For many people in recovery, few parts of the rehab experience prove more helpful in supporting their sobriety than community. By engaging with other people also struggling with their addiction and substance abuse, you learn you are not alone, receive advice from other people facing similar situations, and begin to build up a network of supportive friends you can turn to when things get hard.
Though a lot of the time in rehab will be spent focusing on yourself, much of the benefits of the process come from not being alone. Many rehab centers are gender-specific, open only to men or women. If you are male, here are some of the advantages of a men’s drug rehab.
How Gender Affects Addiction: A 2009 survey by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism found that one in ten men abused an illicit drug, compared to only one in fifteen women. Men are more likely to engage in substance abuse, more likely to develop serious physical or physiological problems from their drug use, and more likely to be driven to angry and violent behavior because of their substance abuse.
Furthermore, certain treatments have been shown to more effective for most women then most men. Many men are less comfortable with the deep and direct sharing their emotions in traditional group therapy. Alternatives such as art or music therapy, engaging in physical activities together, or sports that build trust and bonding are often more effective at getting men to dig deep into themselves.
Focus on Men’s Issues: Addiction affects people of all genders and walks of life, but the way forward is not the same for everyone. This is because men and women face different challenges, and different social pressures that are manifested in the ways addiction festers and disrupts life. Men are often more likely to need help managing anger, whereas women may struggle with low self-worth. Without confronting the reality of socialized gender differences, many issues related to recovery may go unaddressed.
In a men’s recovery facility, you are able to appreciate commonalities in how you process information, express emotion, and view the world around you. This common ground can help you reveal many important things about the recovery program that will work best for you.
Safety and Honesty: Masculinity can often be a mask. From the time we are little boys, we are often punished for revealing emotions, expected to be “big and strong,” never reveal weakness or victimhood, and never admit we need help from anyone else. These lies often cause men to repress internal pain, ignoring the ways they hurt, and hiding their traumas from both the world and themselves. In a men’s recovery group, you have the opportunity to let go of the mask. You must admit your weaknesses and vulnerabilities, going against tremendous social conditioning.
Fortunately, a lot of other men are right there with you, and they will treat you with respect and show you a non-judgmental attitude that lets you know that you are safe. Together, you are working on a new way to be men, one rooted in honesty, self-reflection, and respect for each other. Admitting you need to change, and taking the steps to seek a lifetime of sobriety is a sign of strength, not weakness. When engaging with the opposite sex, many people are more likely to speak with less candor or comfort, even without intending to. Being in a group of men can help you feel more free to speak your own mind.
For all these reasons, a men-only drug rehab facility can be very advantageous to many men ready to begin the recovery process. A good treatment should not just stick you in with the same program as everyone else, but take into consideration your unique challenges