Women and men experience addiction differently, and these effects extend out to recovery as well. Recovery involves a lot of ups and downs, but there are many factors that can help those in recovery remain persistent. Relapse is a common concern, as it is often seen as taking a major step back in recovery. If we surround ourselves with people, places and circumstances that make it easier to use, then we often will. One person shared his story of relapse via the Chicago Tribune. He stated,
“If I stop using and continue to hang out with the same people and continue to hang out in the same situations and not manage my other symptoms like mental health and physical health, there’s a very good chance I’m going to return to use.”
What makes women more susceptible to relapsing?
A 2016 study published in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment found that women’s social networks are great influencers of relapse; women in recovery are less likely to relapse if they surround themselves with people who are conducive to their recovery. In fact, a 2015 study published in the journal Qualitative Health Research stated that for many women, it’s a necessity to distance or isolate themselves from social groups have had a negative impact on their recovery. What other ways can women combat the social influence on relapse?
12-Step programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) provide a safe space for women to meet others working towards their recovery; similarly, sponsorship can provide women with someone who has already been working diligently in their recovery and can encourage them in pursuing their recovery goals. In addition to social support, women face additional risks to relapse. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) notes that family problems, mental health issues, medical issues, education and employment concerns and more can all have an impact on how a person views themselves and their recovery. Ultimately, it’s the right support, treatment and structure that is needed.
Cumberland Heights is a nonprofit alcohol and drug-addiction treatment center located on the banks of the Cumberland river in Nashville, Tennessee. On a sprawling 177-acre campus, we are made up of 2 12-Step immersion campuses, 12 outpatient recovery centers and 4 sober living homes. We believe that each person has a unique story to tell – and that’s why we always put the patient first.