Recovery and Women
For as long as I’ve been working as an addiction Counsellor, I, have worked with both sexes.
As a man, I always was a lot more comfortable working with men, as I can empathize more to men, being one. Although every effort was made to place counselor/client, the same gender – male to male & female to a female there were the occasions when that was not possible as the ratio of women to men was higher.
Both males and females in early recovery are not in touch with their emotions, as with the nature of addiction. However, women are more intuitive than men and are more open to getting in touch with their feelings, unlike men, who are more egocentric.
I do find though those men will hide behind the bravado of their drinking “drunk a log”, when & where they can get away with it. This is a form of denial which needs to be challenged as all it is, is a deflection away from the real consequences of addiction. Challenge the BS and the true story and feelings come out, as does reality.
Women are deeper and carry a lot more guilt and shame than men do. Women feel dirty and this guilt & shame is the biggest block that most women face when addressing their addiction.
There are different reasons why this is so.
- Society has put shame on addiction and labeled it a moral defect.
- Women who drink are stigmatized more than their male counterparts.
- Women who admit to having an addiction problem are judged more than men.
- Women are mothers and mothers can’t be irresponsible.
- Many women who suffer from addiction, have underlying trauma issues, like abuse.
- Women are at greater risk of losing custody of their children when they admit to having an addiction.
- Women tend to resort to secret drinking, which is uncontrolled, unlike social drinking or, drug use.
- Women under the influence are at an increased risk of being raped.
Many women I have worked with, like their male counterparts, have come into treatment as they were externally motivated. Consequences mounted, pressure from family, employers, judicial and social services.
I feel that women, in general, do better than men in treatment as they don’t have as big an ego, and are more in tune with their feelings. Recovery from addiction does need an emotional shift.
Those emotions can be very painful as, without the numbing effect of chemicals, they are the equivalent of touching a raw nerve.
Women have a higher physical pain threshold than men, but not necessarily with emotional pain. As women are more intuitive they are more likely to express their painful emotions. This though is not enough as this release of emotions can easily lead to self-pity, which can easily then lead to relapse.
Women need nurturing support more than moral support, as they have to get in touch with their inner self and allow themselves to forgive themselves, to be able to let go of the shame.
A True Story about a young woman in recovery
There is a young single mother who attends our aftercare group. This young woman has 2 small children, a boy, and girl. Both kids are in care, one in foster care and the other lives with the granny.
To get custody of her daughter, in foster care, social services did give her a number of changes she needed to make. She was asked to do parenting courses and domestic violence therapy. She did these diligently and even took the initiative to engage in a back to work programme.
Early recovery is hard enough on its own, without the added stress of trying to abide by all the recommendations of social services and also a cantankerous granny, who is reluctant to allow her to see her son.
It has been an uphill struggle for this young woman and she has been confronted by one “brick wall” after another. She has still managed to stay sober, even though at times she felt so broken that relapsing looked like a very good option. She didn’t, she picked herself up and carried on.
I worked with her doing CBT, as her own self-worth and self-esteem hit rock bottom. She would be told one week by the social worker that she has a good chance at getting her child back, and the following week, would be told that she never will get her back. Unfortunately, pushing peoples’ buttons to see how they react is how social services operate, even though it is cruel and abusive. Her son’s granny is no better, she will go there to visit him and when she gets there, she is told that it is not convenient. This after she has traveled by bus, to another town 100 miles away.
People can be cruel, and she is being punished, as she was an addict, by services that are supposed to be helping. To add salt to the wound, the father of her daughter, who has a criminal record and has threatened to kill one of the social workers, and has stalked her, gets more of a say in his daughter’s life.
Despite all this pressure and overwhelm, she has remained sober and keeps fighting. She is a huge inspiration to the other group members in her aftercare group, as most other people do admit that their problems are insignificant in comparison to hers.
It is not easy
Her story, like many others, is an eye-opener as just how difficult recovery can be for women, more than for men. Besides the normal cravings, thoughts of relapsing and necessary routine and habit changes, they have a whole load of other issues to contend with.
I acknowledge all women in recovery and say well done for your tenacity and resilience.
Call To Action
Recovery is about growth and everyone does grow at a different pace. My advice to anyone in early recovery is to wait at least 2 years before making any major life-changing decisions that might have emotional ramifications. An example: get a mortgage, get married, change career, emigrate. In light of this everyone has dreams and we all do want to better our lives in one way or another, so it is important in early recovery to start to put those dreams into reality by creating achievable goals which can be reached in time. I found in my early recovery, although I had dreams, I wasn’t aware of creating goals and my life unfolded by default. It turned out well for me but had I had clear goals, I do feel that it would have been even better.
I do try to learn from my mistakes, and that is why they are little miracles in themselves that happen for a reason. I am a growth-seeking being I will continue to seek change in myself. What motivates me is the Pain – Pleasure, which moves me away from my pain points (a lack of finances, time & peace of mind) to my pleasure points (freedom of finances, time & peace of mind).
The way I have found to achieve this freedom and to move away from the “Groundhog Day” of life is through online marketing. I have taken this step into the abyss, I’m not tech savvy at all, and with the support of Six Figure Mentors-SFM, I am working my way through it. The internet is here to stay and is the future for all of us, so don’t get left behind because it is gaining momentum.
Now Affiliate Marketing might not be for everyone, but my suggestion to you is to just watch the 7-day video series by the co-founders, Stuart & Jay, and decide from there. The video series is free, very interesting and will show you, at least, just what opportunities are available online. I’ll leave you to decide.
I wish you a happy day, Take Care.