Women may sometimes find it difficult to talk about the traumatic experiences and emotional pain they may have gone through in a support group containing both men and women. This is why women’s support groups are of paramount importance when it comes to addiction and substance abuse recovery. While women and men have the same chance of becoming addicted, women are more likely to have cravings and to relapse. With this statistic in mind, women-centered support groups have been created to handle the finer details that complete the recovery process for women.
Why Have a Support Group For Only Women?
It is important for women to feel as though they have a safe place to talk amongst friends and fellow females. Sharing stories of how one gets into an addictive situation can be an area of sensitivity for many, and the freedom to be truthful and honest without being judged is vital. There is more common ground, understanding, and compassion in a group of women who can truly understand what each other has gone through than there might be in a standard group of both men and women.
Before the first women’s group for recovery was founded, support groups included both men and women. After a time, statistics showed that men had a higher rate of recovery than women did. However, it was found and agreed upon that physiological recovery from alcohol and drugs are the same for both men and women. This raised questions as to why it was harder for women to recover than it was for men. At the time, it led counselors to believe that women were less cooperative and harder to treat. The reality of the situation was that women have different emotional needs than men and the support groups and programs used for recovery needed to be updated and changed to compensate for this.
This change happened in July of 1976 when the first women’s group was started. New women’s groups say that women needed a specialized program focusing more on emotional needs of women in general and support in all other areas of life as well. With new programs being created and women getting a wider spectrum of help, a new type of recovery treatment and therapy was born. This started the ball rolling on women’s groups starting up all over the country.
Different Types of Support Groups For Women
There are several types of support groups women can choose from. Each one focuses on a different area of recovery. This allows women to get the correct support and care to fit their specific needs.
- Women’s Detox Primary Daily Group– The first step in recovery is removing substances from the body. This can be a difficult step as it comes with withdrawal symptoms and drug cravings. It is important to have a support group during this stage to encourage and motivate the individual to keep pushing through their detox and keep going through with the program. Women can meet others who may be going through similar struggles (and withdrawal) and find validation in their current progress.
- Women’s Group– This group focuses on self-esteem and how it affects the recovery process and one’s life. Women will discuss such issues as body image, gender stereotypes in society, roles and identity, and competitions that can arise between women. These groups are designed to rebuild a women’s self-esteem in an effort to help her overcome her addiction.
- Wildflowers– This group is for women who are suffering from trauma caused by sexual abuse. It provides a safe space for women to communicate their any feelings of isolation, guilt or shame and what they have been going through emotionally. These groups mainly use a faith-based approach to healing using devotionals, sharing personal experiences and teaching women to rely on God for healing.
- Women’s Issues– In these groups, women can discuss familial, addiction and personal problems from a female point of view. They can then receive the advice and wisdom of other females in the group who have had similar problems or experiences. This group covers many things besides, such as: living life while in recovery, common triggers that can cause a relapse, relationship problems, and workable coping skills.
- Women’s Battles– This is a faith-based group which shows addiction in the form of cycles. One may go through times of frustration and challenges through times of self-actualization and feeling empowered. Women work together to find ways to work through the cyclic highs and the lows of overcoming addiction and managing life.
Women’s Group Therapy
Fortunately for women, there are many options when it comes to support groups and therapy. Women’s group therapy is very similar to the support groups mentioned above. The focus here is to get women together who have been through similar addictive situations. Once together, they may wish to share their experiences and be encouraged by one another on the progress they have made in their new life. Addiction and substance abuse in women often bring with it feelings of shame and guilt. This leads to isolation and withdrawal from the loved ones whom she feels she may have wronged or neglected. This causes her to feel like she has less value or worth and can bring her closer to depression and despair. Women’s group therapy allows for those feelings of shame, guilt, and isolation to be relieved by finding that there are many others who are in a similar situation and who are on the same path to recovery. This is an important step to help women traveling the road recovery reintegrate into the day-to-day world.
The Benefits of Women’s Groups
Women’s support groups offer many ways to aid in the rehabilitation of women overcoming the effects of drug and alcohol abuse. They have a strong focus on increasing the self-image of the woman and helping her find the strength to stay true and work through to a better life. Women’s support groups create a safe, non-judgmental place for women to talk about all of the reasons and situations that contributed to the cause of their addiction. They can share their fears and anxieties as well as their recovery wins and new goals in life. It is a non-confrontational community of people with shared experiences helping each other achieve their goals.
To empower the woman is to set her on the route to success and happiness. Having support in areas of womanhood that cause women to feel self-conscious or talked down to, helps a woman to rebuild her self-image. Discussing families and relationships, allows her to get a fresh perspective on how to handle various situations and feel confident that she is in control. Having people who are at the first stage of recovery and are detoxing with her, brings a sense of community, being part of a group, and the knowledge that she is not alone and not the only one going through hard times. By covering all these areas of a woman’s life that could have contributed to her downward spiral towards addiction, she is able to bring herself out of the pits of addiction and move towards a drug-free, more fulfilling life.