Unfortunately, there is a stigma that surrounds the disease of addiction but it has become much better in recent years. Scientific research has discovered that addiction is a legitimate illness that is beyond a person’s control. This has helped addiction become a more open topic to discuss but women still often come across difficulties discussing their addiction to drugs or alcohol. Women who are suffering from addiction are on a potentially fatal path and need to feel comfortable discussing their struggle with drugs or alcohol in order to get the help that they so desperately need.
Addiction Doesn’t Discriminate
One must understand that the disease of addiction doesn’t discriminate. A person’s race, gender, economic status, age or sexual preference doesn’t make them immune to the disease of addiction. Addiction is an illness that needs to be treated as such. The more someone abuses any substance, the more likely they are to become addicted. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH), scientists who research the disease of addiction have found that issues specifically related to women play a factor in potential substance abuse and addiction. Hormones, menstrual cycle, fertility, pregnancy, breastfeeding, and menopause can all heighten the likelihood that a woman begins to abuse substances.
We Live in a New Age
The first 12-step fellowship was Alcoholics Anonymous, and it was the first time the world saw that there was hope for people to overcome the disease of alcoholism or drug addiction. This fellowship was created in the 1930s when there were still some societal issues for women. The first Alcoholics Anonymous meetings were typically for Caucasian men, and the wives of alcoholics created the 12-step fellowship Al-Anon, which is for loved ones of alcoholics and drug addicts. Alcoholics Anonymous soon discovered that the disease of addiction isn’t only limited to men of a certain race, so they began to open their doors to everyone. Today, there are Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings that are all-women’s groups as well.
Although 12-step fellowships have meetings with both men and women as well as gender-specific meetings, it’s often best for a woman to begin her journey of recovery in a women’s rehabilitation facility. Women struggle with specific issues that lead to drug and alcohol abuse, so it’s important to be surrounded by others who understand. In an all-female program such as Sandy’s Place, there are group sessions where women can openly discuss issues related to being a woman like gender bias, physical or sexual assault, health issues and emotional problems. In this type of setting, women are able to see that they aren’t alone in their situation, and they can rely on one another for support.
When it comes to addiction, nobody is better than or less than anyone else. Both women and men are struggling with an illness that can make their life highly unmanageable, but there is hope of recovery. If you’re a woman struggling with an addiction to alcohol or drugs, don’t be afraid to ask for help. The battle you’re fighting is no different than that of men, and you do have the opportunity to get the help that you need and go on to live an incredible life. Deciding to get sober can be one of the most empowering moments in your life where you regain control and become the woman that you deserve to be.