How Women in Recovery Answer Sobriety Questions
There are many specific issues for women in recovery, ranging from a general lack of research specifically on addiction in women, to additional family pressures and social stigma. Having made the brave decision to seek treatment, your positive behavior changes might raise some questions.
Thinking about answering questions about your sobriety might make you anxious, but it shouldn’t be a barrier to choosing your own path to a better life. To prepare yourself for these possible questions all you need is to develop a response plan.
Be Confident in Your Choices
Sobriety is a personal journey and a series of choices. Remember that it is up to you what you choose to put into your body, and you are making the right choice for your health and happiness.
- First, be confident in your right to refuse drugs or alcohol, just as you might refuse shellfish when you know you are allergic.
- Second, be confident in your right to answer personal questions or not, as you choose.
With that confidence, then you can decide what, if anything, you wish to share with the questioner about your reasons for abstaining. You never need to share more than you wish. Vigorously questioning other women’s sober living choices is over the line in any conversation.
It’s Nobody’s Business But Your Own
You may have been focused on addictive behavior for some time. Your awareness of alcohol or other drugs is probably heightened, and you might feel you are on the defensive in a social situation where they appear. That’s normal in recovery.
It might not occur to you immediately, but most people don’t care one way or the other if you are using intoxicants. When the offer is made and you reply simply “no thanks,” the average person accepts that and moves on to something else.
If they do care and feel the need to probe and push to find out why you aren’t, it’s really their problem showing. That level of personal questioning and pressure is not appropriate, and at some point, they cross the line into rudeness.
So, What Do You Say?
Depending on your relationship to this person, different responses might be needed. Being directly rude in return is not comfortable for many women, and addiction may not be a topic you want to discuss with this person.
Here are some possible responses:
For those who know you socially, indirect answers are helpful.
- I don’t feel like it today. (big day tomorrow, tired, jet lag, early morning)
- I’m on a 6-week system cleansing.
- I’m on a special diet. (or vitamin, or medication)
- I just started a new fitness program.
- I’ll take a bottled water if you have one.
For nosy strangers, keep it short and sweet.
- Because I don’t drink/smoke/use that.
- I’m driving.
- I just don’t.
- I’m allergic.
- I’m good, thanks.
For those who push the issue, be more direct.
- I made a choice not to do it anymore. It’s not good for me.
- It’s a personal decision I’m not going to explain.
- Let’s change the subject.
- I don’t want to talk about it, thanks anyway.
- Silence – accompanied with turning your back or walking away.
Social gatherings will go more smoothly if you bring an ally who knows you are in recovery, you or your ally fixes all of your beverages, and you have an exit strategy or excuse lined up should you feel the need to leave.
Some caring people may simply say the wrong thing to you. Forgive them for their clumsy responses when their intentions are good and let them off the hook by talking about something else. Over time, you won’t worry as much about these questions. Your friends will embrace your sobriety and you will learn to handle any questions with confidence and sober wit.
Above all, be confident and refrain from apologizing. You are in the right, doing the right thing for yourself. You don’t need to apologize for being sober.
What Specific Challenges Do Women Face?
Dealing with addiction can be especially challenging for women. Substance abuse statistics show that every 3 minutes, prescription painkiller misuse or abuse sends a woman to the emergency room.1 Women report using substances for less time before becoming addicted, and withdrawal may be even more intense. Women’s hormones may play a role in causing more intense cravings for, and more intense reactions to, certain drugs.
While it is difficult for anyone struggling with substance abuse to quit, women are often afraid to seek help, especially if they are mothers or expecting. Fears of legal consequences including losing their children keep many women from getting the treatment they need to recover.
Because of this, women need extra support during recovery to handle the burdens of family responsibilities while they seek treatment. Gender-specific programs will focus on the unique needs of women in recovery and deal with the very different reasons that women abuse drugs or alcohol.
Women identified these reasons for drug use1:
- Stress or anxiety related to motherhood (49%)
- Romantic relationships (47.4%)
- Pressure from family and friends (37%)
- A traumatic experience (35%)
- General feeling of boredom (35.3%)
Domestic abuse and unhealthy relationships are often part of substance abuse in women. Divorce, loss of child custody, or the death of a parent are other common triggers. These events may also set off panic attacks, anxiety, or depression for which women self-medicate. There is a greater chance of relapse if these specific causes are not addressed in treatment.
Enjoying Sober Living
So many enriching opportunities are available to women, and drug abuse can be replaced with a world of activities designed to keep you entertained, engaged, and learning. New hobbies and active pursuits like these will retrain the body to release healthy chemicals in response, increasing feelings of well-being and preventing depression.
Pursuing Passions and Healing Hobbies
- Learn to play a musical instrument
- Visit aquariums, zoos, and botanical gardens
- Find a hobby or craft store and explore the possibilities
- Learn a new language and plan a trip
- Pursue solo sports like hiking, biking, climbing, or kayaking
- Consider volunteering for a cause you support
- Enroll in online courses or evening classes in a new area of interest
- Start journaling, or write an eBook
- Take yoga or meditation classes, in groups, or solo
- Join dance, martial arts, fitness, or crafting groups
Recovery in the Right Environment
A supportive addiction treatment program provides the best results for women. Women have the ability to heal quickly when they feel a connection with others and know that they belong. A female-focused transitional living environment might be the best first step for any woman who is feeling overwhelmed or unable to change.
Sometimes it is necessary to step away from the stressors and focus on recovery, as difficult as this may be for women. RECO Institute understands the unique needs of women in recovery and is one of the best options for women’s sober living in Delray Beach. Delray Beach provides a beautiful place to start the journey to recovery. With two female-only facilities to consider, you can choose the best 24/7 recovery environment.
The Hart. A luxurious retreat close to shopping and Starbucks, this residence was named in memory of Daniel Hart. With a chef-designed kitchen and spacious backyard including a screened-in porch and BBQ, The Hart offers a restful retreat and home-like atmosphere.
The Parker. An elegant, tranquil cottage within walking distance of shopping and Delray Beach, this home is a tribute to Clint Parker. Bicycle friendly, with a front patio and outdoor grill, opportunities to enjoy the outdoors abound at The Parker.
The focus at both of these residences is your health and healing. Both include access to RECO Intensive nutritionists, licensed therapists, case managers, and medical care. These comfortable transitional living facilities have semi-private bedrooms and 24-hour onsite staff. All feature wi-fi, flat screen TVs, satellite cable, as well as kitchen and laundry access.
The Question You Should Answer
Is it time for you or a loved one to consider sober living in Delray Beach? Do you need a safe, focused environment to deal with the root causes of your excessive drug use or addiction? If you are asking yourself these questions, you need answers.
At RECO Institute, your unique story is understood, and your individual needs are supported as you reorient your life. Reach out to us to learn more. Choose a new direction, rediscover what really matters to you, and find your way to a recovery that lasts a lifetime.