Societal Pressures Present Different Challenges for Men and Women in Recovery
By: Liz Stanislawski
Cumberland Heights prides itself on treating the whole patient, and not just the disease. While every person who comes through our doors is unique, we see similarities among those of the same gender when it comes to feelings of guilt and shame.
“Men are unique in the sense that when they come to treatment they are providers for their families. They are fathers and husbands and brothers and sons and they feel that responsibility on their shoulders,” said Vivian Sypolt, Director of the Men’s Program.
Sypolt says many male patients come into treatment feeling like they failed.
“For a lot of them, they feel ashamed or shameful that they need to ask for help and be in treatment so we let them know it’s okay. Going into treatment is providing for your family. It is setting a foundation. If you need help, you ask for help,” said Sypolt.
Women also grapple over the decision to enter treatment because of their many roles and responsibilities.
“Today women have more roles than they’ve ever had before. They work outside of the home, but they are also caregivers for children so I think it’s sometimes hard for women to say, ‘Okay I am going to take care of myself for a minute,'” said Director of the Women’s Program Melissa Hudgens.
And even when they do say yes to treatment, and complete the program, there is worry about making the transition home.
“There is a fear of how am I going to parent when I leave here? The stress of working and taking care of children can be overwhelming. There is fear. How am I going to handle all of that?” said Hudgens.
Hudgens says that’s why Cumberland Heights’ parenting groups, the children’s program and all of the other continued support we offer is so important.
“They are going to meet other women in recovery who really build them up and support them through some of the most difficult experiences in their lives. It’s not just a treatment experience. It’s about live long relationships with healthy women who really understand what they are going through. It’s beautiful. It’s really beautiful,” said Hudgens.
If you are struggling, the time for help is now. Begin your recovery journey today.
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.