Hello Competent Women!
Sorry for the lag between updates (I did warn you that I might miss some, right?). I have come to realize that, in relation to this new job, I haven’t been practicing Statement 1 very well. I have very much been letting the job run me, and it is time to take my power back and take charge of this job! I will admit, this is a bit par for the course for me. Like many of you, I am a woman who is comforted by routines and finds that there is always a period of adjustment when my schedule is changed, for better or worse. But the New Life Program has taught me to not permit myself to become overwhelmed, and to use the adjustment period as an opportunity for growth, exploring and applying new ways to prioritize my emotional and spiritual health.
Anyone who’s friends with me on Facebook may have noticed that I have been listing an awful lot of surplus equipment in the last 2 weeks. One of the Board’s strategic goals is to get all of our printing and AV production outsourced. When Jean started WFS back in the 1970’s, on-site printing and distribution was definitely the more economical option. However, the tides in this area have changed, and it is now more fiscally logical to contract out these needs. We are still reducing our sale item inventory in order to make storage and distribution outsourcing more viable, but have already been successfully contracting out production. Therefore, I have been recouping some of our funds invested in equipment and supplies by selling surplus that is no longer needed. This has been quite successful and has also opened up a lot of space in the office – just in time for the new heaters (see below). Speaking of which, another part of this goal is increasing the availability of WFS materials through downloadable and electronic content. We have already made the Program Booklet available through Kindle. We need your help researching the ins and outs of this new frontier, and volunteers who are either familiar with or willing to learn formatting written and AV content for secure and professional electronic distribution. Any takers?
We had another work party today with some enthusiastic volunteers who helped continue the cleaning and organization effort in the office. The most crucial accomplishment of the day was clearing out the spaces beneath the hanging unit heaters that are being replaced on Monday. This was no small feat, as you can see from the pictures. Bookshelves, filing cabinets, and even our mini-fridge had to be moved so a special lift can be used. My most sincere gratitude and appreciation for these volunteers and for the many women (and one dad!) who donated funds to help pay for the new heaters. It has been quite frustrating that the landlords have refused to help with this cost, but such a wonderful opportunity for me to see how 4C women will always come through!
I met last week with a focus group that helped me evaluate a popular evidence-based recovery app. The company had approached WFS after finding that many of its users are women. In today’s “mommy needs wine” culture, I can’t say that I’m surprised, unfortunately. As PerditaX taught us in our Science of Addiction and Recovery workshop at the WFS Annual Weekend Conference 2018, this is one area in which the gender gap has, unfortunately, almost completely closed. In 1900, men were 3.6 times more likely than women to experience harm as a result of their drinking; by 2000, the ratio was reduced to 1.3 (Slade et al, 2016). It sounds like we may be moving forward on adapting the app to the WFS New Life Program, but I will need a solid commitment from a few volunteers in order to be able to do it. I need women who are very familiar with our New Life philosophy to help comb through the app and make detailed suggestions/edits to make it a true representation of the WFS program. Please let me know if you can commit around 5 hours/week for the next few weeks to help with this!
I also promised you a follow up on the NAADAC conference that I attended earlier this month. It was wonderful to be there sharing our program with so many addiction professionals. A few of them said, “Oh, Women for Sobriety! I didn’t know you guys were still around!” and I assured them that I am determined to change that! Most of them were pleased to hear of our viable option for their women clients for the first time. I’ve often said that I am an amateur neuroscience nerd, and I had some real addiction-counselor-fan-girl moments when I got to see Darryl S. Inaba, PharmD (co-author of Uppers, Downers, All-Arounders) give a keynote address about the neuroscience of addiction (swoon) and when Carlo DiClemente, PhD (co-creator of the Transtheoretical model – or Stages of Change, as it’s more commonly known) stopped by our table and tell me how he always makes sure to include WFS in his counseling textbooks! I was also interviewed for this episode of the Rebellion Dogs Radio podcast. It was a very crowded room and you can hear a little nervous laughter on my part (blush), but I’ll still share it with you anyway. Also interviewed is Branislav Jankic, whose photography exhibit, Letter to my Mother, was on display. (Teaser: I’ve been talking to his Producer about how to share some of this touching work with the 4C women of WFS at our 2019 conference!)
Speaking of conference, the Conference Workgroup continues to be hard at work planning the WFS Annual Weekend Conference 2019. Please let us know if you’d like to help – we’ll soon be releasing the Call for Presentations application for presenters. We’ll again be offering to waive the base registration fee for women choosing to “work” over the weekend by presenting a workshop, so this is a great way to help offset those travel expenses. Local WFS groups are also encouraged to consider volunteering to help host conference in their city in 2020 – you heard that right! WFS is looking to branch out and bring the conference experience to different areas of the country in order to make it more accessible to our Sisters nationwide. Of course, we can’t do it alone, so if you know of a great venue near you, please let us know!
I also took some time to ask for ideas and feedback about our online peer-support forum from current participants. I know I shouldn’t be the one to make those rules, since I don’t get logged in very often anymore. I believe the decisions really belong with the user community. I have received lots of great ideas, which I’m still in the process of cutting and pasting into a report to share. We’ll then discuss as a community which ideas we want to pursue and what changes, if any, to make. It has so far been a very collaborative process, and I’m optimistic that we will all be able to continue to work together to strengthen this great 4C resource. Development of the new chat room has continued, with a new direction being pursued by our Internet Services Team since user testing exposed a number of problems with the program we had been trying to implement. Great group effort, everyone!
Okay, I think that’s most of the happenings around here… I know I am forgetting stuff but it is time for me to start my “weekend.” Thank you for reading and thank you for all that you do to help strengthen and grow this New Life Program!
Women for Sobriety, Inc.