There are arguments for and against single gender treatment. For men, going to treatment exclusively with other men can be an extremely healing and restorative time in life. In treatment with other men, men are forced to find healthy ways of communicating, relating, building trust, and ultimately forming connection with other men. Loneliness is considered a major risk factor for relapse among men in recovery. Unfortunately, many men don’t learn the communication skills, teamwork skills, or bonding skills necessary to forge either short term or long term relationships with other men. This isn’t as much a symptom of addiction or recovery as much as it is a symptom of the times.
Andrew Horn, co-founder of Tribute, a start up providing video collaboration services for celebrating loved ones, spoke with Big Think about “Why loneliness is a danger to individuals and societies.” Horn references what he believes America is currently undergoing, a “Connection Crisis”. According to the article, a General Social Survey found that between 1985 and 2004, “…the average number of confidants Americans felt they could talk to about important matters in their lives fell from 2.94 to 2.08. Worse still, 25% of people surveyed responded with ‘zero’.”
“…When you don’t belong, you’ll do anything to belong…” Horn explains, emphasizing the need for social connections. Many men find their way into addiction on a quest for belongingness and connection. It is part of men’s evolutionary genetics to need to be accepted as part of the tribe. The threat of rejection is a threat to their survival. In young formative years when males are experimenting with drugs and alcohol, substance use or abuse can be seen as a means of survival. To use, in their young eyes, is to be accepted. To be accepted, their social urges tell them, is to survive.
Connection through addiction is ultimately a damaging relationship. Horn argues that “…communication is the fundamental building block of creating these relationships,” which is why “…we need to be intentional about communication, because with a little bit of practice and a little bit of focus, anyone can connect more deeply with the people they meet and the people they love.”
Men need a brotherhood to support them during treatment and their many years of recovery following treatment. Tree House Recovery in Portland, Oregon offers men’s addiction treatment programs, drawing on evidence-based and innovative treatment approaches to create sustainable change for a sustainable recovery. Call us today for information: (503) 850-2474