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Monday Thoughts 2.27.23

“I love peanuts, peaches, dogs, little old ladies, walking along a beach, moonlit June evenings, the first snow, awaking in the early morning and watching dawn and sunrise, working in the garden, walking in the woods, meditating……These loves may seem too unimportant to be considered ‘loves,’ but they are the fabric of greater love each of us is capable of.”
Jean Kirkpatrick, Ph.D.

“We were made to love—to give it and receive it.”
Jean Kirkpatrick, Ph.D.

“Love is a splendid emotion.  What is more beautiful than the flow of the warm feeling that suffuses us when we experience love of a pet, love of a friend, love of our country, love of family?  Love is warm, positive, enriching.”
Jean Kirkpatrick, Ph.D.

#10 All love given returns.
I am learning to know that I am loved.

How beautifully fitting it is that we focus on Statement #10, the second of our “Love Statements” this week. On Thursday, our incredible founder and the very first 4C woman, Jean Kirkpatrick Ph.D., would have turned one hundred years old. As our organization celebrates this special day, Statement #10 can be woven into every day, hour, and minute.

For those unaware, WFS came into existence through Jean’s determination for a new, sober life. Years of substance abuse had taken a toll on her mentally, physically and spiritually. Jean understood that she needed something different. When she could not find it, she created it and Women for Sobriety was born. It was an act of love brought to life.

Women for Sobriety, Inc. exists because of one woman’s love, determination, and conviction. Today, Jean’s love continues to ripple outward; throughout the lives of women everywhere and expands even further to friends and families. She continues to touch lives even after 100 years from her birth. This week, put action into Statement #10 by sending your love outward and remember, every little bit counts. Imagine what you are capable of sharing with your love!
Happy 100th Birthday Jean!


Hi 4C Women,

What a loving gift Jean gave all of us. She felt a purpose, a need to explore and create a program of what women in recovery needed to become empowered, to be in charge of their lives, and to learn to know that as we give love, we are loved in return.

When you say the words out loud that you are learning to know you are loved, what is your first reaction, your first thought? My first reaction was “no way.” My first thought was denial as I was still in the stage of not feeling lovable or worthy. Once I finally started to love myself, I was able to give love with my whole heart and felt a shift in believing I was loved in return.

I began to wonder why it was so difficult to make this transition. Part of it was my history, the rejection, and the hurt I reflected on. As I’ve said many times, it is through WFS that I realized I also had positive, wonderful memories and as I began to focus more on those, I was able to begin the healing process of the painful past and open the door to authentic, loving friendships and relationships. As I healed more each day, I decided to throw open the gate with this Love Statement and soak in the joy of loving and being loved. It is absolutely amazing how that changed my life. Now if someone was/is condescending or mean-spirited to me personally, I no longer look to what I did to cause that, what was so unlovable about me that caused this person to treat me this way. Instead, I realize these people might be hurting and they behaved this way to somehow feel better about themselves. Of course, this is not acceptable behavior yet I learned enough to recognize pain. Fortunately, I also learned to speak my voice and depending on the person and situation, address it with respect. Words are powerful and responding in a similar fashion is not going to change anything or anyone and even with a respectful conversation, it may not change. The change is you, your reaction, your response, and your self-protective boundaries are powerful!

The best part of loving and being loved is that it is not just reserved for romantic relationships as was my initial impression. There are many aspects of love. I love my pet and she loves me. I love volunteering and the people I volunteer for love that I am willing to do it. I love decorating for the holidays and while my house can’t give me a hug back, I feel the love with each memory of the treasures I display. I love being a facilitator for these past 34 years and feel the love in return. I feel grateful and honored to be part of a program Jean Kirkpatrick so determinedly created. Her love and understanding of our needs in recovery will remain a huge part of all of our lives. I so wish I could give her a big hug and thank her right now for what she has given to lead us to become 4C women. I do believe she feels thousands of hugs each time a woman discovers WFS and creates their own New Life through the phenomenal 13 Statements of Acceptance.

What is your initial reaction to this Statement of loving and being loved?
How do you express love?
How do you experience the feeling of being loved?
Have you learned to love and forgive yourself in the process?

Bonded in loving yourself and knowing you are loved, Dee

In honor of Jean, help WFS continue to help women build New Lives!


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Jean Kirkpatrick – A Leader in Women’s SUD Recovery

Join WFS in Celebrating the Life of our Founder

In 1973 Dr. Kirkpatrick set her plan of recovery into an acceptance program that she called New Life. In 1975, she used the name Women for Sobriety, Inc., to establish a nonprofit organization. She formalized 13 affirmations that had been helpful in her own recovery into the thirteen Acceptance Statements, which are still used today. Jean became widely recognized as an expert in women’s Substance Use Disorder (SUD) recovery.

Among Jean’s Many Accomplishments

  • In 1977 published an article, “When A Woman Drinks Too Much,” that told of a woman’s drinking problem and how she overcame her problem with a new program.
  • After her initial book, Turnabout,  Jean authored A Fresh Start, (1981), which tells about the beginning of the WFS organization and Goodbye Hangovers, Hello Life(1986), which provides a method of overcoming the problems encountered by women in the process of SUD recovery.
  • Gave expert testimony on women and alcoholism before several Senate Committees.
  • Presented papers and workshops worldwide, including presentations before the international community of alcoholism professionals in Zurich, Switzerland; Tours, France; Cardiff, Wales and Vienna, Austria.
  • Appeared on hundreds of radio and television shows, among them “The Today Show,” “The Phil Donohue Show,” “Good Morning, America,” “To Tell The Truth,” “The Morning Show,” and others.
  • Was awarded the Raymond Haupert Humanitarian Award from Moravian College, and was named Woman of the Year by the Business and Professional Women of Quakertown, Pennsylvania in 1978.


Now, 48 years after Jean established WFS, we continue to provide Jean’s New Life Program to women in recovery through a variety of programs:

Your support allows WFS to continue

Jean’s mission to help women in recovery!


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New Meeting – Chicago, IL (Thursdays)

women for sobriety decorative image women holding hands

WFS is proud to announce the start of a new virtual meeting!

Chicago, IL

Thursdays  at 10:00 am

Start Date:  2/2/2022

Please email [email protected] with questions and to obtain the Zoom link.

Please join us in extending our gratitude to this Certified Facility Urban Trauma Healing Society NFP who has made the commitment to bring a meeting to their community!

If you are feeling inspired to bring WFS to your local community, please review the requirements for becoming a Certified Facilitator at and apply here.

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New Meeting – Hastings, MN (Mondays)

women for sobriety decorative image women holding hands

WFS is proud to announce the start of a new in-person meeting!

Hastings, MN

Mondays  at 6:30 pm

Start Date:  2/6/2022

Please email [email protected] with questions and to obtain the exact location of the meeting.

Please join us in extending our gratitude to this Certified Facility Rise Up Recovery who has made the commitment to bring a meeting to the community!

If you are feeling inspired to bring WFS to your local community, please review the requirements for becoming a Certified Facilitator at and apply here.

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Monday Thoughts 2.20.23

women for sobriety decorative image the past is gone forever

“You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one.”


“Sometimes you just have to let yourself off the hook. Forget everything you didn’t check off your to-do list, forgive yourself for any mistakes, and stop dwelling on everything you think you could have done better. The past is behind you, and it can only control you if you let it. So let go of what you should have done and focus on the best you can going forward.”

Lori Deschene

“Letting go of the past means that you can enjoy the dream that is happening right now.”

Don Miguel Ruiz

#9 The past is gone forever.

No longer am I victimized by the past. I am a new woman.

“Release the past, plan for tomorrow, live for today.” These empowering words are the last sentence in our WFS Program booklet. It is a beautiful summation of the entire Women for Sobriety Program and a kick starter for Statement #9. Immediately drawn to this Statement, a feeling of relief ran through me.  Essentially, practicing Statement #9 offered up permission to actually let go which felt like a new concept.

In the WFS “Reflections for Growth” booklet, our founder, Jean Kirkpatrick, Ph.D. writes, “If I were to dwell on the numerous regrets I have from all the years gone by, regret would also be accompanied with bitterness. Growth, rather than regret, is my day’s objective.” By consciously focusing on growth, it decreased – then eliminated a habit of ruminating on the past. This felt incredibly freeing and energizing. The old baggage had been heavy, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally.

In order to practice Statement #9, I first needed to understand how tightly I was clinging to the past. I also needed to see how regrets drove my behaviors. As I began to understand how clinging to alcohol negatively affected my life, it became easier to reinforce sobriety. I am so grateful for Jean and to WFS for direction, encouragement, and especially the connection to create a New Life to live today. Here are a few ideas to release regret by Beverly D Flaxington:

1.   Own it: Yes, whatever it is that happened, happened. You made the wrong choice, said the wrong thing, went in the wrong direction. Whatever it is, it’s done. And you know what? It’s over. The fact of the human condition is that you won’t always choose wisely, and you won’t choose in your best interests every time.

2.   Learn from it: Try and take an objective view of what happened. Why did you do/decide what you did? This is not an opportunity to bash yourself, but rather to examine the event critically. You can learn a lot about how you make decisions by trying to understand what went awry. Do you need to do a better job next time of gathering information? Do you need more time to think something through? Are you unduly influenced by others? Note what you need to do differently the next time you have a decision to make.

3.   Write out what you would like: If you regret a lost (or found) relationship, a career choice, a financial decision, an educational experience, then instead of focusing on ‘what I had’ focus on ‘what I want.’ You can’t revisit the past, but you can turn your attention to something you want. So, this career isn’t the best one; how do you paint a picture of something you do want? So, the person you let get away got away; how do you create a life you can enjoy as a single person? So, you didn’t go to the school of your dreams; how can you structure a plan to take classes or become involved at the school you did go to? Paint a picture in as much detail as you can about where you’d like to head. This will start turning your attention away from the rear-view mirror and to the windshield looking forward.

4.   Become entranced by today: Turn your attention to senses. Smell, taste, hear and enjoy whatever it is you are doing at a greater level than you have done before. Really engage with your world. Notice things you haven’t noticed before and resolve to be PRESENT with whatever is going on.

5.   Make a plan for something you can do that might help to cancel out what you regret: For example, you didn’t spend enough time with your kids growing up and now they won’t visit you much? How about volunteering or joining an organization like Big Brothers Big Sisters? Missed out on the career you always wanted? What about taking up some hobby you are passionate about and pursuing that instead? Life is not linear, nor is it black and white. What shades of grey could you incorporate into your life that wouldn’t necessarily change the regret, but might add something important to the life you are leading today?



Hi 4C Women,

I appreciate these powerful and empowering suggestions for releasing the past.

At the beginning of my sobriety, I was fearful of owning responsibility for my choices as it meant giving up the blame game I had played for a very long time. I drank to silence the negative thoughts, to forget the painful choices I made. I felt there was no escape from those thoughts except to silence them with alcohol. It worked – briefly – but it changed nothing. I continued to live in regret and beat myself up for my choices and then back to the blame game. As long as I blamed others, I didn’t need to take responsibility for anything in my life. While alcohol temporarily blocked out the hurtful feelings, I slowly began to realize I was fooling myself so that I could continue to think and behave this way and achieve the emotional growth that I yearned for. I was wasting precious time clinging to a way of thinking that kept me trapped in self-hate.

Whenever I start to revisit the past and it’s always the painful past, I repeat Statement #9 over and over. Digging deep to understand the why of my choices and forgiving myself, was such a huge life lesson. There are many regrettable choices in my past and even today because as Beverly Flaxington pointed out, it is the human condition. However, once I decided to look honestly at my role in my choices/decisions, it was freeing because I became open to learning and changing.  I have also learned to reflect on the positive moments of my past. That has helped me tremendously and takes away the victimization that I only made harmful choices which continued the self-hate feeling. Now I turn off the negative thoughts of the past that I cannot change. I make different choices based on the lesson learned which I am willing to reflect on. I am a new woman and much more able to handle the mistakes I make and learn from them.

There are great questions throughout the points that Beverly Flaxington shared. I hope you will answer them to share with the WFS group you attend. We are learners if we choose. We are empowered in that learning and sharing are the way we support and encourage each other.

Here are some of the questions included in the message:

Why did you do/decide what you did? This is not an opportunity to bash yourself, but rather to examine the event critically.

Do you need to do a better job next time gathering information?

Do you need more time to think something through?

Are you unduly influenced by others?

What shades of grey could you incorporate into your life that wouldn’t necessarily change the regret, but might add something important to the life you are leading today?

Bonded in releasing the past, learning from it, forgiving ourselves and others, and becoming a new woman, Dee

The Creative Crew will support another sale on May 19 to 20, 2023!  Be part of the fun to raise money for WFS by donating an item!
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WFS Celebrates Jean Kirkpatrick’s 100th Birthday

How did WFS start?

In the late 1950s Jean Kirkpatrick couldn’t cope with the fact that she was the first woman to receive the Fels Fellowship award at the University of Pennsylvania, so she went out and got drunk. Fearing that a mistake had been made and the funds to write her doctoral dissertation would be taken away, Dr. Kirkpatrick broke 3 years of sobriety with a drunk that lasted 13 years.

When she returned to AA 13 years later, she wanted to hear new ideas and new things. AA just wasn’t saying to her what she needed to hear. The fault was not with the AA Program but was in Jean’s own need to know about herself. And so she continued to drink.

During this time Jean began to read more and more the writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson and other metaphysical writers. She began to see that by changing her thoughts she could change herself. In Turnabout: New Help for the Woman Alcoholic, Dr. Kirkpatrick describes these years, the self-destruction, and how she finally was able to stop drinking.

With her own sobriety established by methods other than the traditional AA Program, Dr. Kirkpatrick formed the Women for Sobriety, Inc., organization and the New Life Program in 1975. She devoted the remainder of her life to helping women with addictions.



Join WFS in celebrating the life’s work of Jean Kirkpatrick and help support women in recovery!


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Monday Thoughts 2.13.23

“Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely.”

Karen Kaiser Clark

“When someone comes looking for the old you, pulling triggers, but cannot find you, that’s healing.” Unknown

“Everything good that has ever happened in your life happened because something changed. So don’t be so fearful of change, ok?”

Karen Salmansohn

#8 The fundamental object of life is emotional and spiritual growth.

Daily I put my life into a proper order, knowing which are the priorities.

Sobriety and Statement #8 paired together offer a path of change and growth. In fact, one of my favorite quotes is simply an acronym: Choose Having A New Growth Experience = CHANGE. Yet before my New Life, growth was unheard of. I felt that was for other people and the only priority was escaping in alcohol.

In our WFS Reflections for Growth booklet our founder, Jean Kirkpatrick, Ph.D. writes “Change is that part of life that sometimes pushes us away from a period of security into a period of insecurity.” Sobriety is an empowering change, although it didn’t feel like it at first. My mind and body screamed at me to go backward but I already knew that pain. It was time to have a new growth experience.

Oftentimes growth ebbs and flows like the tide, sometimes wildly crashing in, and other times slipping in slowly. Whichever way change takes place, the results can be the same; feelings of insecurity unsettle the status quo.

Here are a number of ways to cope with uncertainty by Christine Carter from Greater Good Magazine.

1.   Don’t resist: We are living through challenging times. But resisting this current reality won’t help us recover, learn, grow, or feel better. Ironically, resistance prolongs our pain and difficulty by amplifying the challenging emotions we are feeling.

2.   Invest in yourself: The best resource that you have right now for making a contribution to the world is YOU. When that resource is depleted, your most valuable asset is damaged. Self-care is not selfish.

3.   Find healthy comfort items: One of the most important ways we can invest in ourselves is to comfort ourselves in healthy ways. If we are to stay flexible, we need to feel safe and secure. When we feel uncertain or insecure, our brain tries to rescue us by activating our dopamine systems. This dopamine rush encourages us to seek rewards, making temptations more tempting. Think of this as your brain pushing you toward a comfort item…like a glass of alcohol instead of a reasonable bedtime. Or an entire pan of brownies. Or an extra little something in your Amazon cart. Make a list of healthy ways to comfort yourself. Reflect on what you are grateful for, watch something funny, call a friend.

4.   Pay attention: The opposite of uncertainty is not certainty; it’s presence. Instead of imagining a scary and unknown future, we can bring our attention to our breath. From there, we can check in with ourselves. Notice what emotions you are feeling, and where in your body you feel those emotions. Bring curiosity and acceptance to your experience.

5.   Find meaning in the chaos: Meaning and purpose are wellsprings of hope. When the world feels scary or uncertain, knowing what meaning we have for others and feeling a sense of purpose can ground us better than anything else.



Hi 4C Women,

Absolutely love what Karen has shared. Such great and doable insightful coping tools in how to gain emotional and spiritual growth as written by Christine Carter. At the beginning of my recovery journey, I valued the guidance of each Statement yet wasn’t sure how to actually make it happen. These coping tools provide a clear guide to both start and continue integrating Statement #8. As I read each of these coping tools, I was reminded that growth is a continuum.

Change was one of my greatest fears as I felt any change, even positive, would only validate the negative definition of me that I had created. If I required changing how I viewed myself then I was right about my definition of myself. Looking back, I wonder why I was so fearful of seeing myself in a positive way, and why I would rather continue to see myself as worthless. I believe it goes back to my need for personal spiritual growth. As long as I was unable to forgive myself, how could I value myself through personal growth?  So, I treaded slowly into change and thought, wow, now I’m finished with my personal growth. However, I learned that as life changes, different challenges occur. I must continue to grow and change as well. I am grateful for that life lesson. I also learned another invaluable life lesson in self-forgiveness. While I could not change the past, I could change my behavior and responses to people and situations in the present. It’s actually an empowering feeling which I have always loved about WFS. I am an empowered woman which goes to coping tool #1 – Don’t resist. I related to the prolonging of pain and what a difference it made when I stopped resisting.

Think about what you are resisting and why. If you have stopped resisting, share what that has meant to you. What have you learned about yourself in the process?

I can always tell when I am in chaos by my surroundings. It’s a good thing because I have learned to use my surroundings as a clue to pay attention to my needs. The question is why am I neglecting my needs and what are my plans to change that?  What clues let you know when you are in chaos or heading toward chaos? What self-care plans do you have in place? Sometimes it’s about taking a break. I call it a mental health retreat, giving myself time to reflect and heal.

My spiritual growth has given me hope and my personal growth has given me a purpose. I have also learned that my purpose changes as I change. I am not stuck in a purpose that no longer serves me. There is freedom and joy in that. Think about your purpose. Has it changed? How is it serving your personal or spiritual growth? For those who might fear any change, I hope that those who have welcomed and experienced positive change through the WFS New Life program will share how they became willing to change and how it made a positive difference in their lives.

Bonded in willingness to change, to redefine our personal and spiritual growth as we open up to new opportunities for growth, Dee

The conference planning team is in full gear making preparations for the 2023 WFS virtual conference. Consider volunteering your time and talents to this enthusiastic group and join in making this a memorable experience for all!
There are many ways to be involved, but the team is looking to increase efforts in marketing, social programming, and volunteer coordination.
Interested? Email [email protected]

More Info Here

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Monday Thoughts 2.6.23

“Avoiding certain people to protect your emotional health is not weakness. It is wisdom.”

“You deserve to be loved without having to hide the parts of yourself you think are unlovable.”

“It’s okay to let go of those who couldn’t love you. Those who didn’t know how to. Those who failed to even try. It’s okay to outgrow them, because that means you filled the empty space in you with self-love instead. You’re outgrowing them because you’re growing into you. And that’s more than okay, that’s something to celebrate.”
Angelica Moone

#7 Love can change the course of my world.
Caring is all-important.

You deserve love…. period. You deserve love simply because you exist. Sobriety is the warm, cozy blanket that provides the portal for love to surround you, wrap itself around you, and let you know that even deep down inside, you are worthy and deserving of love. The WFS Statements, but especially the “Love” Statements #7 and #10 enable this love to flourish and grow.

Substance Use Disorders prevent your truth from reaching in and loving you. Over time, changes in the brain can take place, altering perceptions. With sobriety and recovery, you are open to love, to give, and to receive. It felt foreign at first, though I kept believing what the other sober women around me kept saying: You are worthy of love. You are absolutely worthy of love.

As a part of Level 5, Statement #7 shifts focus towards relationships. Loving ourselves takes priority and we can begin to fill our needs. Boundaries become an empowering new tool to create well-being and balance. This can feel foreign at first too, initially, it felt wrong, but my brain was still healing. Trusting the process, love changes the course of my world every day in every way. Enjoy the comfort of love!


Hi 4C Women,

I am so blessed beyond words I write here to express my enormous gratitude for the love I have received since becoming a part of WFS. I learned to love myself and receive/give authentic love from/to my WFS sisters. I have truly been changed by love. It encouraged me to face my fears of rejection, to learn self-forgiveness, self-love, and to give purpose and meaning to my New Life in recovery.  I felt a sense of balance and comfort as I broke down the wall of fear.

In the beginning, the most challenging part of practicing Statement #7 was to believe that love could change the course of my world. I had no idea that tearing down my wall of fear and letting in loving relationships would have such a powerful impact. I realized that my fears of not being good enough no longer could hold up the wall I built. It no longer protected me but kept me a prisoner from experiencing the warmth and comfort of positive, caring relationships. I also learned that while I could still be hurt, all relationships could not be based on that possibility. I felt free in my acceptance of love, knowing that caring had to also include myself as well as others. As my world of love expanded, I felt uplifted and even became courageous in setting boundaries which is a much better way to protect myself. The wall blocked everything and therefore would not change anything. Something had to give. This Statement and the practice of it tore down the wall and love came slowly and gratefully back into my life.

Who is part of your caring circle today?
How do you show love to yourself?
How has boundary setting helped you move forward in creating healthy relationships?
How has loved changed the course of your world?

Bonded in trusting the process of practicing Statement #7 and experiencing love changing the course of your world, Dee

More Info Here