How can I be a man if I can’t go drinking with the boys?
How can I be a man if I go to rehab?
How can I be a man if I have to take off work and drop out of school?
How can I be a man if I have to talk about my feelings?
How can I be a man if I have to surrender?
The list goes on.
What defines a man? Is it his personality? Is it behaviors? Is a man defined by what he thinks and how he speaks? Or is a man defined by his actions, his choices, his morals, his values, and his ethics?
We have to ask ourselves as men, how do we define ourselves when we are actively addicted to drugs and alcohol? Some of us committed crimes and served time. Some of us cheated on our partners and stole from our parents. We act in lewd, nonsensical ways when we are under the impression of drugs and alcohol, ways that we might otherwise consider not to be “manly”. Then, when we are forced to reconcile with our addictions and consider the choice to get sober, go to treatment, and enter a lifestyle of recovery, we are concerned our masculinity is at risk. If you asked us then, we probably couldn’t tell you what we believed a man was. If we did tell, you, it isn’t likely we were living up to that image.
“Being a man” is a socially driven preconception built upon a foundation of long-lasting hegemonic norms. Men drink. Men smoke. Men do men stuff. If a man can’t do man stuff, he isn’t much of a man. In recovery from drug and alcohol addiction, you have the opportunity to define for yourself what it is you believe a man to be, who it is you want to be as a man, then create sustainable change to achieve that goal. You let go of the judgments, the evaluations, the shame, and the stigma. Everything you are concerned about in “being a man” is completely based around your ego. Ego-driven thinking ends up being harmful and causing damage in some way. False pride gets in the way of finding true pride in who you are as opposed to who you are not. Spending your focus on not being the man who isn’t really a man, you stop focusing on becoming the man you want to become. Once you start letting go of all the pressures to be some kind of image of a man, you start to become your authentic self- the most “manly” trait of all.
Tree House Recovery in Portland, Oregon teaches men how to find freedom from addiction by creating sustainable change. Our residential treatment program focuses on building a man in mind, body, and spirit, to live an active life of adventure and the pursuit of sobriety. Call us today for information: (503) 850-2474