The Role of Masculinity in Addiction Recovery, Part I
While addiction is an equal-opportunity disease, more men are diagnosed with drug and alcohol addiction. Males are also impacted differently by chemical dependency than their female counterparts since they face gender-specific challenges. One of these is the pursuit of masculinity. As part of this pursuit, men begin using drugs and alcohol at a young age. This type of risk-taking behavior is tolerated—and even condoned—by society. Young men who feel the need to prove their manliness by drinking or doing drugs are at higher risk for developing a severe addiction.
In their book, A Counselor’s Guide to Working with Men, Matt Englar-Carlson, Marcheta P. Evans, and Thelma Duffy assert that:
“Although neurobiology and heredity significantly predict the development of addiction, other findings indicate that adherence to masculine norms may also lead men to use substances.”
Masculinity & Addictive Behaviors
Men internalize the idea of masculinity from an early age: learning to suppress their emotions, celebrate success with a drink, compete with friends in drinking games, and engage in reckless behavior to prove themselves. Since men are more at risk for chemical dependency because of societal expectations, it stands to reason that it is harder for them to seek help. Encouraged to “tough it out” and solve their own problems, men may put off rehab for months, years, or even decades because they are fearful of appearing weak.
What Does It Mean to Be a Man in Recovery?
At 10 Acre Ranch, we understand the social and self-imposed expectations that our male clients face when it’s time to admit their addiction and enter rehab. Specializing in drug and alcohol addiction treatment for men 18 and over, our CA facility is uniquely equipped to meet male recovery needs through group therapy, individual therapy, anger management classes, life skills training, stress management, and a proven 12-step curriculum.
Embracing a social treatment model, we encourage men to break the destructive cycle of isolation by connecting and supporting one another, preparing meals together, attending counseling together, and participating in recreational and therapeutic activities. We provide a safe place to recover and confide in sober colleagues, and we teach men how their gender roles can work for rather than against them. Next week, we’ll discuss what authentic masculinity looks like during this recovery journey—and how you can walk the path to a healthier, more confident life.
If you are a man struggling with any type of addiction, we can help. Call 877.228.4679 to learn more about 10 Acre Ranch’s gender-specific treatment program, or to verify insurance benefits and begin the detox process.