With Pride month coming to a close, it’s important that we still support the LGBTQIA+ community, especially those struggling with addiction or maintaining sobriety. Pride is a month of celebration for the gay community, and also a month of the most visibility. This moment of visibility is a perfect chance to discuss the difficulties that impact the gay community. Considering Pride is a big celebration, it could also be hard for sober LGBTQIA+ people to find safe places to celebrate or even maintain sobriety. Let’s face it, the queer community has a serious alcohol problem, which is even greater for trans members of the community. The reality is LGBTQIA+ bars and nightclubs are the main place where queer folks can feel safe and accepted. This reality can make life for sober queer folks to have an increased feeling of isolation, essentially not having a place in their immediate community and then in their queer community.
The Alcohol Rehab Guide found that “25 percent of the general LGBTQIA+ community has moderate alcohol dependency, compared to 5 to 10 percent of the general population.” Data from the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) shows that people who identify as gay or lesbian are twice as likely than straight people to suffer from alcohol addiction. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), gay, lesbian, and bisexual adolescents are 90 percent more likely to use alcohol and drugs than straight adolescents. The NSDUH also found that LGBTQ adults were more likely to partake in drinking of any amount (casual, binge, heavy, etc.). Younger members of the community are at higher risk, in the past month alone almost forty-five percent of LGBTQ individuals between the ages of 18 and 28 reported binge drinking at least once. Despite being at higher risk, options for treatment are rather scarce for queer folks, as of 2019 there were only 2 sober houses in the US specifically oriented to help the community. While more can exist at this point, I didn’t find any, and that is still a paltry amount to have been found only two years ago.
This problem is only worsened by discrimination and hostility that queer people still face, and most recently have been becoming increasingly worse for the trans community. While on the surface society is becoming more progressive on LGBTQA+ issues, social stigma still exists. Many queer folks still feel scared to display affection to their partners in public, thus there is a need for venues friendly and safe for the community. These venues need to be more than bars and other places that could lead to substance abuse. Below I have found links to sober groups geared toward the LGBTQ community, the more found the better. As the year goes on, I will try my best to find more groups, as well as events that are sober friendly to queer folks.
Sober Groups and Recovery Links:
Fortunately the future looks bright, the conversation continues to be had, and alternative venues are becoming more popular. During lock-down and the pandemic, virtual events began popping up and continue to. So, as the world begins to return to normalcy as the pandemic gets more under-control, it would be good if these virtual events continued to be held, showing that community can be built without physical venues.