Although addiction and treatment have similar features for everyone, no two people are the same and so recovery is different for everyone. The circumstances of your life make a big difference for your recovery. There are significant differences, for example, between young adults and older adults. Men and women also have different needs in treatment. For a long time, men have been treated as sort of the default. However, recognizing some of the key differences between men’s and women’s recovery can lead to better outcomes for both. It turns out women may have some significant advantages in addiction recovery.
Perhaps the greatest advantage women have in addiction recovery is that they tend to be more social. This isn’t true of all women, of course, but on average, women are more likely to cooperate, at least overtly. This is important because social connection is one of the best indicators of long-term success in recovery. Studies have found, for example, that people who have the most success in 12-step programs are the people who engage most with the group, even if they don’t especially like the other members. Obviously, it’s better if you do like the other members, but engagement seems to be the crucial factor. Being more willing to share in group therapy and at 12-step meetings also facilitates recovery. People can better understand what’s going on with you and how to support you. Making sober friends is also an important part of recovery. And while women sometimes have more trouble cutting old ties, they also have a little easier time making new friends.
Women tend to take less for granted in their recovery. Men are more likely to believe they can control their substance use and less likely, in general, to see substance use as dangerous. As a result, they may take more risks, especially after a period of sobriety. Women are less likely to become complacent. Although everyone has ups and down, women are less likely to assume they have the problem under control.
Men are often told from a young age not to cry, not to admit you’re hurt, and generally not to talk about your feelings. Women are less often subjected to this particular kind of social conditioning. As a result, they are often more comfortable talking about their feelings with others. This can make individual therapy and group therapy go more smoothly.
More likely to seek help
Because men are more likely to feel like they can control their substance use and more reluctant to admit when they’re having problems, they are also less likely to seek help. This could be for addiction or for co-occurring disorders. For example, although men are about half as likely as women to suffer from depression, they are much more likely to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol. Women are typically more willing to seek help for these problems, although the stigma of drug use often prevents women from seeking help for addiction, even when they know they have a problem.
Pinnacle Recovery specializes in inpatient rehabilitation, trauma recovery, AA programs and AA alternatives, experiential therapy, dual diagnosis, family therapy, co-occurring and dual diagnosis addictions. We also offer a wide range of sober living and intensive outpatient treatment programs. Call 1-866-301-0573 today for more information.