Celebrating Women in Recovery: Three Powerful Sobriety Stories

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Historically, women have faced more challenges and greater barriers than men for a myriad of reasons and in a variety of areas – professionally, financially, culturally.

These traditional barriers and challenges apply especially to women who are struggling with drug and alcohol addiction, many of them rooted in stigma that also prevents them from reaching out for help.

Culturally, women experience greater stigma around addiction, mostly due to their roles as organizers, caregivers, mothers, and typically the gatekeeper of the family — often on top of working full-time and building a career.

That is why the millions of women who are thriving in sobriety are such powerful examples of how recovery can transform lives — against great odds.

Women in Recovery 

In celebration of Women’s History Month, here are just a few of powerful stories from women who are thriving in recovery:

Meet Katelyn

My whole life it always seemed like everyone knew how to do life except for me. I always felt so lost compared to everyone else. People would say things like “be in the moment” and “one day at a time” and that never made any sense to me. I can honestly say that I’ve learned how to do those things today.

I learned so many things in treatment. I learned how to set boundaries with people who I needed to set boundaries with. Treatment was a much-needed break from life where I was able to sort out the things that I needed and didn’t need in my life. I also learned that it mattered what I did when I left treatment. My advice to anyone who finishes treatment is to find a 12 Step fellowship that you can feel a part of. That’s when the work really matters!

Today, I am an ACTIVE member of a 12 Step program. I have a sponsor and I sponsor other women. I also really enjoy service work. One of the first things I did straight out of treatment was diving into service work. This allowed me to meet and befriend people in the fellowship easily, and it kept me out of my head.

Long-term constant sobriety has changed my life in so many ways. I’ve learned how to be an excellent daughter, a caring wife, and a nurturing mother. My sobriety means the world to me because without sobriety I wouldn’t have any of those relationships today.

I think it’s so important to share my experience with others because I truly believe that only another addict/alcoholic can help someone of the same variety. It was so easy for me to relate to people who had walked the same walk as I had in the beginning. It’s almost like they spoke the same language as I did, and I had never heard anyone speak my language before. I felt at home when talking to another addict/alcoholic. I still feel the same way today even after three continuous years of sobriety.

Meet Renee

In the early 1990s, my addiction to alcohol was out of control. So much so, that my husband gave me an ultimatum: Either get help or he was leaving with our children. Me, in my usual intoxicated state, didn’t believe he would carry out such a threat, however, “just to show him” I called Valley Hope, drunk and crying about coming to treatment.

I had no intention of going, however, I wasn’t going to “let him win.” The next day, thinking it was over and resuming my usual drinking pattern, he came home with information about Valley Hope.

I called and made the appointment to show him that I didn’t need to quit, I just needed to “calm” down with my consumption. I wouldn’t let him take me, I was very angry with him, so I drove myself. I was angry, scared and humiliated that I was being what I felt, forced to a facility that I didn’t really need. 

Within a week, my attitude of “just calming down my drinking” became “I am an alcoholic, I can’t drink socially, and my past does not define my future.” 

Thirty years later, I remain in recovery.

Everyday, we have choices that we ourselves are responsible for. Everyday, I chose to embrace my sobriety with pride.  I am living proof that if you truly want to, you can change. You can live a life of happiness in sobriety, even through the toughest of times.

Meet Susan

To me, sobriety means so much more than not drinking. It’s being accountable for myself, my actions, and my place in this world. It’s living in the present, always aware I have choices to make every day. Sobriety is being intentional with things—my choices, my words, my interactions with others, and the impression I make on people, especially those in early recovery. How I make them feel. How I help them see.

Sobriety has given me a whole new life, and it’s better than I could’ve dreamed. That’s not just a catchphrase. It’s the truth.

I’m a writer and artist. I was fully convinced my “creativity” was tied in with being altered. Oh, was I wrong!

It took a bit of time, but once I had the courage to begin creating again, I was stunned at the depth and clarity of my work, both writing and painting. It’s almost as though something inside me has been freed, and it’s churning out endless ideas, endless inspiration. It’s humbling, it’s exhilarating, and it’s created a whole new chapter for me—figuratively and literally.

Treatment and recovery  saved my life. It helped me find who I really am—the Susan who was waiting there for me, just under the surface, ready to break free.

I am so unbelievably grateful.

In treatment, the biggest lesson I learned is the importance of addressing past trauma, the emotions associated with that, and understanding how that caused me to stuff everything down and “play happy.” Once I accepted I was in a safe place, and that I was being asked to feel and talk and emote, things started to happen for me. We can’t heal if we don’t feel, and as much as it can completely suck at times to ride that rollercoaster of emotions, it’s imperative to do so.

It’s soul-searching, hard work, but it brings you to authenticity, to emotional and physical health, and it’s life-changing in more ways than I can express. It’s worth it 1,000 times over. Hell, a million times over.

Finding Addiction Treatment for Women

If you are a woman struggling with addiction, do not let stigma and barriers to seeking help prevent you from getting the help you need. A better life is out there, for you and for your loved ones.

Recovery from drug and alcohol is more than just possible for women struggling with the disease – it happens every day at Valley Hope Addiction Treatment and Recovery. Effective treatment options are easily accessible and customized to meet the needs of women and the individual challenges they face.

Valley Hope’s full continuum of care provides all patients with effective addiction treatment, including medically-monitored detox that safely and comfortably minimizes the symptoms of withdrawals. When combined with a full continuum of residential and outpatient addiction treatment, Valley Hope patients can find freedom of substance abuse and enjoy healing in long-term recovery.

To find a Valley Hope Addiction Treatment and Recovery location near you, explore our 14 programs across six states, including Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas.

If you are a Mom with children or pregnant and need help, explore our New Directions for Families program in Littleton, Colorado.

For immediate help 24/7, call your Local Admissions Team at (800) 544-5101. Remember that you’re not alone, and your life matters. Don’t delay – compassionate, life-changing help is always available.