Women for Sobriety (WFS) is the first national self-help recovery program specifically for women. Founded in 1976, its goal is to help women overcome alcohol and other addictions through their “New Life” program. WFS believes that addiction often begins in order to overcome stress, loneliness, frustration, or emotional deprivation in daily life and that women have special needs in recovery, including the need to discard feelings of shame and guilt. Influenced by the writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson and other metaphysical writers, the central principle of this program is: ‘Change your thoughts, change yourself’.
The WFS program is based on thirteen acceptance statements:
WFS asks members to get up 15 minutes earlier than usual each day in order to read and think about the thirteen statements of acceptance. Members choose one statement and use it consciously all day, reviewing it at the end of the day to see how it affected the member and her actions. The group asserts that negative thinking can lead to destructive behavior and that it is up to the individual to change her thinking in order to change her behavior. WFS members strive to view sobriety as more than abstinence from alcohol, but as a positive learning experience.
WFS holds a small number of group meetings and includes instructions for moderating one’s own meeting on their website. A small donation ($2 or more) is requested from those attending in-person meetings but no one is turned away if they are unable to donate. The “New Life” Acceptance Program can be found online, where one can also sign up for the group’s free e-newsletter, participate in chat rooms and get information about the WFS annual conference. There is no cost to access the program online but additional materials may be purchased from the WFS website.
Women who wish to abstain from alcohol and who respond well to an all-female supportive group environment, in which self-image and emotions play an important role.
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