Throughout the 1700’s up until the mid-1900’s, drinking played an extremely important social role. Heavy drinking was considered manly, especially during the “gin craze” of the 1730’s and 1740’s. However, as we progressed into the latter part of the 1900’s, drinking began to be recognized as a disease. Alcoholism was accepted more and more by the medical community as being an illness of the brain.
No longer was it manly to get drunk, to be able to “hold your liquor,” or to drink and express anger in brawls at a bar. Instead, the medical and the mental health community began to see all the way that alcohol could be a deadly habit.
However, this isn’t to say that American or European society has given up on alcohol. In fact, drinking continues to be glamorized in film and its dangers are often minimized. The harmful effects of alcohol and the use of drugs are frequently disregarded by young people who seek the thrill of being drunk.
Although alcoholism is no longer seen as a man’s disease, drinking continues to be glamorized, and for that reason, it might draw a man toward drinking. Having a drink might call upon a man looking for his masculinity or a man seeking to find his strength or a man hoping to wash away his apparent failures in being a man.
There are certainly some unique experiences that only men have when it comes to drinking. For this reason, when a man is ready to seek sober help, when he is finally willing to begin a sober living program, there are advantages that men can find at a gender-specific center. Sober living for men can provide experiences for men that they wouldn’t be able to find at a co-ed facility.
For instance, the unique experiences described above, such as attempting to find one’s strength in drinking, can be shared among the participants at a home of sober living for men. Some men might be able to find healing and self-acceptance in hearing the stories of others. Some men might be able to find a different kind of strength and let go of the need for alcohol or drugs. Rooming with another male, attending group therapy with other men with the same concerns, and working with issues that are specific to the men can support their emotional and psychological growth.
Furthermore, a home of sober living for men will have a team of professionals who will know how to respond therapeutically. They will know how to help men find their sobriety.
What’s interesting is that even though heavy drinking was once seen as manly, the illness of alcoholism is actually a disease pointing to some sort of inner weakness. Alcoholism indicates that there is something inside that is not being tended to, whether that’s anger or shame or self-rejection. The true power is making the choice to work through a sober living program and building the strength to face the difficult inner emotions.
Slowly, and with strong encouragement from others in sober living for men, males can find a kind of masculinity that is honorable and authentic, meaning that masculinity is not based on being able to drink long and hard, but rather based on integrity and strong principles of value.
Sober living for men programs can do this. It can be the venue for finding authentic strength and a meaningful experience of life.