New Directions for Women Alumna Featured in Cosmopolitan Magazine

New Directions for Women Alumna Featured in Cosmopolitan Magazine

We want to celebrate our alumna Jaana Woodbury’s courageous interview about her recovery journey, including receiving addiction treatment at New Directions for Women with her daughter, in Cosmopolitan Magazine. But first, we want to talk for just a moment about the history of the mag.

Most people don’t know it, but Cosmopolitan Magazine was first published in 1886 as a family magazine. For many years after that, it was a literary magazine. And, in 1965, it became a woman’s magazine. It has been going strong ever since.

Today, Cosmo reaches more than 20 million readers every month with articles on everything from the latest fashions to how to please a man to how to cope with an overbearing mother. In short, it is everything woman. Perhaps this is why so many women refer to the mag as their go-to guide for navigating life.

Cosmo has a reputation on focusing on topics like “the best sexual positions” versus more life-saving topics. For this reason, we were thrilled when we learned the mag would be doing a special spread on addiction recovery for women and featuring one of our alums. This article has the potential to save lives by educating families that are struggling to reach out for addiction help.

We Are Grateful to Cosmo for Having a Difficult Conversation

Millions of women in the United States have a substance use disorder. This is not glamorous by any stretch of the imagination but rather, is still a stigmatized topic. It is no wonder that prominent women’s magazines like Cosmo often shy away from publishing content about heroin or opioid addiction.

In the wake of the opioid crisis, we applaud Cosmopolitan Magazine for talking openly about addiction and rehabilitation. There has never been a more critical time for some frank discussion about the horrors of addiction and the hope of recovery. If Cosmo can’t convince women that going to rehab is cool, no one can!

In this issue of Cosmo, the magazine produced an impressive multipage insert entitled, “How to Go to Rehab.” The spread simply explained to women what they should know about checking themselves into a residential rehabilitation facility. New Directions for Women was not featured in the printed version of the guide, but we were mentioned in the online companion piece which featured Jaana’s journey to recovery.

New Directions for Women has been helping women get sober for more than 40 years. We treat women of all ages, pregnant women, and women in any stage of pregnancy. We feel honored that Cosmopolitan would reach out to us to find an alumna to share about their recovery story. We believe this speaks to our reputation in the industry as a leader in gender-specific substance use disorder treatment. For us, this kind of recognition speaks to our unparalleled ability to provide quality and effective substance use disorder treatment services for the women we serve.

Now, let’s introduce Jaana Woodbury – one of the many women and families we have celebrated here at New Directions.

Meet New Directions Alumnae and Cosmo Superstar Jaana Woodbury

Jaana Woodbury, now 31, started drinking alcohol and doing cocaine recreationally in high school. When she had her first daughter at the young age of 21, that’s when she said things really got bad.

“I had a C-section, so my doctor prescribed me Oxycodone—two pills every four to six hours. Usually, they only give you 30 pain pills total after a C-section, but I kept complaining and got about three months’ worth,” Jaana shared in the Cosmo article. “When those ran out, I doctor-shopped for more. I was trying to relieve not just the physical pain of delivery but also the emotional pain of new motherhood.”

Note: this is more common than you might think. Women often lean on pain medication after childbirth, which can quickly lead to an addiction. Also, many new mothers turn to drugs and alcohol as a stress-reliever to manage the daily responsibilities of taking care of a new baby.

At the time; Jaana lived in Okinawa, Japan with her husband; who was on active duty in the Marine Corps. Without support from family and friends, she turned to drugs, which gave her the feeling of safety and warmth she was looking for. Also, Jaana’s husband was dealing with his own substance abuse issues.

Jaana’s Addiction Continued to Progress and Things Just Got Worse

When Jaana and her husband returned to the United States, her addiction continued. After his discharge, they no longer had healthcare available. This meant no more easy access to prescription narcotics. So, like millions of others who become addicted to painkillers like Oxycodone, she turned to IV heroin use and her husband used with her.

When Jaana’s in-laws threatened to take away her daughter if the couple didn’t get help, Jaana and her husband reluctantly agreed to go to rehab. They both went to the same coed treatment facility and stayed there for 60 days.

Jaana Heads for New Directions for Women

When the 60 days at the coed rehab was up, Jaana and her husband decided to focus on their individual recoveries separately.

“Trying to get well with another person is extremely difficult, and we were in different stages of recovery, anyway,” Jaana said. “Honestly, he was the one who wanted to get sober, and I was still terrified: terrified to be away from my daughter, terrified because my body had been so dependent on opioids.”

They needed to go on their own journeys, and Jaana’s took her to New Directions for Women. She didn’t have health insurance, so we offered her a scholarship. When we are able, we fund treatment for women who would otherwise not be able to afford it.

Blossoming in an All-Women’s Treatment Center

Jaana says that going to the co-ed rehab was an important first step in her recovery, and she greatly benefitted from the experience. However, it wasn’t until she participated in the gender-specific treatment residential treatment offered at New Directions for Women that she truly began to blossom.

She says she really felt self-conscious at the co-ed rehab. Most people in rehab gain a significant amount of weight after being so malnourished as a result of their substance use. Jaana put on 40 pounds and struggled with body image and felt uncomfortable around all of the men.

Also, rehab requires a lot of emotional vulnerability in rehab. In the Cosmo article, Jaana expressed that she had difficulty opening up at the coed rehab.

“In group therapy, you open up about your relationships, shame, past traumas, eating disorders—all of it. For me, it was hard to do that in a coed setting,” she said. “Particularly when it came to motherhood and all the guilt I felt for leaving my daughter. I ended up keeping to myself because I didn’t feel like other people could relate. I was completely unable to be open and transparent, which limited my progress there.”

This was not the case at New Directions for Women. Jaana connected with other women in similar situations here. These women were learning to become better moms and going through their own relationship difficulties. This helped Jaana tremendously.

“I was able to open up to these women, and they helped me realize I wasn’t alone,” Jaana said.

This is why we feel that an all-women rehabilitation facility is so important. We are run for women by women. We believe this creates a sacred space where women are able to be authentic and forge positive relationships with other women.

Jaana Fights For Her Recovery and Her Independence

In recovery, Jaana has learned that she is an independent person and she doesn’t need her husband to validate her self-worth or stay sober.

“Without him under the same roof, I realized how codependent we were and how I’d found purpose in enabling his addiction,” she said. “I needed to become my own person and to speak up for my own needs—and gradually, I did.”

We are so happy to report that Jaana continues to rock recovery and enjoy her life as a sober mom. She eventually graduated from New Directions and went to work in admissions at a women’s outpatient facility in Huntington Beach, Calif.

“I continue to find hope and inspiration in other women, and I believe women helping women is not only powerful but also necessary in rewriting our own stories,” She said.

Jaana adds, “By the way, my husband did better in all-men’s treatment too. He learned how to be more emotionally available and present in our relationship. We now have four kids together—all daughters.”

What a happy ending….. and, of course, a new beginning!

Read the full online Cosmo article about Jaana Woodbury.

Did You Connect with Jaana’s Story? We Can Help You Too

We are always grateful when we get coverage in the media. It sends a message to women everywhere that recovery is possible and it happens here at New Directions for Women.

No matter how hopeless things may seem or how helpless you may feel, we promise that you CAN learn to live and enjoy life without the use of drugs or alcohol.

If you or a woman you care about needs help for a substance use disorder, we are here to help.

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