Seeking recovery today can be very complicated, but is so important. Women have achieved great things but nearly catching up with men’s rates of addiction is an unfortunate reality in recent years. Women’s liberation has granted us more human rights and options in so many areas of life. Despite progress, females confront additional barriers seeking recovery. Few places provide child care and we are still disproportionately responsible for the children. Most research has focused on male bodies. Our bodies are “the deluxe model” and more expensive to study. Women “get sicker quicker” from substances and we don’t respond to medications exactly like males.
Perhaps the biggest barriers however are internal. An important part of change is the internal work. The internal work is finding ways to fight shame and stigma that is more profound for females in our culture. The expectations for how we hold it together are just different.
The Wise Woman
Who is The Wise Woman? She is you, me and every woman. Your Wise Woman is a part of you already. You possess inner wisdom. All women do. As a result, you need to cultivate that inner wisdom. This is a significant part of recovery.
This concept of The Wise Woman comes from Marion Hutton-Schoen. She sang with The Glenn Miller Orchestra. She was also someone who suffered from addiction. Marion got sober and found recovery. Marion didn’t stop there. She did more. She co-founded two treatment centers specifically for women. One is still in operation today, New Directions for Women in Costa Mesa, California. https://newdirectionsforwomen The other was Residence XII, which was in Kirkland, Washington. I worked there for over 16 years.
Marion Hutton studied Jungian psychology and she adapted some of Jung’s concepts.
(See related blog post Demystify The Shadow )
The Addict and The Wise Woman sides fight for control. The Addict is ruled by impulses. Immediate gratification is the focus. It works hard to avoid or numb or self-medicate pain. Seeking pleasure is a human drive. It becomes a problem when potential consequences are not considered. The Addict is driven by need, craving and compulsion. This is the definition of the cycle of addiction. This dynamic doesn’t only apply to alcohol and drugs. Similarly, behavioral addictions can be the focus. Many struggle with gambling, gaming, over-eating, shopping and engaging in codependency.