Recovery Basics For Women

For many suffering from substance use disorder, recovery can seem impossible. While it does require perseverance, recovery is more than possible. At Southside Center of Hope, we see women succeed in their recovery every day.  

The path to long-term recovery is different for each woman but there are a few recovery basics that can help anyone struggling with substance use disorder.

Understand What Substance Use Disorder Is

To begin recovery, a person must understand and acknowledge they are suffering from substance use disorder.  

Substance use disorder is a diagnosable mental health disorder and defined as occurring when the regular use of alcohol and/or drugs causes clinically significant impairment which can include health problems, disability, and failure to meet major responsibilities at work, school, or home.  

Substance use disorder can be mild, moderate, or severe and can affect a person’s brain function, behavior, and cause them to lose the ability to control their use of drugs, alcohol, or medication. 

It is also important to understand that men and women experience substance use disorder differently. Research shows that while women are less likely than men to drink or use drugs when a woman does develop substance use disorder it progresses much faster than it typically would for a man.  

Choose to Recover

This may seem simple but choosing to recover is arguably the hardest step on the road to recovery. Recovery can seem impossible but it is not and in fact, about 1 in every 10 Americans identifies as having previously had a problem with drugs and alcohol, according to the Institute for Research, Education, & Training in Addictions.  

For women specifically, choosing to recover can be difficult and women are more likely than men to face economic barriers when seeking treatment. Whether it be due to work, school, or family, women can have trouble finding time to attend regular treatment sessions.  

Despite these barriers that many women face we know that recovery is possible. While no two paths to long-term recovery are the same, there are some things that we know can help like adopting a more positive attitude, building a network of support, and practicing self-care 

Find a Safe and Supportive Space

Group therapy is helpful for women in recovery and provides a safe space for encouragement.

There are many ways for women to feel supported in their recovery and every woman is different but there is no denying that having a support system in place is critical for long-term recovery.  

Living with substance use disorder can be isolating and a big part of recovery is rebuilding relationships. We have found that group therapy can be an effective way for women with substance use disorder to find support in their recovery.  

Participating in group therapy or partaking in regular Alcoholics or Narcotics Anonymous meetings offer positive peer support and encourage abstinence from substance use. Groups can also help to reduce the feelings of isolation and guilt that many women with substance use disorder experience. 

Use Positive Words When Speaking About Substance Use

There is a lot of stigma and shame associated with substance use disorder and women can often be more harshly scrutinized than men. Because of this, it is important to be aware of the language we use when talking about women living with substance use disorder.  

Women are much more likely to stay consistent with their treatment when they feel encouraged and not judged. Harsh terms like “addict,” “junkie,” or “drug abuser” are often used to describe those living with substance use disorder and terms like these can negatively affect the way a person thinks about themselves. 

Every day a woman in recovery faces new challenges and something as simple as adopting a more positive way of thinking and talking about substance use can make difference in helping them to stay empowered in their recovery.  

Practice Self-Care

Residents at Southside Center of Hope participate in yoga
Residents at Southside Center of Hope enjoy a weekly yoga class as part of their self-care.

Women in recovery often make the mistake of taking on too much too soon which can leave them feeling overwhelmed and at risk of relapsing. At Southside Center of Hope, we encourage our residents to make themselves and their recovery the number one priority.  

Our holistic approach to recovery allows women to heal their mind and body while learning to manage their substance use disorder. During our three-phase program, women gain skills to help them achieve life-long recovery and one of those skills is practicing self-care. 

Some simple forms of self-care could be taking 30 minutes out of the day to do something relaxing like journaling, going for a walk, or meditating to clear the mind. Regardless of a person’s preferred method, self-care and self-love are essential for long-term recovery. 

At Southside Center of Hope, we know that deciding to recover takes courage and these recovery basics are a good place to start for women struggling with substance useLong-term recovery is possible for anyone willing to put in the work and learn how to manage their substance use disorder.