A safe zone for women in recovery 

Women and Recovery 

In 2012, we piloted a specific project to work with women in recovery as we learned that their needs are often overlooked in the wider recovery community. More men than women come forward for treatment, and in the Lothians there is no women-only treatment service or such a service which women can attend with their children. Women are also disadvantaged post-treatment as there is no childcare enabling women to attend mutual aid meetings (AA, NA etc) 

Weekly happenings in Women Zone!


1:15 - 5:15 pm - Woman Zone Project Worker (Louise Cowie)
10:00 - 1:00 pm - Get Crafty Group with Jane ( All women are welcome)


9:00 - 5:00 pm - Woman Zone Project Worker (Louise Cowie)
2:30 pm - Bump and Grow (Mums to be and new mums who are in recovery)


9:00 - 5:00 pm - Woman Zone Project Worker (Louise Cowie)
10:30 - 11:30 am - Trauma Release Exercises ( All women are welcome)
11:45 - 1:45 pm - Pyjamas are not your friends (Women's Group) New group starting August

What Does Womanzone Do? 

Womanzone works with women affected by trauma and substance use, helping them to recover, develop their resilience, manage their lives and parenting, and become happier and healthier. 

We introduce a model of working which is practical, therapeutic and empowering. 

The approach recognises that women’s recovery is not linear. Women’s lives are often changing in unpredictable ways; some women leave to join specialised treatment and then re-join the programme; some women’s substance use makes progress slow; at times, women make significant progress which may then regress for periods.

 To maintain a positive environment for women experiencing all these challenges, we must be flexible. 

What Makes Womanzone Unique? 

Womanzone engages with women within a community context, providing specialised support at the same time as connecting women with a community which they can use as a life support system throughout their recovery and in life.

Our project operates at individual and community level

Women engaging with the project can stay with the project until they feel safe and can self-manage, there is no time-limit on engagement.

Women who have been with the project for longer are regarded as peer supporters for other women.  Peer supporters can go on to obtain qualifications in Community Development and Recovery Coaching.

What Can Women Experience In the Project? 

1. We develop a safe, supportive community to enable women to make positive social connections in a recovery-oriented environment. This means we develop a range of activities open to women, within the Serenity Café.

Women can benefit from this environment when they are not involved in the individual programme, and can use the community informally after they have completed their programme, maintaining relationships with other women, project staff, and recovery maintenance activities, thus reducing relapse. 

2. We involve individuals in 1:1 and group work, to ensure they engage in learning, develop self-management skills, and resolve their specific home, family and personal problems.  This involves resolving immediate concerns such as benefits before engaging in an entirely personalised plan which involves each woman in a structured programme of activities which take place in a rolling programme so that women can be involved whenever they join, ideally engaging 2-4 times per week with access to our community at other times

Pyjamas Are Not Your Friends 

What is it? 

In 2012-13 we developed a program for women in multiple recoveries: women recovering from trauma, violence and addiction. This work was funded by Scottish Government with the aim of sharing our experience with others working with women.  We developed this into a toolkit for use in working with women.  

Why 'Pyjamas Are Not Your Friends?' 

It is named 'Pyjamas' after the women identified their struggle to get themselves out of a rut - initially comforting, too many pyjama days became a problem of isolation and poor self-care; hence the title of the pack. 

Download the Pyjamas Are Not Your Friends pack

If you would like training for groups and colleagues, we offer a half day training session to introduce the tools and techhniques from Pyjamas Are Not Your Friends and a one-day training session to explore the development of groups for women in multiple recoveries. 

 Womanzone is led by woman's worker Catriona Grant.  For more information email Catriona@comas.org.uk or phone 0131 556 8765

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