The Heroine’s Journey in Recovery
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There are heroes, and there are heroines. Based on her work with women in therapy, Maureen Murdock recognized that women’s heroic journeys often differed from the mythological journeys many heroes in books and movies make. Often, women are oppressed or injured in a largely patriarchal society and thus struggle with their femininity and acceptance of the masculine and feminine. As you begin your healing in recovery, this journey of healing the wounded feminine may also ring true for you.

What Is the Heroine’s Journey?

Murdock was a student of Joseph Campbell, creator of The Hero’s Journey. However, she felt that women’s journeys differ from the journey he outlined because of the specific challenges that women face. As a result, she developed The Heroine’s Journey, which she felt more accurately depicted the psycho-spiritual struggles of the female experience.

The Heroine’s Journey Arc

Murdock’s Heroine’s Journey begins with a rejection of or separation from feminine values when a girl or woman seeks success and recognition in a society that is largely patriarchal. Whatever her experiences were included in her own personal journey, eventually, she experienced spiritual death and descent to the Goddess.

At this point in her journey, the heroine yearns to reconnect with the feminine. In doing so, she must acknowledge the dual nature of both the masculine and feminine and come to peace with both to complete her journey. The ten stages of the Heroine’s Journey Arc are as follows:

  1. Separation from the feminine
  2. Identification with the masculine and gathering of allies
  3. Road of trials: meeting ogres and dragons
  4. Finding the boon of success
  5. Awakening to feelings of spiritual aridity: death
  6. Initiation and descent to the Goddess
  7. Urgent yearning to reconnect with the feminine
  8. Healing the mother/daughter split
  9. Healing the wounded masculine
  10. Integration of masculine and feminine

How Does the Heroine’s Journey Relate to Recovery?

For many women, the root cause of their substance abuse is based on pain or trauma related to their femininity. They may have been emotionally, physically, or sexually abused by men in their lives. They may have also faced cultural and societal pressure or harassment based on their gender or struggled with female health issues or pregnancies. This pain separated them from their femininity and set them on their journey, including the Road of Trials.

Some women find success along the way, but ultimately, coping with this pain leads women to use substances, causing more trials and ultimately spiritual death. Addiction is like a descent to the Goddess, a dark time in which her soul is lost. She is lost. In order to find her way again and complete her Heroine’s Journey, she must heal the wounds and embrace her femininity again.

Healing Your Wounded Feminine

In order to heal from substance use disorder (SUD), you will also need to heal from the root cause of your substance abuse. This includes facing past pain and trauma and being willing to let go of personal and societal shame around your femininity and your addiction. Your Heroine’s Journey will consist of forgiveness of self, a quest for self-acceptance, and ultimately learning to love yourself for who you are, the masculine and the feminine.

The healing process of your journey will include the therapeutic work you do in treatment for addiction but will also include the healing of the mind, body, and spirit as you reclaim the masculine and feminine and seek holistic healing. Establishing balance in your life between the masculine and feminine and finding clarity in your life will help you truly heal your wounded feminine.

Embarking On Your Own Heroine’s Journey

Whatever your journey has been up until now, no matter how wounded you are or how dark or lost you may feel, you can embark on your own Heroine’s Journey. You are already halfway there. Your experiences thus far have tested you with fire, but there is a heroine deep inside that is being forged.

Making a choice to seek treatment for your addiction pushes you on to the next step in your journey and helps you move from shame to empowerment. Finding trauma-informed care to heal from your past will help you heal the wounded feminine and reconnect with the femininity inside of you. Learning to love and accept yourself again will help you to realize that you are enough, just as you are. You are already a strong, powerful, beautiful heroine inside; you simply need to find that out for yourself. That is your Heroine’s Journey. Healing from addiction to find the powerful warrior within. 

The Heroine’s Journey in recovery can be your journey. Following Murdock’s arc, your recovery journey may also be a struggle with the feminine experience in your own life. By healing your wounded feminine, you can embark on your own journey and find the beautiful warrior within you, the heroine of your own story. The Ho Tai Way – Recovery For Women is a detox and residential treatment facility for women in Costa Mesa, California. We offer evidence-based treatments and trauma-informed care to assist you in healing on your own Heroine’s Journey. Our compassionate and non-judgmental staff are here to help you reconnect with your femininity and heal from your trauma and addiction. You already have the tools inside you to achieve sobriety. We can help you use them. What else do you want to know about the Heroine’s Journey? Call The Ho Tai Way at (714) 581-3974 today.