Important Women in Recovery: Women’s History Month

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Women’s History Month is an opportunity for us to reflect upon some of the truly extraordinary women in recovery who have helped further the cause of recovery from addiction and alcohol use disorders and made other significant contributions to the world. 

This Redemption Recovery honors some extraordinary women in recovery who have had an impact on the lives of millions of people. 

Women in Recovery: 12-Step Pioneers 

Women in recovery were an important part of the formation of the 12-step recovery model that has become the gold standard for living a sober life the world over. It’s doubtful if AL-ANON ever would have come into being without the tireless efforts of Lois Wilson, wife of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) co-founder Bill Wilson. Even during an era when women rarely received the credit they deserved for their contributions — a few strong women were essential partners in getting the entire recovery revolution underway. 

  • Lois Wilson: Lois built the world’s largest support group for the loved ones of people with alcohol use disorders right from her kitchen table with the help of her friend, Anne B. who acted as secretary. Today AL-ANON meetings can be found in more than 100 different countries and there are over 24,000 AL-ANON groups in the world.
  • Marty Mann: Among AA history buffs, Marty Mann is something of a hero. Believed to be the first woman to achieve long-term sobriety through the 12 Steps of AA, Marty was an incredible advocate for women with alcoholism and AA as a whole. In fact, she founded an influential advocacy group that is still making a difference today, the  National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD)

Women in Recovery: Celebrity Sobriety

Women in recovery who have also achieved stardom have the opportunity to not only serve as an example to others — they also have a voice that can reach millions. Not every famous woman in recovery chooses to use her platform to promote sobriety, and that’s okay of course. But some do and we think that’s more than worth recognizing on Women’s History Month. Whether it’s through advocacy, fundraising or just inspiring others to carry on and stay strong, here are a few of our favorite sober female celebrities who carry the torch for recovery. 

  • Eliza Dushku: Best known for her roles in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Bring It On, Eliza Dukshu has been sober for more than 10 years. She’s been refreshingly open about her recovery — not only sharing her story and serving as an example of a woman thriving in recovery but also through advocacy. She regularly speaks at events, like the New Hampshire Youth Summit on Opioid Awareness. 
  • Amy Grant: Amy Grant began her career as a Christian singer-songwriter, later crossing into pop/Top 40 music in the 80s. Her life has been touched not only by addiction but by several other serious personal challenges, including surviving open-heart surgery and a serious bicycle accident that caused brain damage. Grant and her husband Vince Gill are both active supporters of the charity Creative Recovery Communities which helps teens overcome substance use disorders. 
  • Kate Middleton: The Duchess of Cambridge is the royal patron of several UK-based addiction recovery charities including The Forward Trust and Action on Addiction. These groups advocate for treatment and prevention as well as fund research into the causes of substance use disorders. Middleton has helped raise awareness and millions of dollars as well as celebrity endorsements for these charities. She also often speaks candidly about addiction and recovery during interviews. 

Women in Recovery:  Medicine and Science 

Some of the greatest contributions made by women in recovery come not from community organizing or celebrities — but from the worlds of medicine and science. The medical community is hard at work developing solutions for addiction while those in the scientific sphere endeavor to learn more about addiction and the brain. Women in both of these arenas are helping to drive progress forward. Here are just a few of the notable women making a difference in recovery in their respective fields.

  • Dr. Nora Volkow: Dr. Volkow is the Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) at the National Institutes of Health. NIDA is the biggest source of support for addiction research worldwide. Her extraordinary career made her especially well-suited for her role heading up NIDA, but also as a powerful force for good in the world of women’s recovery. We recommend checking out Nora’s Blog on the NIDA website.
  • Dr. Stephanie S. Covington: Dr. Covington is both a therapist and an author who has made substantial contributions to women’s addiction treatment and recovery. She is best known for the creation of a new gender-responsive, and trauma-informed approach to treating addiction specifically targeted at women and girls. The renowned “Helping Women Recover” program is just one of the fruits of her labor that is making a very real difference in the lives of girls and women in recovery today. 
  • Dr. Lisa Najavits: Dr. Najavits is the author of “Seeking Safety”, which is one of the pre-eminent treatment manuals for trauma and addiction today. Seeking Safety can be found in community addiction programs and substance use disorder treatment centers throughout the U.S. Dr. Najavits is also an Adjunct Professor at the University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School.

Addiction Recovery For Women

Redemption Recovery offers gender-specific treatment for women and men battling substance use disorders. Our trauma-informed program features a true dual-diagnosis curriculum that addresses co-occurring disorders where they are found. We believe that highly individualized treatment that sees beyond addiction to underlying conditions and causes is the secret to lasting sobriety. 
Call to learn more about our wide range of treatment offerings from partial hospitalization programs (PHP) to intensive outpatient programs (IOP) and outpatient programs in Ohio. Reach out to us at (419) 528-8007 and begin the journey toward a brighter tomorrow for yourself or the one you love.

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