Courage to Change: A New Program for Women


The Westover women's program brings holistic solutions to women facing addiction. 

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Walk into any addiction treatment space, and you’ll notice something striking. Not one person looks the same. Turns out, the stereotypes aren’t true. Substance use disorder affects people of all walks of life, ages, and backgrounds. This shouldn’t be a surprise.

However, when it comes to gender there's a bit of a bias. Even though addiction affects both men and women, researchers have largely only focused on men. This is a problem, because women in addiction face systemic barriers and unique needs. For example, women are more likely to have their addictions overlooked or mistaken for psychiatric disorders. They also develop alcohol-related illnesses like ulcers and anemia at a faster rate. Once in treatment, they often come across misinformed practitioners or inflexible programming that doesn't cater to their unique needs such as childcare. From socio-economic conditions to sexual abuse, women have experiences that require safe, supportive, and empathetic treatment options.

This year, Westover has introduced a program that helps self-identified women feel safe to be themselves while they learn about recovery and how to succeed in life. 

So, what’s the program all about? Keep reading to learn more about the topics we cover in our women’s program!

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1. Healthy Relationships

Why do we attract certain people into our lives? What are the red flags and green flags of any relationship? How do we stick to personal boundaries? We’ll answer these questions together as we explore co-dependency, abusive relationships, and our fundamental human rights. The more we know, the better equipped we are to make positives choices in relationships.

2. Empowerment Culture

Feeling empowered is essential to a thriving life. We challenge gender norms, promote equality, and encourage self-awareness. Let’s redefine the culture and create a zero-tolerance policy to any form of abuse. Women in our program will find the courage to advocate for themselves and each other.

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3. Self-esteem

How do we feel about ourselves? What are our personal goals? Trauma, abandonment, and rejection take a huge toll on our self-esteem. The sad reality is that many women impacted by those circumstances struggle with feelings of unworthiness. We help women reshape their perspectives on themselves and build a strong sense of self worth.

4. Body Image

Whether or not you struggle with substance use disorder, a number of women struggle with a positive body image. Today, approximately 91% of women are unhappy with their bodies in the U.S. This is not okay. We want women to trust their own instincts and examine their emotions. Let’s rethink perfectionism and vulnerability. How can we love the skin we’re in? That’s something we’ll tackle together.

Westover’s first women’s program was held in the winter of 2017. Through grant and funding support, we hope to offer this program to our community again soon. If you’d like to get involved and support the women’s program, please contact Kim Quann to learn how you can get involved at kquann@westovertreatmentcentre.ca.