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Let’s Talk About It: Being a Woman in Sobriety

Alcoholics Anonymous, more affectionately referred to as “The Big Book” was written by male alcoholics for male alcoholics. A single chapter in the book is dedicated to women, who are the wives of male alcoholic husbands. Marty Mann is considered to be the first woman of AA thought Sylvia K. is considered to be the first woman to achieve long term sobriety in AA. It took years for women’s stories to be included in the back of the book and aside from the single chapter for wives, there are few mentions of female alcoholics. Over the more than eight decades of Alcoholic’s Anonymous existence hundreds of thousands of women have joined the fellowship and found lifelong sobriety- despite the fact that nothing, not one word, in the “Big Book” was written for them.

The book, the steps, and everything else included in Alcoholics Anonymous is not made for women. Presented as a program for living, the program leaves out some of the very specific life circumstances that only women have to endure, which a man could never understand. The spiritual solution is meant to be overarching and all inclusive, which is why the twelve step model has been adapted and adopted by any number of issues from gambling to sex to emotions to overeating. When a woman’s “spiritual fitness” is challenged, however, by specific and unique female experiences, she can be discouraged that there is no primary text supporting her struggles. Thankfully, there are women’s meetings and the sisterly fellowship of female alcoholics for support.

If “The Big Book” were written from the perspective and story of a female set of founders, the fellowship may look different. Possibly, the model would not have been taken seriously or even gained the same following. However, there would be a specific set of guidelines for what men don’t have to deal with: PMS in sobriety, getting your period in sobriety, being late on your period in sobriety, dealing with changing hormones in sobriety, sexual discrimination in sobriety, pregnancy in sobriety, miscarriage in sobriety, abortion in sobriety, premenopause in sobriety, menopause in sobriety, perimenopause in sobriety, breast cancer in sobriety, ovarian cancer in sobriety, and much, much more.

Women have worked tirelessly to make recovery their own. Female specific programs help build the solidarity of a sisterhood among women who are recovering. Together we can write our own stories to inspire and help one another.


After treatment, continue thriving in the environment of sisterhood through transitional living. Villa Tranquil Recovery offers women the unique opportunity to continue living in a safe, private, serene environment guiding them with clinical structure and compassionate care. For information on our programs for furthering recovery in women, call us today:  214-799-3080