Addiction is a challenge for anyone. It doesn’t discriminate, and anyone can fall victim to it grasp no matter their race, religion, sex, or social status. Women in addiction, however, face a slew of unique challenges that men do not. As women, they are expected to be the caretakers of society, so female addicts face a unique stigma. People may be less willing to help because they don’t think that female addiction is as bad as the addiction that men may face. The opposite is true, because many women hide their addiction until it goes way too far, often resulting in an overdose, legal consequences and, sadly, death.
Women in Addiction and Recovery
At Willow Place for Women, we specialize in treating females who suffer from addiction. It is highly beneficial for women to go to a treatment center that only treats other females because they are surrounded by peers. The unique challenges they face in addiction can be discussed without the presence of males, who may not be able to relate to them. This allows issues to come to light and get solved on a much deeper level.
So, what are the unique challenges women in addiction face? Here’s a few, but certainly not the whole list.
- Increased judgment and scrutiny. As mentioned, women who are addicted to drugs or alcohol are judged on a deeper level by society simply because drugs and alcohol aren’t considered “ladylike”. Women are expected to be the strong ones who keep their men and families in line. When a woman falls apart due to drugs and alcohol, it isn’t just her who is affected, but the entire family. People on the outside consider her a failure to her family and her duties as a mother, sister, daughter, wife, and friend. People will be more likely to turn their back on a woman because they find it appalling that she would let addiction get the better of her.
- Feelings of guilt from letting the family down. On a similar note, women are expected to be the stable, loving, emotional centers of the household. Their children rely on them, as do their spouses, to keep the house together. An addicted woman won’t be able to tend to those duties, neglecting responsibilities which result in an overwhelming guilt. This comes from the feeling that they have “let the family down.” In recovery, these feelings can make a woman feel completely guilty and ashamed. It is important to learn how to deal with these thoughts and feelings to move forward happily.
- Taking care of children. Children clearly require a lot of work, and women are usually the primary caretakers. In addiction, women are likely to let go of their motherly duties, often resulting in the child being taken out of their care. When a mother gets treatment, it is a great first step in rebuilding these relationships. She’ll need to learn how to create a better path for her and her children so that she can go on to live a healthy life with them and make sure that they are well taken care of.
- Pregnancy and addiction. Unfortunately, addiction can be so strong that not even pregnancy can make a woman stop using. This is a delicate topic because the woman isn’t only hurting herself, but her unborn child as well. In women-only treatment, this issue can be addressed in an atmosphere that doesn’t hold as much judgment so that a woman can get the proper care she needs for herself and her baby.
- Trauma like rape, abuse, and more. Women in addiction are sadly often the victims of rape and abuse. Being under the influence puts a woman in a risky situation where she can find herself experiencing trauma. Also, some women actually resort to selling their own bodies to score drugs. In recovery, this can be extremely difficult to face. It does need to be addressed so that a woman can more forward into a sober lifestyle.
No matter who is affected, addiction is a terrible thing. It destroys families and kills people every single day. Women in addiction require special care to make sure they can go back to their roles in life and be the strong, calm, pillar of strength that they always were inside. If you need help getting there, call Willow Place for Women today at 1-888-651-4212.