Gay and Lesbian Blogs - Blog Catalog Blog Directory My Zimbio Blog Directory and Search engine
Lesbian Dating and Relationship Search

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Drug & Alcohol Abuse in the Gay and Lesbian Community

Alcoholism is a fatal chronic illness affecting the lives of 20-30% of the homosexual population. Studies have found that 35% of lesbians had a history of excessive drinking, compared to only 5% of the heterosexual women. In addition, further studies have shown that 30% of lesbians and gay men are addicted to drugs, suggesting that the gay and lesbian community constitutes a high-risk population with regard to alcoholism and drug abuse.

Why is Addiction Such a Problem?
It is important not to assume that homosexuality causes drug or alcohol abuse. When gay men and lesbians internalize society's homophobic attitudes and beliefs, the results can be devastating. Society’s hatred becomes self-hatred. As a minority group, gay men and lesbians are victims of systemic and ongoing oppression. It can lead to feelings of alienation, despair, low self-esteem, self-destructive behavior and substance abuse. Some gay men and resort to substance abuse as a means to numb the feelings of being different, to relieve emotional pain or to reduce inhibitions about their sexual feelings.

Substance abuse often begins in early adolescence when youth first begin to struggle with their sexual orientation. When surrounded by messages telling you that you are wrong and sick for who you are, eventually you may begin to believe it. Having to hide your identity and deal with homophobic comments and attitudes — often made by unknowing family and friends — can have a profound effect on you. Lesbians and gay men are also 7 times more likely to be the victims of crimes than the average citizen. In response to this overwhelming oppression and homophobia, many lesbian, gays and bisexuals use and alcohol and drugs to cope.

There is also a lack of alternative alcohol-free places and occasions to
socialize within the gay and lesbian community. This only intensifies the implied connection between drinking and socializing in gay and lesbian social circles.

The first step toward getting help is recognizing that your substance abuse is a problem. This is rarely easy.

The following is a list of questions, though not inclusive, that you should ask yourself:

  1. Do you feel irritated when other people comment on how much you drink/use drugs?

  2. Do you ever think or use drugs when you are alone?

  3. Have you had periods of time while you were drinking or using drugs that you could not remember later?

  4. Have you ever had problems with friends, school or work, or arrested as a result of drinking or using drugs?

  5. Have you ever wondered whether you have a drinking or drug problem?

The process of recovery allows you to heal by working through those
feelings you have pushed down with alcohol and/or drugs. It is often said that when you have a substance abuse problem, your emotional development stops when you start abuse.

When you medicate your feelings, you numb yourself from conflicts and reality. Once you decide to no longer abuse, those feelings and emotions will surface and may be overwhelming.

Alcohol abuse is a serious, chronic disease that gradually gets in the way of your daily life activities. It can tear apart relationships, deplete finances and seriously affect your physical and mental well being.

If you or someone you know is in need of help, The National Drug and Alcohol Treatment Referral Routing Service provides a toll-free telephone number, 1-800-662-HELP (4357), offering various resources and information.

No comments:


Blog Directory, Free online web directory, Search Engine Submission - AddMe