The Benefits of Women-Led Recovery Support Groups
In terms of substance use and addiction support groups, organizations like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings have worked for millions of people over several decades. These groups have proven to be valuable resources that offer a wide community of peer support as well as step-by-step programs known to help many get and remain sober. But what happens if you don’t feel comfortable in a 12-Step group? Or want to supplement your existing recovery program with another community, preferably a women-centered one?
Why Some People Need Women-Led Support Groups
Sometimes you need a group you can relate to in order to support your sobriety. AA and NA groups are very welcoming—however, having a mixed-gender group may pose issues for some women. There are several reasons why some people may want to supplement their current addiction recovery program with a women-centered one, including:
- Women sometimes just want a safe space where they can feel like themselves. In women-led groups, they may feel more freedom to discuss difficult topics such as female-specific health issues, body-image issues, motherhood, pregnancy, relationship problems, and abuse.
- Venturing into a co-ed group like AA can feel uncomfortable—and for some, unsafe. Substance use or addiction can sometimes stem from domestic violence, sexual assault, or rape at the hands of fathers, male relatives, boyfriends, or husbands. Entering a space that may contain mostly male attendees could pose as a trigger for emotional distress in these cases.
- Men and women often heal differently from addiction and may have different needs. Research has shown that women react to (and metabolize) chemical substances differently than men.
- Attending an all-female support group can help eliminate the temptations that can arise in a co-ed situation—keeping women more focused on sobriety.
- Members of a women-led group may be at different levels of recovery and can offer practical advice and real-life “female-specific” information about the best ways to rebuild life after addiction.
For these women, in-person as well as social media and online supportive sobriety groups beyond the traditional AA or NA communities can be a welcome addition. If this sounds like something that would interest you or a loved one in recovery, here are some groups to get you started:
She Recovers is considered one of the largest resources for women in addiction recovery. They offer retreats, coaching, resources, and more for like-minded women who want to be “stronger together” in recovery. She Recovers believes that you don’t have to hit “rock-bottom” in order to recover from substance use or addiction.
Since 1976, Women for Sobriety has supported all women seeking to have a new life free from drug and alcohol addiction. This community offers support both online and in-person, as well as one-on-one support over the phone. Based on 13 acceptance statements that focus on positivity, responsibility for oneself, and emotional growth, the program helps women to positively change negative thought and behavior patterns in order to establish a healthier and happier life in recovery.
Forever35 is a podcast between two best friends that has sprouted many Facebook groups. The community consists of mostly women who support each other throughout the sobriety journey. The group does acknowledge that its members do things differently and have different philosophies about drinking. They believe, “living a sober/more sober life can be challenging enough without judgment from others.”
Sober Mommies is a Facebook group that enables moms in sobriety to connect with one another. This judgement-free support group tries to provide opportunities for women who are balancing recovery and parenthood, as well as the unique challenges this lifestyle brings.
Women, Addiction, and Treatment
Sometimes you need a group you can relate to in order to support your sobriety. Many women find it helpful to be in the company of others who share their experiences and who are familiar with the issues that can be unique to women in recovery, such as pregnancy. Women may also feel stigma around their addiction or substance use disorder, so having the support of other women in recovery can be priceless.
That being said, it’s always important to remember to vet any addiction recovery group and community to make sure they are valid and determine whether or not their mission is right for you. If you or a loved one is suffering from addiction or a substance use disorder, you are not alone. Addiction is incurable, but treatment is available, and there is hope in recovery. Free yourself from the grip of addiction and get help today. Contact the knowledgeable recovery experts at Daylight Recovery Services now at 1-833-2DAYLIGHT.
“What progress, you ask, have I made? I have begun to be a friend to myself.” – Hecato