Why do women put each other down instead of building each other up? As women, we are quick to do this. We bully, criticize, condone, belittle, and disgrace one another. Women in recovery have a hard enough time overcoming the guilt, overcoming the stigma, and the shame associated with addiction. The last thing any women in recovery needs in someone putting her down. Enough is enough ladies, it’s time to make a change. It’s time to support one another instead of badmouthing one another. As a recovering addict, you should be ecstatic, be motivated, and be empowered. Let’s empower each other, empower women in recovery.
All Too Familiar
Picture this scenario, you are out to eat with a few close friends and a woman you all know from school walks in. In school, she wasn’t very popular, the misfit so to say. Now, she is this tall, attractive, successful business woman. The transformation is utterly amazing. While you and the two friends you are with are all staring because you can not believe your eyes, the woman smiles politely and takes her seat. All 3 of you wave. The woman leaves the restaurant and you all start talking shit. It’s oh my gosh, did you see her? She looks so different. Well, do you remember when she did that in school? Or I heard that she had plastic surgery and liposuction? I heard her husband left her because she was sleeping with a co-worker. She was wearing too much makeup. And did you see what she was wearing?
Sound all too familiar? Not one nice thing to say. No one said wow, good for her. She deserves it. No, instead every single one of you put her down and why? Jealousy, plain and simple. I know the first thought that popped into your head was “I’m not jealous”. You may not be jealous of the way she looks, or what shoes she had on but, you were jealous. Jealous of the fact that there is a chance that her life may be better than yours. It could be that she looks the way that you want to. Maybe, she was driving the car you had always dreamed of owning. Or it could be that she has a successful career and you are a stay at home mom.
Now, let’s add a little more to the story. Add in the fact that the woman is a recovering drug addict. Would you have had anything different to say? Of course, you would have and it would be nothing nice. Rewind to when she walked out of the restaurant and your little clique started to make comments. It would change to, “I heard she was a crackhead”. I was told she was a prostitute that walked the streets. I heard that her daughter is the result of her sleeping around for money, she doesn’t even know who the daddy is. The only reason she is so skinny is because she is on the “stem fast diet”.
Why? Why does the story always seem to go that way? Instead, it should have been good for her, she has accomplished so much. That poor girl has been through hell, it is great seeing her doing so well. I am so glad she was able to turn her life around. That woman is an inspiration.
As women, we like to feel good about ourselves. I do and I know you do too. Why do we have to put each other down in order to make us feel better about ourselves? I will admit I used to be that way, I have been cut down and I have been the person doing the harm. There will come a point when you either won’t let it bother you, stay away from the people who do it, and realize it’s ignorant and immature to act that way. Whether or not you say it to the persons face, you are still doing it.
Women in The Rooms
All of this being said is one reason I do not attend NA and AA meetings. I’m not saying all meetings are all like this. Yet, I have seen this happen with women all too often and I do not want to be a part of it. When women are in early recovery they are vulnerable. They are hurting, their emotions are running wild. Those ladies who are new to the sobriety game need to feel love, support, and guidance. We need to empower women in recovery, in early recovery, in every stage of recovery. Not disclude them. There are cliques in the rooms just as there was in high school.
Women and men each recover in their own time and in their own way. If someone chooses to recover using medicine-assisted treatment or to recover using holistic practices, or cold turkey, it doesn’t matter. The way a person chooses to recover is their own personal choice and what works best for them. The last thing that should happen is other women in recovery putting a person down because they did not recover the same way. Unfortunately, it happens quite often.
As the above scenario, women compare themselves to each other, whether they admit it or not. Focusing entirely on women in recovery. They compare themselves to one another, especially those who have been in recovery for quite some time. If two women have the same amount of clean time yet, one was able to establish her ideal life while the other wasn’t. Jealous and rage kick in at full force. Yes, it is human nature but, it comes down to comparing yourself to others when you shouldn’t.
We all live in different places, have different jobs, different bodies, different personalities, different goals, and follow different paths. Do not compare yourself to another women’s successes or failures. You are two different people. While you might be the same age or maybe even dated the same man, your success in recovery and success as a person are unrelated.
Ways We Undermine Women in Recovery
It is clear by now as women, we badmouth, criticize, and demoralize other women way more often than we should. Aside from the shame and stigma women in recovery already face, we deal with even more bullshit thanks to the way women can be. Why some women must put others down in order to feel better about them self is utterly ridiculous. Yet, it happens.
As both a recovering addict and a recovery mentor, I have dealt with this first hand and I have clients that must deal with this disrespect. Some women have come to terms with it and are strong enough not to let it bother them. Still, others can feel ripped apart from the inside out. It affects them more than the aggressors will ever realize. Also, it’s sad to say that the aggressors are both people who have never had experience with addiction and actual people in recovery.
Many women in recovery have a past that they would rather forget. I hate anyone bringing up my past. Now, I am comfortable discussing my past with others in recovery because many of them have been in similar situations. As for people who have never dealt with any form of addiction, I do not and will not share my story with many. The problem is that many people including women will use your past against you, to try to bring you down. This is how and why.
- Labels – Women are labeled by other women due to their past. She’s a slut, whore, a bum, a manipulator, trash, junkie, cheater, a thief, a liar, scum, etc. People change, women in recovery should not have labels out on them for their past.
- Sexual Endeavors – During addiction, many women use their sexual power to make money. It’s not something we are proud of but, if a person has never been in that situation, she will find herself better than you.
- Relapse – Have you ever had a person think they are better than you because it took you 20 times before you stayed in recovery and she got it on her first try. Yes, it happens.
- Treatment – Already mentioned, the way you recover. It doesn’t matter how you got clean, what matters is you clean. I can’t believe some people actually argue they are better because they went cold turkey, etc.
- Bodies – Let’s get one thing straight, as we get older our bodies change. When we go from a skinny, malnourished, drug addict to a healthy, well-fed individual, our bodies change. If you don’t like the way I look then don’t look at me. Although I don’t let this form of hate bother me, it affects some women immensely.
Let’s Empower Women in Recovery
I chose to share my story with the world to inspire and empower women in recovery. If you don’t want to share your personal experience, that’s fine. There are other ways to empower women in recovery. The first step is to be empowered women yourself. You can’t pull someone else up if you don’t completely and totally live and breathe what you are saying.
As a recovering addict, you have seen things, faced things, and made it back from hell. You have every right to hold your head up high and be proud of all that you have accomplished. It doesn’t matter how big or small your accomplishments are, the fact of the matter is that you beat the disease of addiction. You are taken the initiative to give yourself the future that you dream of. Do not let others bring you down. You did not fight to only come this far or to let others dissuade you from achieving your dreams. We empower women in recovery because we are women in recovery. Successful, powerful, and unbreakable. Nothing can stop us now.