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Monday Thoughts 3/29/2021

“When I got sober, I thought giving up was saying goodbye to all the fun and sparkle, and it turned out to be just the opposite.  That’s when the sparkle started for me.”  ~~Mary Karr

“Well-being cannot exist just in your own head.  Well-being is a combination of feeling good as well as actually having meaning, good relationships and accomplishment.”  ~~Martin Seligman

“Take a shower, wash off the day.  Drink a glass of water.  Make the room dark.  Lie down and close your eyes.  Notice the silence.  Notice your heart.  Still beating.  Still fighting.  You made it, after all.  You made it, another day.  And you can make it one more.  You’re doing just fine.”  ~~Charlotte Eriksson

#1 I have a life-threatening problem that once had me.

I now take charge of my life and my well-being.

 I accept the responsibility.

New Life.  Two simple words.  Words that are packed with change, with possibility, and with being.  It is choosing to try something different.  Alcohol or drugs did not work.  That was messy, complicated, and painful, even dangerous.  New Life is not threatening and much like the above quote, it is quite the opposite.  It is the beginning of fully living.  It begins with a willingness and Statement #1.

Questions can zip through the mind when contemplating sobriety.  When will I have any fun? How will I manage __________?   What about the holidays?  Ruminating on questions like these can be a way to stall and avoid taking charge of your life.  Answers will come, along with understanding.  Early sobriety is a critical time for self-care.  You are beginning New Life, be gentle, adaptable, and curious.

Sobriety and recovery is a time for unlearning and becoming.  Create a real/virtual toolbox or folder and add helpful examples, empowering quotes or articles.  Avoid isolation and stay connected.  Give yourself permission to slow down and experience every hour differently.  Treat yourself like you have the flu.  Rest, eat small meals including protein and avoid sugar. (Sugar can dramatically increase cravings) Be active.  Get up 15 minutes earlier and begin your day by reading the Statements.  Choose one to focus on for the week.  Spend a few minutes either mentally reviewing moments of gratitude or write them down in a journal.  Learn about addiction; it is not a moral failure.  Notice your thought patterns.  Connect with other women in recovery.  Join the WFS Online Forum, or find a local face to face WFS meeting, many are getting closer to gathering in person again.  If there is not one in your area, make it a goal to start one.  Expand your interests.  If you are established in sobriety and recovery, now is a great time to examine your progress, create new goals or push through uncertainty.  Unleash the sparkle in your New Life!



Hi 4C Women,

Since the pandemic, the question most asked is how will I remain sober in this isolation?  The next question, as many establishments re-open, is how will I be able to maintain my sobriety when I am back out interacting and doing activities with others?  It’s as though we’ve been out of practice in sober socializing and it can be scary.  These are unusual times yet practicing Statement #1 has not changed when it comes to being in charge of our lives no matter the circumstances.  It might be more difficult yet it needs to remain a top priority as we learn new ways of coping.

My favorite philosophy of WFS, as Karen mentioned, is that substance abuse is not a moral failure. It is how we coped with life, our feelings.  Now we have and are learning to use positive coping tools to choose a better, healthier, life-changing way to create our New Life.  One thing I never considered initially was to discover what I enjoyed in life, what brought a smile to my face, a giggle that made me feel like a kid again.  I was so serious, which wasn’t a negative thing, yet I didn’t have balance.  I was in a fight for my life and while achieving abstinence was rewarding, I realized I wasn’t having much joy in the celebration of recovery.

So, one day I decided to re-discover what joy meant to me in the present.  It took a while as I started to focus only on what brought me joy in the past until I finally realized that I had this wonderful opportunity to explore new things.  I could build up my “fun, joyful” bank by searching out new ways of bringing that much needed balance into my New Life along with a few fun things from the past such as dancing, decorating my house with snowmen in the winter and bunnies in the spring.  I was still decorating but it almost seemed like a stagnant, joyless chore.   What a beautiful awakening the first Christmas I unwrapped each ornament and knickknack.  The memories started flooding in and my heart was full with an enormous surge of happiness.

When I went to a family wedding, there was a question on the invitation – What song will make you get up and dance?  I said, “Sweet Home Alabama.”  Well, it was played and I danced with pure abandon.  All of this while sober!

As we hopefully move toward being with others on a more consistent basis, it is important to have your well-being, responsible tool box ready and accessible to use.  The transition will be different for each of us depending on our current situation.  Healing and adapting to change is a process and this is the time to practice self-care, reaching out for support as this is a sign of strength, and knowing you have the ability, capability and willing heart to be in charge of your life.

And a problem is telling us there’s something that needs solving.  Accept this part of the statement and move on to finding your personal solution to change from a problem to a resolution that leaves you in charge of your life and well-being.

Are you ready to be in charge?  What and how do you plan to solve the problem that once had you?  It may seem obvious to stop drinking or using drugs but it goes much deeper than that.  WFS was written to create a New Life beyond just not drinking or using drugs.  It is about the inner change that will sustain our recovery.

I took a WFS workshop years ago and I will always remember the facilitator saying, “We will no longer be manipulated by our addiction.  We have free will and are able to make decisions.  We have control over ourselves even if it now seems almost impossible.  You can choose to have control.”  I encourage you to keep this thought close in mind when you feel triggered.  We may have manipulated ourselves and others when we were in active addiction yet we can use that same energy to choose differently, to be in charge.

Be encouraged, be a warrior, be willing!   Dee

WFS Virtual Conference
June 11-13, 2021
Look out for registration opening this week!

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Monday Thoughts 3/22/2021

“I am woman phenomenally.  Phenomenal woman, that’s me.”  ~~Maya Angelou

“The work of today is the history of tomorrow, and we are its makers.”  ~~Juliette Gordon Low

“A woman is the full circle.  Within her is the power to create, nurture and transform.”  ~~Diane Mariechild

 #13 I am responsible for myself and for my actions.

I am in charge of my mind, my thoughts, and my life.

Sobriety and Statement #13 in action encourage continued growth in recovery.  From engaging in daily living to elaborately planned future moments, it is the culmination of being in charge of our minds, our thoughts and our lives that brings a sense of balance and rewarding fulfillment.  Before sobriety and New Life, none of this felt possible; alcohol had become a large and looming obstacle.

Women are strong, courageous and resilient.  Across history you can see how women have impacted this world with their knowledge, skills and talents; from Katherine G. Johnson, a mathematician who helped create the complex calculations that helped the US to fly into space in 1969 to Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman on the US Supreme Court, to Tegla Loroupe, the first African woman to win the NYC Marathon in 1994.  Women have proved time and time again that we can do anything.

Our founder, Jean Kirkpatrick, Ph.D. brought Women for Sobriety to life in response to her own difficult journey and continued to share her experience with the world.  It was a way for her to respond with her ability, and to this day, her energy and enthusiasm touches the heart of every woman embracing WFS.  Because Jean lived the Statements, today, we get to do the same.  What an absolutely phenomenal woman.  Just like you!

“We are capable and competent, caring and compassionate, always willing to help another, bonded together in overcoming our addictions” (WFS Motto).   We are 4C!



Hi 4C Women,

While unexpected events impact many of us, especially during the pandemic, this powerful and empowering Statement is a reminder that how we respond to events, to people and situations is our responsibility.  I have experienced the saddest situation just days ago when my brother-in-law passed away months after having heart surgery.  The hardest part is being away from my family and not being able to attend the funeral.  My sister and brother-in-law were married for 61 years this month so there are a lot of memories that keep resurfacing that create both extreme sadness and joy at those shared experiences. Under normal circumstances, I would be there to help ease my sister’s pain as best I could.

Today, I am grateful for my sobriety, for the work I put into maintaining it and knowing I am in charge of my response.  I may not be able to travel yet I am available to listen, to be a shoulder to lean on and to know I, too, am not alone.  If I felt triggered, I know without a single doubt that I could share and seek help from my WFS sisters without shame or guilt.  I would be understood and supported.  That is part of this Statement – being in charge of my mind, my thoughts and my life, I am responsible for seeking help when I know I need it.  I have been blessed with loving, compassionate support from those who already know of his passing.  I am a firm believer in acknowledging and expressing our feelings rather than pretend everything is just fine when it isn’t.

In her booklet, Seed Thoughts for Loving Yourself, Suzanne Harrill expresses this so well: “I understand feelings are simply part of my inner guidance system.  They give me feedback on thoughts and reactions to my daily experiences and encounters with others.  I am learning to put words to what I’m feeling which helps me identify thoughts and beliefs behind the feelings.  Once I do this, I use my mind to evaluate these feelings to best decide what to do next.  Sometimes I simply allow myself to feel my feelings and sometimes I use them as motivators to help me make beneficial changes.  I acknowledge all my feelings.”

In acknowledging our feelings, we learn to be responsible, to create balance in our life as a process.  Mistakes become life lessons, success becomes part of our tool box in knowing we can and do make positive choices and survive when we don’t, that living authentically is sharing our joys and fears and knowing that courage is not the absence of fear but courage is fear walking.

Here are some great Statement #13 questions that Karen shared with us previously and I would like to present them once again.

What does responsibility feel like in your life?

Are you comfortable with being in charge of your life?  Why or why not?

Is there an area of your life where you can relinquish control?  (I have always felt this was one of the most challenging questions as I fought so hard to be in control of my recovery, my life.  Yet, in reflecting on this question, I realized that I crossed over into wanting to control others for their benefit – my form of sarcasm!)

My question – when is the last time you expressed your authentic feelings and what was the outcome?  What life lesson did you learn that you put into your tool box for future reference?

Bonded in acknowledging your feelings and taking responsibility for your responses and actions, Dee

In the News

Sharp, ‘Off The Charts’ Rise In Alcoholic Liver Disease Among Young Women


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Monday Thoughts 3/15/2021

“Define success on your own terms, achieve it by your own rules, and build a life you’re proud to live.” ~~Anne Sweeney

“I am a woman with thoughts and questions and sh*t to say.  I say if I’m beautiful.  I say if I’m strong.  You will not determine my story—I will.”  ~~Amy Schumer

“Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations.  I may not reach them but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow them.”  ~~Louisa May Alcott

#12 I am a competent woman, and I have much to give life.

This is what I am and I shall know it always.

According to Merriam-Webster, competence means “the quality or state of having sufficient knowledge, judgment, skill or strength” et al.  It does not, however, mean that one needs to know it all before embracing or acknowledging competence.  Jean understood this and created this empowering Statement for continued growth and development in living our New Lives.

In our WFS Program booklet it states “Begin each day with an unshakable belief in your own competency.  First the thought, then the reality.  Believing you are a competent woman is giving to life.”  After all the uncertainty that active addiction brings, isn’t it comforting to be connected to and engaged in life?

No one is competent in everything, yet everyone can be competent in something.  Some years ago, while taking an art class at the local library, we sat and drew the still-life set up in front of us.  At the end of class, we lined up our artwork for viewing.  While all the drawings contained the same items, the way each person portrayed the scene was remarkable.  Beautiful styles, lines, shading, and curves were displayed; everything was individual and all were delightful.  Sobriety and recovery can be the same.  No two journeys are exactly alike and no two people are competent in the same areas.  The key is finding your inner connection, what makes you, well you.  No one does you like you do.  You are the best version of you there is.  Embrace yourself!



Hi 4C Women,

Our recovery journey and path are as individual as our skills, talents, gifts and our belief in ourselves.  I remember the first time I facilitated a WFS meeting and told the women attending that we introduce ourselves as competent women for our addiction is not our identity but what we use to cope.  It was challenging to most yet I knew from my own experience that saying it eventually became my truth!  In fact, that introduction is so embedded in my mind that I recently introduced myself as a competent woman at a zoom bible class!

For me, the beauty of WFS is that we may have similar goals, even similar circumstances yet how we reach our goal of sobriety/recovery is comprised of our choices, our personal history and in our own timeframe.  Through it all, however, is the inner knowledge that we are competent and having made the choice of the WFS program in our recovery, that competency will continue to grow and evolve.

Back in 1993, I wrote about my WFS journey and it’s amazing to read how little I thought of myself.  I can honestly attribute my growth to WFS, my learning from other women on this incredible recovery journey and knowing – believing – I am a competent woman.  I will always remember when my ex-husband told me that I would never progress or be successful in life because I read the comics first on Sunday mornings rather than the news.  He insinuated that I could not hold an intelligent conversation because I did not know current events and after all, according to him, you can’t talk small talk all your life.  That one comment only reinforced my low self-esteem and past negative messages implying I was stupid.

In retrospect, I didn’t and still don’t make the connection between searching for humor to start my Sundays and being able to hold an intelligent conversation.  Of course, I also know now that he was insecure, having to prove his intelligence through what he knew and small talk was extremely uncomfortable for him.  I think he was a bit jealous because I could engage in small talk, going deeper only when I sensed the person felt comfortable and there was trust in doing so.  So, saying out loud at a meeting that I am a competent woman took time to internalize as my truth.  Today I can authentically and without hesitation say, I am a competent woman who can engage in diverse forms of communication!

I share this because I understand that Statement #12 can be intimidating and uncomfortable at first.  For some, it may even feel like we are bragging – a feeling that many girls and young women were told was not ladylike and could be seen as conceited (at least when I was growing up).  As you practice Statement #12, I hope you will realize that this Statement is empowering, motivating and definitely achievable.

As Karen said, we all have competency in different areas.  Do you know yours?  Perhaps make a list and read it every day with phrases like, I am worthy, I am enough, I am responsible, I am a 4C woman today and then add specifics, i.e., I am good at organizing, listening, technology (that will not be on my list!), being a good friend, detail oriented, cooking, creative – the list is yours to create.

Bonded in knowing you have much to give life, acknowledging your talents, skills, gifts and value with assertiveness – no apologies for the recognition.  You are a competent woman – know it, believe it and live it, Dee

In Case You Missed It!

Get the latest News and Announcements in the WFS March 2021 Newsletter

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Monday Thoughts 3/8/2021

“When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive—to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love—then make that day count.”~~Steve Maraboli

“There is more to life than simply increasing its speed.”  ~Gandhi

“Dance. Smile. Giggle. Marvel. TRUST. HOPE. LOVE. WISH. BELIEVE. Most of all, enjoy every moment of the journey, and appreciate where you are at this moment instead of always focusing on how far you have to go.”  ~~Mandy Hale

#11 Enthusiasm is my daily exercise.

I treasure the moments of my New Life.

Statement #11 has not been easy to embrace and practice recently; the global pandemic upended the daily lives of everyone. Life looks and feels quite different from just over a year ago.  Yet in our WFS Program booklet it states, “Much of what we do in life can feel unremarkable — going to work, doing the laundry, shopping for groceries, etc.  These actions take up a great deal of our waking time.  Many of us grumble about these tasks, yet if we choose to be enthusiastic about doing the simplest chores, they can become more gratifying.”

One of the ways that has helped to foster enthusiasm and put action into Statement #11 is by changing my internal dialogue. For example, instead of beginning my day and saying that “I have to _______” (while not feeling any enthusiasm either), I can change it to “I get to ________.” (there it is!)  This subtle shift of one word changes the temperature and tone of internal dialogue.  Now it is all about possibility and anticipation, which can remove potential hesitation or criticism.

Additionally, altering the Statement to fit your current needs is helpful as well.  Maybe enthusiasm feels too much of a stretch, so a phrase like ‘Contentment is my daily exercise’ or even ‘Connection is my daily exercise.’  (current events makes connection that much more critical).  Whichever word speaks to you and encourages appreciation, gratitude and being fully present, embrace it.  Live it.  Be it!



Hi 4C Women,

I absolutely love changing my internal dialogue from “I have to” to “I get to.”  Immediately I felt a shift in my attitude.  I also felt a great sense of gratitude that I am able to do the ordinary and explore new adventures or experience unexpected moments of enthusiasm/joy.  Being open to spontaneity was something I had to learn.  I am an organizer which actually gives me a sense of comfort.  However, in being so restrictive, I am sure I missed those fleeting moments of joyfulness in the past.

I still plan/organize, even my vacations, because my one and only vacation is visiting friends and family in PA/NJ.  However, I have relaxed in what I do when making those plans.  I just want to be sure I see the people I am missing so I am learning to be a bit more flexible as to how we spend our time together.

Have you ever woken up with the list of tasks on your nightstand and your first thought was, “Is all this really necessary?  Is fun anywhere on that list?”  Knowing I “get to” do the necessary, is there time for the acceptance of a spontaneous adventure?  With this pandemic, a spontaneous adventure could be just about anything from a thrift shop sale to a drive in the country.  Just a change of scenery can create enthusiasm.

I was reading Life Lessons for Women from the creators of Chicken Soup for the Soul.  One writer talked about the nurturing voice that she had to learn to listen to when her critical voice demanded she do what was expected of her by others and even herself, putting a lot of pressure on herself to be perfect.  Well, there is no perfect person or as the writer said, “Remember Super Woman? She’s not dead – she never existed!”  So, for me the key word in experiencing enthusiasm is “BALANCE.”  Perhaps your list on paper or in your thoughts could contain a couple of things you have been thinking about that sounds like fun, contentment, enthusiasm, joy, different, out of your comfort zone – you choose the word that expresses what might be missing as you learn to practice Statement #11.

If the pandemic is not the cause for delaying an enthusiastic experience, think about what is stopping you and if it is the pandemic, perhaps plan it to happen in the timeframe that fits your life right now.  If it is a simple and doable activity, I encourage you to just go for it.  Be spontaneous or plan it just for a change of pace and see how it feels.

Bonded in learning what inspires our enthusiasm and how to make it happen, Dee

WFS Conference News

June 11 – 13, 2021

Registration will be opening soon!

Registration fees will be on a sliding scale: pay $25 – $50 – $75.

Be sure to be on the lookout for the announcement as the first 400 conference registrations will receive the “I’m Possible” Toolkit!

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Monday Thoughts 3/1/2021

“Love recognizes no barriers.  It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.”  ~~Maya Angelou

“In the end nothing we do or say in this lifetime will matter as much as the way we have loved one another.”  ~~Daphne Rose Kingma

“The giving of love is an education in itself.”  ~~Eleanor Roosevelt

#10 All love given returns.

I am learning to know that I am loved.

Our founder, Jean Kirkpatrick, PhD., recognized that she needed help to stop drinking. She tried and failed, and tried again, and succeeded when she looked deep within and embraced love. Originally, she set out to help herself reclaim her New Life but then freely gave of herself, gave her love to the world and Women for Sobriety was born.  Over 45 years later, her love is still going strong.  Such a beautiful example of Statement #10 in action.

We are all here today, bonded together because of one woman’s mission to share what she discovered, and her love is at the center of it all.  From our yearly Conference, WFS Online Forum and the untold number of face-to-face meetings held over the years, love binds us together in growth, in joy and in hope.  From these simple beginnings, love continues to ripple outward, touching the lives of women everywhere and beyond.

Tomorrow, March 2, is Jean’s birthday and in honor of this special day, you are encouraged to find a way to share love this week.  Two ways to share your love are by donating to WFS by clicking here or you can volunteer your time or talents by clicking right here.  The world can always use more love.  What ways will you share love this week?



Hi 4C Women,

I have been a part of WFS for 33 years!  It was this empowering program of hope, love, and commitment to creating a New Life in recovery that has given me a purpose in my life and for others searching to create their own New Life.  I have always been a fan of giving back, to shine a light on the path of recovery for those who are unsure, fearful, and yet clinging to hope for a way out and a way into a fulfilling life where they learn to love themselves and know that they are loved.

In 33 years, I have met so many phenomenal women, including Jean Kirkpatrick, who worked diligently in creating change.  There have been hundreds of phone calls, emails, texts, conference workshops and over 1,400 meetings that have been my purpose, my reward in showing love and compassion to those 4C women.   Absolutely none of this would have happened without Jean Kirkpatrick’s learning to love herself at a time when even saying it out loud would have been considered conceited and self-centered, especially for a woman in the 1970s as the women’s movement was just beginning.  She kept going and was determined to share her path, her knowledge of a positive way to recovery that has impacted thousands of lives around the world.

It seems almost impossible to imagine that it was 45 years ago that she was courageous enough to present a program for women only!  After all, there was such a double standard back then yet she didn’t let that stop her.  Celebrating Jean, WFS and all the lives she has touched is such a beautiful way to honor her.

A lot has changed this past year with the pandemic yet WFS has continued to reach out to those women in need of support and encouragement, a way of living with love, compassion and forgiveness.  I have always felt that forgiveness was a large part of learning to love myself and believe that others loved me.  So, as you consider ways of honoring Jean, whether financially or volunteering in some capacity, supporting all the facilitators by attending meetings, I hope that as you make a decision, you will see that exuberant, 5’ woman standing up to doubters, fearless and competent with her purpose intact, giving us the power to love and be loved.

“Self-love grows from actions that support our growth.  It is accepting our weaknesses as well as our strengths.  It is having compassion for ourselves as we continue to grow and find our life’s passions.  Self-love is not a destination or a singular event.  It is a practice that requires time and patience with ourselves.  It can be the foundation on which we build a happy and stable life.”   Tori Skene

A few tips on how to love yourself by Cheryl Rainfield:

Praise yourself as a daily routine.  After reading the 13 Statements in the morning to start your day, add a praise to it.  Let it be your daily mantra.  You can do this at the end of the day as well as you reflect on something you feel you’ve done well or responded in a way that supports your well-being.

Love yourself like a cherished friend, speaking and responding to yourself as you would a friend.  Be kind and compassionate as you speak to yourself.  Try closing your eyes and think of that friend and all the things you love and appreciate about them.  Now turn it around the other way – be your friend, feeling that same deep caring love for yourself.

Practice self-care by doing nurturing and comforting things for yourself.

In doing these practices, create a positive affirmation and write it down.  Display it so when doubt comes in that you are worthy of self-love and being loved by others, you can repeat the affirmation.  It needs to be a strong, loving message even if you aren’t fully believing it.  Your affirmation can be changed to acknowledge your inner beliefs of being lovable and worthy as you grow to know this truth.

Bonded in learning to love ourselves and learning that others love us, Dee

Sunday, March 7th @  2:00 pm Eastern
Recovery as a Practice with Dawn Nickel