Tips To Cope With Relapse As A Woman
Addiction is a problem that affects both men and women. It doesn’t discriminate. But how we cope with addiction, how we heal from it and how we relapse does depend on our gender. As a woman your motivations for using drugs or alcohol again, after a period of sobriety, are likely different from a man’s. The best way to cope and get back on your feet will also differ for you as a woman. If you do relapse, realize that there are effective ways to help you cope and get sober again.
Women And Relapse
Researchers have found that there are differences between the genders with respect to addiction, treatment and relapse. One study looked at thousands of alcoholics, both men and women, receiving treatment. Each participant attended an assigned style of treatment, but all were allowed to go to support group meetings in addition to their official programs. All then reported on how they fared in terms of sobriety, relapse and support.
The researchers found that men who took advantage of support groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, did so to make non-drinking friends and to build up a support network to help them avoid the temptations of being around alcohol. For men, being in social situations with alcohol was the biggest trigger to relapse. The study found that this wasn’t the case for women. For us, the biggest trigger is emotional. Women used support groups to cope with their emotions, like depression or anxiety, which tempted them to relapse and start drinking again.
Women And Emotions
Knowing that as a woman your primary triggers for relapse are your feelings and state of mind, you have a powerful piece of information. Knowing your triggers is the key to avoiding them and avoid having a relapse. With emotions backing your relapse triggers, it is more important than ever to pay attention to and care for your emotional life. Here’s what you can do:
Tips To Cope With Relapse And Emotions
- Stay in counseling – Therapy or counseling sessions help you recognize, regulate, and control your emotions. Many people who have gone through rehab simply stop attending sessions thinking they no longer need the help. You may not need your therapist as often as you once did, but you still need some check-ups. Keep a regular, even if infrequent, schedule of counseling sessions for emotional maintenance.
- Practice relaxation techniques – When your emotions start to build and you feel angry, lonely or depressed, you may want to turn back to your habit. Instead, turn to meditation, yoga, and other practices that help you relax and re-focus. These can be very powerful ways to control your urges to relapse.
- Take care of your body – Too often we are too busy to take good care of ourselves, but our emotional states are connected to our physical states. Eat well, get plenty of sleep every night, and get regular exercise and you will feel better every day.
- Get involved – Being intellectually and socially engaged with the world around you can help you to better cope with your emotions. Having a support network is important in helping you resist relapse urges, but so is engaging your mind. Try new activities and develop new hobbies and skills.
As a woman you face unique problems associated with your addiction and your potential to relapse. Unlike men, we are driven to abuse substances by our emotions. We cope with our feelings by using drugs or by drinking. When you can learn to recognize your destructive emotions and cope with them, you can avoid relapsing and stay sober.
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