Over the last two decades, researchers and service providers in the field of addictions have come to realize that women experience their addictions and respond to treatment differently than men. This realization has led to the development of addiction services that respond to the specific needs of women.


Women’s experience of addiction often involves intense feelings of shame and guilt about how their use of substances has affected their children. These feelings can prevent women from seeking support during pregnancy and when they are struggling with parenting challenges. These feelings are also a common cause of relapse in women who have successfully completed an addiction treatment program.


In this workshop, participants explore ways of working with substance-involved mothers that help them set aside some of their shame and guilt and reclaim their mothering identities. These approaches can be used with mothers whose children live with them as well as mothers whose children are in care; with pregnant women who will parent their unborn infant and pregnant women whose children may be apprehended at birth.


Some of the topics addressed in this workshop include:

  • Myths about women with addictions

  • Alternative healing practices (e.g. mind-body and art-based practice)

  • “Reclaiming environments” for substance-involved mothers and their children

  • Culture - based support: What can this look like?


This workshop introduces participants to relevant psychological theories and principles. The emphasis is on learning through storytelling, women-centred rituals, and group reflection. 

Care for your child AND care for yourself. 

The facilitator genuinely cares about the human family. Be assured that she is making a difference, one workshop at a time.- Janet Carriere, Family Worker (Prince Albert, SK.)


I loved learning that there is no one right or wrong way to do the work I do and that I don't have to feel guilty about continuing to work with harm reduction techniques. Margorie Bird, Brighter Futures Coordinator (Black River First Nation, MB.)


All the information was good and the group exercises were awesome. I loved the workshop. It was empowering. Estelle Spencer, Building Healthy Communities (Seine River F.N. ON.)


I loved learning about the relationship between attachment theory and addictions. And I enjoyed the trust exercises - A very good workshop. Thank you.  Linda Fontaine, NNADAP (Sagkeeng First Nation, MB.)


What I liked best were the sharing of participants' stories and the digital stories. And your presentation was strong and had a lot of meaning. You brought out the best in everyone. Natalie Johnson, Brighter Futures (Seine River First River, ON.)