When our doors opened to the first women in 1981, Residence XII was one of only two gender-separate programs in the nation. This was a pioneering step in program development. After noting that women were the minority in treatment programs designed for and heavily populated by men, our early leaders recognized the need for specialized services for women. Their vision was to offer a safe and supportive environment in which women could work on recovery issues that interfered with the goals of abstinence and sober living.
For more than 25 years, we have continued to build and expand on our leaders’ vision, early goals and research. Today, we know that women focus on relationships and are “feeling processors.” They place a high priority on relationships and family roles and have a higher rate of depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues than men. Disturbingly, one out of three women in the general population also has a history of sexual abuse and/or trauma by the age of 18. Women experience the majority of domestic violence. And, despite increasing numbers of women in the workforce, most women remain the primary caretakers in their homes.
What does this information mean for Residence XII today? While safety and support will always remain primary elements in our program, other components have changed and evolved. We continue to treat addiction as a disease and believe that there are other biological, psychological, and social issues that are a critical part of recovery. These include relationship roles, complicating medical issues, parenting, employment, and mental health issues. We are cognizant of trauma, abuse, and domestic violence as 80% of our women come to us with some form of these in their history. We now offer a more comprehensive individualized treatment program that includes a variable length of stay. And because research shows that the length of time individuals stay connected with their treatment program has an impact on their recovery, Residence XII also makes it a high priority to maintain contact with our Alumnae and continue to assist them in any way we are able.