No matter the substance you’re working to get out of your system, the rehab process for men can be markedly different than that for women. Cultural restrictions and requirements for men often get in the way of asking for help, admitting to emotional challenges, or admitting that you’re too tired to fight. Quality outpatient addiction treatment is available, however. The culture of shame around addiction is often harder on men than on women.
While women are culturally trained or primed to build community with other women and to rely on men when they’re feeling overwhelmed, men, are often trained to compete with other men and to support women. When a man needs support, reaching out can be extremely challenging simply because it is outside their normal cultural training.
Post Detox: Building a New Community by Seeking Support
A man who has worked through the pain of detox and is ready to move into outpatient treatment is likely running on emotional fumes. A simple early step is to work with group counselors. Within an addiction support group, men can
- see that they’re not alone
- find a space where they don’t have to be the strongest
- lean into the discomfort and ask the tough questions on how to move forward
Within a 12-step program, men may also find that they can reach out and build community within a religious structure if they so choose. For many who struggle with addiction, joining a faith community may not be the best option. Before these decisions are made, many men would do well to also meet with a private counselor. For example, many who are struggling with addiction come from families that have been twisted by addiction. If any form of abuse was tied to religious traditions or beliefs, time in a faith community may be a dangerous pressure that could contribute to a relapse. Private counseling can help men become aware of their history of abuse experiences, including
- emotional manipulation
- sexual abuse or targeting
- verbal patterns of abusive language
- physical abuse of the addict or their family members
Too many men were raised in a dangerous dichotomy. For example, they may have been raised to believe that they were supposed to be the protector of their family while watching helplessly while their father abused their mother, their siblings of themselves. They may have been raised in a culture that normalizes male sexual aggression while suffering sexual abuse themselves. A quality drug treatment program offering outpatient addiction to men will provide both group and private counseling.
During this counseling, men will also need access to mental health assessments. Many adolescents suffer the symptoms of mental illness during a time when they are already feeling fragile. For example, an adolescent may feel isolated because they’re worried about meshing with a peer group. This isolation could lead to anxiety and depression, which can lead to dangerous choices, from drugs to suicide. Underlying mental health concerns can lead to drug and alcohol abuse. Because men have been culturally trained not to ask for help, they may find that an alcoholic drink can reduce emotional pain.
The next bout of emotional pain can lead to another drink, but it may take a stronger liquor or another substance to suppress the same pain. From this point on, the sufferer will be chasing a break from pain with the wrong product; addiction grows quickly as you need more drug to get the same benefit. For men in the midst of an addiction, using drugs and alcohol can feel like control. It can feel as though you’re actually solving your problem when you’re masking the problem with a bigger one.
During the detox process, the underlying mental health challenges that have been suppressed for so long may well come roaring back. It is critical that anyone undergoing a detox be supervised by medical professionals. A solo detox can be fatal; a detox under the care of a loved one can completely destroy that relationship. Finding a community in which you can ask for help in total honesty can be extremely frightening. To start, consider working privately until you can safely open up. Our counselors are available 24 hours a day. Call 833-610-1174.