For people of all sexual orientations and gender identities, Pride is a time to celebrate diversity and enjoy the sights, sounds and tastes of our wonderful city. For people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, or asexual, and their allies, Pride has a deeper meaning born of activism and advocacy for human rights.
But what about people in the LGBTQ+ community who are trying to get and stay sober? Can Pride and Recovery go hand in hand?
LGBTQ Drug Abuse: Lifestyle Choice or Pervasive Problem?
Depending on who you ask, substance use is “just part of the gay experience”. Stereotypically, people in the LGBTQ+ community tend to “party” more than those who identify with other communities. Statistics would seem to bear this out, indicating that LGBT individuals are more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol than the general population. Yet is it really a never-ending party? Drug and alcohol addiction present major challenges for different groups of people within this community for more insidious reasons:
- LGBTQ+ individuals face systematic social stigma and prejudice
- They may feel shame, confusion and/or guilt related to their identity
- Drugs and alcohol may ease sexual encounters or feelings that might otherwise be a source of anxiety for individuals who are unsure about sexual identity
- There are typically higher rates of depression in this community, which can be self-medicated by drugs and alcohol.
Targeted Treatment Helps Members of the LGBTQ+ Community Recover
Because addiction can carry a social stigma in addition to the one already faced by the LBGT community, some people in this group can worry about coming forward for help. One of the big concerns is finding a rehab or treatment centre that is not only LGBT-friendly, but that is also cognizant and respectful of the unique recovery needs of the community.
Fortunately, such programs do exist. Renascent provides targeted treatment that shares the same basic tenets of recovery that have been proven to work among all peoples, but that also delve into the issues that may be of special concern to the LGBTQ+ community, such as dealing with homophobia, forming a strong identity, building solid relationships with people within and outside the LGBTQ+ community, and coping with mental health issues. Treatment includes both individual sessions and group counselling with like-minded individuals who are seeking recovery.
Prideful in Sobriety
So the question remains: is it possible to celebrate Pride week without drugs and alcohol? The answer is a resounding “Yes, you can!” Pride even has a clean & sober zone with awesome activities ranging from live bands to movie screenings to 12-step meetings. You can also march in the parade itself in the clean & sober float…what better way to show your Pride both for the LGBTQ+ community and for recovery itself?
If this is your first sober Pride, you might be wondering how you can possibly get through it (even though you know it would be nice to enjoy the events with dignity and actually remember them the next day!) If lasting sobriety is presenting challenges, please give Renascent a call. We have a variety of inpatient and outpatient treatment options to make sure you achieve the solid sobriety that will let you enjoy life again without the consequences that drugs and alcohol bring. Our proven treatment and warm, friendly support meets the needs of everyone in the rainbow.