As the field of drug counseling improves year after year and with the significant amount of research on addiction, more and more studies reveal that men and women experience addiction and recovery differently. Both genders are driven to drink or use drugs for different reasons and both turn to sober living treatment at different times in their addiction.
For instance, there are many men who struggle with anger and aggression, and this not only prompts alcoholism or drug use, but it also plays a significant role in their attempt to sustain long-term sobriety. Furthermore, men with addictions to methamphetamines or other more addictive drugs can frequently struggle with depression and anxiety as their brains adjust to sober living. Yet, depression and even suicide is not just associated with drugs, alcohol too plays a major role in depression for men. Approximately, 10%-15% of those with alcoholism will attempt to take their life. Those who were able to complete a suicide tend to have positive alcohol levels in their blood stream. One population that is at a high risk of both suicide and alcoholism is men who have lost their wives within the last year.
Yet, the advantage of men’s sober living homes is that men can build relationships with other men who are struggling with the same life concerns. Many men benefit greatly from the social network that naturally form in sober living homes which house men only. They can feel safe to discuss the experiences they’ve faced and concentrate on their sobriety. Having an environment in which men do not need worry about social approval or the impression they are making on others can facilitate focusing on what’s important during recovery.
Research shows that men who reside at a sober living home in a structured environment after treatment have a greater chance of staying sober. Men who continue to remain in a structured environment after detoxification and residential treatment for at least 30 to 60 days will be more likely to transition back into society without relapse.
Relapse is an experience that can be easily triggered. An addiction has a strong biological component where triggers and cravings for the drug occur almost without notice. Even if an individual has been through treatment and has had some months sober, it’s easy for a small stimuli to trigger an intense craving. Stress from work, relationship concerns with wives, family issues, environmental cues, running into old drinking or drugging friends can create an strong desire to use. However, living at a men’s sober living home for a length of time can create resiliency to relapse and promote sobriety.
In fact, that resiliency is demonstrated in recent research written about in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. The study found that men in recovery were less likely to return to alcoholism nine years later even when their wives or long-term partners began to have low levels of alcoholism-related problems. Furthermore, the partners of those previously addicted men tended to drink less as the men healed, regardless of the amount those wives drank before the recovery began. Of course, this study has something to say about the role of a loving partner in healing from addiction. There’s no question that a structured men’s sober living program can facilitate healing and recovery in men, as well as healing for the partners of those men, according to this study.
Furthermore, this study demonstrates the effect relationships can have on others. A men’s sober living community puts men in touch with a group of peers who have the same types of experiences, which can function as a pseudo family and have long-lasting therapeutic effects, so long-lasting that it facilitates sober living.
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