Effective addiction treatment is critically needed for the bisexual community. Successful treatment should address the whole person, requiring an exploration of core issues underlying the abuse of drugs and/or alcohol. Providers of addiction treatment for the bisexual population should know and understand the key issues and barriers unique to this Community. Key issues include: Social Misconceptions, Bisexual invisibility, and multiple stigmatized identities.

Cognitive Behavioral TherapyNew Hope Recovery Center is pleased to offer a new 8 week closed group for gay and bisexual men affected by cross addictions.

For those struggling with multiple addictions, sexual compulsivity, relationships issues and/or trauma, this group will provide tools to process shame, fear and anxiety and will offer insights into the barriers that can keep someone stuck.

This confidential closed 8 week group will meet Tuesday evenings 6pm-8pm from October 25, 2016 to December 13, 2016.

Contact New Hope Recovery Center at 773-883-3916 or info@new-hope-recovery.com for more information and to register for the group.

Written By: New Hope Recovery Center

New Hope Recovery Center is located in Chicago and offers individualized alcohol and drug addiction treatment in a loving supportive environment.  The New Hope with Pride Program focuses on the needs of LGBTQIA individuals.  Contact New Hope Recovery Center at 888-707- 4673 (HOPE).

New Hope Recovery Center Is Pleased to Announce Gay and Bisexual Men's Therapy Program For Multiple Addictionsgay addiction sex addiction

Are you facing issues with multiple addictions, sexual compulsivity/addiction, and/or complex trauma? Join Jeff Zacharias, LCSW, CSAT, CAADC for this Confidential 8-week closed therapy group for Gay and Bisexual Men.  Meets Tuesday evenings 6pm-8pm March 3 – April 21, 2015.

  •  Program includes individual assessment testing (SDI and PTSI-R)
  •  Confidential individual therapy session analyzing test results
  •  Weekly meetings in small group setting
  •  Program based on Dr. Carnes’ “Facing the Shadow” Workbook

Participants will gain:

  • Recovery strategies for sobriety and self care
  • Tools to deal with shame, fear and anxiety
  • Insight into the interaction of multiple addictions

 Call 773-883-3916 prior to February 27, 2015 to participate

Written By: New Hope Recovery Center

New Hope Recovery Center, located in Chicago, offers individualized alcohol and drug addiction treatment in a loving supportive environment.  Contact New Hope Recovery Center at 888-707- 4673 (HOPE).

LGBT addictionWe previously discussed the first step in the process of coming out, self acceptance.  Once someone accepts that they are in fact LGBTQ, they are then faced with a situation that no other group of people faces…how, when, where and to whom do they disclose their sexual orientation or gender identity?  Most people in our society have a default setting which assumes the people around them are straight.  This is an example of heterosexism and it is the reason an LGBTQ person constantly questions whether and when they should come out to those around them.  Most people have numerous groups of people to come out to.  There are friends to consider, co-workers, fellow students, family members, relatives, friends, and acquaintances and within each group there are subgroups.  This can be overwhelming and stressful to think about.  As we discussed previously, the stress an LGBTQ person faces around coming out can lead to heavy use of alcohol or drugs and addiction.

A person’s identity as LGBTQ begins to form before the decision is made to come out or not.  The more developed someone is in their LGBTQ identity, the more likely they are to disclose themselves to others.  Simply stated, the more comfortable someone is with their authentic self, the easier it is for them to come out to others.

Once someone accepts themselves as LGBTQ, remaining in the closet forces them to live a double life, hiding who they truly are and how they feel from other people.  This secrecy is exhausting, stressful and lonely.  A life of concealment keeps one from truly connecting to others, because no one knows the real you.

Stress and Risks of Coming Out

Feelings of shame often keep the LGBTQ person from sharing their true selves. They often hear that they are bad, or evil or unworthy.  Fortunately, things are changing.  Over 53% of Americans support marriage equality.  But reading and hearing the daily news show that the acceptance is far from universal.

People may withhold the decision to come out to others because of the risk of rejection, fear of physical harm, discrimination, harassment, and a desire to protect loved ones from the stress of coming out.  It is not a coincidence that many of the LGBTQ clients struggling with addiction also struggle with some aspect of coming out.  Either they came out and faced one of the risks listed above, or they are frozen in fear that one of those risks might result if they were to tell others.  It is very common to hear about people struggling with addiction who have compartmentalized their life in an effort to hide certain aspects about themselves from others because of shame.

Some project their own anxiety and shame onto their loved ones as a justification for not coming out to those loved ones.   For example, my fear during my closeted years was always that others could not adjust to my uniqueness but really it was me who never gave myself a chance.  As a result I developed a false self to live up to the perceived expectations of my family and society so I would not hurt myself or let others down.  Yes there is a lot of risk associated with the very brave decision to come out but the other side has unlimited potential.  Giving yourself the opportunity to be your unique, honest, and authentic self is one of the most empowering experiences you can do in your life.  Coming out does not guarantee it but it provides the opportunity and there are people who are willing to help you reach that place of authenticity.

The Coming Out Process Never Ends

There is a myth about the coming out experience: that it is this milestone event and then after that the individual is in the clear.  However, this is not the case and the decision to come out is a lifelong, almost daily process that LGBTQ individuals are faced with.  Social contexts and an individual’s environment are constantly evolving and therefore decision whether or not to disclose one’s identity to others is constantly being made.

Even once one comes out to some people in a certain group, there is the stress of wondering who else in the group has been told.  For example, coming out to close coworkers can lead one to wondering who those coworkers have told.  There becomes an uneasy wondering of “do they know”.  Because a person’s sexuality is only part of who they are, it would seem forced and strange to start every conversation with “By the way, I am gay”.

Pride Month is a time to raise awareness of the issues those in the LGBT community have and reach out to others who feel alone.  Holding onto shame is a lonely place.  Healing occurs from hearing other people’s experiences. New Hope Recovery Center offers the New Hope With Pride Program for those struggling with any aspect of addiction and LGBTQ-related stressors.  For more information please visit our website New Hope Recovery Center, call us at 888-707-4673, or email us at info@new-hope-recovery.com.

Written By: New Hope Recovery Center

People often lump lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning and intersex individuals into one group, referring to this population as the LGBTQI Community. Bisexual individuals constitute an important group within this larger community whose specific concerns often remain hidden or ignored. A majority of sexuality and mental health research combines people that identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual.  This erroneously assumes their rates of mental health problems are similar. In actuality, research conducted in 2008 found bisexual people report more unmet health and mental health care needs than both heterosexual and gay or lesbian people.

Research on bisexuality from The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force found:

  • Of the top ten health issues for the bisexual community: Substance use and Alcohol use are #1 and #2 issues, respectively.
  • Bisexual women report the highest rates of alcohol use, heavy drinking, and alcohol-related problems compared to heterosexual and lesbian women.
  • Other key health issues include high risk sexual behavior (particularly the combination of substance/alcohol use and sex), depression and anxiety, low levels of social support, the lowest emotional well-being of any sexual orientation group, and higher levels of self-harm, suicidal thoughts, and suicide attempts than heterosexuals, gay men, and lesbians.

Effective addiction treatment is critically needed for the bisexual community. Successful treatment should address the whole person, requiring an exploration of core issues underlying the abuse of drugs and/or alcohol. Providers of addiction treatment for the bisexual population should know and understand the key issues and barriers unique to this Community. Here are a few of these key obstacles:

  • Social misconceptions: Unfortunately, society makes a number of incorrect assumptions about bisexuality. For example, bisexual individuals are often thought of as promiscuous, unfaithful, sex addicted, or involved in threesomes. For many people, bisexuality is not seen as a legitimate and healthy sexual identity. Instead, bisexuals are typically deemed “confused” or “afraid to admit they’re really gay.” It can be very easy for bisexual individuals to internalize these negative social attitudes and beliefs.
  • Bisexual invisibility: Often, people say they finally feel like they belong once they reach the 12-Step rooms or enter addiction treatment. They feel enormous amounts of relief once they recognize they’re no longer alone. This feeling of acceptance allows people in recovery to move beyond long histories of isolation and loneliness into a sense of connectedness and feeling a part of something larger than themselves. Full recovery will not be possible if an individual continues to feels shame and a sense of loneliness surrounding their sexual identity. Many bisexual individuals do not find this kind of acceptance surrounding their sexual identity in part due to the small numbers of bisexual individuals openly out in society.
  • Multiple stigmatized identities: Bisexual individuals with addiction face multiple layers of rejection and stigmatization. These individuals may feel like they have no place to fit in; rejected from the heterosexual community (in the form of homophobia) and rejected from the gay and lesbian community (in the form of biphobia). Mono-sexism is the false belief that a person can only be gay or straight. Gay or lesbian identity is perceived to be less stigmatized than bisexual identity. On top of all these forms of rejection based on their sexuality, bisexual individuals with addiction also face the social stigmas of being an addict or alcoholic.

Individuals with addiction who struggle to understand or accept their own bisexual identity may find themselves unable to give up alcohol or drugs as a coping mechanism. An important piece of self-acceptance may involve being out and open in all aspects of life.

An integral part of addiction treatment with New Hope Recovery Center’s New Hope with Pride program includes our full commitment to provide a safe and respectful environment for all Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning and Intersex clients to recover from addiction. The New Hope with Pride program assists clients to fully embrace who they are, develop healthy coping mechanisms, and live a life free from addiction.  We have tailored this program for the unique needs of everyone in the LGBTQI Community and provide focused treatment for bisexual clients. If you want to find out more about New Hope Recovery Center you may contact us or call us at 773-883-3916.

Written by: New Hope Recovery Center