Addressing the Social Needs of Men in Recovery

February 17, 2023

Written By: Buena Vista Recovery

Addiction affects every facet of daily life. Effective recovery programs are prepared to address not just the urges, cravings, or immediate symptoms of addiction, but also the lifestyle changes and other needs to create a truly transformative recovery experience. Feelings of isolation can be exceptionally common, with many feeling alone in overcoming these challenges. While this can be difficult for anyone, men overcoming addiction and navigating their own needs can be met with their own unique barriers, particularly when addressing their social needs. Creating a space for men to deconstruct barriers and develop an accepting social network is necessary for developing a healthy lifestyle in recovery. 

The Barriers That Men Face

From detox and residential treatment to ongoing outpatient programs, social skills are a major part of the recovery process. Not only can these skills help those in recovery communicate with friends and loved ones, but they are also instrumental in establishing new social groups which may be necessary if an individual must distance themselves from less understanding or dangerous groups that may be intimately connected to the use of drugs or alcohol. However, men can face many challenges in the development of these social skills. 

Embracing Vulnerability

The prevalence of traditional masculine cultures can make it extraordinarily difficult for men to open up about personal needs or challenges in the first place. Feeling as if an individual should just “get over it” in the face of stress or emotional turmoil can be wholly detrimental. Not only do these cultures deny an individual the necessary emotional outlet to process their very real feelings, but such denial can also manifest into mental health disorders if unaddressed, with depression, anger, trauma, anxiety, and more being incredibly common. 

Drawing Comparisons

Competitive mindsets can also be a difficult barrier for men to overcome. It is both easy and dangerous to draw comparisons between oneself and another, either in recovery or in personal or professional environments. However, this can create unnecessary stress, barriers, and introduce further feelings of isolation if an individual feels that others are to be competed with rather than relied upon. Distancing oneself from any competitive culture or mentality common among men is necessary for embracing a supportive social atmosphere in recovery. 

The Importance of Tending to Social Needs

Social needs are incredibly important, and denying or erecting barriers to social interaction can have intense emotional consequences. Feelings of depression, self-doubt, anxiety, isolation, and more can all manifest if an individual is not tending to their social needs. For men in recovery, addressing these needs is paramount, both for a person’s immediate mental health and for how these challenges can affect a person’s motivation, sobriety, and chances of relapse throughout recovery. 

Embracing the Social Side of Recovery

Men in recovery may have to adjust many different aspects of their lives to best embrace the transformative potential of dedicated recovery programs. This includes changing how an individual perceives themselves in social situations as well as changing how a person behaves in these situations. Embracing new social skills is a core part of recovery, not only for an individual’s well-being, but also for the health, atmosphere, and continued success of a given recovery community. 

Approach Group Recovery With an Open Mind

It is normal to have several reservations about engaging in group therapy in recovery. For many, the idea of discussing inherently vulnerable topics like their history with addictive substances and their emotional state is intimidating. However, for men in recovery, it is still important to be open to these kinds of discussions. 

This doesn’t mean that an individual will have to share their entire story on their first day. Rather, listening to other men in recovery share their experiences can introduce the mindset necessary to understand and normalize the practice of allowing men to feel vulnerable and create a healthier approach to their recovery. 

Get Talking

It can be impossible to truly engage with a recovery community, create new relationships, or effectively engage with a new lifestyle if an individual is unwilling to communicate with professionals, peers, or family. For these reasons, talking and communicating with others is essential. Even small conversations with peers or using a journal to help an individual organize their thoughts and language can all help men more comfortable and deliberately engage in an effective recovery community. 

Find an Accepting Community

Each recovery community will have its own culture. For men struggling with overcoming the social challenges and barriers of recovery, having access to an understanding community is essential. Some may benefit from engaging in men-specific care to alleviate many of these stresses, while others may benefit from seeing a mix of genders, ages, and backgrounds to deconstruct any harmful preconceived notions for their recovery. However, finding a community where one feels comfortable sharing their experiences and feels accepted as an individual is absolutely necessary. 

Professional recovery is essential to effectively overcoming addiction. Being able to pivot throughout a person’s recovery journey to find the right social environment and facility may be necessary for men to best engage with others and tend to their social needs in a supportive and nurturing sober environment. 

Effective recovery involves a key social component, and men looking to overcome social reservations and barriers can benefit from the unique and accepting atmosphere of Buena Vista Recovery. We understand the unique challenges that men face in their journey to sobriety, and we are prepared to help you or your loved one overcome these barriers and engage in a truly effective, supportive, and transformative recovery community. We not only embrace the opportunity to work with men in deconstructing stigmas but we also create an atmosphere based on healing and comfort while developing the social skills for an effective recovery journey. For more information on how we can help you, call to speak to us today at (480) 741-9414 or complete a contact form.