Tag Archives: gender-specific rehab

Are Sober Living Homes Coed?

Sober living homes are a great next step for many after completing residential rehab. They provide a structured living environment so that healing can continue. Many are in regular neighborhoods so it feels more comfortable for the residents, but all the residents share a commitment to sober living — as well as daily responsibilities.

Like choosing a treatment center, sober living homes offer different types of living situations, particularly concerning who lives in the home. Some sober living homes are coed while others are single-gendered. It’s helpful to consider what setting will be most beneficial to your situation.

Benefits of Coed Sober Living Homes

Coed sober living homes provide a number of benefits to residents, including the following:
  • Learning how to communicate with both genders
  • Getting different perspectives on situations as you naviate new-found sobriety
  • Connecting with opposite gender “siblings” in the group who offer companionship and may serve as a mentor
  • Learning how to remain focused on recovery despite the temptation to develop a romantic relationship with a peer

Romantic relationships between residents is never allowed in a rehab or a sober living home so that residents can focus solely on continued healing and re-entry. By maintaining a no-dating boundary among residents, close peer relationships can develop across genders. When there is a mix of age groups, more authentic familial-style relationships often form. These interactions can provide unique perspectives that can be beneficial to therapeutic growth and processing of past family relationships and ongoing issues in recovery.

Benefits of Gender-Specific Sober Living Residences

In some cases, living in close quarters with the opposite sex is uncomfortable. Residents who have had negative experiences with the opposite sex may not feel safe or comfortable in a coed environment. Opening up in a therapeutic setting or addressing certain issues in recovery around the other gender may be especially difficult for abuse survivors. Gay and lesbian residents may feel more comfortable choosing a gender-specific residence as well.

One of the major benefits of a single-gender sober living situation is the option of intensive focus on issues that are common for each gender in recovery. Women may focus on managing hormonal changes and how they affect recovery, workplace issues and family expectations and responsibilities women must navigate. Men may get the assistance they need to deal with workplace and career pressures, physical issues that are problematic for men and family relationship assistance specific to their needs.

How to Choose the Best Sober Living Home for You

Which is the right choice for your situation: a gender-specific sober living home or a coed sober living environment?

Here are a few questions to consider as you make your choice:
  • Will I be able to focus on my recovery if I have peers of the opposite sex who are constantly around me?
  • Will I feel free to talk about certain issues that may be holding me back in recovery in front of both genders?
  • What assistance do I need in recovery, and will the presence of the opposite sex in any way thwart that goal?

We want to help you in your recovery. If you or a loved one is looking for a sober living home, please call our 24 hour, toll-free helpline at the top of this page to talk with one of our admissions coordinators about what type of home will best fit your needs. Please call now.
By Becca Owens

Facts About Women and Drug Addiction

Women are strong. They meet and overcome challenges no one expects them to. This does not mean they are invincible. Just like anyone, women can and do face substance abuse and addiction problems. They often struggle invisibly or in silence, but they do struggle. If you are a woman trapped by addiction, you know the fight for freedom is real. If your daughter, mother, friend or partner misuses drugs or alcohol, you know she has a serious and valid problem. Addiction is as much a fact for women as it is for men. It may even be a larger issue for some women because of their unique biological makeup, socially ascribed gender roles, and barriers to treatment and recovery. False assumptions about addiction should never minimize or hide the challenges women face. It should never limit a woman’s opportunities for fair, appropriate addiction treatment. Women become addicted to drugs and alcohol. With professional care and attention, these same women can find recovery.

Fact: Women Struggle with Drug and Alcohol Addiction

Depressed womanen face problems. In fact a significant portion of the female population does. The Surgeon General[1] explains that in 2015, “Prevalence of an alcohol use disorder was 7.8 percent for men and 4.1 percent for women. The prevalence of an illicit drug use disorder was 3.8 percent for men and 2.0 percent for women.” Women may not be as likely as men to struggle with addiction, but they do still struggle. No woman’s substance use concerns should go unnoticed, ignored or denied.

Fact: A Woman’s Biology Affects Her Addiction Experience

Women are biologically different from men. Their bodies are externally, visibly different. Their internal chemistry is different. These differences affect how they experience substance use and addiction. They matter in regards to appropriate treatment and recovery.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse[2] shares, “Sex hormones can make women more sensitive than men to the effects of some drugs. Women who use drugs may also experience more physical effects on their heart and blood vessels. Brain changes in women who use drugs can be different from those in men.”

Hormones, physical changes, and psychological effects influence if and how addiction develops. They can create unique treatment challenges and put recovery at risk. Professional treatment specializing in women’s care will acknowledge and address these differences. They give women the tools they, specifically, need for long-term wellness.

Fact: Women Are Assigned Different Social Roles Than Men

Although gender roles are increasingly flexible, women are still more likely to assigned caregiving and child-rearing roles. This influences addiction and recovery. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism explains, “Women are more likely than men to encounter barriers that prevent them from seeking or following through with treatment.” They often have difficulty finding money or transportation for care. They are less likely to know about their options for treatment and feel greater stigma regarding getting it.

Women often stay home to raise families rather than pursue careers that offer insurance coverage and information about access to treatment. They feel they cannot take time off or set aside their responsibilities.

Gender roles create barriers to treatment. They also provide motivation for change. For example a woman may be much more eager to pursue and complete treatment if she is motivated to become a better parent and save or regain custody of children.

Gender roles both limit and support a woman’s journey to recovery. Treatment programs should recognize a woman’s unique reservations and motivations regarding recovery. Programs can offer motivational enhancement therapy, parenting skills classes, and more. Every treatment experience should reflect an individual’s personal experience no matter gender.

Fact: Women Face Unique Addiction Consequences

taking pillsBiology and social roles converge to create unique addiction consequences for women. The Surgeon General explains that substance misuse can, “result in serious, enduring, and costly consequences due to motor vehicle crashes, intimate partner and sexual violence, child abuse and neglect, suicide attempts and fatalities, overdose deaths, various forms of cancer (e.g., breast cancer in women), heart and liver diseases, HIV/AIDS, and problems related to drinking or using drugs during pregnancy, such as fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) or neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS).” All of these issues affect women. Some disproportionately impact women’s lives. Others only apply to women. Treatment needs to assess a woman’s physical, mental and emotional health. It needs to understand her addiction experience. Treatment should offer the integrated, comprehensive care a woman needs to find long-lasting physical health, emotional and social stability, and freedom from drugs or alcohol.


[1] https://addiction.surgeongeneral.gov/surgeon-generals-report.pdf. Facing Addiction: The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health. Surgeongeneral.gov. Nov 2016. Web. 18 Mar 2017.

[2] https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/substance-use-in-women. “Substance Use in Women.” National Institute on Drug Abuse. Sep 2015. Web. 18 Mar 2017.