From Gordon House to Covington House

Stephanie Covington writes about her visit to the Nelson Trust, where she took part in a very special naming ceremony

On 21 September, after completing a day of training at Eastwood Park prison, Edwina and I drove to Gordon House in Stroud.

Gordon House is a residential treatment programme for women struggling with addiction to alcohol and other drugs. We had been invited to a reception being held for staff, clients, and other guests to celebrate the changing of the name of this women’s programme. The attendees included past and present staff, past and present clients, the CEO and board members of the Nelson Trust, and other guests.

This evening was particularly poignant for me as they were celebrating the changing of the name of the building from ‘Gordon House’ to ‘Covington House’.

We have a new name

The staff had been using some of my programme materials for women for over 10 years (including Helping Women Recover and A Woman’s Way through the Twelve Steps). However, our actual meeting was in March 2014 when I was invited to travel from the USA and train their staff.

Stephanie Covington unveiling mural

The celebration included hearing the staff describe the development of this successful programme for women. This was followed by some of the women sharing their stories of recovery that began here.

It was a powerful example of the importance of designing services specifically for women. All of this was a touching reminder of a feeling I had over 36 years ago in my own early recovery. I just wanted to help one other woman feel what I was feeling.

For me, Covington House reflects that vision becoming a reality.

Stephanie Covington

Stephanie Covington works at the Center for Gender and Justice in California