Let’s say you’ve arrived at the point where you realize, “Okay, I’ve got a problem.” There’s something wrong here if I can’t say no to alcohol. You might be like Guinevere, a woman who was in deep denial about her addiction because she was way too put together to be an addict. If you’re a successful woman, like she was and still is, you might have hard time saying the word addiction. You might have a difficult time with coming out with the words, “I’m an addict.”
Guinevere started writing about addiction on the forum Opiate Detox Recovery blog in 2008. It was the day before Guinevere started her detox from high doses of painkillers that she began to write. Although she doesn’t say this, her desire to write might have been born from her need to understand and answer – how does a high-functioning woman get into such deep addiction? Guinevere’s first post back then reveals someone who is trying to keep it all together, playing “superwoman” while rejecting the idea that she needed any addiction treatment or sober living program. The world of long-term sober living and addiction was far from her mind. She admits that she just didn’t see herself as someone who took on the term addict. Guinevere is an educated woman, with two degrees and a long track record of professional success. She saw herself as someone who didn’t have weaknesses, flaws, or imperfections.
Besides, as she explains, someone who needs to go into a sober living home is someone who smokes crack in dark alley ways or someone who snorts cocaine in the bathroom of a dark, dismal bar. And that was definitely not her! Take a look at her blog, a site that offers “straight talk about addiction and recovery”, and you’ll see she’s a success there too. Her site is top-ranking and award-winning.
For women like Guinevere, with high status, accomplishment, and achievement at every turn, you might be thinking, how can addiction also be a part of your life? But as Guinevere points out: addiction is an underlying truth for many men and women, regardless of your socioeconomic status and education level. Although there are about 6.2 million Americans who abuse prescription drugs, men and women can be addicted to food, sex, work, nicotine, caffeine, gambling, porn, and more. This is to say that addiction is an epidemic, an illness spreading around the world. Regardless of the type of addiction, this is an illness that is common to many – high-functioning or not.
And in some ways, living a high-functioning life could actually be feeding an addiction. It could be a spoke in the wheel of compulsion. It’s common for a perfectionism pattern to be a part of the addiction cycle. It comes down to a need for acceptance and approval. However, perfectionists are trying to get that need filled from outside sources rather than from within. And that’s precisely what feeds an addiction – trying to get something from an outside source (food, sex, alcohol, work, etc) in order to meet a need that can only be filled from within.
It’s okay to enter a sober living program even if you’re high-functioning, successful and well-put together. In fact, if you are like Guinevere and you’re ready to get sober, it might be helpful to know that there are many women’s sober living programs out there. In a women’s sober living program, women can hear each other’s stories and find support in those shared experiences.
Although she was in deep denial about having an addiction, Guinevere did recognize in 2008 that the only way she was going to save her life was to quit and find sober help. Now, she’s offering sober help to others, to men and women like her – successful and human, accomplished and vulnerable, educated and willing to learn about sober living and recovery.
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