The number of DUI arrests for women has increased by almost 30% since the late 1990’s! A BAC of 0.08% equates to about four beers according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; however, men and women react differently to alcohol so it could be as few as one drink for a woman. Arrests for DUI’s can occur with a BAC under this limit if there are any signs of intoxication including falling asleep or having adverse reactions to prescribed medications. DUIs are often precipitated by a stressor or major life event, including an argument or domestic violence, a divorce or end of a relationship, a trauma or death in the family, or job loss.
Consequences to DUIs
Consequences to DUIs include expensive fines, community service, loss of driver’s license, probation and possibly jail time. Women of all ages drink and drive for different reasons. High school or college age women may drive under the influence to fit in as part of a peer group. Wives or girlfriends of heavy drivers may find themselves behind the wheel after a date night, when their partner is definitely too drunk to drive home. New mothers sometimes cope together, by drinking on playdates. Older women who recently lost their partner or are empty nesters may drink due to loneliness. Many women with DUIs are arrested very close to their residence, and may have their children in the care at the time. This further complicates the legal case, and definitely causes shame and trauma for the Mom, which can lead to increased drug use to cope.
If you or a loved one has been arrested for driving under the influence, it’s possible that alcoholism or drug addiction is affecting your life. Addiction is a chronic disease marked by a physical dependence on substances involving compulsive use, despite serious health and social consequences.
Getting a DUI should be a serious wake-up call. Even if you haven’t developed an addiction, this experience is a reminder that any amount of drugs and alcohol is unsafe while driving. Anyone misusing alcohol or drugs is on thin ice, and it’s important to prevent an addiction from developing by seeking help. Many individuals with DUIs struggle with alcohol abuse or substance use disorder. They could be dealing with mental health issues or trauma, and self-medicating with substances.
Paradoxically, this arrest could be a blessing in disguise because few things are more motivating to seek help for addiction than a DUI. The tools, therapy, and resources offered at addiction treatment programs are proven to significantly increase success rates for a lifetime recovery journey. And, women’s recovery journeys are scientifically different than men’s, and need different solutions.
For example, many women are the sole provider for their children so they need flexible hours (like with an Intensive Outpatient Program) or on-site childcare in a residential program. They may need clinical or daycare support with their CPS case worker if the children were involved in the DUI, and comprehensive support for themselves including individual therapy, trauma work, lifeskills, and transportation for legal appointments.
As one of our alumni shares:
In 2016 my life took a drastic turn. My husband filed for divorce. The closest family member I had, my father, was placed on hospice. I found myself turning* *more and more to the wine bottle. One day I had my oldest girls with me at the hair salon where the pain of everything had me drinking with the hairstylist. On my way home I was pulled over for a DUI. Between the shame from the DUI and the worsening condition of my dad’s health, my addiction deepened and took hold. Two months after receiving my DUI, my father passed away and CPS came to pick up my oldest daughters on the same day.
I was facing serious consequences for my DUI and my abuser was granted custody of my oldest daughters. The stress of the court’s decision brought extreme PTSD to the surface for me and I let my addiction take the front seat in my life.
My time at New Directions for Women was healing. I did a lot therapeutic work like EMDR and Psychodrama for my PTSD and trauma. The most healing and encouraging thing for me was working with other women around me who were also going through their own CPS cases. I had never really had many female relationships and didn’t think I ever would. I worked very hard with my case manager and therapist to regain visitation with all three of my daughters. My family therapy groups and Mommy and Me classes helped me to not only regain weekends with my youngest daughter and Sunday visits on-campus with the two oldest daughters, but to become a loving sober mom to them again.
After six months of treatment at New Directions for Women, I can say I am a responsible employee earning my own financial independence. I am able to rent an apartment all on my own where I can have a loving space for all three of my daughters that I now have partial custody rights of. I have also been able to rebuild all of my relationships with my family, and maintain wonderful friendships with other women from my time at New Directions.
New Directions for Women has been providing addiction treatment care in Southern California to all women since 1977. Our intake counselors will be happy to provide a free assessment and answer any questions you may have. Contact us today.