In early recovery from addiction to drugs or alcohol there are many struggles that an individual will face.
Depression, shame, and cravings are not uncommon in the early days of ones recovery from addiction. While there can be some general tips for early recovery, such as attending support groups or residing in sober living, there are issues that do not apply across the board for those in their early recovery to drug or alcohol addiction. Many of these issues can be gender specific. Males and females face different challenges in their struggles with drug or alcohol addiction. It is for this reason that Aftermath Addiction Treatment Center, located in Wakefield, MA, offers both Men's Addiction Treatment Program and Women's Addiction Treatment Program. The team at Aftermath Addiction Treatment Center offers gender specific treatment plans for all our levels of care, ranging from the Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP), the Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP), and the Outpatient Program (OP). Aftermath Addiction Treatment Center’s clinical team will work with drug or alcohol addicted individuals to create a treatment plan that is unique to their individualized needs. Through the use of Individual Therapy and Group Therapy, clinicians will work on the underlying causes of an individual’s addiction. An individual is more than their addiction. At Aftermath Addiction Treatment Center of MA, we understand this fact. It is for this reason we offer gender specific treatment plans, to address the gender specific issues and remove any obstacles that stand in the way of full recovery from addiction to drugs or alcohol.
Meet John Hanson, Director of Community Outreach at Aftermath Addiction Treatment Center
John Hanson is Aftermath Addiction Treatment Center’s Director of Community Outreach. As Director of Community Outreach, John connects with the members of the community to provide education about drug and alcohol addiction, as well as assist drug or alcohol addicted individuals get adequate care based on their needs. This could range from finding an available bed at an inpatient drug and alcohol detox facility, placement in a residential drug and alcohol addiction rehab program, or even finding the right outpatient drug and alcohol treatment program for the individual. John is an active member in the recovery community and is always willing to help those struggling with a substance use disorder. His contribution does not end with outreach to the neighboring communities, John provides case management to the clients at Aftermath Addiction Treatment Center as well as taking on the role of a group facilitator. Coming up on seven years in sobriety, John spreads the message that recovery from addiction is possible to any individual who seeks it. John was able to share some suggestions for men in early recovery from drug or alcohol abuse:
On Asking for Help with an Addiction
I think it’s important to reach out. Let people know where you are at. The toughest thing for a guy to do is ask for help. You need to let other guys know what you’re actually going through. Your emotions: if you are feeling sad, mad, indifferent, all of it. It’s all important. Reach out for help from other guys and let them know what you are feeling. It is not easy for a man to do. You are taught the opposite as a man. From a young age we learn that when you are feeling some type of way, if you are struggling, that you need to figure it out on your own. This is the opposite of what we need to do when we try to make this big change in our lives. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It isn’t weak to ask for help. It’s the opposite, because it takes courage to open up to somebody else and be vulnerable and say, “I need help, I cannot do this on my own”.
Advice for a Those Who Want to Stop Abusing Drugs or Alcohol
The first step is to separate yourself from using. Detox may be needed for some people. I highly recommend being in treatment for as long as possible. It seems like a lot, but in my experience it works. Further treatment worked for me. I was at a halfway house for six months after doing a two-and-a-half-year jail sentence. Then I went to a sober house after that. The support that I got from those houses, the guys that I met in recovery, the people I was able to surround myself with, they all guided me and really showed me how to live a life without drugs and alcohol.
Advice for Men Who Just Completed Detox with Minimal Experience with Drug and Alcohol Treatment
Don’t stop there. Continue your treatment whether it be residential or outpatient. Work on yourself outside of treatment. Treatment is helping you build a foundation that you need for your life. If you just go do treatment and that is all you do and just go home and you are not doing anything else, you aren’t building a sober support network around yourself. I recommend men continue treatment and get involved in support groups. It can be AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) or NA (Narcotics Anonymous) or whatever. You need find sober men to surround yourself with. From my experience, if you are not expanding upon what you learned in programs, you will continue to come in and out of treatment. You need to work on behaviors and change the way your think. Outside support is a must. Being in treatment helps you get to a more stabile place where you can get that outside support, go to meetings, share what you are going through, and be able to connect with other men who have been through it already. The trick is staying with it, addiction is not just something that goes away. You need to continue the things that helped you get sober.
The Differences in Ideas He Had in Early Recovery Compared to Where He is Now
I didn’t think it worked. In the beginning I just went to meetings and did things because I had to and was forced to. I came to a point in my life where I just believed that I couldn’t make good decisions. It took me a long time to believe that this could even work for me or even see it work in my life. Some people come into early recovery and hit the ground running, they love it. For me it was not like that. It took me awhile, and that is why I am such a big fan of further treatment. If I did not have the structure of that halfway house for six months, and then go to a sober house. If I had left that halfway house after six months and that was it, I would not have made it. That time at the sober house was what pushed me to meet other people and start to enjoy things in recovery. I began to stop looking at the idea of staying clean from drugs and alcohol as a job. I met people who showed me that I could do this, and I began to see I was blocking myself from being able to see a better life and the possibilities for myself. It wasn’t easy to get to where I am now, but I know I would not have been able to do it without branching out and asking for help.
A Message to Men Starting Out in Early Recovery
Three things: honesty, open-mindedness, and willingness. Those three things carried me through it. Avoid putting yourself in bad situations. Steer clear from toxic relationships. If you make mistakes though, it’s okay. Just remember those three things. You are going to make a lot of mistakes along the way. Maybe more than you want to. If you make mistakes, just be honest about them. Whether it is a sponsor or a friend in recovery, have somebody that will always know what is going on with you. Keep an open mind and ask for help. Be willing to take suggestions from people who have some more experience than you. Honesty is key though. Find a core group of guys or even one guy that you can always open up to and tell your truth to.
Men’s Addiction Treatment Program at Aftermath Addiction Treatment Center
Men and women respond to addiction in different ways. Men have different needs than women when it comes to addiction and treatment for addiction. A drug and alcohol rehab program for men is aimed to address the gender specific needs to create a healing therapeutic environment. The Men’s Addiction Treatment Program at Aftermath Addiction Treatment Center does just that. Through individual and group therapy sessions, we will work to address the disease of addiction as well as underlying issues such as depression, anxiety, and trauma. Recovery from addiction is possible. Together we can rise from the ashes of our addiction and come back stronger than before.