Women In Recovery

Women often ask themselves, why is it so difficult to recover? Why is it so difficult for women to get clean or come into treatment? Most importantly, why is it difficult for women to stay clean?

Women coming into recovery often already feel uncomfortable confronting and being open about their disease. Why is this you ask? Women often tend to use drugs or drink for different reasons and they stay clean for different reasons. These reasons can often be associated with certain aspects of their lives. Examples of these can be that they have experienced a trauma early in their lives, are suffering from major self-esteem issues such as weight loss or body image issues, being hurt by men in their relationships, and the list goes on. Or maybe they just want to be a good mother to their children or a good wife to their husbands, but the stresses associated with this can often lead to a deep embedded fear that they may never be good enough or are failing at what they have been put on this earth to do. This could be the reason that so many women get pulled into the deep, dark world of drugs and alcohol just so that they can feel better about themselves.

Women often end up with many other addictions, and often develop eating disorders because of self-esteem issues and insecurities. Along with issues such as love addiction or co-dependency.

Why is it difficult for women to recover from substance abuse issues? Women are seemingly expected to conform to certain requirements in society, and this can lead to immense pressure for them to perform better or be the perfect wife or mother. Often women will come into recovery for the wrong reasons. They want to keep their marriage, they want to keep custody of their kids, or they have become so engrossed in the revolving circle of depression and self-esteem issues, that they want to change they just don’t know how. Often a cause for relapse in women is that they pick up weight in recovery and they end up not liking the way they look so they end up going back to the drugs in order to lose the weight again.

Women are often more intimidated than men, partly due to trust and self-esteem issues. This is part of the reason why it is sometimes incredibly difficult for them to open up to a sponsor or attend meetings, situations that force them to be vulnerable. NA or AA meetings often have a greater attendance of men than women, which may intimidate a lady coming to her first meeting looking for a safe space. However, both the NA and AA fellowships have dedicated women’s meetings. These fellowships have recognized the need for women to have a dedicated space where they can deal with issue that they may not feel comfortable bringing forward when there are men around.

How can we change this? Empower women to change. Let them know that it is ok to not be ok. Women should be open-minded and willing to explore other meetings in order to find a place that they feel comfortable with sharing their issues. Women need to learn to love themselves and positively encourage each other. Women can, and do recover.