How Do Women in Recovery Remain Vigilant?

remaining vigilant during recoveryIn 2017, psychotherapist Anita Gadhia-Smith told U.S. News,

“Remember that time [in sobriety] doesn’t exempt you from relapse. Anyone can relapse at any point in time.”

Women face unique challenges in addiction recovery and relapse prevention is an area of recovery that begs for vigilance, which is defined as, “the action or state of keeping careful watch for possible danger or difficulties.” There are many strategies that can be used to aid relapse prevention, but women in particular may view their recovery – and their self-identity through it – differently than men do. In 2017, researchers published a study in the journal Qualitative Social Work to explore women’s lived experiences in recovery and to find what helps them maintain vigilance. This is what they found:

  • Remembering. Many participants in the study reported remembering certain aspects of their substance abuse – and very vividly – so they could easily recall just how much destruction is caused and how “out of control” they felt. This served as a clear reminder to many women what happens when they engage in addiction.
  • Being careful. It was very important to women in the study to watch out for thoughts, feelings and behaviors that were signs of being triggered. They described a delicate balance between attention and monitoring as a way of anticipating or working through troubling events.
  • Seeking community. Community provided many women with a sense of safety, comfort and access to others whom they could build connections with. 12-Step programs were highlighted as places to stay “plugged in” to recovery.

Each person will experience different types of triggers, but the key is to find what works best for you. For many, the strategies listed above work wonderfully and others may have additional tools. Don’t wait any longer to start working diligently towards your journey.

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.

Call us today at 1-800-646-9998 to take the next step towards your happiness and health.