Lush for Life? –
FEBRUARY 6, 2020 – As women in recovery, we were pleased to see “Clearing a path to sobriety” (Feb. 1) on local efforts to expand gender-specific treatment options for women. Many struggle with histories of trauma, mental health disorders and self-esteem challenges, while juggling the demands of employment, household management and caregiving for children, parents and family. We were disappointed, however, to see treatment professionals using the loaded label “alcoholic,” instead of the more clinically accurate “alcohol (or substance) use disorder.”
Our culture has long viewed “alcoholism” as a moral failing and the “alcoholic” as morally deficient. We are grateful that education efforts from the treatment and recovery community are beginning to change that stigma. Despite those efforts, however, those of us in recovery know all too well that society continues to judge and shame people with substance use disorders. This can and does prevent women from seeking help.
The article points out that women are the fastest-growing demographic struggling with problematic drinking. We live in a culture that on the one hand normalizes alcohol and promotes the “pinking of drinking” with skinny cocktails and wines with names like “Girls Night Out,” and on the other hand blames and labels women when they are unable to manage the highly addictive liquid.