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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Support group meeting, Men for Sobriety, based on four decades of Women for Sobriety (WFS)

The full article appears in The JournalTimes (Racine, Wis.)
Positive thinking...

Being sober doesn’t mean being miserable. That’s the basic premise of a new, free support group offered in Burlington at the Agape Recovery Center, 201 N. Pine St., Burlington.

Called Men For Sobriety, these Wednesday evening sessions are not a 12-step assessment or court program, and are not intended to replace any recovery resource or counseling. Men for Sobriety is just talk, for sober men who want to stay sober, according to Scott Stevens, one of the group’s co-moderators.
“Our focus is on the positive,” said Stevens, a 47-year-old journalist and former mutual fund industry executive who has been in recovery since 2007 (www.alcohologist.com).

The program’s basic point is that the past is gone forever and, rather than going back and reliving its dark days, it is time to move on and focus on the future, Stevens said.

“Men for Sobriety is a way of life — a new life and starting over,” he said.

Based on Women For Sobriety
Burlington’s MFS group is the only one of its kind currently operating in the U.S., according to Stevens. MFS groups have been meeting in Canada and other countries for more than 16 years, he said. And both they and the Burlington group are based on an international program called Women for Sobriety.

Founded in 1975 by Jean Kirkpatrick, a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s doctoral program, WFS is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping women overcome alcoholism and other addictions. Its self-help groups can be found across the country and focus on a 13-statement “New Life” program of positivity that encourages emotional and spiritual growth (see accompanying box for WFS info).

Like WFS, the men’s program follows 13 statements of “New Life.” “But we don’t sit around and read and memorize things,” said Stevens. “We talk about what’s happening today.”

People in recovery face a lot of stress as they deal with living in a society that seems to focus on alcohol, he said. Both alcoholics and non-alcoholics drink to relieve stress, but doing so is not a good option for alcoholics, he said. “So, let’s talk about that stress, and the shame, guilt and stigma of alcoholism.”

‘Dirty word’
Such feelings are familiar to Stevens, a Burlington resident who has authored a couple books about alcoholism (www.alcohologist.com). His work as a volunteer with the MFS program is part of his own recovery from the disease of alcoholism — a disease that is often still viewed as a “lifestyle choice” made by bad people or a “dirty word” that people are afraid to admit they have, he said.

“That type of thinking still persists,” Stevens said. “But I was the guy sitting behind you in church and playing next to you on the golf course. I’m the guy with the nice house and nice kids who has a genetic problem — once I have one drink, all bets are off and I’m just not able to say no to that second drink.”  (Read more in The JournalTimes)

Scroll down for the replay of the April 13 Sound Health Options show feature with Scott Stevens. Lucy Pireel's "All That's Written" included a feature on Every Silver Lining Has a Cloud called "When alcohol doesn't work for you anymore."  Details on the third literary award for Every Silver Lining Has a Cloud can be found on www.alcohologist.com, plus an interview with Scott Stevens on Health Media Now and one at Christoph Fisher Books.  Mr. Fisher is an acclaimed international author from the UK, among his works is the Alzheimer's book "Time to Let Go."