While some sober living communities provide private apartments, most use a communal system in which residents share both bedrooms and living spaces. Recreational areas might be shared, as might kitchens and even bathrooms. As a result, it’s not surprising that most sober living communities offer services to the members of just one gender.
Mixing and matching the genders within the same facility could lead to awkwardness and misunderstanding, and some people might find the concept too outlandish to even consider. Additionally, mixing the genders could allow romantic entanglements to blossom, and when they fall apart, this could make a relapse much more likely.
Sober living facilities might also have elaborate reasons for splitting the genders that have nothing to do with logistics. In fact, men and women might heal differently from addiction, and by providing women with their own specialized form of care, addiction treatment professionals might be providing these women with the best chance of healing they’re apt to encounter.
According to Harvard Medical School, women are less likely to become addicted to substances, when they’re compared to men. It’s possible that culture plays a role, as men are rewarded for their party-going, risk-taking ways, while women are often criticized for taking changes and cutting loose. In this environment, women might just be less likely to dabble in drugs, so they may be less likely to develop a subsequent addiction.
Research also suggests, however, that women make up for lost time when they do begin to use substances, and they develop addictions quite quickly as a result. Their addictions might be much more severe, when compared to men, and the social consequences they face could be devastating, including:
While women could enroll in treatment programs to get better, they might find it difficult to maintain their sobriety while they’re living at home. Often, women with addictions live in chaotic environments that seem to reinforce an addiction, and their rates of relapse might be huge as a result. For example, in a study in the American Journal of Public Health, researchers found a strong link between frequent drug use and partner violence, and the link worked in both directions. Using drugs made these women more likely to get hit, while getting hit made them more likely to use drugs. Cycles like this are hard to break without help, but unless the patterns are broken, women with addictions might always be living in a dangerous world where drugs seem to provide the only escape possible.
While treatment is the best way to handle an addiction issue, women who need a little more help to maintain their sobriety may find a sober living community intensely rewarding. Here, they’ll have the opportunity to live with other women in recovery, and the environment will be safe, sober and supportive. Rules will ensure that no addictive substances are used or even present in the facility, and guidelines will help women to develop a day-to-day schedule that is productive and satisfying. Some programs for women even offer additional therapies, according to an article in the journal Addiction, including transportation, childcare services and community outreach. Programs like this can help women to heal on many fronts, and perhaps women would be less likely to relapse as a result.
Sober living facilities often encourage a communal form of healing, in which all residents work together to help one another and support one another. Women who live in facilities like this may develop a sort of second family out of the other residents in the facility, and they might stay in touch for years after everyone leaves the facility. For women who have experienced broken promises and frayed relationships due to decades of addiction, this community may be of vital importance, and a woman who participates may find that she’s better able to trust and relate to others she meets outside of the facility as a result. The social connections a woman makes in recovery can be vital to her long-term healing, according to an article in the journal Substance Use and Misuse, as women with advanced networks of people to lean on tend to make fewer sobriety mistakes when compared to women who go it alone. The close quarters of a sober living facility can make a sense of community a little easier to develop.
Women with small children may especially benefit from a feeling of community, if those children are allowed to move into the facility as well. These women may have other mothers to lean on for advice, and they can watch how these mothers handle their own children. Some women even form informal childcare partnerships, helping one another to raise the children right. Having children nearby can also be a prompt for continued sober living. After all, if these women stay sober, the children have a place to live. If the women relapse, everyone might be asked to move out. Despite these benefits, including children can be troubling from an insurance perspective, and not all women want to live in the company of small people who tend to make noise at all hours. As a result, women who want to bring their children with them as they heal might need to call around and search a bit before they find a facility that can give them what they need.
Women who don’t find the right facility run the risk of heading back to homes that fostered their addictions, and they might soon relapse. Others who don’t find a sober facility may become homeless, and these women face intense problems that their sheltered sisters might not face. For example, in a study in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, researchers found that women who were homeless had three times greater odds of health problems and 12 times greater odds of poor mental health, when compared to women living in a shelter. Homeless women were also more likely to:
As studies like this make clear, it’s vital for women to get help for an addiction issue in a sober living community, so they can avoid some of the more serious consequences of addiction that might befall them if they were to relapse. We can help women to find this vital help. Please call to speak with an admissions coordinator about your situation and your preferences for care. We can help you to find just the right facility to meet your needs.
Integrated Treatment of Substance Abuse & Mental Illness