Levels of Recovery

The WFS Acceptance Statements are the recovering woman’s guide to everyday thinking and living. As the New Life Program evolved, participants began to request a more chronological guide for their recoveries. In response, founder Dr. Jean Kirkpatrick, Ph.D., defined the following Levels of Recovery.

Level 1: Acceptance of having a Substance Use Disorder, one that requires the cessation of substance use.

Acceptance Statement 1

We accept our addiction with the knowledge that we have a disorder and that abstinence from substances is necessary. We recognize that substances have damaged our bodies and minds, and special care and time are required for recovery. We learn more about substance use disorders and group members give needed support and the feeling of not being alone with our problems.

Level 2: Discarding negative thoughts, putting guilt behind, and practicing new ways of viewing and solving problems.

Acceptance Statements 2, 4, and 9

We are now ready to examine our attitudes and approach to life and its dilemmas. This is a time to write down in detail our concepts, experiences, difficulties, and feelings. We may believe that we are well aware of our thinking and attitudes, but only after we have written them with total honesty do we know what they really are – not what we thought them to be. Most women are surprised by this revelation.

At this stage we must also recognize the distorted, negative, and self-destructive patterns we have developed and resolve to change. This level is difficult and takes some time. Also, during a later period of stress, we may need to return to these exercises (or review any level). This is not a matter of failure, but an opportunity to grow and change again at times of crisis.

A physical exercise routine should now be established and a method for relaxation and meditation. Group members add support and positive reinforcements.

Level 3: Creating and practicing a new self-image.

Acceptance Statements 5 and 12

We are now ready to exchange our irrational, negative attitudes for realistic, positive thoughts about ourselves and our lives. We realize that our thoughts are responsible for our feelings and not the events, people, or situations themselves.

This level can be a happy time of growth and change. One unpleasant incident need not ruin an entire day; a mishap can be “unfortunate” and not “awful;” a mistake, “a learning experience,” not “a wretched blunder.”

We can make our environment pleasant, uncluttered and attractive and know that we alone create the world around us.

Level 4: Using new attitudes to enforce new behavior patterns.

Acceptance Statements 3, 6, and 11

We now become aware that we do not need to wait for or to seek enthusiasm and happiness – all we need do is reach out and grasp them. We can accept a happy and enthusiastic outlook on life or we can choose a gloomy, pessimistic and cynical approach – it is up to us. This level leads us to the next stage; much of the joy in life depends on sharing with others – happiness and enthusiasm are reinforced by those to whom we are close.

Level 5: Improving relationships as a result of our new feelings about self.

Acceptance Statements 7 and 10

Caring is all-important.

Learning to give, and accept, love can — and will — change our world.  Our recovery depends very heavily upon our establishing good relationships with others, with our feeling and expressing love and, most importantly, our loving ourselves so we can love others.

I am learning to know that I am loved. 

Our recovery is based upon our feeling good about ourselves and our being at peace within ourselves.  This happens when we release ill feeling.  Only then can our recovery be assured.

Level 6: Recognizing life’s priorities: emotional and spiritual growth, self-responsibility.

Acceptance Statements 8 and 13

As we gain in knowledge and understanding of ourselves, our connection to others and our place in the world, we find a spiritual home that is both unique and personal to us. We nurture our spiritual growth and reach out to encourage self-responsibility and self-worth, not just for ourselves, but also for others.

As a woman grows in strength and understanding in this program, the need and desire to cope with life’s problems with alcohol or drugs are removed. Her destructive behavior and emotions are replaced with self-acceptance and confidence. She is no longer just a woman with an addiction problem; she is liberated and at peace with herself and her world.

Thousands of women have found this “new life” through the WFS Program.