Every individual’s path to recovery has its own unique challenges, obstacles and steps, and we know there’s no one-size-fits all path to a happier, healthier life. But with more and more data about the differences between women and men’s experiences with addiction, we learn more and more about giving every person the right tools to build a life free from addiction.
For young women, the best path often begins with these five steps:
Get It Out In The Open
We know that addiction – and seeking help for addictions or co-occurring mental crises – doesn’t deserve the stigma or shame that remains common in most of our society. But the same biases that demand women’s performance and success throughout their everyday lives continue to apply when it comes to judgments against them for substance use, and the pressure takes an unsurprising toll: One of the hallmarks of addiction in young women as compared to men of the same age is the prevalence of women suffering in silence.
Women are significantly more likely than men to keep their addiction a secret, whether it’s to remain in a family or work role they feel responsible for, or just out of feelings of failure or guilt. Breaking the chains of addiction for young women starts with letting go of your control of a life you already know is out of control. Seeking help is the first step to smashing the stigma – and getting your own life back.
Start At The Source
We know that more often than not, trauma or untreated mental health challenges are the root of someone’s addiction, or the reason they began using drugs or alcohol. But young women are more susceptible to substance use disorder than young men because of the prevalence of co-occurring mental crises that are more likely to be present in women, like eating disorders or trauma from sexual abuse.
At The Cove, we start with talking about and healing individual traumas and life stories, because your path to recovery is all about understanding yourself. But we know that’s not the whole story for any young woman, so we also talk about being a woman in this world, and the ways it impacts us all.
Drug and alcohol addiction are diseases, but they can’t just be prescribed away. Your healing starts at the source – with understanding and compassion for yourself.
Get A Check-Up
All addicts are not built the same. It’s not uncommon for treatment programs to gloss over the physical aspects and impacts of addiction to focus on the mental aspects. But drug or alcohol use takes a toll on bodies – and the toll is larger for women. Women’s needs and realities are frequently underrepresented in all medical services, not just in recovery.
It’s critical to start your journey with a team that listens to you and advocates for your real needs. Using drugs or alcohol doesn’t make anyone any less deserving of a healthy, long life.
Build A Support System
There’s a reason that the phrase “it takes a village” is used much more often by women than by men. Women are inherently better than men at building strength in a group – and relying on their group when they need help.
Studies find that women far more frequently suffer from substance use disorders when the relationships they count on have failed them in some way, whether that means they began using as a way to cope with partner violence, they’ve lacked a safe and supportive family life, or countless other scenarios.
We know that women succeed in recovery and life when they’re reintroduced to a safe and nurturing environment, with a support system of people they can count on. Building your community, in or out of treatment, will help you build a healthier, happier tomorrow.
Find A Treatment Plan That Fits Your Needs
You wouldn’t send someone to a dentist if they had a broken leg – and when you understand just how different a treatment program based on a true understanding of women's experience of addiction is from the typical, cookie-cutter, male-centric approach to recovery, you wouldn’t consider sending someone to a program that isn’t focused on realistic paths to their recovery.
If you’re struggling with drug or alcohol use but know there’s more to address underneath your addiction, you can start your path to recovery with learning about therapy and healing your internal wounds. We can help you get there at The Cove. Reach out now.