Tag Archives: Women in Recovery

Tag Archives: Women in Recovery


Woman seeking trauma informed care during addiction recoveryAfter experiencing a dangerous or upsetting event, it’s natural to feel anxious, sad or in shock. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is characterized by nightmares, paranoia, anger, irritability, depression and so many other symptoms that can appear after traumatic events, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services notes that women are twice as likely to develop PTSD as men to develop it in their lifetimes. The American Psychological Association (APA) notes that women who struggle with PTSD often experience troubles in their intimate relationships, sleeping disturbances, suicidal behaviors, loss of trust and more. Unfortunately, many survivors of trauma wait years to seek help – and that’s why trauma informed care is critical for women in addiction recovery.

When someone walks through the front doors for treatment, they come with a wide array of knowledge, experiences, thoughts, emotions and more. The International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies reports that one-quarter to three-quarters of people who have survived abusive or violent traumatic events go on to report problematic alcohol use, and women exposed to traumatic events report a higher rate of increased risk for alcohol use disorder (AUD). Since PTSD may still be lingering when a person seeks treatment for a substance use disorder (SUD), it’s crucial for trained professionals to have a thorough understanding of trauma and what a client needs during these times. It can make a huge difference, such as:

  • The difference between what one client needs over another
  • Understanding when grief needs to take place
  • Helping a client identify some of the underlying beliefs that developed from their traumatic experiences
  • Coping mechanisms and ways of healing from traumatic events

For some women, substances have been the only way to seemingly “drown out” the pain experienced from PTSD. Symptoms of this disorder, along with stress and anxiety from other life situations, can make it hard to cope – especially when there are little resources to work with. Trauma informed care ensures that those in recovery are considered for all they’ve been through – through this, a person can receive the most personalized care possible.

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.

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.

Supporting women during recoveryAddiction is a complex disease and with so many contributing factors, researchers have been exploring for many, many years the multifaceted components that make up someone’s recovery process. Spirituality, abstinence, therapy and more are all significant areas to build in recovery, but one that is enacted – and not as often discussed – is social support. Women in particular may experience different vulnerabilities than men do when it comes to triggers and cravings and social support may be that guiding factor. If you’re a woman in addiction recovery, it’s time to really start thinking about your social network to ponder who is aiding your recovery – and who is hindering it.

As we navigate this road filled with ups and downs, trying to figure out which path to take, it’s difficult to let go of those who may not be helping us in recovery. In a purest sense, letting go is a form of self-care. In order for you to lead a life that you’re incredibly proud of, you’re going to have to change some of the people in your life to reflect what you want.

One woman shared her story with having to let go as part of her addiction recovery via Cosmopolitan. Here is an excerpt from her story:

“…My sobriety changed the dynamics of those relationships and many of them were beyond repair. With some people, it turned out that once we didn’t have booze or drugs between us, we had literally nothing to talk about.”

For many women in recovery, priorities change – and so do friends. A 2014 study published in the journal Qualitative Health Research found that many women, while adding friends to their recovery network, also isolate or distance themselves from others in an attempt to diminish the negative impact that those people have had on their recovery. Ultimately, it’s these connections that grow to be the foundation of your recovery, so you always want to choose those around you wisely.

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.


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