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Spirituality for Women in Addiction Treatment

Focusing on a higher power can provide hope when it matters the most. Spirituality can take you out of despair and give you the strength to cope with challenges. As a wellspring with no limit, it can let you create a new peace with the powers of your mind. Some people look to a higher power, nature, love, or the universe for hope and peace. Spirituality and addiction may seem like a strange pair at first, but the combo can work well for women in recovery.

Facing the Odds: Women and Addiction

Drinking alcohol might help you relieve some tension after a long day of work or a stressful week. However, it can become your worst enemy when it takes over control of your life. It may come as no surprise to you that addiction causes women more problems than men. Experts at Harvard say that recovery seems harder for women than for men as well. Gender differences may make you want to find a secret source of strength for the hard climb to sobriety.


Doctors prescribe opioids for women more often than for men. As a possible outcome, more women go to emergency rooms for opioid abuse. Women may depend on stimulants more than men and relapse more often after quitting. Recovery can benefit from combining spirituality and addiction, two powerful forces.

Nicotine and Cocaine

Cravings for nicotine and cocaine may become stronger during your menstrual cycle. When you come across triggers that remind you of your use, the urge to use cocaine again may become more intense than when men experience these triggers.


While men report smoking marijuana daily more often than women, women suffer the worst medical effects. They also have a higher chance of moving to dependence faster than men do.

Finding Spiritual Recovery from Addiction

spirituality and addiction

Spirituality may give you the strength to help you cope with the pain and hard times ahead in recovery. With it, you can create a peaceful space in your mind where you can find serenity. Spiritual recovery from addiction costs nothing to try, and it may give you a new outlook on life. Psychology Today offers a reason to restore your spirituality because addiction can rob you of it.

Whether or not you think of yourself as religious, nothing matters except finding the strength to endure and hope for the future. You have a right to call on a higher power even if no one else agrees with your choice. The experience may help you get your life back, and you probably agree that it deserves a chance. Some paths that helped other women combine spirituality and addiction may work for you too. Focusing on them may help you remain in recovery, the thing that probably matters the most to you now.

Practicing Gratefulness

The joy of finding things that please you can benefit your recovery. As it opens your mind to see what you missed in addiction, it lets you enjoy them. Think of your progress, your caregivers, and your home as things you can put on a list. Maybe you can add seeing a rainbow, a flower, or receiving a card from a friend. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) suggests taking your dog for a walk that lets both of you enjoy the fresh air. Some women have a knack for numbers, and the chore of balancing a checkbook may seem easy. It helps to record two or three spirit inspirations every day as you express feeling thankful. As you develop feelings of gratitude, you come closer to combining spirituality and addiction.

Helping Others

Many women enjoy sharing an ability to nurture as a volunteer in an area that they know well. As a sure way to get away from focusing on your issues, it may provide welcome relief for others. You may enjoy working with children as a tutor after school or visit an older person who lives alone. At an animal rescue center, you may help take care of different animals who need a loving touch. If you miss working with young children, you can make a daycare center near you incredibly happy with an offer to help. The benefits that come to you can far outweigh the effort that you put into volunteering.

Respecting Religion

You may feel that your place of worship failed to see the burden you carry as a woman with many duties. A feeling of hurt can make you turn away, and you may work things out later. However, you need a source of strength in recovery that doesn’t need to come from a church, mosque, or synagogue. When you can find meaning in spiritual things, it may provide the comfort and support that you want. Your spiritual side may find a deeply personal relationship with a higher power that influences your life in ways you may not imagine. With your inner strength, you can meld spirituality and addiction in a meaningful way.

Practicing Meditation

Almost everyone has heard about meditating, but many people feel shy about not knowing what to do. Psychology Today suggests that the simple act of gardening or taking a walk on a nature trail gets you started. Meditation usually requires quietness so that you can focus on breathing in and breathing out as the main activity. The practice helps you combine spirituality and addiction as you stay in recovery. After you get used to breathing slowly, start ridding your mind of the things that usually fill it. You may prefer to pray or read a short poem as a couple of ways to combine two life forces. A guided meditation on tape can show you how others do it.

Understanding The Need to Face Your Addiction

As you cope with finding sobriety, you may wonder why you must face addiction when others do not. Science cannot predict who may become addicted, but it can cite the risks that influence it. Not surprisingly, the chance of becoming addicted goes up as risk factors increase.


While drug use can lead to addiction, the earlier you start using makes it more likely. Women and others who used drugs as teenagers have a higher risk of becoming addicted.


As you may imagine, the influences on your life include family and friends as well as how much money you have and your lifestyle. Some factors that influence your likelihood of drug addiction can include a wide range of forces. Exposure to drugs at an early age, physical or sexual abuse, peer pressure, and stress can contribute to your chance of becoming addicted. With the combination of spirituality and addiction, you have access to sobriety.

Genes and Gender

It may not seem fair that about half of your risk of addiction comes from the genes that defined you at birth. Women may become addicted to using smaller amounts of some drugs for a shorter time than men. Greater effects of drug use on the heart also seem to occur among women.

Fighting Against Addiction

When your life seems to follow a path that no longer pleases you, some options may help you choose to combine spirituality and addiction. Different treatments for specific drugs can help you stay in recovery and achieve sobriety.


As the world’s most common substance use disorder, alcohol misuse affects all ages, genders, races and income groups.


Doctors frequently prescribe these commonly used sedatives for women, and the total scripts for it add up to 65% of people who use them.


Recovery from the use of this highly addictive stimulant may require attending cocaine addiction rehab.


With about 100 times more potency than morphine, this opioid’s withdrawal symptoms can make patients choose to leave recovery. Detox proves difficult for women, and relapse and cravings make it a higher risk than for men.


The fatty tissue in women’s bodies makes a dose of heroin have more impact than on men. With its higher concentrations over long periods, it can inflict permanent damage to the brain.


While ignoring the symptoms of addiction may seem the best way to go, marijuana can produce serious long-term effects. Users can have heart problems, respiratory infections, loss of memory function, and risk of car crashes.


Easy access makes the drug one of the most dangerous. While the reward never makes the risk worth it, it may prevent some users from ever feeling pleasure without it.

Sleeping Pills

Dependence on Ambien or other sleep aids can occur within as little as seven days. Still, withdrawal symptoms can last for weeks and require medical detox. Addiction depends on dose size, age, and gender along with how long a user took the pills.


Common household chemicals can produce a high, but they can have effects that alter the mind.

Find Hope for Recovery with New Directions for Women

At New Directions for Women, we blend spirituality and addiction to provide patients with “love, kindness, and compassion in all things.” With more than 40 years of supportive care for all women who need treatment, we know what works.

Only a few programs in the United States understand the need to serve women in all stages of life. Moreover, our unique approach treats the mind, body, and soul. We invite pregnant women and mothers with young children as well as women of all ages to contact us. Our programs cover the complete range of care from detox to outpatient services in a safe and serene sanctuary.

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Clinically Reviewed By:

Picture of Heather Black-Coyne, LMFT, CADC II, Chief Clinical Officer

Heather Black-Coyne, LMFT, CADC II, Chief Clinical Officer

Heather most recently served as the Clinical Director of a gender-specific treatment center in Huntington Beach. She is trained in both Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), which serve the needs of our clients, many of whom have experienced both complex trauma and substance use disorder.

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