Women for Sobriety - The Discovery House

Women for Sobriety

Women for Sobriety is a non-profit organization. It helps women who are looking to overcome addictions. The power of peer support in recovery is proven to work, which is why Women for Sobriety has been helping women since 1976. Additionally, it is the only national self-help program specifically for women.

It has been found that gender-specific treatment programs and using gender roles in addiction treatment can help. This is typically because cultural expectations of women can be different from that of men. For example, women’s programs should include learning self-value and self-worth, as well as eliminating feelings of guilt and shame.

What is the Women for Sobriety Self Help Program?

Women for Sobriety has a “New Life Program”. The New Life Programs and women for sobriety use 13 statements, also known as the 13 acceptance statements. These work to support emotional growth. One aspect of the program is that members begin to get up 15 minutes earlier than usual in order to look over the thirteen affirmations. Each day they will use one particular affirmation. They also review its effects on them and their actions that day.

The Certified Moderators of Women for Sobriety lead each meeting. They occur each week and usually last between 60 to 90 minutes. Each meeting begins with reading the Thirteen Statements and Mission Statement. It is followed by each woman introducing herself by saying “My name is _______ and I am a competent woman.” Followed by a positive statement.

Each meeting will also end with holding hands and making an affirmation. “We are capable and competent, caring and compassionate, always willing to help another, bonded together in overcoming our addictions.”

Teachings of Jean Kilpatrick

Women for Sobriety alcoholism self-help teaches self-enhancing, as well as sober behaviors. It also rejects using fear, requiring submission, and peer criticism. This is important, because many women who go into these programs have been in abusive relationships which may have even enabled their addictions previously.

13 Affirmation Statements from Women for Sobriety

The 13 affirmation statements are different from those in 12 step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous. They both encourage personal and spiritual growth, but they are still different. The 13 affirmations include:

  • “I have a life-threatening problem that once had me. I now take charge of my life and disease. I accept the responsibility.
  • Negative thoughts destroy only myself. My first conscious sober act must be to remove negativity from my life.
  • Happiness is a habit I will develop. Happiness is created, not waited for.
  • Problems bother me only to the degree I permit them to. I now better understand my problems and do not permit problems to overwhelm me. 
  • I am what I think. I am a capable, competent, caring, compassionate woman.
  • Life can be ordinary, or it can be great. Greatness is mine by a conscious effort.
  • Love can change the course of my world. Caring becomes all important.
  • The fundamental object of life is emotional and spiritual growth. Daily I put my life into a proper order, knowing which are the priorities.
  • The past is gone forever. No longer will I be victimized by the past. I am a new person.
  • All love given returns. I will learn to know that others love me.
  • Enthusiasm is my daily exercise. I treasure all moments of my new life.
  • I am a competent woman and have much to give life. This is what I am, and I shall know it always.
  • I am responsible for myself and for my actions. I am in charge of my mind, my thoughts, and my life.”

The Addiction Recovery Process

Addiction does not end right when you stop using drugs or alcohol, instead, after many years or months of abuse, your brain will have rewired. As you take more and more drugs, your brain readjusts the chemicals and how it functions. This is why withdrawal happens because the brain and the body can no longer function normally. Staying in a recovery program is essential if you want to maintain sobriety.

Traditionally there are five stages of addiction treatment. Understanding the five stages of recovery can be helpful for those who are addicted, but also for their families. Each stage can help you understand what you are going through, and how to prepare for what is to come.

Addiction Recovery Process

Stage 1: Precontemplation Stage

People who are in the first stage of addiction recovery are usually not even aware of their problem. Often they do not want to take responsibility for their addiction or actions. They may not yet understand the gravity of your addiction.

Stage 2: Contemplation Stage

The next phase is when you finally realize this. You might finally understand that you want to get sober, but may not be sure how to do so. However, at this time it is important that friends or family members are present because support is essential to getting into treatment.

Stage 3: Preparation Stage

This stage is when the person who is addicted really wishes to take steps towards action. This might involve seeking counseling and attempting to quit, but maybe not yet going to treatment. You might be able to stop for a day or so, but in some cases, triggers can cause relapse.

Stage 4: Action Stage

During the action stage, you may have made a lot of changes that are characterized by periods of abstinence. Relapse can happen, but typically both self-care and self-understanding can be seen during this time. It is recommended to continue or seek counseling at this time.

Stage 5: Maintenance Stage

During the maintenance stage, it is important to focus on avoiding relapse. They will also need to focus on lifestyle changes. For example, going to a gym or getting regular exercise, as well as recreational activities, staying sober, staying on a good sleep cycle, and going to some type of support group. In this stage, you may not feel the urge to relapse as much as other people do in the early stages. You may also have more confidence in your ability to stay sober.

The maintenance stage typically starts around six months of sobriety and can last around five years. It will, of course, depend on the severity of your addiction as well as your genes. It is good to note that it usually takes far more than six months of abstinence to be able to easily avoid relapse. However, typically it takes at least two years to truly solidify change.

Types of Individual and Group Counseling

There are many different types of addiction treatment, but meetings and counseling are a very common part of addiction treatment.

Individual Counseling

Aside from Women for Sobriety, there are other types of free peer support groups as well. However, counseling is important if you wish to work on the reasons behind your addiction. Sometimes you need to understand why you are psychologically dependent on a drug before you can understand the root of the problem. Counseling can also help you to understand the following:

  • Underlying issues that push drug use
  • Identifying cues and triggers for cravings
  • Developing ways of coping with stress
  • Learning healthy relationship-building skills
Women for Sobriety

Alcoholics Anonymous

Alcohol is the most abused substance in the United States after alcohol. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is a support group for many people in the United States who use alcohol in negative ways. It is a 12-Step plan, but it also allows men and other people of any gender to join. For some women, this may not be the right environment to get help from.

Narcotics Anonymous

Similar to that of AA, Narcotics Anonymous (NA) began in the 1950s. It is specifically for those who suffer from drug addiction. The reason for this subset of the group of AA is that it makes it easier for group members to identify with one another if they suffer from drug addiction as well.

SMART Recovery

First launched in 1994, Self-Management and Recovery Training or SMART Recovery is a different form of group help program. It is usually a similar format but focuses on cognitive-behavioral therapy and motivational interviewing techniques. These address the thinking that drives addiction-based behaviors. Instead, it works to replace these with healthy coping mechanisms.

Women for Sobriety vs 12 Step Programs

The main difference between Women for Sobriety and 12 step programs is that Women for Sobriety is specifically for women and trauma in addiction recovery. It focuses on PTSD and untreated trauma, as well as leaving abusive relationships and finding self-worth.

It is not to say that men or people of other genders do not associate with these needs as well. However, women traditionally need more help in these categories. Having a place to go to get that help is essential.

Women for Sobriety Levels of Recovery

The Women for Sobriety Acceptance Statements are the guide for recovering women in this program. As it changed and grew, a new method of recording recovery evolved and became the levels of recovery.

Level 1: Acceptance

Acceptance Statement 1 is simply accepting having a Substance Use Disorder. This also involves stopping the use of all substances. If you can accept that you have a problem, then you can also understand the damage it does to your body. During this step, you may also understand that you are not alone in your problem.

Level 2: Discarding Negative Thoughts

In acceptance Statements 2, 4, and 9 part of the process is putting guilt behind and practicing new ways of viewing and solving problems. This is part of approaching life in a new way. It can be hard to approach your new sober life with complete honesty, but when you do, it is freeing. You will be able to understand your negative thoughts, and how they might affect your sobriety.

Level 3: Creating a New Self Image

Acceptance Statements 5 and 12 involve changing out your negative attitude for a positive one. You are responsible for your thoughts and feelings, not the events, people, or situations in your life. It may be a period of serious change.

Level 4: Enforcing New Behavior Patterns

In acceptance Statements 3, 6, and 11 it is time to get enthusiasm and happiness without any boundaries. This is why you will need to enforce new behaviors in your life. It will lead to the next stage directly.

Level 5: Improving Relationships

Acceptance Statements 7 and 10 involve improving relationships as a result of your new feelings about yourself. This level can be difficult, but it can also be an incredible time to be vulnerable.  Understanding how to have mature and loving relationships will help you find true happiness because you will find love in yourself primarily.

Level 6: Recognizing Your Priorities

Finally, in acceptance Statements 8 and 13, life’s priorities of emotional and spiritual growth, as well as self-responsibility are focused on. It is essential to gain knowledge and understanding in order to find where you belong in the world. Whether that is through religion on your own spirituality. You can also grow in strength during this time to find self-responsibility and self-worth.

Choosing a Program of Recovery That Fits You

When you want to stop using drugs or alcohol, it can be a struggle. However, as a woman, you can find the strength to grow and understand yourself through a Women for Sobriety program. By removing destructive behavior and replacing them with positive acceptance as well as confidence, you can achieve your goals. You do not have to be only a woman with an addiction problem, you can be much more.

However, rehabilitation programs are not successful 100% of the time. This is why it is important ot pick a rehabilitation center that is right for you. Additionally, It is important to make a plan for when you consider leaving rehab and aftercare planning support. This can make a huge difference in being successful in the long run. At The Discovery House, we can help provide the opportunity to find the right program for you. Contact us today to learn more about our options.