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Jean Kirkpatrick – A Leader in Women’s SUD Recovery

Join WFS in Celebrating the Life of our Founder

In 1973 Dr. Kirkpatrick set her plan of recovery into an acceptance program that she called New Life. In 1975, she used the name Women for Sobriety, Inc., to establish a nonprofit organization. She formalized 13 affirmations that had been helpful in her own recovery into the thirteen Acceptance Statements, which are still used today. Jean became widely recognized as an expert in women’s Substance Use Disorder (SUD) recovery.

Among Jean’s Many Accomplishments

  • In 1977 published an article, “When A Woman Drinks Too Much,” that told of a woman’s drinking problem and how she overcame her problem with a new program.
  • After her initial book, Turnabout,  Jean authored A Fresh Start, (1981), which tells about the beginning of the WFS organization and Goodbye Hangovers, Hello Life(1986), which provides a method of overcoming the problems encountered by women in the process of SUD recovery.
  • Gave expert testimony on women and alcoholism before several Senate Committees.
  • Presented papers and workshops worldwide, including presentations before the international community of alcoholism professionals in Zurich, Switzerland; Tours, France; Cardiff, Wales and Vienna, Austria.
  • Appeared on hundreds of radio and television shows, among them “The Today Show,” “The Phil Donohue Show,” “Good Morning, America,” “To Tell The Truth,” “The Morning Show,” and others.
  • Was awarded the Raymond Haupert Humanitarian Award from Moravian College, and was named Woman of the Year by the Business and Professional Women of Quakertown, Pennsylvania in 1978.


Now, 48 years after Jean established WFS, we continue to provide Jean’s New Life Program to women in recovery through a variety of programs:

Your support allows WFS to continue

Jean’s mission to help women in recovery!


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WFS Celebrates Jean Kirkpatrick’s 100th Birthday

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.



Join WFS in celebrating the life’s work of Jean Kirkpatrick and help support women in recovery!