Recovery from alcohol and drug addiction proves to be a difficult task. It becomes even harder when a person feels they have to go it alone. Having someone who understands exactly how they feel can go a long way. Building a brotherhood in recovery can make a real difference in the progress men make while working on their recovery.
Many young men considering seeking treatment for addiction to alcohol and drugs feel concerned about how it might feel to open up their lives. We’ve put together an overview of just how empowering entering recovery can be for men.
The Art of Learning to Share Emotions
Men often struggle with the concept of opening up about their emotions. Even for today’s younger generation, sharing feelings may not come easily. Men are often socialized to always appear strong, even if they don’t feel that way. Society dictates that appearing sensitive or vulnerable does not align with the strength and invulnerability men are expected to display.
Building a brotherhood in recovery can come into play here to great effect. Men who co-reside in a treatment program such as a gender-specific sober living home often find they can let down their guards. In a residential program that revolves around recovery from addiction, everyone finds themselves on equal footing.
Opening up dialogues about difficult emotions becomes not only acceptable but expected. For a lot of men, this feels quite liberating. Once they have learned this skill set while living among their peers, it becomes easier to keep it up once they return home.
Expanding the Definition of Masculinity
Men often teach their sons or other family members that their masculinity will protect them from certain life events. Many cultures place a particular emphasis on men staying strong and not admitting to going through difficult situations. This message can also come from media sources, like advertising. Expectations for men include being physically strong and able to fight all battles like a superhero.
This unfair view of men does not allow for the fact that they often face trying times. Men count for higher numbers of those who are addicted to alcohol and drugs compared to women. Many do not feel comfortable admitting to their condition and seeking help. Men may worry that to admit they need help exposes them as being weak. They feel they should either never develop such a problem or they should be able to resolve it on their own.
Men who experience childhood sexual abuse or sexual and physical assault as an adult often fear telling anyone. Society often reflects the message that the only victims of these types of crime are women and children. This complicates a man’s ability to open up about his history and ask for help.
Building a brotherhood in recovery addresses these types of situations. No act perpetrated against a man, including violent or sexual crimes, reduces his masculinity. When men come together in treatment programs, they often learn this fact. Being able to open up to each other about how addiction, molestation, sexual, or physical assault has afflicted their lives opens them up. Sometimes knowing they are not alone is the most powerful medicine of all.
Building a Brotherhood in Recovery Related to Mental Health Issues
Most people express surprise at learning how entangled addiction and mental health can be. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that about half of people who experience a substance use disorder also deal with at least one mental illness. Sometimes men who work up the bravery to seek help for addiction find themselves afraid to bring up any mental health issues they have.
Building a brotherhood in recovery offers an advantage in this regard, too. Men who attend gender-specific residential treatment programs can bond over dealing with the co-occurring issues of addiction and mental illness. Being afforded the opportunity to compare stories about how mental health issues affect their lives often helps men feel less alone. Knowing they are not alone can help foster a real inspiration to address the problem aggressively.
Due to how common it is for people seeking help for addiction also to have mental health concerns, many programs treat both conditions. Common mental health issues that accompany substance use disorders include:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Generalized anxiety disorder
- Social anxiety disorder
- Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
- Bipolar disorder
- Borderline personality disorder
Building Bonds That Last Past Treatment
Another great advantage to residential treatment in a men-only facility involves the friendships that can be made. Many bonds established while living together during treatment last past checking out. Men often find they have made lifelong friends in treatment who will always have their backs. They understand the darkest days they suffered through, as well as their strong efforts to stay in recovery. Having this type of touchstone after treatment can make a real difference.
Gender-Specific Addiction Treatment in California
Are you a man who is ready to face his addiction and seek life-changing help? Riviera Recovery has a program to help young men address their sobriety and any accompanying mental health issues. Our beautiful Southern California location provides the campus to embrace sobriety. Our sober living housing offers short-term and long-term stays designed to help you bond with your fellow residents and embrace recovery.
Reach out to us at Riviera Recovery right now and start living the happy, healthy life you deserve.