A Woman’s Way Through the 12 Steps: Book Review

There is one special book every woman should own whether actively in recovery or not. A Woman’s Way Through The Twelve Steps by Stephanie S. Covington, Ph.D.

Dr. Covington found a way to make the 12 steps palatable to women seeking recovery. Much of the language used in the original steps from Alcoholics Anonymous is masculine. In 1935 Alcoholics Anonymous was created by professional men, thus the language targets the male population, middle class, with an education. Women were not a common participant during those early years, even then the idea that a woman may have trouble relating was not a consideration. The line of thought is basic, surrender to a God of your understanding, let him take away your obsession to drink. Seems simple enough.

There are women who find it difficult, to relate to the terms used in the 12 step programs. To consider surrendering to a male power, letting him control and decide is a difficult concept when the abuser in “her” life has been a male power. Women who have been abused through out their lives struggle with the concept of surrender, especially to another male force. It does not feel safe. Thus it may be difficult to grasp a program that is masculine, despite the many benefits.

Dr. Covington writes to this population of women, defining the terms in a way that makes it easier, gentler on the woman seeking recovery. Her insight into how women relate to concepts of surrender, struggling with developing a relationship with a masculine power clarifies and offers another way of thinking. The steps are directly from the Alcoholics Anonymous program, but the explanations and insights fit anyone seeking recovery from any addiction or for those involved with an addict.

Addiction is a compulsive need, to put it simply. The substance changes the basic aspects remain the same. Following a 12 step program for recovery offers a road map, guides, information, and instructions for every aspect that occurs in recovery. The spiritual principles remain the same for everyone.

A Woman’s Way Through The Twelve Steps is that road map. The book and the workbook both offer valuable questions and suggestions that will work for you when you decide to use them. Anyone entering recovery or seeking another way to live life has the one important trait to succeed: Desire. The second one is willingness.

These are but suggestions.

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