Although addiction and treatment have similar features for everyone, no two situations are identical. The circumstances of your life matter a great deal for your recovery. There are significant differences, for example, between young adults and older adults. Men and women also have different needs in treatment. For a long time, men have been treated as sort of the default. However, recognizing some of the key differences between men’s and women’s recovery can lead to better outcomes for both. Here are some of the challenges men are more likely to face in addiction recovery.
Engaging with the group
Group therapy is a standard part of addiction treatment. There are many reasons for this. It helps model positive and supportive ways of communicating. It’s also an effective way to see when your thinking has become distorted, since others can often see your problems more objectively than you can. Group therapy is important during treatment and engaging with a group such as a 12-step group after treatment is a crucial element of a long recovery. Studies have found that group engagement is the best predictor of long-term success in a 12-step program. The problem is that, in general, men are less social. They are often not interested in talking about their feelings, especially with people they hardly know. As a result, it may take longer to reap the benefits of group therapy and they may feel less cohesion at 12-step meetings.
Opening up to a therapist
It’s often easier to open up to a therapist than to a group, but many men find even this challenging. Men are often raised not to show vulnerability. They aren’t supposed to cry or complain or admit when they hurt. Therapy sometimes involves all three. Although men are only about half as likely to have depression or an anxiety disorder, many experts believe that men are significantly less likely to ask for help, even when those conditions lead to substance use and other life problems.
Making sober friends
As noted above, men tend to be less social. It’s important to avoid people who might pressure you to use drugs or alcohol, but without new friends to replace them, many men end up feeling lonely, bored, and depressed. Making friends takes time and it’s a skill few people take time to develop, relying instead on whatever relationships happen to develop at school or work. However, taking a chance on making sober friends is one of the most important parts of recovery and one of the best predictors of success.
Men are more likely to feel like they can control their substance use, especially after a period of sobriety. This often leads to riskier behavior around drugs and alcohol. Men are more likely to feel complacent after several months of recovery and become less diligent about following their recovery plan. Men are also more likely to be tripped up by positive events, such as birthday celebration, vacation, or promotion.
Pinnacle Recovery specializes in inpatient rehabilitation, trauma recovery, AA programs and AA alternatives, experiential therapy, dual diagnosis, family therapy, co-occurring and dual diagnosis addictions. We also offer a wide range of sober living and intensive outpatient treatment programs. Call 1-866-301-0573 today for more information.