Addiction does not discriminate between the sexes. However, males face certain challenges unique to their gender when overcoming addiction. Males are less likely than females to admit weakness and may attempt to persuade their loved ones to let them overcome the addiction on their own. Unfortunately, the success rate is significantly less without entering a professional facility suited to teach addicts how to live sober. When seeking help for the addicted male in one’s life, this must be understood and embraced when directing him to a male-specific rehabilitation program.
Males struggling with substance abuse are less likely to be receptive to the idea of entering treatment when they have loved ones enabling the addiction. Enablers are often mistaken in thinking supporting the addict benefits them. The ways in which enablers actually support addiction is providing financial support and constant acceptance of addicts’ ill behaviors. Males suffering from addiction must hit rock bottom in order to be compelled to enter treatment. Enablers must cease enabling behaviors for the addict to view entering treatment as the only option.
A professional intervention including loved ones explaining they will no longer enable the addiction is often the catalyst for unwilling addicts to agree to enter a treatment program. Knowing the rehabilitation program being recommended offers an individualized approach to the needs of males affords male addicts a comfort level they may not feel when envisioning a co-ed treatment program.
Once males enter treatment at a rehab for men, loved ones should develop a genuine understanding that addiction is an illness. Enablers become experts at enabling the addiction but need to learn how to support the addict in recovery. This is also a stressful time for those close to an addict.
Supporting a male addict means respecting the feelings unique to men when it comes to what the addiction has destroyed and what fueled the addiction in the first place. A male-specific recovery program teaches coping mechanisms for these unique pressures.
Men are taught they should be the protectors in the family and always maintain control. Once engulfed in addiction, males are often no longer viewed as the strong, unflinching influences they once were. The shame accompanying that change in roles is a significant issue for males to face when in the initial stages of recovery. To be successful, they must admit their mistakes and express a level of emotional vulnerability they likely have not in the past. Male-specific programs more effectively facilitate this process, as men are sometimes less open to admit failures and weaknesses in the presence of other females.
While in treatment, male addicts learn how to live sober while coming to terms with how their addiction has changed others’ perceptions of them. Learning to avoid triggers and confront issues without the crutch their addiction has afforded them in the past is paramount to success.
At home, male addicts’ loved ones are tasked with making changes as well. They must prepare for a lifestyle supporting the addict in his recovery. Committing to sober living themselves is vital. Social drinkers must realize the home has to be free of intoxicating substances.
Relapse is not inevitable, but it is a possibility. Success is dependent upon loved ones supporting a recovering addict without judgment and with positivity upon his completion of a treatment program.
Rip Van Winkle
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