What are the Benefits of Choosing Gender-Specific Addiction Treatment?
Thousands of people across the country leave rehab facilities every month. After successfully completing a rehab program and transitioning back to daily life after recovery is a delicate process. The fewer distractions and temptations that a person has, the better. Returning to “normal” life comes a range of stressors, including financial and family obligations. The goal of sober living is to make this transition process smoother and to help those in recovery avoid triggers for recurrence.
When a person attends a sober living environment that is all-male or all-female, the easier it can be to maintain sobriety. Gender-specific addiction treatment also relieves many of the pressures and temptations a person may have to use drugs or alcohol. Those who attend a gender-specific treatment facility have a better understanding of what each person is going through in regards to the challenges of recovery and maintaining sobriety. It’s also easier to avoid isolation in gender-specific settings. Below are some of the other reasons why a gender-specific treatment center may be ideal for a person exploring their post-rehab options.
A Safe Place for Healing and Recovery
Feeling safe and secure is a significant part of the recovery process. Stress is a trigger for drug or alcohol abuse, and fearing for one’s safety can dramatically hinder the recovery process. For a lot of people who attend inpatient rehabilitation, they may not be able to return to a safe living situation after rehab is complete. Women specifically are at increased risk of experiencing domestic violence than men, and this increased risk factor for addiction also increases the chances of a woman using drugs or alcohol.
In some cases, people who leave inpatient rehab may not have had the chance yet to develop strong confidence and boundaries to avoid triggers and pressures from work, school, or their home environment and family. In these instances, gender-specific sober living arrangements can help them tackle these challenges and reach their recovery goals faster, helping them gain resilience and confidence.
In a gender-specific sober living arrangement, the environment is designed to be positive, caring, optimistic, and trustworthy. Those who attend a sober living facility are given a foundation for strengthening the work they’ve completed in rehab. The sober living arrangements also prevent attendees from having their progress undermined by misinformed or toxic peers and family members.
Focus on Gender-Specific Needs and Challenges
Women and men have different needs and face different challenges when it comes to post-treatment issues and support. For example, men are more likely than women to struggle with recognizing emotional problems, understanding them, and expressing them to a support partner. Co-ed sober living situations can make men even more reluctant to share emotional pain and weakness. On the other hand, women may have an easier time expressing and recognizing emotions but have difficulty defining relationship issues that can undermine their success in a co-ed facility.
In gender-specific treatment settings, the common challenges that men and women face can be the focus of the treatment sessions. Treatment can also focus on strategies and plans to help men and women maximize the effectiveness of their goals for recovery.
Peer support and encouragement can make all the difference with the struggles that are often present in the early part of the recovery process. After initial treatment, the first several weeks afterward are some of the most challenging for people who are new to recovery and sobriety. Attending a gender-specific treatment center increases the chances that a person’s peers will have personal experience with what that individual is going through since they have been there too. In many cases, it’s easier for people of the same gender to relate to each other.
During those first few weeks, support, understanding, and encouragement are vital to ensuring that someone can stay on the path to recovery and continue to progress with their goals. Support and encouragement can give someone the motivation they need to get through some of the most challenging times in the recovery process. Supportive and caring people who are also on the road to recovery are unlikely to undermine someone else’s progress.
Structure and Routine
Formal treatment centers, such as inpatient rehab or partial hospitalization, offer attendees extremely structured and predictable environments for recovery. Once a person completes these types of programs, they aren’t given the same kind of structure that they need to remain sober. Being thrust into the world right after leaving rehab puts a person at risk of finding themselves in concerning situations, or around triggers and people who may encourage drug or alcohol use.
Not having access to the predictable structure, routine, and accountability severely undermines a person’s chances of avoiding a recurrence and reaching their recovery goals.
For many newly sober individuals, they need constancy, and predictable routines to protect themselves. A gender-specific sober living arrangement gives them access to structure and routines during the transition back to “normal” life. Sober living homes have rules surrounding expectations for attendees, such as keeping their rooms clean, completing certain chores, paying rent, or being held accountable for participating in recovery meetings. A gender-specific sober living arrangement, in particular, can offer residents comfort in knowing that the people in the home share the common bond of gender. For many, living with people of the same gender can also offer them comfort and further peace-of-mind during this crucial time of transition.
Lack of Distraction
The journey to healing from addiction requires intense focus. The last thing a person in recovery needs is a distraction from their goals and necessary recovery work. For many, living in close quarters to the opposite gender can be too distracting. A lot of people whose triggers for drug or alcohol abuse has its roots in relationship issues may benefit from spending time away from these types of distractions. Involvement in romantic relationships can sabotage a person’s recovery efforts, and it is recommended that people in treatment should avoid romantic relationships for at least a year after reaching sobriety.
When those in recovery live with others of the same gender, they are increasing their chances of reaching their goals. Living in a gender-specific treatment facility gives people access to routine, safety, encouragement, camaraderie, and a greater ability to focus on treatment.
Are you or a loved one going through the recovery process? Contact Ethos Recovery today. Our support counselors are standing by to answer any questions you may have.
Author – Chris Howard
Chris Howard is the Founder and Director of Ethos Recovery. He has a B.A. in Psychology from UCLA and has served as a community advocate/mentor for men and women in recovery since 2010.