Historically, most alcohol rehab programs were designed to treat the disease of addiction and alcoholism, regardless of sexual orientation. As time passed and addiction treatment professionals gained additional experience in addiction treatment, specialty programs began to spring up all over the country. There was an alcohol rehab program for men, an alcohol rehab for women, an alcohol rehab program for Christain’s, but it appeared that most of the alcohol rehab programs expected the gay population to “just fit in”.
While this alcohol treatment program approach worked for some, many gay, lesbian and bisexual’s felt out of place, scared and discriminated against, making effective addiction treatment almost impossible. In order to treat the gay population effectively, one of two things had to happen; either design an all gay alcohol rehab or an alcohol rehab termed a gay friendly alcohol rehab.
While an all gay alcohol rehab is self explanatory, what did an alcohol rehab program need to do to be gay friendly and provide effective alcoholism treatment. The answer had a complex solution as the typical alcohol rehab approach needed to change a bit. First, the entire addiction treatment staff needed to be educated and sensitized to the needs of the gay individual. They needed to be taught about their lifestyle, homophobia, heterosexism, coming out and the host of issues the gay community faces. Each staff needed to be assessed as to their homophobic attitudes and educated accordingly.
Secondly, a group specific to gay addiction treatment issues needed to be developed, with a therapist trained in the areas specific to the gay population. This alcoholism treatment group would meet several times a day in conjunction with all the other addiction treatment services offered in the alcohol rehab.
Lastly, for a gay friendly alcohol rehab to be effective in the treatment of alcoholism or drug addiction, it must have a comprehensive family recovery component. THis family recovery component needs to be much more than a family session once a week. There needs to be at least a four day period of time that the entire family is together at the alcohol rehab with the family therapist to resolve any outstanding issues within the family system. Issues within a gay family unit can be complex and hard to understand, so time at the alcohol rehab is needed. For the patient, meeting within the gay friendly alcohol rehab can provide them support as they come face to face with some of the shame they have carried for years. telehealth rehab