With March being International Women’s Month, it is important to acknowledge the existence of gender stereotypes, gender bias, and the ostracising of people who do not fit into those norms. Sexuality and gender are not the same. These ideas are nuanced and varied depending on the person, and the more we research identity and gender, the more we realize it is not as cookie-cutter as we once believed. The cultural conditioning around men, women, gender, and gender stereotypes might be so ingrained that if one is outside of the “norm,” they might be deemed abnormal by society at large. This also brings in the concept of sexuality, which ostracizes people and creates exclusivity in communities worldwide.
What Does This Have to do With Recovery?
Recovery is an intimate and personal process but is typically more successful in a supportive communal setting. That is why almost all recovery communities worldwide are built around fellowship, support, and kinship. We have been taught from a young age that we are meant to be independent beings, working hard to become successful. The typical “pull yourself up from your bootstraps” mentality comes to mind. However, we are interdependent beings. We need to create a strong identity and positive sense of self, healthy lifestyle habits, and the ability to do things independently. Yet, we also need support and community to develop our autonomy.
We all need a little help sometimes. Recovery is about a commitment to leading a healthy lifestyle. While everyone in recovery comes from various walks of life, those in recovery seek ways to live a more fulfilling life free of drugs and alcohol. Support is one of the critical aspects of many recovery programs. No matter how a person identifies, we are all vulnerable to falling prey to the potential pitfalls of addiction. Creating inclusive communities that welcome all people is essential for the livelihood and sobriety of many people.
What Does LGBTQ+ Mean?
There are a lot of misconceptions around the LGBTQ+ community and what it all means. Identity is continually changing, and the specifics are varied and nuanced from person to person. We understand concepts by categorizing them, so we create these ideas regarding gender roles and identity. It is important to note that while these ideas help us understand what these concepts mean, they do not define them as these concepts are fluid and multidimensional.
LGBTQ+ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and queer. The ‘+’ is in solidarity with all people who do not fit into those boxes. Gender and sexuality are fluid and impossible to create definitive “boxes” for every person living in the world today. Yet we must understand what the concepts mean to reduce any harm we may cause by not understanding these ideas around gender and sexuality. Knowledge of those who may be different from ourselves can help better understand the world at large and end the stigma that members of the LGBTQ+ might face during their lives.
The Reality We Are Facing
Rates of substance abuse are significantly higher in LGBTQ+ youth versus their counterparts. The people in this community live in a world that might not accept them and often openly tries to leave them out. It is a continuously problematic concept, as children and adults worldwide live in worlds that they feel unsafe in. This leads to substance abuse, self-neglect, significant mental health challenges, and in a lot of cases, death. That is why it is of utmost importance to create inclusive sober spaces and recovery communities that welcome all people, regardless of gender, sexuality, race, or religion. When people of various walks of life walk into a recovery space for the first time seeking refuge, they should not feel ostracised and pushed out once again at one of their most vulnerable moments.
What Can We Do?
First and foremost, research gender identities and the LGBTQ+ community. Understand that gender, sexuality, and identity are not binary systems and do what we can to recognize that with every person we meet. Going forward, always do your best to welcome people into sober spaces no matter what they identify and continue to create more inclusivity in recovery communities. Lastly, spend more time with people who are different than you and who you grew up around. This can profoundly affect how we see the world and help educate us on things we may not understand. Continue to seek out resources to be an ally for LGBTQ+ persons and educate yourself on what being an ally and fellowship truly means.
At Hired Power, we understand the disparities that the LGBTQ+ community faces in the recovery world and in general. Recovery is an intimate and personal process that is also centered around fellowship and support. When we don’t have the necessary support and kinship, especially due to cultural conditioning around identity, it can feel incredibly hurtful and alienating. At Hired Power, we do everything we can to create inclusivity in our communities and help anyone, regardless of gender or sexuality, on the path to recovery. Hired Power is a dynamic group of recovery professionals that provide an empowering range of services in a compassionate and healing environment that gives people the best opportunity for long-term success and happiness. We believe you are capable of healing, and we don’t want you to be alone through it. Our Personal Recovery Assistants encourage and motivate clients to become active participants in their own lives. Contact Hired Power today at (800) 910-9299.