There are many ways to access WFS-oriented peer support. We invite you to explore these below. However, if none of these methods are appealing to you or if you are unable to access them for any reason, please be reassured that the WFS New Life Program was specifically designed to be effective when used individually as well as in groups. The WFS organization welcomes all expressions of female identity to participate in our peer-support resources.
Women for Sobriety meetings, also frequently referred to as “face-to-face” groups, are available in the United States and Canada. Please visit the Meeting Finder page to locate a meeting near you. WFS meetings are limited to women who are personally engaged in recovery from problematic drug and/or alcohol use; women in recovery from other types of addictive behaviors are encouraged to find other sources of support. WFS embraces all expressions of female identity and welcomes our sisters from the LGBTIQQA+ community. Anything discussed at a WFS meeting is confidential. The identity of members is not revealed outside the group. It is up to the discretion of each woman whether she wants to break her own anonymity as a member of WFS.
Meetings are held at least once a week and are typically one hour to ninety minutes. WFS meetings use a discussion format, so chairs are usually placed in a circle and the ideal size is six to ten women. This provides every woman a chance to be involved in discussions if she wishes. To reduce distractions and allow everyone to feel heard, participants try to refrain from handwork, eating, and side conversations. Triggers are reduced by refraining from using specific names/brands of alcohol or drugs, not telling drinking or using stories, and coming to meetings sober, without having ingested any alcohol and/or drugs the day of the meeting.
All WFS meetings follow a structured format:
- At the beginning of the meeting, the 13 Acceptance Statements and the Mission Statement are read out loud and the Certified Facilitator (CF) may remind the group about the guidelines. Typically, each member of the group reads one of the 13 Statements and then the entire group reads the thought-action (italicized portion).
- Each woman introduces herself by saying, "My name is ____ and I am a competent woman." She then shares a positive action (how she handled a situation differently) or a feeling (she was able to identify and/or respond to differently) and selects one of the 13 Statements to which it relates.
- If a participant has an urgent need for support, feedback, or encouragement, she will have an opportunity to share.
- A topic will be introduced, typically based on a piece of WFS literature, and the discussion portion of the meeting begins.
- At the end of the meeting, participants stand in a circle (if possible) with joined hands and recite the WFS Motto: "We are capable and competent, caring and compassionate, always willing to help another, bonded together in overcoming our addictions."
A silent donation is collected at meetings. The suggested donation is $2 - $5 (more if possible, less if necessary); however, no one is turned away from the meeting if they are unable to give a donation. These group donations are sent directly to the WFS office to help support the organization's services. The organization provides free literature and support to our groups in the community.
Groups are run by a WFS CF who has established a minimum of one year of continuous sobriety and is thoroughly acquainted with the New Life Program and its philosophy. The certification process includes having read Turnabout or Goodbye Hangovers, Hello Life, demonstrating knowledge of the New Life Program when filling out the CF application, and receiving approval from the organization. CFs are then provided with a Facilitator’s Manual and other training materials.
While CFs have demonstrated a certain level of knowledge of the New Life Program, participants should remember that they are not skilled professionals. CFs are peers in recovery who serve as volunteer stewards of the New Life Program by coordinating meeting logistics and sharing their knowledge of the program. They may sometimes need to refer a woman to additional supports if the woman’s needs exceed the capacity of the group.
WFS Online is an open forum for women overcoming their addictions using the New Life Program. WFS Online consists of a 24/7 message board where women can share and seek support for their recovery, as well as online text chat meetings that occur 1-2 times daily. There is no fee to join WFS Online. Women who are age 18 or older and seeking sobriety from alcohol and/or other drug problems are welcome to join. As with all peer-support resources administered by WFS, all expressions of female identity are welcome and participation is limited to women seeking personal support for overcoming addiction.
Designated volunteers on the Forum Management Team manage the forum with support from office staff and the WFS Board of Directors. Our Registration Team screens registrations to do their best to ensure that only women seeking support for their personal recovery are approved. (While WFS does its best to ensure that only women in recovery join the forum, participants are encouraged to be mindful that absolute privacy cannot be assured in any online setting.) All WFS Online Chat Meetings are led by women who are reviewed by the WFS Office and Certified as Chat Leaders. They are well-versed in the WFS New Life Program and report having a minimum of one year of continuous sobriety. Women can use the chat room in between formal chat meetings for real-time support. Access to the chat room is through the forum.
The WFS Online message board and chat room was started by a dedicated volunteer, fourcwoman, who paid for and managed these services for many years. It is now paid for through the organization thanks to a generous annuity endowment from her. WFS is a 501(c)(3) which graciously accepts donations.
After completing the registration form, you will receive an email to confirm your email address. If you do not see this verification email in your Inbox, be sure to check your Spam Folder. Once you verify your email address is correct, you will receive a Welcome Letter from the Forum Registration Team that you are approved to access the WFS Online site.
The WFS office maintains a list of women who have volunteered to be phone contacts for women who may not have access to other WFS peer support or who wish to develop a more individualized support relationship. The general location of these volunteers is marked on the Meeting Finder. For privacy purposes, the names and phone numbers are not listed; please call or email the office for the contact information of a phone support person near you. Please remember that phone support volunteers are peers - women using the New Life Program to take charge of their lives - and not trained recovery professionals.
If you have one year or more of continuous sobriety through the New Life Program and wish to volunteer to be a peer phone support, please fill out our Volunteer Application.
NEW! Private Peer-to-Peer Support Facebook Group New Life Connection
While not a source of direct peer-to-peer support, many women find that subscribing or following WFS on other social media sites can be a good source of inspiration for their recovery. A volunteer posts on behalf of the organization daily.
Women from around the globe gather every June for the WFS Annual Weekend Conference. This retreat-style weekend offers workshops, presentations, and WFS meetings from Friday evening to mid-day Sunday, with pre-conference activities on Thursday and Friday day. All women using the New Life Program for overcoming substance use disorders are encouraged to attend, and all expressions of female identity are welcome. Join the WFS Mailing List to receive updates about conference registration.
Interested in Presenting?
Women who use the New Life Program for their personal recovery are encouraged to apply! We have mentors willing to help you make your first workshop a success, as well as a number of resources available for repeated topics (i.e. Relapse Prevention, First Year, etc.). Workshop presenters receive a complimentary Base Registration, which covers Fri-Sun meals, double room, and conference activities ($300 value in 2019) for our physical events or a full registration for our virtual conference.
Call for Presentations is released each year around October and application period closes on February 1.
What Gets Good Reviews from 4C Women:
- WFS-oriented – Clearly and easily linked to recovery, one or more of the Acceptance Statements, a Level of Recovery, etc.
- Engaging – presenter is able to keep group engaged, read the room, adapt content/presentation style if necessary, includes relevant self-disclosure
- Interactivity – ice-breakers, energizers, large- or small-group activities or discussions, written or tactile/creative exercises, etc.
- Fun activities and appropriate use of humor
- Connection/Discussion – presenter connects with participants, participants have a chance to connect to each other, participants have a chance to contribute knowledge
- Handouts – to reduce need for note-taking, to give something to refer back to later
- Homework – concrete or specific skills and tasks that participants can practice at home
- Knowledge and Preparation – presenter conveys high level of knowledge about the topic, acknowledges limitations of personal knowledge when appropriate, is well-organized and prepared
- Transferable – easy to share the information with peers that aren’t able to attend (especially desirable for our WFS meeting facilitators)
Common Critiques (What to Avoid):
- Triggers – follow WFS meeting guidelines of avoiding specific names/brands of alcohol, graphic details of alcohol and other drug use, or extensive use histories
- Negativity or confrontational techniques
- Not enough content – too much time spent on sharing and not enough on helpful content, lack of specific strategies/skills/educational content to apply to personal recovery
- Too much content – facilitator spending too much time on educational content to detriment of participation/engagement by attendees, putting too many things on the agenda so things feel rushed or like something important got left out
- Religious content – unless openly stated in title and description, avoid religious content (general spiritual content okay); do not assume that participants share similar belief systems; many women choose WFS specifically due to personal histories of religious trauma or non-theistic beliefs so please be particularly careful about this
- Facilitator answering her own questions– allow pauses for thought, time for participants to reflect and collect their thoughts
- Lack of interactivity/physical activity, especially after meals
- No clear connection to recovery, New Life Program, etc.
- Reading off handouts/slides
Ideas for Presentations:
- Workshops which focus on a particular Acceptance Statement or Level of Recovery, etc.
- Relapse Prevention – we always try to have at least one of these
- Early Sobriety – especially the first year; we always try to have at least one of these
- Long-term sobriety – issues in later sobriety, maintaining enthusiasm/motivation
- Affirming/Defining Self, Self-Imaging, Self-Acceptance, etc.
- Health And Wellness topics – nutrition, exercise, information about alternative healing techniques, etc.
- Physical effects of alcohol/drugs/addiction; physical recovery; PAWS (Post-Acute Withdrawal); smoking cessation
- Arts therapy or simple art/craft projects – exploring new sober hobbies, or projects that can be linked to the Statements/Levels/Program, writing/journaling
- Meditation – especially for very beginners or those with very active minds, morning meditation, quick/minute meditations to use throughout the day
- History of WFS, information about Jean Kirkpatrick
- How to spread the word about WFS
- Exercise/Movement – Zumba, hula-hooping, dancing, self-defense, etc.
- Natural Highs, “How to Party Sober,” finding joy in recovery
- Communication – Non-Violent Communication, conflict resolution, assertiveness
- Boundaries – managing interpersonal relationships, staying sober with a drinking partner or family member
- Emotion-specific topics – grief/loss, gratitude, overcoming guilt, depression, forgiveness
- Group skills – for facilitators and/or participants
- Spirituality – exploring/identifying personal spiritual/emotional development (Statement 8)
- Self-care/Taking time for self/Priorities
- Panel presentations – spirituality, different lengths of sobriety, etc.
- Outdoor sessions or activities
- Sex in Recovery