A unitary approach to drug and alcohol addiction treatment could never be successful. Rehabilitation strategies must be customized based on all relevant factors and, in some cases, group identity is an important factor that should be taken into account. Peer support is essential to the healing process. Many recovering addicts believe they need the support and understanding of those who have similar perspectives and life histories.
In recognition of its potential value, many addiction treatment centers are now offering gender-specific rehabilitation. Co-ed settings are still the norm, but men-only and women-only treatment facilities (or programs inside co-ed facilities) are expanding in number, driven by a strong demand for their services.
Advantages of Men-Only Treatment
Because more men suffer from substance abuse problems, facilities that cater specifically to men are more common than those that treat women exclusively.
Recovering addicts who choose treatment programs reserved for men will receive a full range of treatment services. The unique aspects of each person’s battle with addiction will be acknowledged and incorporated into their treatment regimens, but the sense of fellowship and shared purpose that develops as men work together for a common cause helps reinforce and complement everyone’s core healing plans.
Addiction treatment programs for men only have a proven track record of success. If you are a man with a substance abuse problem this option may or may not sound attractive to you, but for those who are interested and want to learn more here are a few benefits that a men-only rehabilitation program can deliver:
- Mutual understanding from within a shared cultural experience: How we respond to addiction is partly determined by social and cultural factors that transcend substance abuse. Gender is one such factor, and getting feedback from other men with similar outlooks and experience sets can help you gain a deeper level of understanding about your dysfunctional behavior and the unhealthful thought patterns that support it.
- An environment that facilitates free and open expression: As you work through your past, the last thing you need are barriers that inhibit you from expressing your honest emotions. You may feel more comfortable surrounded by other men who have walked in your shoes and understand why it can be so difficult for men to admit to weakness or failure.
- For straight men there is no possibility of disruptive romantic complications: While you undergo treatment for addiction you will be in an emotionally vulnerable state. You may be tempted to turn to others for comfort, but romantic entanglements can add to your stress, increase your confusion and interfere with your attempts to get clean and sober. If you have a co-occurring sexual addiction a men-only treatment program would make even more sense.
- A fresh perspective if you have failed in rehab before: If your past experiences with inpatient rehab have ended in relapse it might make sense to try something different. You still need treatment and gender-specific rehab can show you how to perceive your situation from an entirely new angle.
- A reduced potential for conflict or awkwardness if you have a history of domestic violence: Incidents of domestic violence are often associated with substance abuse. You may feel more comfortable discussing these issues and more open about expressing yourself if no women are present.
- An opportunity to participate in meaningful and honest discussions about fatherhood and relationships and how they are affected by substance abuse: Substance abuse is devastating for partners/spouses and children. Your addiction has negatively impacted the lives of your loved ones and this knowledge can be difficult to deal with once you face the truth. Other men in the same situation will understand your inner conflict and will be able to offer valuable advice and support as you attempt to come to terms with your past failures as a father and a partner.
A Brotherhood of the Responsible
When you undergo treatment for a substance abuse disorder you will be asked—challenged—to take full responsibility for your past, present and future. In men-only treatment programs you will be asked to join a “Brotherhood of the Responsible,” where each encourages the other to rise to the challenge by working harder, reaching farther and aiming higher.
Manhood is only one part of your identity but as you strive to overcome chemical dependency it is a part you cannot afford to overlook. A treatment program reserved exclusively for men like yourself can help you achieve the focus and clarity of purpose you need to subdue the substance abuse problem that has prevented you from becoming the man—the human being—you have always wanted to be.