Women, Sex and Addiction: The Unique Issues We Face
There’s one single moment in every drug addict’s daily life that evokes a stark invasion of raw emotion. While for most, the simple act of waking up is the first spark of daily energy, this brief moment for a drug addict is commonly rife with dread, fear and shame. Where am I? How did I get here? Whose house is this? And for a female addict, as the eyes open slowly, a tsunami-sized wave of self-contempt commonly washes over us immediately; what did I give of myself to get here?
The dark side of drugs has been glorified for years, especially in Hollywood. We often see the latest hot actor portraying a grungy addict who has lost everything he ever loved and yet, miraculously manages to recover through pure self-determination (and usually the support of a loving woman) by the end of the movie. And although we have seen variations of this movie countless times, there is still one aspect of addiction that hardly gets any attention and certainly not in Hollywood: the female addict. It’s an untouchable subject.
Women addicts are not a popular topic; it’s a man’s world after all, even in the brutal world of addiction. We are the sisters and mothers and wives and therefore, our imperfections are silently tucked away and simply whispered about in unflattering tones.
Yet, this world of addiction has something so particularly dangerous for women that it needs to be talked about, openly and urgently. Women are in acute danger as addicts because of their sex and its value to the male dominated world of drug dealers and users. Addicted women ultimately hit rock bottom at some point and often find themselves using their bodies as financial means of finding drugs. And even if a presence of mind still exists somewhere in her addict life, women are often raped or even sold to others while under the influence. This is the dark reality of the female addict.
As we all know, selling sex is nothing new. Heck, selling your body is a practice that goes back a long time, commonly referred to as the world’s oldest profession. But when we’re specifically talking about exchanging your body for drugs the dynamic of client and provider is changed drastically. No longer is the exchange a money for service transaction, but rather a dominant form of sexual violation, often leaving the woman with nothing but a temporary quick fix that comes with long-lasting repercussions such as STDs and pregnancy.
Making Peace and Finding Health
At some point, most addicts feel that they have reached the point of no return and for a female addict, the process of finding help is even more complex. Psychologically, a woman who has sold herself for drugs in the past will have layers of shame that may be a large hurdle in her recovery process. The sexual shame often prevents women from seeking help and can even, once in rehabilitation, hinder the recovery process as self-value is a huge part of forgiving oneself and moving forward. This vast shadow of humiliation can be even more complex when combined with physical issues such as diseases and pregnancy.
The First Step
Finding a recovery center that understands the unique issues women addicts face in women is essential. Male and female addicts recover differently and need distinct treatment programs. Many women, once determined to overcome their addiction, will be faced with confronting their past history of not only drug or alcohol abuse, but their sexual experiences as well. Therefore, finding a rehabilitation center that specializes in dealing with the complex world of a female drug addict is the best first step to help someone trying to turn their life around.
No matter what the past says about someone, the future always has more in store for us. The life of an addict doesn’t have to end in disease or death; there are more options. Once an addict finds a proper support system and the internal strength to improve their situation, anything is possible. For women addicts, rehabilitation can be a very hard road with a lot of barriers. That’s why it’s extremely important to find the right treatment center with experience professionals that are familiar with the gritty world of a female addiction so that the rehabilitation process can be successful.