Imperative issues with women in recovery

Living in a stereotypical society, it is difficult for a woman to find a group where she can share and discuss her life’s experiences that weigh on her mind. Initially, the burden of addiction obscures thinking, tangles emotions, and compounds any existing life challenge by distorting reality. Presently, however, keeping in mind these issues with women, the number of support groups has also escalated in order to address these concerns and help women deal with drug-free life. Powerlessness, guilt, shame, responsibility, self-actualization, choices, and self-image and self-esteem are some of the imperative issues with women today.

Women and ‘powerlessness’

Powerlessness is inaction, stagnation, doing nothing- and women have grown up hearing an awful lot of “don’ts” and “can’ts.” This list leads them to feelings of bewilderedness, frustration, sadness or defeat. Therefore in order to feel unperturbed and get rid of these feelings, they usually end up blaming others- curling up inside their powerlessness which is a mentally exhausting process. Alcoholics and addicts are powerless over their substance, meaning that once they start, they don’t have the control over stopping and once they stop they don’t exert any control over when they may start. In simpler terms, victims of chemical dependency have a physical allergy and mental obsession over the chemical and hence addiction is also known as a “cunning, baffling and powerful disease”.

From powerlessness to power

The opposite of powerlessness is power- the ability to bring about a change or a lasting effect. This certainly makes a person confident, especially a woman to exercise control over the problems. The word ‘power’ carries with it a feeling of energy and vitality. Therefore, it is important for women to not to exhaust themselves in their daily chores so much that they’re not left with any energy to deal with other important issues effectively. A good-night’s sleep has a positive effect on the mental and physical well-being of a person. Overlooking all the possible glitches to solve the problem, it’s now the time to act. The first step towards feeling in control is to think and be willing and open to new solutions to the problems. Making a decision is quite overwhelming as it requires following one particular path. Also, it can be confusing as it makes a person drift along, afraid to lose what should be done. In order make a better decision, one has to be willing to do so and identify their feelings. It is important to “trade-off” among the varied choices, their pros and cons, so as to take a decision or reach a solution to a certain problem. The decisions that are made need not be chiseled in stone- they can vary as and when the situation varies. However, it is important to evaluate the consequences of the choices made- to drink or to recover – you’re free to choose.

Goals in recovery

In the process of recovery from addiction, it is important to understand and gauge success and failure – whether or not the set goals are met. Alcoholics and addicts think, believe, act and feel based on distorted perceptions of themselves and of the world. Therefore, it is important for them to accept responsibility for their lives and women, as facts the history, have been a trademark for being the responsible one. It may not be easy and realistic to set goals for the long-run, women therefore, to make life seem more meaningful, should learn to work on their goals and decisions one day at a time which can also make the process of commitment less strenuous. Now this requires a meticulous planning; also, living in the clichéd situation the women alcoholics may find less support from the milieu as compared to men makes it more difficult to walk on the path of sobriety. Hence, it is very crucial for women addicts/alcoholic to find a support group outside family to overcome the blocks in recovery.

Women and self-image

Who am I? What is my worth? - These two are the legendary and prominent questions every woman on the face of this planet has asked herself! A woman’s identity as conflicted and dainty has always been in vogue though it is usually a case otherwise. Self-image can be understood as an overall idea of what we are - a depiction of our personality, appearance, and vigor. It is also a rumination of what others think about us which can either be true or distorted. Self-image works in sync with self-esteem- an individual’s sense of his or her value or worth. This sense of self-esteem estimates both the level of addiction and the advancement of recovery. Paradoxically, this sense of self-esteem is almost lost among addicts and alcoholics, especially among women with the building negative feelings among themselves ignoring the despicable behavior. Women, especially addicts and alcoholics, fail to credit themselves for their contribution. This low self-worth or low self-esteem emanates from the verdict of guilt and shame – enemies of recovery from addiction. Shame is a painful emotional by-product of guilt. These are two of the very strong emotionally disturbing feelings that cannot be overcome if not attended to. By attending to these feelings implies to express them, which again is a difficult task for chemically dependent women even though they are, either by nature or by training, more emotional than men. Feelings of guilt and shame in addicts and alcoholics cover up the identity of the problem and the solution because abusing alcohol and other drugs can lead to massive destruction of self and others once the person is in full conscience.

The power of faith in recovery

Because addicts and alcoholics tend to wallow in pain, thereby making sobriety out of reach, it is important to pave a healthy way to express guilt and feeling of shame so as guide future actions towards recovery - as suggested “Let Go and Let God.” It is important to face reality which requires enormous amount of faith - to believe in something we cannot see with our eyes or feel with our hands. Faith not only connotes to a belief in God of a Higher Power but also a belief in the foundation of an individual’s goals, hopes, feelings, and behavior. It is thus important to share our ideas of faith with someone. This may help us grow and mature. Beliefs are the other side of faith which makes it easy to discover oneself in connection to the Higher Power thereby enriching and shaping lives. Each day we are reminded that somewhere in the world there is war.

Each day we struggle to achieve some decency in life - some semblance of comfort - and find it a losing battle. Yet, paradoxically, we seek to attain a sense of fulfillment in lives and oddly it seems to fill us with emptiness, a sense of hankering, of grasping something we’re unsure of its existence. To reach this stage of fulfillment, one has to identify the basic needs – physical needs, safety needs, belonging and love needs, esteem needs and self-actualization needs. Once the needs are identified, a woman can work on herself, her overall personality. This helps to set clear goals, make plans to achieve it, and act on it. Understanding that no matter what, there is always a tickle of knowing that things can get better can enhance the recovery process to a great extent. This is a very vital process for addicts and alcoholics so as to restore sanity in themselves by surrendering and turning their will towards ‘God’.

“Every living organism is fulfilled when it follows the right path for its own nature.” ― Marcus Aurelius