A Woman's Way through the Twelve Steps (Paperback)

A Woman's Way through the Twelve Steps By Stephanie  S. Covington, PhD, LCSW Cover Image
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This guide to the Twelve Steps from Dr. Stephanie S. Covington, a pioneer in the field of women’s issues, addiction, and recovery, preserves the spirit of the Alcoholics Anonymous program with a focus on healing language with women’s needs in mind.

Published in 1994, A Woman's Way through the Twelve Steps has long been a unique resource that helps women find their own paths in recovery—paths shaped by the way women experience not only addiction and recovery, but also relationships, self, sexuality, spirituality, and everyday life. Now, stories from five new voices expand the perspective of this recovery classic.

Over the past thirty years, what it means to identify as a woman in recovery has broadened to include transgender, nonbinary, and other gender-diverse people. This new edition includes updated, inclusive language to be more trauma-sensitive and welcoming to all women. This compilation of diverse voices and wisdom from real people illuminates how women understand the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and offers inspiring stories of how they travel through the Steps and discover what works for them. The book can be used alone or as a companion to AA’s Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.

By identifying and addressing the special issues that recovery presents for women, this book empowers women to take ownership of their own journeys and to grow and flourish in recovery.

About the Author

Stephanie S. Covington, PhD, LCSW, is an internationally recognized clinician, organizational consultant, lecturer, author, and pioneer in the fields of addiction and trauma. For more than thirty-five years, she has created gender-responsive and trauma-informed programs and curricula for use in public, private, and criminal-legal settings, across the US and globally.  

Dr. Covington’s experience with addiction began with her own life. She has been in recovery forty-five years and counting, which has fixed her on a goal of helping other women reclaim their lives as she has.  

Her extensive experience includes consulting for and developing programs for numerous US and international agencies and designing women’s services at the Betty Ford Center. She has published extensively, including twelve gender-responsive, trauma-informed treatment curricula and the first manualized treatment program for substance use disorder. Educated at Columbia University and the Union Institute, Dr. Covington is the codirector of both the Institute for Relational Development and the Center for Gender & Justice, which are located in Del Mar, California. 

Praise For…

"In 1989, I finally surrendered to my addiction and chose recovery through a Twelve Step program that I now believe saved my life. For the first five years of my healing journey, I struggled mightily—not with the recovery journey itself but with my program’s language and literature. In 1994, I found enormous relief and inspiration when my sponsor gave me Stephanie Covington’s A Woman’s Way through the Twelve Steps. I can only imagine how many millions of women have finally been able to connect to their recovery through this classic—and now transgender and nonbinary individuals will be able to see themselves in recovery literature, too. Ever the visionary, Dr. Covington has yet again made women’s recovery more accessible and inclusive."
— Dawn Nickel, Cofounder, SHE RECOVERS® Foundation

"Over the last thirty years, I have attended training courses and utilized curricula, books, and workbooks developed by Dr. Stephanie Covington. I have enjoyed using A Woman’s Way through the Twelve Steps book and workbook in group and individual therapy sessions with women. Individuals are invited to start their recovery journey with the help of other women who share their experience, strength, and hope. Dr. Covington focuses on our connection with others. A Woman’s Way through the Twelve Steps is a great tool for anyone to practice skills to use in their recovery. This book uses language that specifically speaks to women to explore what the Steps mean for them in their recovery journey. I have had women tell me A Woman’s Way through the Twelve Steps was helpful for them to understand the meaning of the Twelve Steps and how to incorporate them in their own recovery. A Woman’s Way through the Twelve Steps is essential to women in recovery!"
— Sandy Clark, MS, LPCC, LADC, NCACII, SAP Therapist, Educator, President of Minnesota Addiction Professionals

"In the ever-evolving landscape of addiction recovery, Dr. Stephanie Covington’s A Woman’s Way through the Twelve Steps has long stood as a beacon of hope and guidance for countless women navigating their personal paths of healing. This revised edition not only preserves the essence of her seminal work but also brings it into sharper focus for the current generation.

With her deep expertise and empathy, Dr. Covington recognizes the unique challenges and societal pressures women battling addiction face. This edition further acknowledges the nuanced complexities of contemporary life while grounding its solutions in time-tested principles. Her approach to the Twelve Steps is about recovery and reclaiming one’s identity, strength, and voice as a woman.

What strikes me most is the delicate balance between tradition and innovation in this revision. It’s evident that Dr. Covington has made painstaking efforts to incorporate the latest research and real-world feedback, ensuring the content is as relatable as it is effective.

Three decades ago, Dr. Covington’s insights from a conference in the mountains of North Carolina captivated me, making her book an essential part of my early recovery journey. Her book, which became an invaluable companion during the early stages of my recovery, still holds a cherished spot by my bedside. Since then, I have had the honor of sharing it with hundreds of women.

A Woman’s Way through the Twelve Steps was transformative when it first debuted, and with this revision, its potential for impact has been magnified. For any woman on the journey of recovery, this book is not just a guide but a companion, cheering you on every step of the way. This one stands out as a beacon of light and hope in a world filled with self-help books. I wholeheartedly endorse and recommend it to anyone seeking to understand and embrace a woman-focused approach to the Twelve Steps.

Whether you are revisiting or exploring this book for the first time, it stands as both a road map and a bridge toward understanding, healing, and self-worth.

May this edition inspire and guide many in their journey to wholeness."
— Kathleen Gibson, CEO

"A Woman’s Way through the Twelve Steps was a groundbreaking work in our field that reflected Dr. Stephanie Covington’s tireless advocacy to ensure that the needs of women in recovery were fully met. In this 30th anniversary edition . . . Dr. Covington has done a great deal of work to update the language and truly make the shift from gender-specific care to gender-responsive care. Human, practical, and full of knowledge on how women, in their beautiful diversity and uniqueness, can approach the Twelve Steps in a more trauma-informed manner, A Woman’s Way through the Twelve Steps ought to be on the reading list of anyone working with the interplay of trauma, dissociation, and addiction. Thank you, Dr. Covington, for modeling solid recovery and allowing your work to evolve with the times."
— Dr. Jamie Marich

"Stephanie Covington’s A Woman’s Way has been a staple for women in recovery for the past thirty years. Beautifully and wisely updated now to include gender-expansive people and a broad spectrum of addictive disorders/behaviors, the book meets a need for women in therapy, women in recovery, and for all those who love, live with, and care for them. I have seen the tremendous value of this book, especially for women’s groups working the Steps together, throughout the last three decades. It is needed now more than ever as a guide to recovery and healing for women in our current political culture. Thank you for this classic and now this contemporary update!"
— Janet Surrey, PhD, Insight Dialogue Teacher

"I was thrilled to find that the anniversary edition of A Woman’s Way through the Twelve Steps by Stephanie Covington lives up to the original edition’s excellence as a road map for women to grow on their path of recovery, as well as encompassing the evolving landscape of mental health awareness, self-care, and the enduring strength of the female spirit. Filled with thoughtful insights and the promise of resilience, it reaffirms the transformative power of bravely embracing one’s journey of recovery and self-discovery.

Stephanie Covington knows that healing is not just about overcoming addiction; it is about focusing on the underlying emotional, psychological, and societal conditions that contribute to addiction in the first place. She tackles addressing these conditions while stressing the importance of self-compassion, self-awareness, and self-care during the journey of recovery.

Remarkably inclusive and accessible to women, A Woman’s Way addresses how women experience addiction, recovery, and everyday life, and it engages and connects with readers through careful use of stories from women of diverse backgrounds, experiences, ethnicities, races, ages, and sexual orientations. This edition’s inclusion of the voices of transgender women and nonbinary people is especially worthy of praise, as well as its careful use of language to successfully create a more inclusive and trauma-sensitive version of Covington’s timeless recovery classic.

Over the past thirty years, I have witnessed how A Woman’s Way through the Twelve Steps helps change the lives of women in recovery by offering a unique perspective on the Twelve Steps for people who identify as women. Certainly, this well-written anniversary edition will continue to do so as it remains relatable, compassionate, and reader friendly. I strongly encourage any woman looking to deepen her recovery, as well as anyone who works with women in recovery, to explore this invaluable tool."
— Jeanne McAlister, Founder and CEO

"If you are a woman on a journey of recovery, this book is a companion for you. It takes the reader gently by the hand and walks her through the Steps. Throughout the pages, women from all life paths share their perspectives of the Twelve Steps, along with their strength, experience, and hope.

The stories here are deep and touching. They open the reader to becoming vulnerable. As in women’s meetings everywhere, the sharing and honesty found in these pages foster a sense of community and connection that crosses lines that tend to divide. Regardless of race, ethnicity, cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds—and whatever our experiences of gender and sexuality—the common thread of recovery . . . binds us together. This message is clearly delivered through Dr. Covington’s work.

Early in my own sobriety, I attended my first women’s recovery group. This was my introduction to A Woman’s Way through the Twelve Steps, and sixteen months later, still sober, I continue to get to know the book deeper and deeper with every read. This book is studied at two different women’s meetings I regularly attend. The knowledge gained about self and sobriety is invaluable. Encouraged by these words, I have undergone significant growth, inside and out, and have been privileged to witness similar, beautiful changes in other women. I often wondered how Dr. Covington’s approach might change were she to write the same book today and am now satisfied to see the original themes of diversity and inclusivity broadened to fit today’s changing landscape. Gender identity and sexual orientation are respectfully considered; new stories have been included to reflect this.

In the author’s words, this book is a “celebration of all women in recovery.” If you are a woman in recovery, at any stage, A Woman’s Way through the Twelve Steps is a friend to celebrate with."
— Marie P.

"Written in 1939, the original Twelve Steps of AA have helped millions of people around the world. But as they were developed by men for men and reflected the knowledge of addiction at that time, the voices of women and gender-expansive people were not included or even conceived of.

Stephanie Covington changed that with her seminal publication of A Woman’s Way through the Twelve Steps, published in 1994. For the first time, the voices of women in recovery were illuminated.

In this updated version of that work, Dr. Covington includes new information on the impact of trauma as well as the voices of many more women and gender-expansive people sharing their challenges, triumphs, experience, strength, and hope.

With a trauma-informed and gender-expansive lens, Dr. Covington allows so many more people to be “seen” and “heard” while sharing the powerful, healing experience of inclusivity.

As a trainer, consultant, and colleague of Dr. Covington’s and a retired director of treatment centers for co-occurring disorders, I have witnessed over and over the transformational power of her work.

Thank you, Dr. Covington, for listening and including our voices."
— Carol Ackley, LADC, CEO, retired

"I have facilitated A Woman’s Way through the Twelve Steps for years. I am truly excited to present this all-inclusive, 30th anniversary edition to clients. The new updates are fantastic. Thank you, Stephanie!"
— Sharon Huffman, CPRS

"Stephanie Covington, in her revised and expanded edition of A Woman’s Way through the Twelve Steps, has applied more than forty-five years of personal recovery experience as well as her expertise in addiction recovery and women’s issues to her classic opus. With the Twelve Steps of AA as its backbone and rewritten to reflect issues faced by women and gender-diverse people, this book gives readers a recipe for healing and flourishing in the face of addictive disorders. In this new iteration of her 1994 classic, she not only applies the Twelve Step model to initial healing but also promotes the eventual development of an authentic self, the healing of sexual wounds, the expansion of a relationship skill base and repertoire, and a deep dive into a uniquely personal understanding of spirituality. This newly revised edition is remarkably comprehensive and, when combined with the companion workbook, is an invaluable tool for women anywhere along the recovery continuum."
— Lorie Dwinell, LCSW, Retired Clinical Social Worker
Product Details
ISBN: 9781636340722
ISBN-10: 1636340725
Publisher: Hazelden Publishing
Publication Date: January 23rd, 2024
Pages: 320
Language: English