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Women and Alcoholism: Amy was an alcoholic, but shame kept her from seeking treatment for her addiction.

Amy was a pastor’s wife, mother of three and model community member. She was also an alcoholic. Like many other women alcoholics, she struggled with her addiction in private, ashamed to admit that she had a problem. It wasn’t until she lost the shame that she was able to seek the treatment for addiction that she needed.

“Am I guilty of doing some things that I would never do in a normal mind? Absolutely,” she says. “But I have to let that go or it’ll just keep me trapped and eventually returned back to using. I don’t have the luxury of feeling shame.”

In the United States, about 18 million people struggle with alcoholism, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Studies show that while there are more male alcoholics than female alcoholics, women who abuse alcohol are more likely to have significant health problems – and more of them – than their male counterparts. For example, women alcoholics have death rates 50 to 100 percent higher than those of male alcoholics.

Despite these troubling statistics, many women alcoholics say shame keeps them from seeking treatment for addiction. Amy was one of these women.

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