Gender Specific Rehab for Men
Dual Diagnosis Substance Abuse Recovery
We strongly believe in – and encourage – gender specific residential addiction recovery treatment. We believe individuals must feel safe to deal with the raw emotions that are at the core of addiction. We believe individuals must feel free to express themselves, must feel free to feel all emotions without judgement – and must be free to begin healing.
At A WISE Retreat – our goal is to help our clients focus on themselves and their recovery.
Clients must feel ‘safe’ in order to begin to feel and process difficult emotions regarding their addiction. When exploring the core of addiction issues, emotions are often complex and challenging to access.
When hidden emotions (often involving trauma) are discovered and uncovered in a safe environment – emotions can be temporarily overwhelming. In a mixed gender rehab setting – identification and sharing of raw emotions can be difficult for both genders.
Men’s Experiences in Substance Abuse
Men may use or start to abuse substances for different reasons than women. And male institutions (e.g., fraternities, amateur sports teams) often encourage alcohol use (Brooks 2001). Men who cannot talk about their feelings or manage them constructively sometimes use substances to deal with difficult emotions.
Men are typically socialized to be goal-directed and action-oriented (Pollack 1998a). Shame, especially, can limit help-seeking behaviors for substance use and mental disorders.
The Strong Male Cultural Ideal
Due to cultural conditioning – men generally want to present themselves as being strong, competent and non-emotional in dealing with personal issues. In our culture, when women are present many men are often drawn to the roles of ‘protector’ and ‘avenger’.
In an addiction rehab setting – falling into unconscious habitual patterns is an obstacle to recovery. A major goal of addiction rehab treatment is to discover habitual behavior patterns. After discovery, these behavior patterns can be gradually altered with evidence-based practices for substance use disorders.
Cultural Conditioning and Gender Roles
Society, culture, religion and belief systems have played a big role on how humans are conditioned to behave. This is especially evident in the presence of the opposite sex.
The presence of females in a rehab group with men can present an additional recovery obstacle for men. Many personal and sensitive issues lie at the root of addiction. These issues can include adverse childhood experiences, post-traumatic stress disorder and bereavement.
Men, for example, are taught at a very young age that boys don’t cry and boys don’t show weakness. Boys are often taught to be aggressive, strong and show no pain. This is especially true when men are in the presence of women. And it can be even more evident in mixed rehab settings.
Women, on the other hand, are taught at a very young age that they are weaker than men. Women are taught to be passive and submissive. They are taught to sit a certain way, look a certain way and act a certain way; especially in the presence of men.
Gender Specific Rehab Reduces Gender-based ‘Acting Out’
Most men and women want (to some degree) to ‘look their best’ in the presence of the opposite gender. This tendency for ‘looking good’ includes sharing of difficult emotions in group settings. It reduces the effectiveness of group work in many cases.
Or, if an individual has feelings of hostility and aggression towards the opposite gender – this will also be acted out in group therapy settings. Hostility and negative emotional displays directed at individuals in a group setting distract everyone from the real goals of rehab.
Addiction Denial Through Intimate Encounters
Friends are good. But ‘instant intimacy’ is a major avoidance behavior.
Relationship ‘drama’ is another avoidance tactic. Intimate relationship complications – such as jealousy, betrayal and more – present enormous distractions and obstacles to the recovery process.
Because of the difficulty of self-awareness work in addiction recovery – many have a natural inclination to avoid sometimes painful inner work. In mixed gender rehab settings – the easiest way to avoid difficult inner work is by becoming ‘involved’ with the opposite gender during rehab.
Understanding and facing core addiction issues is difficult, but rewarding. To recover from addiction – individuals must first be able to identify their actions and behaviors without judgement and without self-deception. This is at the core of recovery.
A WISE Retreat is there for our clients every step of the recovery journey.
Our local Northern California service area includes San Francisco, Bay Area, East Bay, Concord, Benicia, Berkeley, Walnut Creek, San Mateo, Palo Alto, Mountain View, Silicon Valley, Menlo Park and San Jose.
Mind, Body and Spirit.
• Our resident to staff ratio is ideal for recovery.
• Our team of professional addiction specialists and staff members treat the whole person.
• We utilize the best evidence-based methodologies available.
• Our staff are some of the most compassionate, highly skilled recovery professionals located on the West Coast.