People tend to judge things they do not understand. For instance, in a society that is predominantly heterosexual, anyone of a different sexual orientation are likely going to be judged, harassed, and even ridiculed. Not understanding and non-acceptance also tends to come with fear and a need to push away what’s intimidating. And that’s one reason why society has reacted to those who identify with being gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) – out of fear, misunderstanding, and an inability to accept.
There’s no question that the LGBT community feels marginalized, judged, scorned, and abused. There has been extensive forms of violence against those who are LGBT. For this reason, it’s easy for those who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender to turn to drugs and alcohol simply as a means to find a way to feel accepted. Or when feeling the effects of society’s judgment, gay men and women might turn to drugs as a means to escape the violence and judgment they feel in their lives.
Furthermore, LGBT men and women are not only judged but they are made the target for bullying and harassment, either at school or in a work environment, because of their sexual orientation. These severe challenges can contribute to mental illness , such as depression, anxiety, suicide, and addiction. It’s common to turn to drugs and alcohol as a means to feel better, find comfort, and experience acceptance – even if it’s with others who use. Yet, as that drug use continues, it can become problematic, leading to addiction, brain dysfunction, mental illness, and possibly suicide.
In fact, it’s becoming more and more common that LGBT men and women are turning to suicide. Suicide and addiction are common among LGBT men and women who were rejected by their families. Yet, if a gay person also experienced bullying or harassment, or another form of violence or rejection by society, then he or she will also be affected by suicide and addiction.
Because a form of rejection (whether by family or by society) plays a significant role in the development of addiction for LGBT men and women, finding forms of acceptance can be just as significant in recovery. For this reason, LGBT men and women who are recovering from an addiction might gain immensely from participating in a community. In fact, in the Los Angeles area, there are Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings that are devoted to those who are LGBT. Feeling accepted and a sense of belonging can be a crucial component for recovery.
Recovery for LGBT men and women might include aspects to it that others may not include in their recovery. For instance, the following is a list of activities to include in recovery if you or someone you know is an LGBT recovering addict.
- Attend the LGBT annual parade, which is a way to discover that the LGBT community is made up of regular people, like everyone else.
- Join an LGBT support group, such as PFLAG – Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians and Gays –, which is one of the largest communities of support for the LGBT population. They have local chapters to develop relationships with other LGBT supporters.
- Research the local, state, and federal laws for homosexual, transgender, and trans-sexual individuals. Find out whether there are any local groups that are fighting for equal rights for the LGBT population.
- Locate the local AA groups in your community and look for any that are specifically for LGBT men and women.
- Participate in therapy with family members or those with whom you want to repair your relationship.
These are suggestions of activities to include in recovery if you or someone you know is a gay recovering addict.
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