Relapse Among Women
For a woman committed to sobriety, relapse is a very real fear. A lot of people fall back into old habits. Statistically, a lot more alcoholics and addicts end up using than staying sober. If you’ve been to a women’s addiction treatment center, an IOP, or support meetings, you know that relapse is more than the final moment when you take that drug or swallow that drink.
A relapse is a series of events that eventually lead to a moment (of insanity!) where someone has convinced themselves to use. Some people convince themselves that it is just a slip when it is much more than that. There is a difference between a slip and a relapse.
Where Does a Relapse Begin?
A relapse starts in your mind. It starts in so many small ways that it’s difficult to list them all.
It begins when the pattern of thinking that served you well as an addict starts to take over again. Defense mechanisms that protected you in active addiction start to reemerge. Denial and an unwillingness to face or accept life challenges is a common jumping-off point. If you can’t admit you have a problem, you can’t ask for help in solving the problem, and you’re already in a downward spiral.
Other addictive behaviors might also start to reemerge, or maybe they were already present. The common theme in any relapse situation is an awareness that there’s an issue, but an unwillingness to face it. Like an untreated wound, this issue festers – it feeds the disease.
As effort increases to maintain the illusion (which, by the way, only fools and hurts you), the disease is gaining strength. Once in denial, it’s easy to blame outside factors for unhappiness that starts to take over. At this point, being sober isn’t worthwhile because you aren’t happy – why not just get high?
That’s why humility is such a vital part of recovery. If you can’t admit you need help, your problems will chip away at the foundation of recovery you’ve built. That doesn’t mean that every minuscule issue has to be discussed ad nauseam.
Rather, if resentment or fear is eating at you, talk to the women in your life that support you. If you have a problem that you’ve tried to confront but isn’t getting better, tell someone. Pick up the phone. The mind is a very powerful thing, and for an addict or alcohol, it’s also very dangerous. The incredible thing is when you start to make a habit of being honest, when you commit to being transparent, that powerful mind becomes a blessing.
Relapse among women ISN’T a requirement for recovery, but humility and honesty definitely ARE.
Do Women Relapse Easier Than Men?
No, women do not relapse at higher rates than men. Although there are limited studies on this matter, the studies that have been conducted have shown similar or lower relapse rates among women. Additionally, women abuse drugs and alcohol at lower rates than men. What has been researched is risk factors for relapse among men and women. An interesting correlation that was found is that “for women, marriage and marital stress were risk factors for alcohol relapse; among men, marriage lowered relapse risk.”
Reasons Why Women Relapse
- A stressful or otherwise unhealthy relationship
- Untreated or undiagnosed mental health disorder
- Unrealistic expectations set upon them
- Inadequate coping skill
If you or a woman you love is struggling with recovery, reach out to the specialists in women’s addiction treatment. Contact Lighthouse Recovery Institute today!