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 CM or CCM 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 Certified Moderator (CM) 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 CM application, and receiving approval from the organization. CM’s are then provided with a Moderator’s Manual and other training materials.
While CM’s have demonstrated a certain level of knowledge of the New Life Program, participants should remember that they are not skilled professionals. CM’s 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.
Some CM’s have Certified Co-Moderators (CCM’s) to assist them with running a group, or they may identify other helpers as appropriate. If you have any concerns about how a WFS meeting is run, please contact the office or a Board member.
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 Online continues to be run as an open forum for participants of the New Life Program. Designated volunteers manage the forum and chat rooms with support from office staff and the WFS Board of Directors. All WFS Chats are led by women who are Certified by the WFS Office to be Chat Leaders; they are well versed in the WFS New Life Program and report having a minimum of one year of continuous sobriety. All viewpoints and opinions expressed in both the WFS Online forum and chat room are those of the author and may not reflect the official views of Women for Sobriety, Inc. Access to the chat room is through the forum.
There is no fee to join; however, participants frequently support the organization through donations. Women who are age 18 or older and seeking sobriety from alcohol and/or other drug addictions are welcome to join. As with all peer-support resources administered by WFS, all expressions of female identity are welcome. As the forum is a private site, for confidentiality and anonymity reasons, the Forum Management Team screens and approves all registrations. After completing the registration form, you will receive an email within a few hours 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 Management 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.
While not a source of direct peer-to-peer support, many women find that subscribing or following WFS on social media sites can be a good source of inspiration for their recovery. A volunteer posts on behalf of the organization daily.
- @WFS4C on Twitter
Women from around the globe gather every June for the WFS Annual Weekend Conference at DeSales University in Center Valley, PA. This retreat-style weekend offers workshops, presentations, and WFS meetings from Thursday evening to mid-day Sunday. 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.
June 7-9, 2019
Center Valley, PA
We are still seeking volunteers to lead informal activities at the 2019 conference - craft projects, guided meditations, morning exercise groups, yoga, meet and greets, WFS Online forum labs, evening wind-down activities, and just plain organized fun! No need to fill out the full Call for Presentations for these informal activities - just email firstname.lastname@example.org with your idea.
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 - Thursday night and private room fees are extra). Our Call for Presentations application form is posted in October and the deadline is typically January 31st. Sorry, all workshops have been scheduled and the Call for Presentation period is over for 2019. Please check back next year!
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 (opportunities to get up and stretch/move, especially during 90-minute workshops and after lunch), 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 avoid specific names/brands of alcohol, graphic details of alcohol and other drug use, 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