Here's my advice on how to choose the best rehab when you're LGBTQIA+. If you're a person of the Queer Community—also known as LGBT and other acronyms—is to go to an informed treatment center. Do research on each rehab before you go. Look on their website and read reviews by other LGBTQIA+ individuals on how they were treated at that rehabilitation center.
Throughout the article, I will interchangeably use the terms queer, LGBT, LGBTQ+, and LGBTQIA+ in reference to the same community. For those of us who are LGBTQIA+, we often have one consistent way we refer to ourselves and our community. All we ask is that everyone uses one of the common and acceptable ways to reference LGBT culture and individuals.
LGBTQIA+ is the most inclusive term because it includes intersex and asexual individuals, “+” plus all identities not included with an initial. Those who are genderqueer, gender fluid, non-binary, pansexual and beyond are represented by this mighty plus sign. Queer is a term reclaimed by the LGBT community that serves as an umbrella term that many people prefer to use over the familiar acronym.
Not All Rehabs Are LGBT-Friendly
Some rehabs will tell you that they are LGBTQ+ friendly but are not taking the necessary steps to make their center free from discrimination. Often times, it is not the staff who are discretionary, but the other clients and the lack of accountability to something called microaggressions.
Microaggressions refer to the much more subtle ways people make certain people feel unwelcome. Microaggressions are less direct insults, and can easily go unnoticed by staff. This dynamic allows those participating in these behaviors to continue without accountability.
I attended several different programs before finding long-term recovery. In my opinion, if a center really cares about being a safe environment for LGBTQIA+ folks, proper training is imperative across all staff roles. This is especially true for the Behavioral Health Technicians, or BHTs as they are referred to.
BHTs spend more time with rehab residents than any other staff. If they aren’t trained and committed to minimizing microaggressions, then the LGBT or otherwise different person at that center will potentially leave due to being uncomfortable. A center can say their LGBT-Friendly over the phone, but unfortunately, you won’t really know till you get there.
LGBT Addiction Recovery Programs Do Exist
The best way to safely choose a rehabilitation center is to choose one that specifically caters to the queer community. There are a few, including Inspire Recovery, where I attend LGBT addiction rehab, that are trustworthy. At Inspire, being LGBTQ-affirming is a part of every aspect of the center, from the housing to the therapists and groups.
There are also some centers that are not specifically for LGBTQ+ folks but who really do try to have an inclusive and LGBT-affirming program. And a couple of them succeed! But it’s important to know that there are treatment centers in the United States that are specifically for the LGBTQIA+ community.
Firstly, I have to do my part in helping to protect my fellow queer addicts and alcoholics and tell you about many “faith-based” recovery programs.
An Important thing to know when choosing a rehabilitation center is to not choose a rehab that is a “Christian-based” or “faith-based” recovery program. Even if you are LGBT+ and Christian, many of these so-called “recovery programs” are just conversion therapy programs.
Unfortunately, for the average Queer Christian, a faith-based recovery program is likely going to try to force you to be straight or cisgender. They want to “pray your gay away” and that, my friend, is not what you need. These places are hidden away and dressed up as drug rehabs, used to lore LGBTQ+ identifying people in to try to convert them to their idea of Christianity.
Luckily, for the most part, the “rooms of recovery” (meaning 12 step meetings) and some treatment centers are becoming more LGBT-affirming places of recovery for us. I have been shown much love and acceptance and seen that non-judgment in recovery is possible. Of course, this still depends on where you live. In 12 step meetings in some of the major cities in America, LGBT folks have long been accepted as valued members of the worldwide recovery community.
End Conversion Therapy Nationwide
Even if you are Christian, religious in another faith or spirituality, or simply not religious at all— there are 12 Step-based treatment programs all across the country that, in general, would never practice conversion therapy. In fact, Conversion Therapy is rapidly becoming illegal in many states.
In 2017, Inspire Recovery wrote an article about Rhode Island making these programs illegal. This year, Virginia became the most recent of the 20 states to join in the fight against homophobia and transphobia by banning conversion therapy in the state. 12 Step programs and treatment centers usually won’t force a specific faith on newcomers. However, if this is something that’s important to you than ask the center you’re considering what their stance is on this subject.
With gentleness and support, many people arrive at the 12 steps of recovery without a Higher Power and find what they come to believe is a power greater than themselves. This power is able to give each of us the serenity, courage, and wisdom to be guided by our principals, not our personalities.
Atheist & Religious LGBTQ+ Folks Find Recovery in 12 Step Meetings
Atheists, agnostics, religious and spiritual queers of all dominations can apply the 12 steps to either a Higher Power or higher purpose of your understanding. There’s an Atheist version of the original 12 Steps, and many, many more versions available across the web. I practice Buddhism and have greatly benefited from the Buddhist 12 Steps, in addition to the original AA 12 steps of recovery.
I recommend going to one of the various rehabs and Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOPs) in the country that caters to the LGBTQIA+ community.
How to Choose the Best Rehab When You're LGBTQIA+
I went to Inspire Recovery myself, and have had many personal experiences with them. The CEO of Inspire Recovery, Donna Weinberger is a non-binary, genderqueer lesbian who is incredibly passionate about the addiction recovery for the LGBTQIA+ community.
The staff at Inspire Recovery really genuinely care about LGBTQIA+ addiction recovery. They do the best that they possibly can in helping people seeking help with recovery. If you are lucky enough to go to their treatment center then they will provide you with a wide variety of services, group therapies, even art therapy, and meditation classes.
If Inspire isn’t able to help you, or do not take your insurance they will direct you to people who can help you. Their phone number is (561) 899-6088 give them a call and they will help you and when either George or Lisa pick up the phone tell them I said hello for me. They are really amazing and genuinely good people.
I wish you luck on your journey and hope that this article was both helpful and informative.