Demystifying Denial for Women who Need Recovery

Is rehab fit for a lady? I’ve talked before about addiction treatment perceptions for women and how it’s more difficult for women than men to accept help for their substance abuse problems because of the roles we have adopted and portray but this article is about breaking down those ego constructs in order to demystify denial for women who need recovery, be able to surrender and ask for help.

Is rehab fit for a lady? Whether you identify as a lady or an athlete or a business women or supermom. The identity you relate with and have created, over time, comes with certain rules, and these specific rules lead to your denial.

These rules that are attached to your identity can prevent you from waving the white flag, accepting help, and entering addiction treatment.

Here’s a question for you. If you had a broken leg, a third degree burn, or heaven forbid; cancer, what would you do? What are the next, most appropriate steps to take? You’d go see a Doctor, not only a Doctor but a specialist, one that specializes in your current condition, in order to map out a treatment plan.

A treatment plan that he or she can execute in order for you to recover. You get sick or you have an injury, so you visit a medical specialist who is well versed in treating this problem, then you trust that your specialists will assist you in your healing process. Pretty simple, right?

At any point, would you ever consider saying; “Well, because i’m a lady, my cancer really doesn’t exist and I should probably just ignore the advice of my Doctors”

It’s insane to even conceive of this response, right.

Now, when it comes to drug and alcohol addiction, the response is very different.

The response becomes denial, resistance, anger, manipulation, lies – all the ugly stuff. Pretty much anything to avoid the advice of friends, family, and your specialists because your drinking and drugging isn’t a real problem and you can do it on your own.

By the way, this is the number one indicator that you do need help. If you say or hear a friend or loved you feel has a drug or alcohol problem say: “I CAN DO IT ON MY OWN!” Emergency, Red Alert, Defcon 1. It’s time to get help.

I can’t drill this in enough. You can see counsellors, conduct self assessments, visit assessment practitioners, spend countless hours trying to figure out if you or your loved one has a substance abuse problem but the answer is simple. The first time you hear, and you will; “I CAN DO IT ON MY OWN!” You/They have a problem and need immediate addiction treatment. No mincing, no dancing around – Get Help Now!

The problem is our identity acts as a barrier, a wall, a fence, blocking  authentic acceptance of addiction treatment.

For example; going to drug rehab is not very lady like. You see, this is a rule that has been attached to that identity. A rule that prevents you from being seen as; less than a lady. This is true for all identities. Is drug rehab lady like? If you answer no. Guess what? If you identify with being; a lady, then we have conflict.

Ask yourself; what rules prevent your identity from admitting, I can’t do this on my own, I need help?

Your identity is a construct designed to protect your identity not protect your survival necessarily.

So if drugs and alcohol are killing you but your admittance for help goes against the ego construct, you have conflict and resistance.

You see it’s not the drugs and alcohol that’s killing you and your relationships with life truly, it is your identity. Whoa! Wait a minute. Huh?

The Solution

The solution for this is very simple. Lose the words alcoholic, drug addict, and drug rehab. These words conflict with most identities unless you identify as alcoholic or drug addict, then you’ll identify with drug rehab, as well. Make sense?

The other piece of the solution is to find addiction treatment that aligns with your identity.

If you identify with the going example of; lady, then your may want to find addiction treatment services that align with that.

Would a holistic approach align with your identity? Would yoga align with your identity?  Would a focus on one on one counselling align with your identity? Would a women’s only treatment centre align with your identity instead of a co-ed experience?

Finding Addiction Treatment in Sync With Your Identity

You see, there is an addiction treatment centre that is right for you, and approaching it this way makes the process of finding addiction treatment more in sync with who you are.

So instead of trying to fit a round peg in a square hole, the solution for your needs and identity align, and your chances of experiencing long-term recovery after addiction treatment increases dramatically.

Is rehab fit for a lady? Absolutely, but demystifying the denial for women who need recovery is an imperative step.

Make sure you understand the barriers born from identity illness. Short list the rules that make you a lady and find an addiction treatment centre that aligns with your identity and then you’re only a few short months away from long term health and wellness. This I promise you!

Written by;

Norma Jean Pettersson

Norma Pettersson
Executive Director
West Coast Wellness Centre for Women
Maple Ridge, B.C.