One overarching question exists for LGBTQIs facing addiction: “Where and how do I socialize after I get sober?” For most gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in their 20’s and 30’s, their social lives often are centered in and around bars. There is no doubt that the prevalence of alcohol and drugs in the LGBTQI Communities is rampant for all age groups. Several studies have shown the extent of alcohol and drug use in the Community. Higher drug and alcohol use occurs in the UK, Australia, Ireland and in the US.
Gay men, for example, are significantly more likely to have used marijuana, stimulants, sedatives, cocaine, and party drugs (ecstasy, ketamine, and GHB) than men in the general population. And the use of crystal methamphetamine in gay and bisexual men has increased dramatically in recent years. Use of alcohol and drugs among lesbian and bisexual women is higher than the general population. LGBT events/fundraisers/activities are usually sponsored by an alcohol company which is a clear indicator that the alcohol industry has used this research to their advantage.
As friends settle down into relationships and create families during the late- 30’s to 40’s many single gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals become vulnerable to isolating socially. This isolation often leads many addicts to avoid or delay treatment. It can also trigger relapses and generally diminish the overall quality of life.
Many LGBTQIs in their late 40’s and 50’s suddenly realize that the crowd they used to run with no longer exists in the way that it once did. This can leave them scrambling for social activities to enjoy. And if they are in recovery for alcohol or drug addiction, the old standby of going to bars and clubs is not a healthy choice.
Fortunately there are now a number of healthy sober social alternatives available… especially in Chicago. For example, the Center on Halsted offers weekly art therapy workshops, luncheons for those over 45 and many affinity groups like Sage for LGBTQI’s over 40. There are movie lover screenings, sober dances and gatherings and many learning opportunities. You can also join running groups, softball teams, volleyball leagues, or other fitness groups. These are great additions to recovery meetings and fellowship.
For those LGBTQI’s in recovery, remember the old saying, “It is all about people, places and things.” You don’t have to lose the ability to connect with people; there are many activities and social possibilities waiting for you.
New Hope Recovery Center has an Addiction Treatment program for LGBTQI individuals. Treatment options include full day, morning and evening alternatives. We are an LGBT-owned business that understands the unique issues facing the LGBTQI Community. If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction to alcohol or drugs, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 773-883-3916.
Written by: New Hope Recovery Center
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