A man in recovery faces unique challenges. They have to overcome stigmas before they can start to truly benefit from treatment. The stereotype surrounding “being a man” can make it harder for men to reach out during early recovery. It can also make it more difficult for them to continue what they have learned outside of treatment. Spero Recovery wants to work with men to ensure they get the emotional support and aftercare needed to thrive in their new sober lifestyle.
What Makes It Harder for a Man in Recovery?
Men are faced with many obstacles during their recovery journey. These obstacles can include things like stigmas and stereotypes.
The stigma surrounding “being a man” means that men are not supposed to partake in anything that could be deemed feminine. This includes things like showing emotion and asking for help. A man that finds themself performing a feminine activity opens himself up to ridicule and negative consequences from other men for not being “manly” enough. This stigma creates societal pressures and added stressors that can hurt a man in recovery.
There are different pressures from society that come with being a man. Feeling these pressures makes it harder for men to reach out for help and can lead them to use reckless behaviors, like substance use.
A big societal expectation related to “being a man” is not showing emotion. Hiding your feelings can cause mental and physical health conditions. These can include:
- Increased stress, anxiety, and depression levels.
- Higher heart rate and blood pressure.
- Isolation from not being able to connect with others.
- Greater chance of struggling with substance use disorder (SUD).
Men learn to use alcohol and drugs as a way to cope with feelings of grief, loss, and stress. Using substances as a coping mechanism can start a dangerous cycle leading to SUD or other physical and mental health illnesses.
Stressors Related to Early Recovery
The unique obstacles facing a man in recovery can add additional stressors during early recovery. These stressors can be surrounded by having to:
- Connect with their emotions.
- Form bonds with others.
- Learn to accept help.
- Maintain or start romantic relationships.
- Recover from any economic difficulties from their substance use.
Feeling this extra stress can make it harder for them to start and continue their recovery journey.
Emotional Support and Aftercare Are Important for a Man in Recovery
Having emotional support and aftercare can significantly improve your chances of reaching long-term sobriety. They help men cope during and after treatment when they are preparing to enter society.
What Is Emotional Support, and How Can It Help?
Emotional support is having a network to help men understand, process, and respond to what they are feeling. This type of support also involves men’s ability to look at themself, determine their emotional state, and work to correct any negative feelings they may be having. By looking inward and establishing a support system, you can determine who is there to help you and who is most important for you to reciprocate emotional support.
An excellent way to do this is through the use of meditation. Meditation is a practice of connecting your mind and body. By sitting in a calm environment missed with repeating a mantra, performing breathing exercises, or visualization, men can look inward to understand their feelings. It can help men understand their feelings, respond appropriately to a situation, help them destress, and increase their self-awareness.
For a man in recovery, being able to understand what they are feeling can help them avoid triggers and decrease their chance of relapse. Having healthy techniques to cope with negative feelings and events can help prevent them from reverting to using reckless behaviors to manage. Providing emotional support to others helps men strengthen bonds and form new ones. These new bonds add to their support network and give them more people to lean on when they are in need.
Aftercare and Its Benefits for a Man in Recovery.
Aftercare is where you go after treatment and the services you use. Everyone’s continued care will look different depending on what they need to be successful on their recovery journey. This continued care can include things like:
- Outpatient SUD Treatment Facilities
- 12-Step Programs
- Recovery Meetings
- Sober Living
- Group and Individual Counseling
Sober living, like the one Spero Recovery offers, is transition housing between treatment and re-entering the world. It allows greater freedom than when participating in inpatient treatment but still provides structure, rules, and expectations for you to uphold. Choosing to enter sober living can give you time to adjust to being part of the world while still having access to an extensive support system to ask for help when needed.
Continuing care can help keep you motivated and accountable for your sobriety. It can also help you find new sources to cope with obstacles you face during your recovery journey.
The unique challenges and stigmas surrounding men can make it harder for them to start and continue their recovery journey. It prevents them from connecting with themself and others, and learning how to properly cope with situations they are placed in. Learning to overcome this stigma, embrace your emotions, and learn proper interpersonal skills can immensely improve your chances of reaching long-term sobriety. If you feel like you are struggling to fight the stigma of “being a man” during your recovery journey, reach out to Spero Recovery at (303) 351-7888 for more information today. We understand the difficulty that can come from accepting yourself after addiction and want to help you.