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.