Women Addiction Recovery with Dr. Stephanie Covington

Dr. Covington has been part of the Center for Gender and Justice, and the Institute of Relational Development. She has written many self-help books and been in the forefront of gender-specific treatment, helping woman recover from addiction and trauma. One of Dr. Covington’s books that we’re going to talk more specifically about is a woman’s way through the 12 steps.

Today we realized that women and men do very different kinds of work in a coed group versus a male-specific or female specific group. In terms of the language, they both use a different level of engagement. We have research now that shows it’s more effective and that women do better when they’re separated. This is one of the research facts which indicate how people viewed addiction and how we had to fight to get gender-specific treatment.Some people have had a hard time thinking about addiction as a chronic illness. They still treat it with an acute episode not as we do with other chronic illnesses.

A person’s trauma history is also related to their addictive disorder. And yet we have a lot of treatment providers that don’t do anything around trauma. One of the reasons I wrote a woman’s way to the 12 steps is I wanted there to be women’s voices as well as all the male voices. I interviewed women who had recovered in a variety of 12 step programs the basic 12 step literature has mainly been males and women have always been told you can just translate. So, the book has helped women go to 12 step meetings and hear women’s voices from the book. I don’t believe that people heal in isolation. I don’t consider 12 steps treatment, I do believe for some people the steps can be the primary intervention that helps them change.

I do agree that medication-assisted treatment is a very good idea. I believe there are many people who are absent who have been on opioids, we must keep abstinence on the continuum of what’s possible in people’s lives. And you know different people recover in different ways.You want to have a lot of tools in the toolbox and you want to offer people a lot of hope and a lot of information about recovery work. So, we’re going to be there and we’re never going to give up talking about it.

Followed by Dr. Covington our personal story is Jordan V with Kristy from Westminster House.

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