The Culture of Male Brotherhood in Addiction and RecoveryOctober 12, 2018 - Addiction, Recovery - 0 Comments
Adult men are much more likely to become addicted to drugs and substances of any kind according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse. Overcoming an addiction is never easy, especially for men who often pride themselves on being the pinnacle of strength and perseverance in the workplace and in family life. Understanding the brotherhood culture involved with getting sober for men is a way to move forward with a plan of action to begin living a happier, healthier, and more fulfilling life.
Common Addictions Among Men
Addictions in men of all ages and backgrounds widely vary based on the availability of drugs and substances in addition to the length of time an addiction has wreaked havoc in their lives. Some of the most common addictions among men include alcohol abuse, pills such as Xanax and other benzodiazepines (commonly referred to as benzos), methamphetamine, and even opiates such as heroin. While many addictions start with dabbling in drugs, OTC (over-the-counter) pills, and even prescription medications, they can quickly devolve into using much more harmful substances such as opiates and street drugs including methamphetamine.
Reasons Men Become Addicted to Substances
- Unfortunately, there is not just one simple reason why men turn to use drugs and alcohol when they are leading otherwise normal lives. If you have recently found yourself in “need” of substances such as alcohol or alternative drugs, it is important to consider triggers and events that may cause you to feel as if you require an escape to simply feel a sense of normalcy. Some of the most common reasons that men become addicted to drugs and alcohol include:
- A need to escape everyday life: When you are unhappy and unsatisfied with everyday life, turning to alcohol or other forms of drugs may bring you a sense of relief. Escapism is common among those faced with severe addictions, but generally roots in feelings of unhappiness or an overall unsatisfactory view on life.
- Financial strain: Financial stress is daunting and at times, overwhelming when you are unsure of how to fix or repair your current situation monetarily. With mounting bills and credit card debt to manage, you may feel as if you are drowning with the pressure you feel each day simply to make ends meet. Turning to drugs and alcohol may alleviate your worries temporarily, but can also further stress and anxiety once you return to a sober state, prompting you to increase your usage in any substance you have available.
- Loss of employment: When you lose your employment, you may feel as if you are out of options and at risk of losing your home or current lifestyle. When you are unable to find another job, your addiction may become more severe as you attempt to forget your problems rather than face them head-on.
- Loss of marriage or relationships: Going through the motions of a divorce or losing a lasting relationship is never easy. Due to the stigma of men not having similar emotions as women, you may find yourself turning to the bottle with casual alcoholism or overusing prescription and OTC medications to cope with the pain and sadness you feel.
- Depression and anxiety: Not facing the effects of depression and anxiety can quickly lead to addiction in both men and women. When men feel as if they do not have an outlet to share their feelings due to a fear of feeling rejected, shamed, or guilted by others, they are more likely to begin isolating themselves in their depression with an addiction as an escape method.
- Boredom: Men who are bored in life or simply lack hobbies and activities they enjoy often find themselves turning to alcohol and drug use. When you do not socialize regularly or begin isolating yourself, it is much more likely that you will give in to the temptation of using substances to boost your mood and outlook on life.
How the Brotherhood Culture Plays a Significant Role in Overcoming an Addiction and Recovery
In order to truly face and overcome an addiction, brotherhood is essential for men throughout the treatment and recovery process. Brotherhood culture among men is a way for you to gain support from peers along with men who are much older and younger than you, providing different perspectives from all walks of life. Understanding how the brotherhood culture plays a significant role in the treatment and recovery process of addiction is a way to gain a new lease of life without ever feeling alone in your struggles again.
Brotherhood culture is important for men who are in need of socialization and connections with others without feeling alienated and alone with their addictions. When you meet with other men and discuss the challenges and obstacles you face each day, learn more about experiences that are similar to your own. Gain inspiration and motivation from men who have faced their addiction demons and discover new methods of approaching your addiction without feeling alone in your journey.
Attend group meetings and counseling sessions to relieve yourself from feeling a weight on your shoulder. Feel listened to and heard by communicating openly with other men who have had similar issues overcoming addictions of their own. Discuss options to avoid using again in the future and regain the strength to steer clear from alcohol and drug use altogether.
Gain a sponsor throughout your addiction recovery program to have a dependable friend to rely on when you are struggling to remain sober or when faced with trying times. Sponsors who are also men provide a sense of brotherhood and support that are not always easy to find, even with close family and friends outside of therapy and recovery centers.
Rid the Negative Stigma Surrounding Mental Health
Men struggle with communicating and sharing openly about their addictions due to in large part the stigma surrounding mental health. The brotherhood culture provided in both sober living homes, as well as rehab centers that focus on holistic approaches, allows you to free yourself from negative stigmas, views, and opinions while sharing your thoughts and challenges you face openly. Ridding the negative stigmas that surround mental health and drastically impact the chance of recovering fully is a way for you to move forward with your life while looking into your future rather than remaining stuck in your addiction and your past.
Connecting with other men is imperative when faced with an addiction, whether you have struggled with addiction for a few months or years, or even if you have a long-term addiction that has lasted decades.
Emotional vulnerability is essential to release toxic and negative emotions or thoughts you have about yourself and your current situation. With other men who have faced or are facing addictions of their own, feel comfortable sharing all of the obstacles you attempt to overcome each day while remaining sober.
Sharing stories of past experiences to help rid the shame or guilt felt while listening to others and creating lifelong bonds that are difficult to find in everyday life is a part of the recovery process. Connecting with other men on your road to recovery is a way to feel less of an outcast and more of a part of a community.
While it is not always possible to connect with other men in your life emotionally outside of rehabs and treatment centers, bonding with those who have similar experiences as you is a way to regain the strength and confidence necessary to maintain a sober way of living for life.
Reshape and Redefine Manhood
One of the biggest reasons men typically struggle with severe addictions and the inability to overcome them is due to pride and society’s current view on manhood and how men should handle problems. The brotherhood culture often found in gender-specific treatment centers and facilities that focus on men allows many individuals to freely share thoughts, emotions, and struggles with others. Through this, many are able to reshape and redefine manhood by making new friends and meeting others who have overcomeaddictions that are similar to their own.
In order to truly free yourself from addiction, it is important to branch out with new connections and friends who are there to support you at all times throughout your recovery process, who often have been through a lot of the same experiences.
Sober Living Benefits
- Choosing a sober living house is one way to steer clear from falling back into the traps of addiction while meeting other men who are also struggling to live a clean and healthy life again. Sober living homes that are just for men provide a number of benefits and advantages over attempting to get clean and substance-free on your own without added support. Some of the most notable benefits that sober living homes for men have to offer include:
- Zero-tolerance zones. Zero-tolerance zones are extremely vital in the recovery process for anyone addicted to pills, opiates (or opioids), or alcohol. Sober living homes do not allow any use of drugs or alcohol regardless of how long an individual has been clean or in recovery. With a zero-tolerance zone, minimize the risk of finding yourself feeling the temptation to use again. When you are outside of a sober living home or not enrolled in an inpatient rehab treatment program, your risk of using and abusing drugs and alcohol skyrockets. Having access to drugs and alcohol at any time is extremely difficult to avoid when you do not have the necessary emotional and mental support surrounding you 24/7.
- Routine: Sober living homes provide daily routines that are helpful when working towards living a sober and drug-free lifestyle. Without routine, men are much more likely to experience relapses, regardless of how long they have been sober. When you do not have a routine in place, the temptation to turn to alcohol and drug abuse is much more great, especially when you do not currently have a full-time job or if you have lost interest in hobbies and socializing with others.
- Group counseling: Group counseling is a way to feel connected and less alone among fellow men who wish to share their stories and struggles. Connect with other men regarding your addiction and feel less isolated in the world knowing there are others who are facing similar journeys as you. Attend weekly, bi-weekly, or even monthly group meetings when integrating a set routine into your life again and providing you with additional purpose to maintain your sobriety.
- Individual counseling and therapy: Work together with professional therapists and counselors to dig deeper into the root cause of your addiction. Learn more about treatment plans and options that are best suited for you individually. Practice CBT (cognitive behavior therapy) techniques along with alternative therapeutic options to find the relief you seek. Work together with your counselor and therapist to determine which method of therapy works best for you and which methods simply fall short with delivering on expectations.
- Reintroducing hobbies and activities: Losing interest in hobbies and activities that were once a source of joy for men is overwhelmingly common with severe addictions. With a sober living home, learn how to appreciate free time with activities such as sports or hobbies that range from woodworking and painting to meditation again. Spend time learning what you enjoy all over again while remaining sober and maintaining emotional and mental support throughout your recovery.
Holistic Approaches to Achieve Sobriety
Holistic approaches to achieve sobriety are also invaluable, especially if you are seeking a deeper meaning in your journey to sobriety. Working on emotional, mental, physical, and even spiritual aspects of your life are extremely important to feel balance and positivity when moving forward without the temptation of drugs and alcohol. Choose rehab centers and treatment facilities that are right for you based on the services provided and the methods used to overcome addiction, especially if you prefer a holistic approach to regain total control over the direction of your life and future.
Seeking a dual-diagnosis center for treatment and addiction is extremely valuable for men of all ages, regardless of background or the severity of the addiction that is being faced and treated head on. With the right rehab facility and approach involving the brotherhood culture as support, begin rebuilding your life without the need to use pills, alcohol, and other potentially life-threatening drugs.