Perhaps it’s obvious and goes without saying; however, research confirms that alcohol can become a severe obstacle in the trajectory of a woman’s career.
A clear example of this is highlighted in the recent story of a woman who was fired immediately for arriving at her workplace drunk. She was a Math Teacher at an Arizona High School and was arrested on August 13, 2014 after a student noticed that she was drunk in class. The principal and a school guard entered the classroom and confronted the teacher. Although she initially denied the charges, she soon admitted that she drank the night before and that morning. She also reported that she took a taxi to school because she was too drunk to drive. Although this was a sad event for students who might have had a positive relationship with this teacher, it reveals the dangers that alcoholism can present in a woman’s life.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore performed a study exploring the presence of alcohol use disorders (AUDs) and work trajectory. Part of the study investigated whether men and women were drinking more than intended, made unsuccessful attempts to cut down on drinking, and participation in any sober living programs. As to be expected, lower work trajectory was linked to a higher rate of AUDs. This was true both at the beginning of the study as well as during the follow-up with participants of the study. Furthermore, career advances were associated with decreased AUD rates for both men and women.
The results revealed that AUD’s were initially present in about 15 percent of men and 7.5 percent of women. However, the relationship between the presence of AUD’s and a downward career trajectory was stronger for women. The research confirms that the presence of alcohol use and dependency for women can affect their career path. And more specifically, it is a consequence of alcoholism, not a predictor, according to research.
Further research on women’s sober living programs reveal that women have a much different relationship with alcohol, in their development of an addiction, their sober living treatment needs, and their path to recovery.
For instance, women:
- Get addicted differently.
- For different reasons.
- Progress faster in the destructive addiction cycle.
- Recover differently.
- Relapse differently.
- Tend to use less alcohol and illicit drugs, more prescription psychoactive drugs.
- Tend to get introduced to drugs through significant relationships.
- Accelerate to injecting drugs more quickly.
Women today have a lot of expectations placed upon them. They are expected to raise their children, tend to their spouses, take care of household chores, and maintain a career. Not being able to meet all of these expectations can bring experiences of shame, which is often at the root of an addiction. Then, if and when an addiction does develop for women, that too can add to shameful feelings. In fact, additional 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. Women face a number of challenges that get in the way to accessing treatment and finally residing at a women’s sober living facility. 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.
For this reason, more and more sober living facilities are tending to the needs of women, particularly by having gender-specific sober living homes. Women’s sober living homes allow women to develop friendships and alliances with other women, which in and of itself is healing. After treatment, once women find long term sober living, perhaps they can return to climbing the ladder in their chosen career.
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