A Columbia University study found that women turn to substance use for reasons that are often different from those of men. These reasons are both psychological and social and include low self-esteem, loneliness, depression, peer pressure and inadequate support systems. Alcohol and drugs such as vicodin, oxycontin, heroin, cocaine, marijuana and ecstasy are the most commonly used.
Women are also more likely to develop substance use problems. Rehab centers that provide addiction treatment for women report that women who come from families in which substance use was a problem are more likely to use substances excessively. They also report that women typically begin their substance use with a partner or spouse and that they tend to suffer more criticism and experience more shame for their use than men.
Rehab centers that provide addiction treatment for women generally focus on therapy that digs deep into the individual's past, especially on any events that they think may be the root cause of the substance use. However, there is no research evidence that such therapy is effective.
Traditional treatment programs routinely incorporate the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous into their therapy. Twelve step programs promote the scientifically discredited theory that alcohol and drug use is an incurable addiction disease, that users are powerless over substances, that they suffer from a mysterious "loss of control," that they must submit to God or a Higher Power, that they will always be addicts, that they must live in constant fear of relapsing, and that they will be in recovery for the rest of their lives.
Addiction treatment for women also encourages participation in after treatment therapy that uses 12 step beliefs. Twelve step programs use labels and manipulation to control members. They break down self-esteem, force people to admit their powerlessness, and acknowledge defeat by their "disease."
The St. Jude Retreats Program does not use the 12 steps. They accept the scientific evidence that addiction is not a disease and provide a non-treatment program using their highly effective Cognitive Behavioral Education Methodology.
A six week program helps guests reach sobriety without group meetings or group therapy. During the first two weeks guests learn that they are not diseased and that here is no such thing as an addiction gene. They learn that they have made some choices that were not productive and were even dysfunctional. During weeks three and four, guests learn self-evaluation tools, the importance of understanding others, and how to move past their current circumstances. During the last two weeks guests are helped in developing their personal goal setting and planning.
Guests learn how to use self-assessment to reevaluate decisions and to make choices that are more productive for them. They learn how to develop positive habits and behaviors that are supportive of their goals. By the end of the program guests are empowered to take back control of their lives, be happy, and be completely free of substance use.
The non-profit St. Jude program has a documented long term success rate of at least 62%, compared to only five percent or less for 12 step programs.