WOMEN in RECOVERY – Women For Sobriety, Inc.

We are pleased to share with the Women of our World: Women For Sobriety, Inc. (WFS), and  in the spirit of FREE THINKING, has opted to share an alternative PROGRAM for Women, with addiction challenges. The following program is designed for any use, including alcohol addiction; as well as other issues.

Women For Sobriety, Inc. (WFS), is a non-profit secular addiction recovery group for alcoholic women.

WFS was created by sociologist Jean Kirkpatrick in 1976 as an alternative to twelve-step addiction recovery groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). As of 1998 there were more than 200 WFS groups worldwide.

Only women are allowed to attend the organization’s meetings as the groups focus specifically on women’s issues. WFS is not a radical feminist, anti-male, or anti-AA organization. 


Jean Kirkpatrick attended AA meetings for three years and was unable to maintain sobriety. The methods of what is now the “New Life” program of Women For Sobriety empowered Kirkpatrick to quit drinking. Discovered through trial and error, the New Life methods are based largely on the writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson (particularly his essay, Self-Reliance) and the Unity Movement of New Thought in addition to Kirkpatrick’s personal experience, knowledge of sociology, and experience in AA.

In her design, as in AA, WFS encourages the open and hosting sharing but focuses on improving self-esteem and reducing guilt rather than admitting powerlessness. While Kirkpatrick’s program stresses spirituality as the “fundamental object of life” the solution to alcoholism is described as being within the mind of the female alcoholic, not requiring a Higher Power. Also like AA, Kirkpatrick’s program encourages complete abstinence from alcohol, rather than harm reduction.


The program is built on thirteen affirmations encouraging members to change their self-image and world view. As is practiced in SMART Recovery, WFS members avoid labeling themselves as alcoholics and addicts. Philosophically, these ideas are close to modernity, emphasizing self-control and rationality. As described in WFS literature, the fundamental problem of female alcoholics is low self-esteem, a condition that is culturally reinforced in women more than in men, necessitating a qualitatively different treatment for women. In WFS members focus on responsibility rather than powerlessness, on self-esteem rather than humility and on thinking rather than surrender. Like AA, WFS encourages meditation and spirituality, although sobriety is not viewed as dependent on a Higher Power. To increase self-esteem, WFS encourages positive thinking and discourages negative thinking (a cause of low self-esteem).

In WFS language, “faulty thinking” causes destructive behavior, consequently WFS teaches its members that they have the power to change their thinking to change their actions. The WFS approach, in this sense, is similar to ‘cognitive behavioral therapy.

Newcomers are encouraged to take pride in their accomplishments, no matter how small—even in an hour of sobriety. Similarly, members learn to beware of negative thoughts as they arise. There are also elements of applied self-in-relation theory (the theory that a woman’s sense of definition and value is strongly tied to their relationships with others); women are encouraged to build new, healthy relationships inside and outside of meetings.


The thirteen affirmations represent six levels of growth in which members accept the physical nature of alcoholism (affirmation one), remove negativity (affirmations two, four and nine), learn to think better of themselves (affirmations five and twelve), change their attitudes (affirmations three, six and eleven), improve their relationships (affirmations seven and ten), and change their life’s priorities (affirmations eight and thirteen).

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

The First, Second, Tenth, Twelfth, and Thirteenth Affirmations were changed at some point in the 1990s these originally appeared, respectively, as: I have a drinking problem that once had me, Negative emotions destroy only myself, All love given returns twofold, I am a competent woman and have much to give to others, I am responsible for myself and my sisters. 

What We Do:

The activities of WFS are: the establishment of self-help groups, and the distribution of literature to women who ask for our help. Unfunded by any agency, WFS derives its operational money from group donations, sale of literature, speaking engagements, workshops, and outside donations.

Why A Program For Women Only?

Until the founding of WFS, it was assumed that any program for recovery from alcoholism would work equally well for women as for men.When it became obvious that recovery rates for male alcoholics were higher than for females, it was then declared that women were harder to treat and were less cooperative than male alcoholics.

WFS came forth with the belief that women alcoholics require a different kind of program in recovery than the kinds of programs used for male alcoholics.

 The success of the WFS “New Life” Program has shown this to be true. Although the physiological recovery from alcoholism is the same for both sexes, the psychological (emotional) needs for women are very different in recovery from those of the male alcoholic.

The “New Life” Program is directed to these specific needsof the woman alcoholic in recovery. There are an estimated 7,500,000 women alcoholics in the United States alone. That number of women alcoholics is equal to the

TOTAL population of: Maine, Idaho, Nevada, Montana, New Mexico, and Utah. Surely this large number of women deserve a program that speaks to their specific needs in recovery.

 We know the WFS “New Life” Program does this. Women For Sobriety has self-help groups throughout the world. In addition WFS produces and distributes booklets and literature written specifically to the needs of women alcoholics. Since WFS started in 1976, the “New Life” Program has been adapted for other addictions. In addition many men have requested the Program and Men For Sobriety groups beginning in the United States and Canada.

Spirituality is an individual journey; 

all women are entitled to travel it their own way. 


Celebrate FREE THINKING … for all Women! 


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