Bringing awareness and education to men’s health is essential in encouraging more of them to get the help they need. Men might even be aware of the many factors that keep them from getting treatment and succeeding in recovery. Traditional gender roles tend to get in the way of a man’s ability to speak healing. If you are a man dealing with addiction, there’s still hope in recovery. The trick is being aware of these obstacles and reframing your thinking.
How Addiction Affects Men
Men and women who live by traditional gender roles tend to have different types of addictions, ways of being addicted, and ways of recovering. The reasons are various. Men tend to wait longer because of the culture that says high tolerance is good. It means that they can—or should be able to—handle their liquor or aren’t affected or altered by small amounts. This mindset can become very dangerous because a person with a higher tolerance can still overestimate how much they can handle, leading to accidental overdose.
Men also tend to use substances to self-medicate to deal with their mental health. Instead of confronting their emotions, it’s common for men to seek distraction. Sometimes this comes in the form of using substances. After a while, this becomes very destructive and actually never addresses emotional issues.
Why Men Often Don’t Seek Help
It’s pretty common for men to be reluctant to get help for their addiction. A toxic culture can surround drinking and substance use, especially how men should handle it. A man might put off getting help because they are afraid that it makes them weak. They are often raised to handle situations themselves, and independence is deemed a virtue. “You’re not a real man if you can’t do it yourself.” This kind of thinking is flawed. Asking for help takes a level of courage, as it can be scary to put yourself out there and be vulnerable. You’re fighting a fear of rejection, of judgment, of others pitying you. It can be challenging if you’re not used to asking for help. It’s uncomfortable. However, asking for help involves overcoming that fear and getting help despite it all.
Men Are More Likely to Relapse
According to one study, men are more likely to continue drug use after completing treatment. There are many reasons why this tends to be the case. One of the reasons is that men are more likely to try quitting independently. It stems from the fear of asking for help and being self-sufficient. Since they’re trying to stop on their own without the assistance of a treatment center, they end up relapsing because the core reason substance use started in the first place was never adequately addressed.
Men are also more susceptible to peer pressure. Toxic masculinity fuels their need to prove themselves to their friends. If their friends don’t support their sobriety, they might find themselves pressured to go to the bar on the weekend, even if they don’t plan to get drunk. Men also tend to have weaker social ties. They find it difficult to form deep friendships with their friends because of toxic masculinity’s barriers. Often, there’s an accompanying sense of homophobia, fearing and believing that emotional closeness or intimacy reads as sexual. Vulnerability feels inappropriate, and there’s a fear of crossing the line and losing that friend, even if both could benefit from remaining emotionally open.
Successful Recovery and Treatment Means Addressing Your Worldview
Since the pressure applied by society and yourself can become a barrier to getting treatment, it’s essential to acknowledge how your perspective might be getting in the way of overcoming your addiction. If you’re struggling to stop because you haven’t addressed the emotional reasons behind your substance use, then you aren’t moving in a positive direction. If you can’t reach out for help or form a solid support system because you’re afraid of being vulnerable to those close to you, that will only block you from people having your back when things get tough.
You might feel weak for needing treatment or being unable to get better on your own, but that pressure to make it on your own isn’t helping you— it is hurting you. It’s okay to ask for help, be vulnerable, and need healing. It’s a part of being a fully rounded human. Putting these unrealistic expectations on yourself will not help you with treatment. Understanding what it truly means to be a man will allow you to set foot on your path to freedom.
It can be challenging to come to terms with your addiction on your own, and when dealing with the world’s perception of what a man should be, it’s no wonder you hesitate to seek treatment. The bottom line is that men need to let go of these stigmas and expectations to have a successful recovery. Men are just as deserving of help as women.
They, too, need a support system. They shouldn’t feel ashamed for having an addiction or asking for help. Strength doesn’t come from just “toughing it out” or “handling it yourself”; instead, there is strength in vulnerability and asking for help. Asking others to help you when the world expects you to do it on your own takes a lot of courage.
Please call Villa Oasis San Diego today at (323) 739-8673.