Research suggests that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals are at greater risk for substance use and mental health issues compared with the sexual majority population that identifies as being heterosexual.1
“It is okay to be vulnerable and ask for help. I had to learn this through my journey. It was difficult to ask my parents for help, but it was the right thing to do. We have a close relationship again. I feel blessed to be part of their lives. This is a true gift of recovery.” Chandler K., Heroes in Recovery
Substance abuse counselors at mainstream treatment centers may express homophobia in obvious or subtle ways, and treatment services often focus on the heterosexual community. Gay clients may feel isolated, ostracized or simply left out of the healing process. At a gay-friendly rehab, the focus is on helping each individual succeed in recovery, regardless of his or her sexual orientation.
In addition, research shows unique patterns of substance abuse for gay and bisexual men entering substance abuse treatment.2 While many rehab centers treat all addicts the same, some individuals may need customized treatment.
Why Choose Gay-Friendly Rehab?
Although it’s possible to get clean at a conventional drug rehab center, there are many advantages to a program tailored to meet the needs of the LGBT community:
- An atmosphere of honesty. It’s easier to be honest about your addiction if you can be completely open about every aspect of your identity, including your sexuality. Hiding your sexual orientation takes a toll on your self-confidence. Honesty reinforces your self-respect and helps you feel proud of who you are.
- An accepting, judgment-free environment. For many years, homosexuality was viewed with a negative, critical eye. Some rehab centers still ostracize their gay clients or attempt to cure them of their sexual orientation. At a gay-friendly rehab center, you don’t have to fear the judgment of others.
- Support from LGBT peers. Group therapy is an important component of any recovery program. Gay-friendly drug rehab programs bring you in touch with other recovering addicts who share your life experiences. Instead of feeling like you’re on the fringes of the group, you’ll feel like you’re right at the heart of the healing process.
- Counseling services for partners and families. Traditional family therapy and marriage counseling doesn’t always work for the gay community. Whether you’re single or part of a couple, your counselor should understand how your sexual orientation influences your relationship.
Finding the Right Rehab
How can you tell if a rehab facility is LGBT-friendly? Look for a drug rehab center that openly welcomes gay patients by offering services such as:
- Group therapy sessions or 12-Step meetings for LGBT patients
- Intensive counseling that addresses your needs and risk factors
- Treatment for co-existing mental health issues, like depression or bipolar
- Access to specialized aftercare services for the gay community
This important step can completely change your life, says Chandler K, who shares his story here at Heroes in Recovery.
If you are ready to get clean and live a life without addiction, please consider Michael’s House. Located in Southern California, Michael’s House is a gay-friendly drug rehab center that welcomes people of all sexual orientations. Whether you’re a native of California or you’re coming to us from another state, we invite you to experience the diversity of our services and the compassionate attitudes of our staff. Call us for more information about our holistic rehabilitation programs.
1 “Sexual Orientation and Estimates of Adult Substance Use and Mental Health: Results from the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.”SAMSHA. N.p., Oct. 2016. Web. 02 Aug. 2017.
2 Flentje, Annesa, Nicholas C. Heck, and James L. Sorensen. “Substance Use among Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Clients Entering Substance Abuse Treatment: Comparisons to HeterosexualClients.”Journal of consulting and clinical psychology. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 26 Jan. 2015. Web. 02 Aug. 2017.
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