Within the recovery community, we come across much diversity, sex, age ,creed as well as race. Amongst the ethnic minority’s, there are a large community of lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, and gay groups. People who not only have to fight an illness they live with daily in order to stay clean, they also have to fight to save their identity, in a world that can be some what judgemental,arrogant and blind to this community. As a straight 41 year old women in recovery myself, I have absolutely no problem if I see two men holding hands on the bus, or when I see two women kissing in the street. I attended Gay pride a few years back in London, it was one of the most, loving, colourful, vibrant, inspirational events I’ve had the privilege to attend. I take my hat of to anyone that has battled, and is overcoming their addiction, but this group of people seem to have a little more something about them, a strength, a solid bond and determination to stand up and be themselves, no matter what the world tells they should, or what they think they need to be. They’re here, they’re staying, they’re LGBTQ and proud!.
Q1. Why are people who are LGBTQ at a much higher risk of addiction?
A1.(By Marie) As children anyone who is in conflict with their sexuality will feel an enormous amount of pressure from the outside world, parents, friends, teachers and alike. They will perhaps feel they are a square peg trying to fit in a round whole. They may have gained some people pleasing tendency’s in order not to ‘upset’ the family, or friends, and could have attempted to deny who they are, and have ‘a go’ at being straight. Or they may have just not had the courage to tell anyone. So they are now, from a young age they are in an internal conflict with themselves, living in fear of being found out, dreed of being caught, and a constant worry of what will people think of them?. Addiction starts from childhood, wrapped up in low self worth and self- esteem issues, it called have all for the LGBTQ community begun here.
I asked Rineya the same questions, a gay women in her first year of recovery, this is what she told me.
” I personally feel that most people in my community deal with a lot of internal and external conflict that attributes to us yearning for escapism. As non-heterosexuality is mostly frowned upon in society. We have mostly been made to feel ashamed of who we are, inferior for what we believe in, and afraid to live and speck our truths. If the only time and chance for us to feel free is from the result of using substances, this is when we chase the feeling of when we feel and become ourselves”.
Q2. Why is it important for LGBTQ to find a treatment centre that respects their identy?
A2. Every person in the LGBTQ community has a right to be who they are, wherever they are. Addiction doesn’t discriminate against people. So they need to be in a safe surrounding to be who they are, each of them have their own individual needs that need to meet. A place where they are free to express themselves, and to live with out the fear of being condemned or judged for who they are.
Rineya, found her recovery through a 12 step fellowship, so doesn’t feel she can answer this question, but she did say,” If treatment centres can show the same love, and support as she has found in her meetings then that’s the way its need to be welcomed.”
Q3. How can LGBTQ find a treatment centre that respects them?
All treatment centres should respect a persons sexuality, there should be no sexisms inside a treatment centre. The best way is to call around and find a treatment centre that works with LGBTQ pacifically.
A3R.”Every person should have equal acceptance, as much as the next human being. Away from what we identify as, we need to know our recovery will be taken care of, and this will all be for the greater good, without us having to worry about us being made to feel less than, already anymore than society already does.”
Q4. Should they identify themselves as LGBTQ when they first contact treatment centres?
A4. Yes I feel they should, as its important a treatment centre has all the personal back ground in order to get the best results for their recovery.
A4 R. “I would believe that this depends on the individual. However, a suggestion is to let people know from the on set that LGBQT and other individuals are welcome in the treatment centre. This may encourage individuals to feel a bit more comfortable to open up a little more, and ask questions about what ways support is on offer to them.”
Q5. Does treatment for the LGBTQ people differ in the UK from the US?
A5. Addiction in the US is looked at very much different from the UK. And I feel the LGBTQ community are more sociably accepted in the UK than the US. There is more of an understanding in the UK so I feel the treatment process will be dealt with more compassionately and sympathetically to the LGBTQ community’s needs.