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Monday Thoughts 5.29.23

“Forward is not a straight line. It’s much more exciting, complex, difficult, gnarly, and uncharted than that.”
Jeni Britton Bauer

“Wherever you go, leave a heartprint.”

“Don’t shoot for the stars, we already know what’s there.  Shoot for the space in between because that’s where the real mystery lies.”
Vera Rubin

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

While Statement #10 may be the shortest of the WFS Program Acceptance Statements, it unpacks an infinite world within those four simple words. Our insightful founder, Jean Kirkpatrick, Ph.D., understood the importance of love in overcoming addiction and dedicated two powerful Statements to instill and enhance love in our New Lives.

As our WFS Program booklet mentions, “Love is multi-faceted. It can be shared in many ways.” It is not solely focused on one category of love.  We are unique human beings; no two people are exactly alike and it stands to reason that love will be different for each of us. However, the common denominator is that when love is given, love can return in a multitude of ways.

This Statement has taught me that love is not like ping-pong paddle, it doesn’t bounce back in a straight line from where it was launched. It zig-zags through time and space, oftentimes taking an unfamiliar route. Just because love was given in one direction doesn’t mean it will return via the same path much like when we do random acts of kindness. It changes us on the inside, and we learn that we are worthy of giving and receiving love. Love is the wellspring of New Life!


Dear 4C Women,

Before WFS, I sought love to prove I was lovable and as the song goes, I was looking for love in all the wrong places. I learned it had to start with feeling worthy of receiving love and to love myself for who I was as I worked on becoming my authentic self. Pretending took a toll on me. As long as I was a people pleaser, I realized I was discounting my own needs. WFS empowered me to prioritize my needs in a compassionate way that opened the door to loving, healthy relationships. I also learned that love was not confined to romantic love. As Karen shared, love comes and returns to us in many diverse ways. I am feeling the love of friendships from the wonderful women I have met in WFS. The love and care I have received and continue to receive since my daughter passed is so connected to Statement #10. I see it as a “love line” that has kept me encouraged, loved, and deeply grateful.

When people would say they love me, I sometimes wondered why. What have I done to deserve such love? It took me a while to understand and accept that I was receiving what I was giving. Years past, I would have thought this was boasting yet the best part is that the giving and receiving of love felt so real, and authentic. I wasn’t people pleasing, I was truly caring about the friendships I was making, the women I met in WFS who were open and willing to create their New Life in recovery. It was the beginning of that love line WFS provided me.

“Who” is part of your love line?
What kind of loves are in your love line?
How do you know when love is being returned? Can you describe the feeling you experience?
How do you give love in actions or words?

Bonded in giving love and knowing you are loved in return, Dee


EnJoy the Journey with us – June 9-11th

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Monday Thoughts 5.22.23

“It’s okay if you fall apart sometimes. Tacos fall apart, and we still love them.”

“View your life with kindsight. Stop beating yourself up about things from your past. Instead of slapping your forehead and asking, ’What was I thinking,’ breathe and ask yourself the kinder question, ‘What was I learning?”
Karen Salmansohn

“You’re so hard on yourself. But remember, everybody has a chapter they don’t read out loud. Take a moment. Sit back. Marvel at your life; at the mistakes that gave you wisdom, at the suffering that gave you strength. Despite everything, you still move forward, be proud of this. Continue to endure. Continue to persevere. And remember, no matter how dark it gets, the sun will rise again.”

#9 The past is gone forever.
No longer am I victimized by the past.
I am a new woman.

Statement #9 has always been a favorite yet through the many discussions on this particular Statement, I learned that it can be the least favorite for many women. In our WFS meetings, there are women who have remarked that this Statement didn’t feel comfortable to them. That it simply wasn’t fair that automatically the past was gone forever. Intrigued to hear this, the conversation became deeper and so did the understanding.

While we do live in the present, our thoughts can certainly gravitate towards the past and mine certainly did. Furthering the discussion, a dear friend explained that she felt that it wasn’t fair that the past was gone or erased. She had felt hurt and needed to have this pain acknowledged. By using this Statement, she felt it dismissed her trauma without any repercussions or responsibility. I understood and related to the depth of her internal wounds.

In the past, I had been a victim of domestic violence. While physical parts healed over time, I held onto fear and rage. I wanted to see consequences but they never came. The longer I held onto that rage and need for revenge, the longer I stayed a victim (and the more I drank). It took time, patience, and practice, but Statement #9 helped me leave the desire for retribution behind. It is because of sobriety and the WFS New Life Program that DV no longer defines me though it is a part of the past. Using Statement #9 does not refute what happened; it simply allows me to process what happened and define it my own way. I am a survivor and a fabulous 4C woman!



Dear 4C Women,

How courageous of Karen to share her history. This is another reason I value the WFS Program. We can discuss our differences without judgment and learn from each other and know we are in a safe place to do so. I am one who loved this Statement from the beginning. For me, it released me from the shame and guilt I clung to and let healing begin. I realized I was continuing to hurt myself while those who hurt me may have completely forgotten about me. It is like forgiveness in a sense. I have forgiven people in my life and it gave me freedom yet there was a feeling of unrelinquished pain that they were not penalized in some way. Releasing the past does not guarantee justice will be the end result. So, in the end, I decided to stop punishing myself and by doing so, began to slowly heal and start my New Life in recovery. When I start reflecting on the past and feel pain, I have learned to tell myself that I can’t change what happened. I can learn from it but I cannot change it. This really snaps me back into the present. I also have learned to reflect on the positive past. Just as we share positives in our meeting, we do have positive past moments before recovery no matter how small it may be. It’s not about erasing the past but learning from it, to make different choices when a red flag comes up, to value the work we’ve done to not let the past hold us hostage. I’d rather feel at peace through healing than keeping myself locked up in a prison whole holding the key. I say unlock the door, throw away the key, and walk into a New Life that you are developing, that you are in charge of. I had an experience with my bio dad that I cannot change but I chose to forgive him, not the behavior or action or to say what he did was okay, but to set myself free from the burden of feeling not worthy, of having him take up space in my head reinforcing my negative thoughts and identity.

I am hopeful I will eventually get to that place in my healing over my daughter’s passing. WFS has taught me that healing takes as much time as needed, hard work, is individual, and in its place is hope and peace. Keeping the painful past in the present takes away important space for peace and hope to reside. It doesn’t support my moving forward. I love feeling connected to the present. When I think of the past is gone forever, I think of letting go of the pain, hurt, and guilt, forgiving myself and others, and mostly gaining freedom. A big lesson I have learned is that forgiveness does not mean reconciliation, forgetting, condoning, or excusing but greater well-being and healthier relationships. The past will always be the past along with its pain and joy. It’s how we choose to work through it to support our recovery, and our emotional health and create a New Life, no more victimizing ourselves over something we can’t change and giving up that rent-free space in our minds to those who have harmed us. This is not easy or quick by any means. For me, it’s choosing between being a victim or a victor over a past I cannot change.

What will help you choose to be the victor when you practice Statement #9?

What do you say to yourself when the past keeps you stuck?

How do you process the feelings that arise when the past stops in for a visit? I say visit because I have learned to not let the past unpack its bags and stay. I reflect, tell myself I cannot change what happened, and reflect on the changes I have made to cope with my feelings.

Bonded in releasing the past, healing, and becoming a 4C “victorious” woman, Dee


The Nancy Cross Distinguished Volunteer Award will be presented during the 4C Spotlight event at the 2023 WFS EnJoy the Journey Conference.

Please take the time to nominate someone you believe goes above and beyond as a volunteer with WFS.

Nominate Here:

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WFS 2023 Conference Workshop – Success Planning

Kelly Pitocco joined WFS in the early 1990s and lives by the Statements in her daily life. She has had the honor of moderating meetings in the past and advocates for gender-responsive options for women in recovery. She has more than 35 years of experience working in treatment programs serving those who have substance use and criminal justice involvement.

This session is designed to help us develop a successful plan for recovery. It involves activities to identify our reasons and vision for recovery, including a values activity and guided imagery.

Participants will complete an individualized survey to identify their risk area(s). The last section of the presentation includes filling those gaps with positive activities and strategies to manage moments of risk.

Register Now!

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WFS 2023 Conference Workshop – Healing our Relationship with Money


Taryn Strong is a founder of SHE RECOVERS® Foundation – a nonprofit that connects, supports and empowers women of all ages(recovering in all areas of their lives) through its virtual platforms and in­ person community networks.

Taryn is also a Recovery Coach, Herbalist and Trauma Informed Yoga Teacher. Taryn’s courageous vulnerability and passion for recovering out loud has made her an influential voice in the global recovery movement. Taryn creates and curates transformational experiences online and in person through her group and private mentorship offerings. As a certified Trauma of Money Facilitator, she currently specializes in financial empowerment & money healing.

Cultivating a relationship with our money is essential… and doing so from a nourished nervous system is key. Regardless of your current financial situation or habits, together we will take the time to look at your money through a compassionate lens – for clarity and awareness. We will begin with a 30-minute Trauma-Informed Yoga Practice followed by Self-reflective Journal Prompts & Actionable Steps toward your financial empowerment.

Register Now!

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Monday Thoughts 5.8.23

“When you begin to touch your heart or let your heart be touched, you begin to discover it’s bottomless.”
Pema Chödrön

“The people you will always remember are the ones who made you feel loved when you were at your lowest.”
Brigitte Nicole

“Some of you are unaware of just how amazing you really are. The way you make people laugh, lift others up, or spread some extra love. You do this even though you are struggling too, and I think it makes you such a beautiful human being.”

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

The WFS New Life Program offers something not found in active addiction, connection.  It was in those dark days before sobriety that I felt furthest from love and it was devastatingly lonely. Feeling insignificant and unworthy of love, it was hard to feel connected to anything. Sobriety and Statement #7 in action helped change that.

Connection is a basic human need. Yet something so basic gets lost in alcohol or drugs. We cut ourselves off, evicting love from our circles of connection. Applying Statement #7 reopens those spheres of support and love can flow in again. While it can feel awkward at first, the more connections made the wider the love and deeper the meaning.

WFS women are the strongest and most compassionate women in the world. We unknowingly came together, each learning a new way of life. We connected and changed the course of our world. We left behind outdated thought patterns and embraced 13 Statements of Acceptance. We listen and hear each other. We laugh and cry together. We grow and evolve together. We are bonded and connected together through love.

Here are 4 ways to increase connection:
1. Surround yourself with people with shared interests: The fact you are reading this email/post shows you have a connection. Further this connection by branching out. Post on the WFS Forum if you never have before, attend a different recovery meeting, or touch base with someone you’ve missed lately. Do the same with interests or hobbies.

2. Pocket the phone: It’s easy to hide in our phones or screens when feeling uncomfortable. This can hamper our ability to connect. Focus on being present. Notice how you connect with the world and challenge yourself.

3. Reach out: Who will you reach out to? Someone you’ve missed? Is there someone that you would like to get to know better? A phone call, text, or card can jump-start connection. However, maintain any boundaries you have set in place.

4. List it: In a notebook, write down every single person in the world that you know. Family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, etc. Beside their name, write down one thing that you know about that person. Maybe the only thing you know about them is that they like the color purple or have a cat. List it. Keep going until you can’t write down any more names or tidbits of information. You will be surprised to see how many people you are connected to, even in the smallest way. This was a favorite technique and it helped me see that I was not alone in this world. (I still take this out on occasion to read just because it makes me happy)



Dear 4C Women,

Acceptance and connection to others is what WFS has given me. I didn’t always feel accepted and that probably started with my biological father amid much rejection to adulthood. However, my stepdad “dad” loved me and created a foundation of feeling loved. I do believe that if it wasn’t for him, I might not have been able to eventually learn that his love is what rescued me. Unfortunately, until that realization, I still chose unhealthy relationships and lost that feeling of being worthy of healthy love. I guess the feeling of being unlovable was too well established before my dad came into the picture although I was a child. My dad’s love changed the course of my world and while it might have taken a long time to recognize that, I have that beautiful memory to reflect on in times of pain.

For the women reading this message, I hope you continue on this love journey and find how loving yourself despite the struggles you are or have experienced, will be returned in ways you might not have even begun to imagine. Acceptance, connection, and the feeling of love being returned are powerful and definitely possible as we slowly break down the walls of whatever keeps us stuck. My wall was fear of rejection. If I closed off the possibility of being loved and loving, I wouldn’t feel the pain of rejection. However, WFS taught me that I was also missing out on the joy of experiencing love.

I remember before I got my iPhone that I would sit in the doctor’s waiting room and couldn’t understand why everyone was glued to their phones as I was used to having casual conversations. Karen’s suggestion about pocketing the phone reminded me that I have become part of that world now. The last time I was in the doctor’s waiting room, I kept my phone in my purse, looked around, and felt sad at missed opportunities. However, I plan to keep seeking opportunities for brief connections with others whether it is in the grocery store, standing in line anywhere, or asking for help in searching for an item.

I’ve also learned that love comes in many diverse ways. Since my daughter passed, I have found and given extra love to my dog, Molly, and so many WFS sisters, friends, neighbors, church family, and my family. Today was the first time I had to show my daughter’s death certificate and I broke down as I tried to say the words. The woman who was helping me was so kind and in the end, gave me a big hug as did her supervisor. I guess my message is to seek love, give love and feel how it changes your world.

This week think about how you speak to yourself. Are you loving, forgiving, and caring?
Who and how do you feel connected to the people in your life?
What does caring is all important mean to you and how does it show up in your life?

Bonded in letting love in to change the course of your world and understanding that caring is all important, Dee

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WFS 2023 Conference Workshop – Time Matters: A Woman’s Retirement Outlook Program

Maggie Schoespski began her career as a financial advisor with Edward Jones in 2014 after serving in nonprofit management for 18 years. She holds a Masters Degree in Non Profit Management, as well as life insurance & securities licenses.

Time Matters: A Women’s Retirement Outlook is an educational program that shares perspectives on financial concerns facing women who are getting ready for or have recently transitioned to retirement. The presentation shares retirement income strategies, including perspectives around Social Security, withdrawal and reliance rates. It also addresses how to prepare for the unexpected, including market and inflation risks, and the rising costs of health care and long-term care.

Register Now!

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WFS 2023 Conference Workshop – How to Rewrite the Story of Your Past

Maggy Sterner is a brand coach, elevator pitch coach, and business coach. She helps entrepreneurs connect with who they are and the gift they uniquely deliver.

Maggy’s mission is that all people own and express their brilliance because the world can’t benefit from what it can’t see.

Do you ever find yourself saying your affirmations but you notice you don’t FEEL it?

Are there times the voice in your head says, “Yeah, but, I did so many terrible things.”?

Do you wish you could make peace with your past, live in the now, and create a future where you FEEL your affirmations in your bones?

What keeps us stuck and unable to?

Register Now!

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WFS 2023 Conference Workshop – Intergenerational Trauma – Family Loyalty and Addiction

Carolyn Zahner, MSW, LISW, maintains a private practice in Cincinnati, Ohio where she provides Integrative Psychotherapy and specializes in trauma healing. She has consulted in treatment programs, schools, churches, and other human service organizations in addition to providing her own workshops and retreats. Carolyn approaches healing from a systemic and intergenerational perspective. Clients succeed in embracing all of who they are with dignity, compassion, and resilience.

This workshop will explore the impact of intergenerational trauma, individual trauma, and the role addiction plays in the survival of your family system – as well as your own survival. Transgenerational trauma and the inherent need to belong can greatly impact one’s path to recovery. We will discover an expanded view of addiction and recovery by including the systems that keep harmful patterns in play, and how those same forces hold support and resources to move beyond addiction.

Register Now!!!

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WFS 2023 Conference Workshop – EnJOY The Journey: Don’t Be the Titanic, Befriend the Iceberg

Sherry is a woman in recovery. Sherry attributes her success in recovery this past 15 years to Women for Sobriety (WFS) and combined deep personal work utilizing therapy and breathwork.

In this session, we will acquaint ourselves with the Iceberg Theory of Addiction. We will explore and reflect on issues that lie in our bodies that led to and fed our addictions. We will use various breath and body exercises to open the doorway to long-term healing and recovery. The 13 Statements that define the Women for Sobriety New Life Program will be incorporated throughout the session, providing lifesaving affirmations for recovery.


Register Now!!!

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WFS 2023 Conference Workshop: “Gray Area” Film Screening and Q&A


Kelley Kitley is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with more than 20 years of experience in the field. She owns Serendipitous Psychotherapy in Chicago. Kitley wanted to make a film with her actor husband, and they hired a production company to tell her story, a story similar to many women’s stories, to provide hope and healing.

Award-winning, short film Gray Area is adapted from her Award-winning Amazon best seller, My Self.

Register Now!