Why is a Woman in Recovery Like a Butterfly?



Why is a woman in recovery like a butterfly? It is a question we posed to the women at Sanford House last week in one of our special group sessions. We used a blog post titled “Metamorphosis,” and a work of art called “Butterfly Man” and a trip to Butterflies are Blooming at Meijer Gardens to highlight the similarities and differences between a woman heading toward recovery and a pupa changing into a butterfly.


Metamorphosis is defined as “…a profound change in form from one stage to the next in the life history of an organism….” What is more apt, to begin a discussion about the complex changes we go through as we navigate our recovery from addiction?


Here are Some of the Observations the Group Made:


  • The change from addict to woman in recovery, is a profound, positive next step


  • Unlike a butterfly, the evolving process for us is never finished – recovery is ongoing


  • We think “Butterfly Man” looks like a woman


  • As we detox, there are positive physical changes to our hair and skin that make us feel more beautiful


  • Butterflies migrate in groups – there is safety in numbers


  • Addiction is ugly as a worm (although fuzzy bear caterpillars are kind of cute)


  • The concept of flying off into the sunset untethered is a bit frightening; better to stay close to the ground…


It was inevitable that someone would bring up the fact butterflies only live for a month: that perhaps being beautiful and fleeting and temporary is not what we want from our recovery.  Maybe we are not like butterflies at all. Smart women. Better to be compared to something stalwart and long-lived, like a tortoise, or an albatross.


And what great subject matter for another group session


Butterfly Man

“Butterfly Man” by Ambler Hutchinson







Waking Up the Ghost





At Sanford Addiction Treatment Centers, we want to inspire you to find your inner grit, rekindle your interests and engage your passion. Our guiding principles include a homelike environment, individualized treatment, medication-assisted and integrated therapies, robust excursions and family involvement. The treatment programs at Sanford House at Cherry Street for Women and Sanford House at John Street for Men are gender specific to foster safety, honesty and community. People in different stages of recovery need different levels of care - Sanford Outpatient Center provides connection, education and all levels of group therapy to those who are inspired to embrace sobriety in a real life environment. Sanford Virtual Addiction Treatment provides the same evidence-based practices in the comfort and safety of home.