A guide for family members with LGBT loved ones going through addiction treatment
When you watch your child or partner suffer from addiction it can be a painful and traumatic experience. As their parent, partner or family member, you may feel helpless and unsure of how best to approach and support them as they go through recovery. LGBT addicts require specialized treatment and therapists to work through their trauma, which often means they will need a type of support that may look different to a heterosexual and/or cisgender addict.
To help put you at ease, we’ve compiled a guide on how family members can best support their LGBTQ loved ones as they go through treatment for addiction.
Educate yourself on the LGBT experience and addiction
If you are heterosexual and/or cisgender one way you can support your family member is by educating yourself on the queer experience and how it may relate to their addiction. Many LGBT addicts have turned to substances as a way to help cope with the challenges they’ve faced. These can range from discrimination, stigmatization, hate crimes, emotional abuse, rejection or shame from family or friends, internalized homophobia or self-hatred. Just by knowing and continuing to educate yourself, you will find yourself in a better position and understanding when your loved one reaches out for help. You can learn more about best to approach recovering queer addicts with our LGBTQ cultural awareness presentation.
Approach their addiction treatment and self-discovery with love and affirmation
Sometimes when queer and questioning addicts go through treatment, they either discover another part of themselves or can find the courage to come out as their true identity. Whatever they may learn about themselves during treatment, remind them that they are loved and supported. Being able to provide affirmation for their identity, especially if they were once ashamed, can be a great healing process for them and their road to recovery.
Offer to help them choose the right treatment and rehabilitation center
When your loved one comes to you for help, offer to research programs and rehabs that cater to LGBTQ addicts. As their support system, understand that there is only so much you can do to help with their recovery. Sometimes the best thing you can do is to help find an opportunity to meet other recovering LGBTQ addicts and qualified professionals who are well versed in the queer experience. Choosing an LGBTQ addiction treatment and facility can make all the difference to their long-term recovery.
Ask your loved one how you can support them
Sometimes just simply asking what your loved ones need as they go through treatment from you is the best way is to go. Invite them to have an open and honest communication, but be sure to allow them to approach you in their own time. Give them the space they need and make sure they know you’re there to support them whenever they are ready.