Cultural expectations for boys and girls vary widely. Often, little boys grow up believing that they shouldn’t express any emotions other than anger or bluster. Either consciously or subconsciously, their parents pass on a message that having needs and asking other people for help makes them seem weak, and that men should try to claim the upper hand in all their relationships with others.
This harmful mindset is called toxic masculinity, and it contributes to societal problems like aggressive behavior and domestic abuse. It might also make men less likely to seek treatment for addiction and co-occurring mental health issues. Here are some ways enrolling yourself in a men’s-only rehab program could help you uncover and root out toxic masculinity in your life.
1. Therapy Teaches You Vulnerability
For individual and group therapy sessions to be maximally effective, you’ll need to accept that you can’t go it alone. If you want to address the root cause of your hurtful behavior, you must be open and honest with your counselor about your innermost thoughts and feelings. Likewise, in 12-step and other recovery group programs, you should be willing to listen and be receptive to advice from other men who have experienced similar challenges. Nobody has all the answers, and your journey through addiction recovery will help you make your peace with that fact.
2. You’ll Learn More Emotional Resilience
If you grew up surrounded by toxic masculinity, your parents may have told you to “toughen up” or “get over it” when you were sad or upset about something. As you’ll learn in recovery, it’s crucial to avoid sweeping complex emotions under the rug. Emotional resilience isn’t about hiding how you feel; it’s about allowing yourself to experience the full range of your feelings and accept them, not deny their existence.
3. You’ll Gain More Patience With Yourself and Others
If you have a history of substance abuse and mental health challenges, you might struggle to see the good in yourself sometimes. Too often, toxic masculinity teaches men they can’t ever stumble or show any cracks in their façade, which can mean they have trouble accepting their past mistakes. People aren’t perfect. Everyone stumbles – your response to those setbacks will help shape you into a more patient, self-forgiving person.
4. You Will Become a Better, More Compassionate Friend
Everyone goes through ups and downs in addiction treatment and recovery. In men’s-only addiction treatment, you’ll strengthen your relationships with other men and learn how to open up to them. Men tend to rely on women to do most of the emotional labor in their relationships. What if you could fulfill that role in your friendships and become the person everyone knows they can talk to when they need a shoulder to cry on?
Addiction Recovery Tailored to Young Men’s Needs
At Spearhead Lodge, we’ve developed an extended-care program specifically for helping young men address their unique challenges with substance abuse and mental illness. To learn about what makes us different and how we can start you on a healthy path forward, contact us to change your life today.