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A Vision for Recovery

Safe Harbor Treatment Centers began as a vision, a dream that our founder, Velvet Mangan, longed to bring to reality. She poured her heart into creating a space where clients could come from anywhere in the world to recover from their addictions.

At Safe Harbor, we understand that past experiences involving addiction can leave a person scared and vulnerable. Because of this, it is imperative that their environment be loving, gentle and supportive. Love and safety are key components in a person’s willingness to look deep within and begin to identify underlying causes of their pain. Recovery is a scary process for most and it cannot be done alone. Individuals require a community where they are accepted and understood in order to access the honesty required to heal.

Each person who walks through the doors of Safe Harbor will be honored and commended for accessing the courage to change their life. Individuals will begin to feel unconditional love, learn self-acceptance, enjoy unity and practice being of service. Safe Harbor Treatment Center offers our clients a place to mature in their recovery. Here they will learn fundamental life skills, including seeking and maintaining employment or education. The goal is for each person to experience real-life scenarios, in conjunction with working a 12-Step program, in a safe and supportive environment. We utilize 12-Step philosophies and integrated therapeutic modalities to assist people on their journey to accepting and participating in a responsible, healthy lifestyle. Our deliberate phase system organically guides clients to accomplishments and helps them achieve a destination of internal happiness, independence, and freedom.

Safe Harbor Treatment Center Includes the Following:

  • Weekly Therapy Sessions with Licensed Therapist
  • Weekly Counseling and Case Management sessions with a Certified Chemical Dependency Counselor
  • Daily 12-Step Meetings
Educational Groups / Skill Building:

How Drug Rehab for Women Helps You Recover

They say that women are from Venus and men are from Mars, and when it comes to addiction and recovery, this old adage holds true. Women and men face unique issues surrounding substance abuse and achieving sobriety, and men- and women-only treatment programs address gender-specific issues in a safe, encouraging environment that may not be possible for some in a co-ed rehab program.

Gender Issues in Addiction

Men and women develop and experience addictions differently. For example, women use smaller amounts of drugs or alcohol for less time before they become addicted, compared to men. Women also have more drug cravings than men, and their triggers are different. According to Harvard University Medical School, while women are less likely than men to become addicted to drugs or alcohol, they develop health problems and other consequences of addiction faster than men do, and the resulting problems are more severe.1 These and other differences are due to a combination of genetic, biological, cultural and environmental influences.

Genetic Influences

About half of a person’s risk for developing an addiction has to do with genetic influences. A large body of research shows that the sex of the person who passes on certain genes has an impact on your risk of developing an addiction. For example, if the genes are from a family member of the same sex, they have a stronger influence than if they’re from a family member of the opposite sex. Additionally, relatives of an addicted woman are at a higher risk for a substance use disorder than relatives of an addicted man.

Biological Influences

Biology has a number of influences on whether someone develops an addiction. Most notably, men and women metabolize alcohol and drugs differently, because women have 50 percent less dehydrogenase than men. This enzyme starts the process of metabolizing alcohol, and lower levels in women means that alcohol stays in their system longer. Additionally, alcohol is less diluted in women due to differing amounts of water, fat and muscle in women’s and men’s bodies.

The sex hormones estradiol and progesterone also play a role in women’s substance abuse patterns and their recovery. According to a study published in the Journal of Neuroendocrinology, levels of these sex hormones fluctuate throughout the menstrual cycle and increase cravings and negative emotions, which are powerful triggers for substance abuse and relapse.2

Environmental and Cultural Influences

Culture and environment have an important impact on whether someone abuses drugs or alcohol, which can lead to addiction and dependence. Household gender roles during childhood and attitudes toward women at home and in the community affects attitudes toward drinking and drug use. Women typically pattern their drinking after their mothers, while men pattern theirs after their fathers.

Environmental influences that impact addiction also differ for men and women. Women are far more likely than men to experience sexual abuse and partner violence, which are major triggers for substance abuse. Women are more likely to drink and use drugs to reduce stress and negative emotions, while men are more likely to abuse drugs or alcohol in an attempt to increase positive emotions. Addressing the underlying issues behind an addiction is essential for successful recovery, and drug rehab for women focuses on specific issues unique to women.

Gender Issues in Recovery

Just as women experience addiction differently than men do, they recover from it differently than men do. Women are more likely to relapse in the presence of a significant other, while men are more likely to relapse when they’re alone. Women are more likely than men to cite interpersonal problems as the catalyst for a relapse, and they’re more likely to experience intense shame and other negative emotions surrounding a relapse.

Relapse Rates

Women have a lower relapse rate than men. According to a study cited by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, one reason is that women are more likely to fully engage with their treatment plan, and they participate more fully in group counseling.3 Another reason may be that since women have many more barriers to treatment than men do, once they get into a program, they have a higher level of intrinsic motivation to recover than men do. The study found that men in the sample population had a 32 percent relapse rate six months after treatment, while women’s rate was 22 percent. However, women were more likely to relapse on a whim, while men were more likely to plan a relapse.

Underlying Issues

Successful recovery depends on addressing the unique issues that underlie and perpetuate an addiction, and these often differ between men and women. Women typically have more self-esteem and self-confidence issues than men, while men’s issues skew toward anger and aggression. Women also have different mental health concerns than men do, including higher incidences of depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, according to an article published in the journal Psychiatric Clinics of North America.4 Women are twice as likely as men to develop PTSD, most commonly as the result of sexual assault.

Barriers to Drug Rehab for Women

Fewer than 10 percent of people who have a substance use disorder seek the help they need to recover. Women are even less likely than men to get help for an addiction, largely due to the barriers women face in seeking treatment, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

  • Economic barriers: Women are more likely than men to lack the funds they need to afford treatment.
  • Family responsibilities: Many women feel they don’t have time to enter rehab due to family responsibilities, including caring for children or aging parents and managing a household.
  • Stigma: Women–especially mothers–who have an addiction are judged more harshly by society than men with addictions are. Women experience more shame and embarrassment about being in treatment.
  • Anxiety or depression: Anxiety and depression, which occur more frequently in women than in men, also tends to be more severe in women and can prevent them from seeking help for an addiction.
  • Cultural barriers: Hispanic women may be less likely to seek treatment due to language barriers, while women who are older are less likely to seek treatment because they feel it won’t work for them. Women from certain ethnic groups may experience a distrust of doctors or therapists. Women who attend church may be reluctant to get help for fear of being ostracized, while women whose social circle is permissive about drug or alcohol abuse may fear losing their social network.

Women-only treatment programs are designed in part to help women overcome some of the barriers to treatment, including economic and family barriers.

When Women-Only Rehab is Essential

In some cases, women-only rehab is essential for successful recovery. This is particularly true for women who have been sexually abused. Whether or not post-traumatic stress disorder develops as a result–as it does in about half of all sexual assault cases–women with a history of sexual violence require a safe and supportive environment where they can comfortably share and explore their experiences.


Trauma is a common underlying cause of addiction for women, and drug rehab for women typically includes therapies that treat trauma, such as dialectical behavior therapy and acceptance and commitment therapy. Many women-only programs are trauma-informed, which means they provide an environment and a program based on creating a sense of safety and wellbeing to prevent re-traumatization.


Women who are pregnant or who have children may also fare better in a gender-specific program. Women-focused programs often include childcare and address prenatal and parenting issues as part of a comprehensive recovery plan.

Low Self-Esteem

Women who feel powerless, have very low self-esteem or lack assertiveness will typically recover more easily in a gender-specific program where they don’t have to compete with men, who tend to be more assertive or even aggressive.


Older women who have reached menopause often prefer a women-only treatment program that will address issues unique to that population, such as physical and hormonal changes, mental illness and grief.

Research shows that in a therapeutic relationship, women value warmth and trust, while men prefer a more utilitarian, less personal environment. Women need to feel heard and understood in treatment, and women-only programs create an environment that promotes empowerment, confidence and self-reliance.

What to Expect in Drug Rehab for Women

The nuts and bolts of a drug rehab program for women are the same as a men’s or co-ed treatment program. The primary difference is the gender of participants.

Assessment for Appropriate Level of Care

Women’s drug rehab can take place through an inpatient or outpatient program. Inpatient treatment involves living at a residential center while undergoing rehab. Many women’s programs offer housing for women and their children during rehab. Outpatient rehab involves living at home and attending programming during the day. There are different levels of inpatient and outpatient treatment. The level at which you enter will be determined by a range of assessments that are taken during the intake and detox process.

Participation in Holistic Therapies

Once detox is complete, treatment begins. A high-quality treatment program will take a holistic approach to recovery that involves both traditional and complementary therapies. Traditional therapies are generally “talk” therapies and include cognitive-behavioral therapy, family therapy, group therapy, and psychoeducational classes, which are part informational and part psychotherapy. Complementary therapies are experiential in nature and include art therapy, restorative yoga and mindfulness meditation. This combination of therapies promotes whole-person healing of body, mind and spirit. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, holistic treatment offers the best possible outcomes.

Changing Negative Behavior Patterns

Through therapy, participants in treatment change dysfunctional thought and behavior patterns and develop new, healthier habits that support a life in recovery. They develop essential coping skills to address relapse triggers like stress and negative emotions, and they address the complex issues that underlie the addiction and that stem from it. They search for purpose and meaning in life and learn how to have fun and relax without needing drugs or alcohol to do it. Treatment helps individuals restore their lives on all fronts, from relationships and finances to physical and mental health.

Aftercare Plan Development

Once treatment is complete, an aftercare plan is set in place to help people navigate the early months of solo recovery. The aftercare plan will include ongoing therapy, participation in a support group and other components based on individual need, such as vocational training or educational assistance.

Financial Considerations for Women's Drug Rehab

Treatment is expensive, and many women don’t have the financial resources to pay for it. However, high quality treatment programs will typically work with women to help identify sources for funding, including:


Private insurance companies may or may not cover some or all of the cost of rehab, but plans bought on the Insurance Marketplace through the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) are required to cover inpatient and outpatient addiction treatment services.


Some treatment centers offer financing, which means you pay a certain amount each month until the cost of treatment is paid off, usually with interest.


Many treatment programs offer scholarships for women who can’t afford treatment and who qualify based on income and other factors.


Some treatment centers offer financing, which means you pay a certain amount each month until the cost of treatment is paid off, usually with interest.


For women who have good credit, a personal or home equity loan is one option for paying for treatment. A low-interest healthcare loan through a company like Prosper Healthcare Lending or Capital One Healthcare may also be an option.

Credit Card

Putting the cost of treatment on a low-interest or no-interest credit card enables you to pay for treatment over time.

Additional resources

The Department of Health and Human Services in each state may provide assistance to help individuals afford treatment, such as grants, scholarships and other resources. Some local nonprofit organizations may also be able to help.

A lack of funds shouldn’t prevent anyone from seeking treatment, and looking in all corners for funding opportunities can help ensure you get the help you need to recover from an addiction.

Women-only treatment provides women with a safe, nurturing environment for recovering from an addiction. Many women prefer healing in the company of other women, who can relate to certain situations and experiences. Drug rehab for women works for most women who engage with their treatment plan and complete their program, and it can work for you or a woman you love, offering a higher quality of life and greater wellbeing for the long-haul.


  1. http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/addiction-in-women
  2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2235192/
  3. https://archives.drugabuse.gov/news-events/nida-notes/1998/11/men-women-in-drug-abuse-treatment-relapse-different-rates-different-reasons
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3124962/