a
wonderful example of Statement #10 in action.It is a joy to see Jean’s legacy in the hearts of 4C women everywhere.
Love in action takes many forms.From the online community, face to face
meetings, WFS Conference or simply living a sober life, love continues to
flourish.Love is an expressway for
courage, a path for learning and an opening for connection.Soon, the sound of laughter will fill the
dorms, with late night chatter and early morning walkers or joggers.Workshops will inspire, encourage and bring
insight or comfort.Bids on the many
auction items will continue to rise, showcasing the talents of creative 4C
women.Love will be displayed with new
friendships being formed as Conference buddies get to know each other and
familiar friends catch up.Ready, set,
Hi 4C Women,
I am so excited to be attending the WFS conference.This is my 25th conference and I continue to
be inspired with all that is offered. I
am especially excited to meet new attendees and reconnect with friends I’ve
made over the years.
I love this updated Statement.Every time I read, “I am learning to know
that I am loved,” I feel as though I am being given a huge, warm hug.It took a long time to learn to love myself
and to believe that I am loved by others.If I didn’t love myself, how could I accept that others loved me.I encourage those who need to accept love
from others, to consider the following questions about loving yourself first.These were actually sent to me in 2007 by
Nancy Cross, whose quote in included at the beginning of Karen’s message.Nancy was a phenomenal woman who was very involved
in WFS for many years.
·Do you love yourself?
·Are you in harmony with you?
·Do you treat yourself with respect?
·Are you generous, kind and supportive of you?
·Do you trust yourself and treat yourself as though you can be
·Do you accept your weaknesses and celebrate your successes?
Until you love who you are...not just say
it, but do it and believe it...you will never find the love you are or the love
you believe someone else has to give you.
The most important relationship is the one
you have with yourself.Love, nurture,
practice self-care and all that love given to yourself will be returned and
experienced in various ways--from romantic relationships, friendships, family,
pets...What/whom can you add to this list?