How to Support the Women in Your Life in Recovery
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Women face unique challenges and barriers to treatment and recovery from addiction. Having friends and family who understand their needs can help women overcome some of their difficulties. The support they receive from the family and friends in their lives can be invaluable at a time filled with change and adversity.

Someone to Lean On, Not Someone Who Pressures

Deciding to seek treatment is difficult, and women are often encouraged or even mandated to seek treatment rather than making that decision of their own accord. Yet there are many barriers that women have to overcome in order to receive treatment, including finances, finding childcare, or job insecurity due to gender. Additionally, women face more stigma and discrimination than their male counterparts both for having a substance use disorder and also for seeking treatment.

With all of the pressure they may have to seek treatment and all of the extra challenges they can face in order to access care, the last thing the woman in your life needs is one more person to pressure them. This is a time when, more than ever, she needs family and friends to lean on.

Help Keep the Women in Your Life Safe

Women with addiction are more likely than their male peers to come from a background of trauma or abuse. Some women must find a way out of an abusive relationship just to access care. Others may need trauma-informed care due to their history and thus need a program where they can feel safe. For these reasons, they may need extra support from you in helping them actually to be safe or to help them find a treatment facility where they feel protected.

There are other safety issues for women, such as pregnancy or breastfeeding, mental health disorders like depression, anxiety, or an eating disorder, and being prescribed treatment that has not been adequately tested for women. As a friend or family member, you can help ensure that the woman in your life is safe by ensuring that she has all her physical needs addressed when seeking treatment.

Offer Understanding, Not Judgment

Even for those we love, it is very easy to pass judgment based on their lifestyle, choices, or even due to things they may have done that hurt us personally. However, judging the woman in your life does not help her at all in her recovery process. In fact, it could easily harm her and damage your relationship with her.

Women in treatment and recovery need someone who is compassionate and understanding. Even if it is difficult or painful, try to walk a mile in her shoes and understand what she has gone through and what she is going through now. Learn about what it is like to experience detox, treatment, and recovery.

Offering Support and Access to Aftercare

Once residential treatment is completed, she will need access to aftercare. Many women struggle to have access to aftercare for the same reasons they face barriers to initial treatment – finances, childcare, and job security. Aftercare programs provide much-needed education and reinforce new habits and routines to help prevent relapse.

With your support, you can help the woman in your life overcome these barriers and access the aftercare she needs. Helping her be strong and realize the importance that aftercare will have in her can significantly impact her recovery process. Offering transportation, childcare if possible, or even just emotional support as she clears this next hurdle in her healing will be invaluable to her.

The Long-term Emotional Support Needed in Recovery

Remember that she will still need your emotional support once she has completed her residential and aftercare programs. Just because she is no longer in a daily treatment program does not mean she is cured. Recovery is a long journey, and the more friends and family she has with her on that journey, the more likely she is to stay on that path.

Being that friend or family member that she can call at any hour when she is having a rough time, who will listen and not judge, will be a source of strength to her. Understanding that going out to eat, celebrating holidays, or attending special events may all be challenging for her, you can be the one who is there for her and offers her alternatives so that she does not relapse.

Helping her maintain her daily exercise, meditation or yoga, and other routines will give her strength during the weak moments while strengthening your relationship with her at the same time. Supporting the woman in your life can simply mean loving her unconditionally and being a part of her life.

How can you support the woman in your life in her recovery? Offering compassion, strength, and helping her to stay safe will help get her through treatment. Helping her access aftercare and giving her continued support beyond treatment will help her to prevent relapse. The Ho Tai Way – Recovery For Women is a residential treatment center for women with addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders in beautiful Costa Mesa, California. Our trauma-informed care offers women a safe, peaceful, and calm refuge for healing. We offer evidence-based treatment modalities along with complementary therapies for an individualized healing experience. We encourage family support with weekly family counseling sessions. Our goal is to educate and heal through self-awareness and teaching self-worth. How can The Ho Tai Way help you support the woman in your life? Call us at (714) 581-3974 to find out.