A lack of education has recently been seen in regards to the Christian LGBT community and substance abuse issues. Many have everyday obstacles to overcome such as: “coming out”, social acceptance and sexual identity. Some even face being disowned or rejected because of who they are. When we combine these factors with Christianity, the Christian LGBT community member can often be faced with rejection and discrimination from members of his or her own community.
Because of rigid belief systems, a LGBT Christian addict can often feel isolated and alone rather than supported. Attending a drug rehab program with both a LGBT and Christian track will offer optimal results for overcoming drug addiction.
LGBT, Christian and Addicted
In 1972, the term homophobia was coined due to a lack of knowledge about being gay. Today, the term is no longer seen as a disorder but a way of life. People continue to discriminate against the LGBT community today. Addiction and God do not discriminate against race, sex or gender, so why should we?
In the Christian community, questions are centered on whether God blesses gay marriage or calls gay people to practice a life of celibacy. The Gay Christian Network, an online resource of support, reports ample information about both sides of this argument. Organizations like this also confirm that there are several underlying issues which have a negative impact on the LGBT Christian addicted community.
LGBT people who are both Christian and addicted face several challenges such as:
- Rejection from loved ones
- Alienation from the Christian community
- Low self-esteem from lack of acceptance
- Stress related to coming out, work environment and discrimination
- Unresolved underlying abuse issues resulting in anger or self-hate
- Limited number of drug rehabs for the Christian LGBT community
Another online site, Soulforce, states, “Some gays, lesbians and bisexuals resort to substances as a means to numb the feelings of being different, to relieve emotional pain or to reduce inhibitions about their sexual feelings. In response to overwhelming oppression and homophobia, many lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals use alcohol and drugs to cope.” (McBride 2008)
God Loves the LGBT Addicted Community
The Bible teaches us that God is omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent. He offers unconditional love, unconditional acceptance and unmerited favor amongst those who believe. As humans, we like to interpret God’s love to fit our perspective and push those views onto others. Who are we to judge others? Doesn’t the Bible say love thy neighbor as thyself? Feeling judged and criticized is a main contributing factor to seeking an escape through drug and alcohol abuse. This is true of all types of people regardless of race, sex, gender and sexual orientation.
Rather than focusing on sexual orientation being a right or wrong issue, focus should be on the underlying issues contributing to addiction in the Christian LGBT community. Addressing the underlying pain and hurt from rejection, alienation, stress and self-esteem issues will help decrease the rates of addiction occurring in the Christian LGBT community.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports:
- Approximately 30% of all lesbians have an alcohol problem.
- The homosexual population has higher substance abuse issues than the heterosexual population.
- Methamphetamine, MDMA and ketamine seem to be the most common drugs of abuse amongst gay males.
A drug rehab that has both a Christian and LGBT track will be able to help address underlying issues utilizing faith in a nondiscriminatory way. Addiction treatment should not add to the stress and pressure that society gives the LGBT community.
Christian Addiction Treatment for LGBT Community
There are currently limited programs which combine LGBT and Christian addiction treatment. It may be helpful to work with a LGBT therapist who also is able to incorporate the Christian faith into the addict’s program as he or she goes through addiction treatment. Most drug rehab programs will offer Christian and LGBT tracks separately of one another. Addiction treatment centers that offer both of these tracks should be able to combine resources to offer the best program.
A combination of a LGBT and a Christian track should address:
- Eliminating underlying issues which contribute to substance abuse.
- Relapse prevention focusing on specific LGBT triggers.
- Integration of faith and sexual orientation.
- Acceptance of self and increasing self-esteem.
- Eliminating false guilt and shame.
- Introducing addiction recovery support groups for the LGBT community.