Once upon a time it was okay for a man to be an alcoholic. Perhaps “okay” isn’t the right word but it was acceptable. It was acceptable because, well, men had pressures. After all, they were providers and had to face a real world everyday. Some men just had a tough time of it and who could blame them if they drank too much? It seems like many of these men were taken care of by their wives and mothers.
Once upon a time it was neither okay nor acceptable for a woman to be an alcoholic. What on earth kinds of pressures and stresses could she have? She didn’t work outside of the home and after all, taking care of a house and kids wasn’t called work. If she did drink too much, what kind of woman could she be and would there be anyone to look after her?
Today, in all honesty, I still do believe that in some areas of this great country of ours a double standard still exists. I believe it exists wherever and whenever people do not understand alcoholism as a disease. These people could be as close as your family members. There are people who just don’t understand any type of addiction and so I am not only speaking of alcohol. I use it because before Alcoholics Anonymous there were no 12 Step Recovery Programs of any kind.
With all of that said, I want to write about women in recovery. It is likely that those of you in recovery will attest to and affirm what I will say. For those of you who are still trying to figure out if you have an addiction or are still a bit shy about your place in recovery (meetings and a sponsor), please know that almost all of us women began where you are right now. Trust that my words about women in recovery are heartfelt and true.
It is said that working a recovery program for a woman is like attending beauty school! I’m going to add charm school to that also. We change physically. We begin to care for our bodies in a healthy way. Maybe we begin wearing makeup after a long time; or maybe we wear less makeup. The hardness in our faces begins to soften. The lines may always be there but we begin to smile and there is a new brightness in our eyes. We gain weight or we lose weight. We get back into exercise. We learn how to eat healthy. We have energy during the day because we now fall sleep at night naturally.
Our attitude toward others softens, especially towards our loved ones. Instead of retaliating with unkind words, anger in our voices and our faces, we think before we speak. Instead of criticizing others or arguing with anyone we think is wrong, we keep still and accept the fact that it really is better to keep quiet and be happy.
Women in recovery came in all colors, sizes and ages. We are rich and poor. We live in fast-paced urban areas and in places so rural that finding a recovery meeting, any meeting, is a real job. Women in recovery are married, divorced, and single. We are heterosexual and homosexual. We are mothers, grandmothers, and daughters. We have high-profile exciting careers and we have never held a job outside of the home in our lives. We are Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, etc. and even when we are not, we are spiritual.
Most of us women in recovery were born into this world as nurturing, maternal beings. Somewhere in our addiction(s), we used these qualities not only to control but to become victims. Today in recovery we have learned to sponsor other women. We listen and support and understand because deep down inside, we are all the same.
For the first time (and I hear this all of the time) we actually like other women. We are comfortable being around each other. For the first time we trust other women and even though for many of us it can still be difficult, we don’t judge another woman by what she wears, what she looks like, what she says and what she does. Women’s meetings take priority over any other mixed meeting because women in recovery are honest and know that only their sisters will look at them with love after they have confessed their darkest secret.
Women in recovery love each other and are not afraid to say it. There is a bond that is incredibly strong even after a short period of time. We know one another from the inside out. We’ve walked the same path and we need each other today and the next day and the next. Seek out women’s meetings. If there are none in your area you can start one. If for whatever reason this is not possible, befriend another woman in recovery and make a point of getting together or emailing or talking on the phone. It only takes two addicts to have a recovery meeting. Read and discuss the 12 steps; the 12 traditions; read and discuss anything that pertains to addiction and recovery.
We are women in recovery. We are in gratitude for each other and are grateful to each other. The grace and love of God continues to shine upon each one of us as together we trudge the road to Happy Destiny!
Namaste’. May you walk your journey in peace and harmony.
I am very pleased to tell you that I will be writing a monthly article for a wonderful site called billsfriends (the actual site is www.billsfriends.com). It is that special place you visit when you want something to celebrate your sobriety or someone else’s or maybe, just because you love what you see there! There are many beautiful signature pieces by Michelle B. (owner of the site) and this month she and I are celebrating “Women in Recovery”. Please visit www.billsfriends.com and share the site with all of your friends. Oh, by the way! Men are allowed!