Summer can be a difficult time in sobriety, but it can also be a great time to be alive. Whether it’s boating, camping, or BBQs, it’s great to spend time outdoors with people whom we love. The challenge, however, is that in the past, these were often situations where we would drink or use substances. So, here are some tips and tricks for avoiding relapse and staying in recovery while enjoying the summer BBQ season.
There are many reasons why LGBTQ+ people face higher rates of addiction and mental health disorders than others. According to research, LGBTQ+ people are 2-to-4 times more likely to have a substance use disorder than their heterosexual counterparts. These addictions include alcohol, smoking, and other drugs. Some people, heterosexual or LGBTQ+, report using drugs not only for partying, but also for sex. However, this might happen more often among LGBTQ+ people. Many drugs that are more popular among LGBTQ+ people enhance energy and libido, and increase feelings of intimacy. For some people who have discomfort with their sexual orientation, drugs can lift inhibitions and increase the joy of their nightlife. Some regular community events that are popular with LGBTQ+ people, including circuit parties, more commonly involve drug use. A questionnaire-based study of gay men in San Francisco found that half of the studied population who had attended bars and dance clubs reported using methamphetamine in the past three months. As many as 46% of gay men surveyed reported drug use in the past year. Substance use problems are not exclusive to gay men. Lesbian and bisexual women report higher rates of alcohol use disorders than women of other sexual orientations.
It was my dad’s 60th Birthday and we had decided to throw him a big party. At the time things weren’t going well in my house, my parents were two months away from a bitter divorce, and I was on the verge of spiralling into my addiction for the next decade. However, I got up in front of a room full of our family and friends to give a speech. I don’t remember much about what I said, but I do remember looking my father in the eye and sincerely saying that he was my best friend.
In the last couple of weeks, I’ve had several phone calls from recently graduated patients, or their family members, telling me that they are struggling to stay in recovery, and asking for guidance regarding relapse prevention. I think this is largely because of the COVID pandemic’s resulting self-isolation. The consequences of the pandemic—isolation, loss of social connection, being left to our own devices (literally and figuratively), and lack of exercise—all make life in recovery more difficult, and in combination sound like a recipe for relapse. What do I tell these patients and their families?