If you are a woman looking into rehab and treatment programs, you will be met with a variety of options, including the location, treatment approach and inpatient or outpatient living arrangements. But one important consideration you should take into account when selecting a treatment program will center on the other members of your recovery group: mixed gender or women only?
As the body of research and experience around addiction and recovery grows, addicts seeking recovery are better equipped than ever to find the programs, settings and treatment approaches that will work best for them and that will fuel a future of sobriety and recovery. For many women, a treatment program led by women, for women will have clear benefits. Here are a few reasons why women-only facilities can be an ideal choice for a woman seeking recovery.
A Safe Space
Recovery is a deeply personal process that requires vulnerability. Many women will find it easier to open up and talk honestly about the issues they are facing personally in the presence of women. Some women will feel a comfort and acceptance around other women that they have not experienced with men. This allows them the opportunity to speak up, ask questions and share the more personal parts of themselves.
Many women may have also experienced abuse, sexual assault or other trauma at the hands of fathers, male relatives, male authority figures, boyfriends or husbands. In some cases, these experiences have even contributed to the addiction. Being able to work through these issues in a safe environment with other women who may have a similar history can be especially helpful.
Decreased Sexual Pressure and Temptation
For many women, sex and relationships can be a trouble zone that can quickly detract from the task at hand, which is getting sober and beginning to recover. Rehab is a chance to temporarily remove some of the distractions and trouble areas in your life that may have been fueling your addiction so that you can focus on recovery. In some cases, sex and relationships are the addiction. Going through the early stages of recovery in a women-only setting can help eliminate some of the challenges of interacting with and relating to the opposite sex and can better prepare you for re-entering normal life following recovery.
Focused on the Specific Needs of Women in Recovery
It has also been shown that women react to, and metabolize, chemical substances differently than men. That can mean unique challenges in getting and staying sober. A women’s program will take into account the gender-specific hurdles you face and the feelings you feel. Rather than generalizing for both genders, you will receive the information and care that’s specific to your experience of addiction and recovery.
Women-only rehab programs also recognize that some of the disorders that may accompany the addiction, such as eating disorders, body image issues, trauma and sexual assault, affect women more than men and can factor this prominently into the recovery process. In many cases, these issues were buried under the addiction and dealing with these conditions specifically can be vital to one’s overall success.
A Sober Sisterhood
While you can recover regardless of your surroundings, if you desire to do so, many women find it helpful to be in the company of those who share their experiences and who are familiar with the issues that can be unique to women in recovery, such as how to be away from your family while in recovery or the challenge of parenting under newly sober conditions. Women may also experience a greater level of stigma around their addiction(s) and behavioral health issues. Having the support of other women in recovery and being able to talk through these concerns with other women is invaluable.
Recovery programs for women allow you to form and develop close relationships with the other women in your recovery circle, often initiating bonds that will last a lifetime. Many addicts have been isolated by their addiction, by domestic constraints or by abusive relationships and have not had the benefit of supportive friendships with other women. Recovery can be the place where you have the opportunity to begin forming these relationships with other women while enjoying mutual support on the recovery journey.