Why Men Struggle to Connect in Treatment and Recovery

Dec 28, 2022

Opening up about your challenges with addiction can be hard. You might have feelings of shame or guilt and worry about how those you care about might react. This is a normal concern and can often be why many hesitate to seek help. The fear of judgment or rejection can result in a struggle to connect with others, even during treatment and recovery. 

Reasons Behind the Struggle to Connect

Connections are an essential part of life. Relationships are built on connections. Think about those you call your friends. Those bonds started as a result of a connection. Maybe you connected over a particular activity or interest. 

Success is also often dependent on connections. Landing a new job or a promotion may depend on your ability to connect with your supervisor or coworkers. 

Men struggle to connect with others in treatment and recovery for several reasons. Many of these reasons are a result of spiraling thoughts or concerns about how others may perceive them due to the stigma around addiction. A few examples are listed below. 

Guilt or Shame

Feelings of guilt and shame almost always accompany addiction. If you have others in your life who you care about, you likely feel guilty and ashamed of the lifestyle you are living. You may try to hide or downplay your struggles when you are around others. You might even find yourself being dishonest or avoiding the people you care about most. 

Guilt and shame can cause anyone to shut down. Seeking help can be extremely difficult when you are consumed with feeling like a lesser version of yourself. You might feel hopeless and be questioning your worth. This is the time to fight through these negative feelings and make every effort to connect with those who can help and support you. 

Fear of Appearing Weak

Men have an innate feeling of obligation to appear strong. History has ingrained in man that they should bury their emotions and carry on through all challenges they may face. Asking for help or admitting that you have lost control would be considered a sign of weakness. 

Luckily, times have changed. Vulnerability and seeking help is becoming more widely considered a sign of strength. The truth is that this has always been the case. Unfortunately, many men still hold on to old-fashioned ideas of what strength and masculinity should look like. 

Trouble Communicating

Communicating, in general, can sometimes be challenging. Communicating about complex topics and things you struggle with can be even more challenging. Men can sometimes have trouble verbalizing their feelings and emotions. However, talk therapy often requires this. Communicating feelings can make some uncomfortable, especially in group settings. 

However, when men are accompanied by other men who are also working to heal from addiction, it can be easier to let their guard down. 

Gender-Specific Treatment

When choosing a treatment facility, it is critical that you select a program that will afford you a safe space. You want to be sure you feel comfortable opening up and being vulnerable. In order to fully heal and recover, program participation to the fullest is essential. 

This often involves a fair share of group and individual therapy, mending relationships, and forming bonds with others who can support you. Opening up and talking about the challenges you are facing and missteps you have made can be easier when you feel comfortable with your audience. 

Renaissance Ranch is a gender-specific facility, which eliminates much of the distraction and discomfort that often comes with co-ed programs. Being surrounded by other men who are going through something similar can create a sense of community. 

Why Is Gender-Specific Treatment Important?

Men and women experience addiction differently. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), “Men are more likely than women to use almost all types of illicit drugs.” Men also have “higher rates of use or dependence on illicit drugs and alcohol” than women. 

Due to differences in how addiction is experienced and differences in goals for treatment and recovery, gender-specific treatment can significantly benefit many. Gender-specific treatment has many benefits, including:

  • Specialized treatment for gender-unique physiological, emotional, and relationship issues
  • Comfort with being with the same sex encourages trust and bonding
  • Minimized distraction from the opposite sex
  • Open communication about social and cultural pressures that can result in substance abuse

Finding Connection During Treatment

Everyone wants to feel like they belong. Addiction can be isolating and leave you feeling as though no one understands or can relate. When you enter treatment at Renaissance Ranch, you will feel a sense of belonging. 

Connecting during treatment can set the stage for your future success in recovery. Connecting during treatment allows you to fully understand yourself and who you want to become. Connecting in recovery will enable you to receive ongoing support and create new opportunities for healthy relationships, hobbies, and even employment. 

Struggling to connect in treatment and recovery can be very common. In order to combat this challenge, it is essential that you move forward with seeking help despite any fears and take full advantage of the programs and therapies offered. 

However, for men, it can be difficult to do both. A gender-specific treatment program can provide the level of comfort needed to ensure you feel confident in your decision to get help and stay on track throughout recovery. 

Connecting and communicating on a good day can be challenging. Connecting and communicating when you are struggling to overcome substance abuse can feel impossible. Feeling ashamed or guilty of your lifestyle e and choices can be a barrier. Fear of seeming weak can also stand in the way. Understanding feelings and emotions, let alone verbalizing them, can also be difficult during this time. Renaissance Ranch offers a treatment program specifically designed to address the challenges men face in treatment and recovery. We recognize that men and women respond to and recover from addiction differently, and we have focused our efforts on serving men only. If you or a loved one needs help, call Renaissance Ranch today at (801) 308-8898.