A Woman's Way through The Twelve Steps

About This Program

Target Population: Women and teenage girls with addictive disorders

For children/adolescents ages: 14 – 17

Program Overview

The A Woman's Way through The Twelve Steps program materials meet the needs of women and teenage girls who struggle to relate to the traditional language of Twelve Step programs, as well as those who find this woman-centered perspective an important addition to traditional recovery materials. The A Woman's Way through The Twelve Steps book is a compilation of a diverse group of women's voices explaining what the Steps mean to them and how they have incorporated these principles in their lives. The women interviewed for this book are members of Alcoholics Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous, Al-Anon and Debtors Anonymous. The women also discuss the four issues that reflect the areas of change in their lives from addiction to recovery. These issues are also key triggers to relapse: self, relationship, sexuality, and spirituality.

The workbook helps to increase a woman's or a teenage girl's understanding of the Steps through simple exercises and journaling activities. There is a facilitator guide which describes a thirteen-session process with lesson plans.

Program Goals

The goals of A Woman's Way through The Twelve Steps are:

  • Decrease in substance use disorders
  • Increase in self-efficacy
  • Stabilize recovery

Logic Model

The program representative did not provide information about a Logic Model for A Woman's Way through The Twelve Steps.

Essential Components

The essential components of A Woman's Way through The Twelve Steps include:

  • Four components:
    • Workbook
    • Book
    • Facilitator's guide
    • DVD
  • The first two components, A Woman's Way through The Twelve Steps workbook and A Woman's Way through The Twelve Steps book are designed to be used together. The workbook helps to increase understanding of the lessons in the book with simple exercises and journaling activities. It further empowers each woman/girl to take ownership of her recovery by documenting her growth and recovery process in a personally meaningful way.
  • A Woman's Way through The Twelve Steps facilitator's guide consists of thirteen sessions. The first session is an introductory session followed by 12 sessions – one for each of The Twelve Steps. The 12 sessions have simple interactive, experiential exercises to help teach the group participants the concepts embedded in each step. There should be 6-12 women/girls with one facilitator per group. Each session has information on how to adapt these groups for teenage girls.
    • Opening Session: Beginning (2 activities)
    • Session One: Step One (2 activities)
    • Session Two: Step Two (3 activities)
    • Session Three: Step Three (5 activities)
    • Session Four: Step Four (2 activities)
    • Session Five: Step Five (3 activities)
    • Session Six: Step Six (4 activities)
    • Session Seven: Step Seven (3 activities)
    • Session Eight: Step Eight (3 activities)
    • Session Nine: Step Nine (3 activities)
    • Session Ten: Step Ten (4 activities)
    • Session Eleven: Step Eleven (3 activities)
    • Session Twelve: Step Twelve (2 activities)
  • The A Woman's Way through The Twelve Steps facilitator's guide describes when and how to use the book, workbook, and DVD, as well as instructions on how to adapt the content for teenage girls. The guide also offers essential background information and integrates the most current research and best practices regarding women and recovery to support a program that is designed to help women recover from substance-use disorders and other addictive behaviors.
  • A Woman's Way through The Twelve Steps DVD is for clients, family members, and facilitators who want to learn how women and teenage girls can utilize The Twelve Steps in a safe, nurturing environment that allows them to heal from addiction. It provides an example of group of women participating in A Woman's Way through The Twelve Steps, as well as professionals discussing the intervention.
  • All four components of A Woman's Way through The Twelve Steps are trauma-informed and designed for use with women/girls in residential and outpatient treatment programs, as well as mental health and criminal justice settings. The components can stand alone, but to achieve the best outcomes, it is recommended that all four components be used together as a comprehensive, integrated treatment program for women/girls.

Program Delivery

Child/Adolescent Services

A Woman's Way through The Twelve Steps directly provides services to children/adolescents and addresses the following:

  • Substance use disorders and other addictive behaviors

Adult Services

A Woman's Way through The Twelve Steps directly provides services to adults (regardless of whether they are parents or caregivers) and addresses the following:

  • Primarily substance use disorders; however, appropriate for other addictive disorders

Recommended Intensity:

One to two 90-minute sessions per week

Recommended Duration:

13 sessions – two to three months

Delivery Settings

This program is typically conducted in a(n):

  • Outpatient Clinic
  • Community-based Agency / Organization / Provider
  • Group or Residential Care
  • Justice Setting (Juvenile Detention, Jail, Prison, Courtroom, etc.)
  • Other


A Woman's Way through The Twelve Steps includes a homework component:

Women/girls have a workbook to process their group experience and practice skills.


A Woman's Way through The Twelve Steps has materials available in a language other than English:


For information on which materials are available in this language, please check on the program's website or contact the program representative (contact information is listed at the bottom of this page).

Resources Needed to Run Program

The typical resources for implementing the program are:

  • Facilitator's guide
  • Flip chart
  • Workbooks
  • Room with chairs in a circle
  • A group facilitator
  • Art supplies for collage work

Manuals and Training

Prerequisite/Minimum Provider Qualifications

High school graduate or GED. Experience with Twelve Step groups is very useful.

Manual Information

There is a manual that describes how to deliver this program.

Training Information

There is training available for this program.

Training Contact:
Training Type/Location:

Training can be provided onsite. There are also trainings available at various sites in California and other parts of the U.S. For more information see, www.stephaniecovington.com and www.centerforgenderandjustice.org.

Number of days/hours:

Generally 1 day

Additional Resources:

There currently are additional qualified resources for training:

Please contact the Training Contact above for a list of certified trainers.

Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research

Currently, there are no published, peer-reviewed research studies for A Woman's Way through The Twelve Steps.

Additional References

Covington, S. (2012). Curricula to support trauma-informed practice with women. In N. Poole, & L. Greaves (Eds.). Becoming trauma informed. Toronto, Ontario, Canada: Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH).

Covington, S. S. (2013). Understanding and applying gender differences in recovery. In A. L. O'Neil & J. Lucas (Eds.), DAWN Drugs and Alcohol Women Network: Promoting a gender responsive approach to addiction, pp. 339-362. Turin, Italy: United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI).

Covington, S., & Surrey, J. (2000). The relational model of women's psychological development: Implications for substance abuse. Work in Progress, 91. Wellesley, MA: Stone Center.

Contact Information

Stephanie S. Covington, PhD, LCSW
Agency/Affiliation: Center for Gender and Justice
Website: www.stephaniecovington.com
Phone: (858) 454-8528
Fax: (858) 454-8598

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: July 2014

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: March 2020

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: July 2012