Addiction and Recovery in the LGBTQ+ community.
The fight for equality, freedom of expression, and human rights can be an overwhelming and exhausting fight. Combine that with social stigma and discrimination, and you have conditions that can leave marginalized communities especially vulnerable to addiction. One such community intensely affected by the addiction epidemic has been the LGBTQ+ community. One which we could all learn a lot from in the way of courage, self-knowledge, and reaching for authenticity- all qualities that, not surprisingly, are incredibly helpful in the pursuit of successful recovery.
Addiction and Recovery in the LGBTQ+ community. It’s imperative when addressing addiction to find a supportive, inclusive community, willing to address each individual’s unique experience. The LGBTQ+ community faces unique challenges and struggles, which cannot be ignored if effective treatment is to take hold. It is imperative to address these unique experiences when treating the whole person, and all aspects of an individual.
So, What makes the LGBTQ+ community especially vulnerable to the plight of addiction? And what makes an environment a safe recovery space for those within the LGBTQ+ community? Are there specific elements of treatment that can help address unique traumas and deliver long-lasting sobriety for this community? In this article, I will explore some of the avenues for healing specifically pertinent to the LGBTQ+ community. I also desire to emphasize the importance of inclusivity in a treatment environment.
Substance Abuse in the LGBTQ+ Community
It wasn’t that long ago, until 1973 to be exact, that sexual orientation among gender and sexual minorities was considered a mental illness. Fast forward to today: Though much has evolved, remnants still remain- of shame and discrimination, and often not just remnants remain, but in-your-face violence and forced isolation.
Trauma plays a large roll in addiction and much of the LGBTQ+ community has experienced it, to an extreme extent, both before treatment as well as within unfriendly treatment environments.
From one perspective, addiction is a manifestation of self-deprecating information, adapted from various sources and feeding into negative emotions, requiring continued coping aids at the expense of one’s well-being.
When a government, family, or culture tells you that you are wrong or inappropriate, this creates a large divide. It is a divide between the reality of shaming judgment and the goal of internal peace and acceptance. The need for relief from the intense discomforts of this divide can be especially strong and pervasive within the LGBTQ+ community.
Finding LGBTQ+ Friendly Treatment
According to studies done by the national institute on Drug Abuse centering around the LGBTQ+ community and addiction treatment, the most effective recovery programs involve addressing unique factors within this particular community, such as homophobia/transphobia, family problems, violence, and social isolation.
Oasis Recovery not only seeks to address each individual’s unique background, and corresponding needs, but implements a variety of modalities that have proven effective in treating those within marginalized or oppressed communities, including the LGBTQ+ community. These modalities include:
-Trauma-Informed Therapy -Social Support Therapy -Contingency Management Principles -Cognitive Behavioral Therapy -Individualized treatment plans
Why Inclusivity is so Important
In order for a treatment program to be fully comprehensive, there is a need to balance the exploration of an individual’s entire background, with sensitivity to each individual’s particular pace in self-exploration and internal work. There is a need for thorough education, consideration, and respect for each individual’s process, and their sense of identity.
Overall, these qualities contribute to a space in which clients who face unique challenges can feel comfortable and safe in reaching for the knowledge and insight that builds their unique path to long-term recovery.
Oasis Recovery provides an inclusive community environment that can be a foundation for the necessary internal work of healing and recovery to thrive. It’s important to us that our staff and LGBTQ+ clients, know that violence, threats, and marginalization are the effects of prejudice and discrimination and not a consequence of one’s sexuality.
Recovery is an intensive process for anyone, and dismantling trauma and shame, to find one’s true power is a journey of epic proportions, even more so for those who have had aspects of their identity ridiculed and discriminated against. If you or your loved one are in need of an LGBTQ+ friendly addiction treatment environment click here. We want to help.