According to a Chinese proverb, “When sleeping women wake, mountains move,” and it’s true. Today’s women can do anything. They know how to raise children, have successful careers, have a relationship with their spouses, make dinner in two minutes, clean the house while thinking of their next great business idea, and still have time to go to the beach.
Women can do a lot on their own. They are powerful and passionate, and they know how to use the power within them to achieve, accomplish, and succeed. But, women, when it comes to quitting an addiction, that one is hard to do on your own.
Let’s say you got into the habit of having a glass of wine each night after work. One glass turned into two and then three until some mornings became hard to wake up and go to work. Perhaps you think to yourself that well, you started this easily and slowly, you can end this easily and slowly. Many women believe that once they make the decision to stop drinking or using drugs, they will. They believe at the outset that they can stop without getting women’s sober living treatment and that their determination will alone will work.
However, ending an addiction isn’t easy. Sure, there are many men and women who simply make the decision to stop, and they do. Yet, in the majority of cases, addiction requires sober living treatment. For instance, an addiction has a strong biological component where triggers and cravings for the drug occur almost without notice. Even if a woman has made the decision to end their drinking or drug use, it’s easy for a small stimuli to trigger an intense craving. Stress from work, relationship concerns with their husband, family issues, environmental cues, running into old drinking or drugging friends can create an strong desire to use.
Of course, having these kinds of experiences outside of women’s sober living treatment can lead to chronic relapse and continued substance abuse. It’s true that there are many factors that play a role in whether addiction ends with or without treatment, such as the length of substance use, drug of choice, severity of the addiction, physical health, and any presence of mental illness. And for that reason, each case is different.
However, addiction not only has a strong biological component, but also a fierce psychological component. A trigger that leads to additional drug use or drinking only strengthens the addiction and weakens the ability to stop. And that’s the definition and the main challenge with addiction – behaving compulsively. Once the cycle of addiction activates the internal reward system, a rush in the brain, that behavior can become the sole focus of one’s life to the exclusion and detriment of other life-activities. When using takes over, when that’s all a women thinks about, there’s a problem, and this time, it’s a problem that she just can’t fix on her own.
And if you’re one of these women – the type who can accomplish anything, fix everything, and tend to the needs of the family while balancing all the various aspects of life, then it might be difficult for you to admit that there’s a problem. Sadly, research shows that the stigma of substance abuse is a problem for women struggling with addiction. The stigma and the associated shame keep them from seeking treatment. In fact, women face a number of challenges that get in the way to accessing treatment.They may fear losing custody of their children. They may feel that they can’t leave their families, or that they have too many responsibilities at work that they can’t step away from.
Fortunately, if you are one of those women who can move mountains, then likely you’re employed. Studies also show that women who are employed and have recovery oriented support systems, similar to the environment found in women’s sober living homes, will have fewer relapses and will be more likely to maintain their sobriety. Plus – and this might go without saying – once a woman makes a decision to enter a women’s sober living treatment center, she’s just as likely as men to achieve their treatment goals.
Although you can’t do this one on your own, once you make the decision to join a women’s sober living community, you can move mountains again.