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





Sanford Behavioral Health is a residential and outpatient facility located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Sanford offers excellence in evidence-based practice models in a home-like, restorative setting. Our clinicians, supported by our medical team, focus on resolving the underlying issues that often cause substance use, such as trauma, unhealthy relationships, co-occurring disorders and isolation. Programs include both in-person and telehealth: residential, day programs, intensive outpatient, outpatient, medication-assisted treatment (MAT), education and relapse prevention classes, one-on-one and family therapy, and alumni and family support groups. At Sanford, we want to inspire you to find your inner grit, rekindle your interests and engage your passion.