Why Addiction Treatment for the Professional Male?
Commonly held cultural myths about alcoholism and drug addiction often conjure images of a loitering homeless person drinking out of a brown paper bag or the young 20-something IV’ing heroin in a dimly lit disheveled apartment. However, addiction to drugs and alcohol is significantly more common and far-reaching than these stereotyped Hollywood images. Addiction to drugs effects average, everyday people like you, me, and the people we love. Statistics on drug and alcohol addiction are scarily gloomy; effecting on average 1 out of every 10 people. Consider the people you will encounter today: every 10th person you meet is statistically diagnosable with an addiction.
And although recognizing addiction and alcoholism as a disease by the American Medical Association has helped to reduce some of the stigma surrounding addiction and alcoholism, the general public is sometimes misinformed and confused about what addiction is and isn’t, and who is really struck by this frightening illness. Although treating addiction and alcoholism can be incredibly complex and involve cutting edge physiological and psychological processes, the nature of understanding addiction and alcoholism is mostly simple and can be best understood as:
Addiction and alcoholism, in its most basic and simple form, is a means of coping to manage intolerable emotional states.
Since addiction involves helping individuals feel better, and since we all have feelings, it doesn’t differentiate between Executives in a C-Suites, Middle Management, or line-workers in an assembly plant. Addiction and alcoholism have no social, economic, or intellectual barriers and sadly destroy the lives of millions of individuals and families each year. Statistically speaking, most of the people who struggle with addiction are not teenagers or college-age students in America. It is the average, hard working, career-oriented people who diligently strive each day to support their families. Many of these people are living with a terrible secret filled with stigma, shame, fear, and have a deep sense of being trapped by the terrible disease of addiction. At Hotel California, we have created a residential treatment setting to offer hope, healing, and new life to a particular group of individuals and their families; the professional male, over the age of 30.
Why We’re Treating Our Target Population?
Through the many decades of trial and error, the drug and alcohol treatment industry has discovered some very important facts along the way on how best to help people struggling with addiction. One of these insights is that treatment works best in a group milieu of peers from similar socio-economic, gender, and stage-of-life issues. As social creatures, humans thrive most successfully when we’re with people we can most relate to, connect with, and create shared meaning with. In that vein, Hotel California serves a specific niche population targeting professional males over the age of 30 to address the following sociological and psychological factors that contribute to addiction for this specific population:
Due to our niche population, our clients are successful industry leaders occupying Executive Management to Middle Management positions at some of the best companies in America. The hard-driving capitalistic mindset in our American corporate culture often leaves little room for individuals to work less than 60-70 hour work weeks which create a massive emotional toll on their overall well being. Since addiction is a means to manage intolerable emotion (stress), overwhelming work environments can be a lead contributor for many men to abuse drugs and alcohol. Part of our treatment is addressing the unsustainable and underlying fundamentals in work-life balance that may have contributed to excessive abuse of drugs and alcohol.
Despite the obvious and well-documented economic privilege that comes from being male in America, there are some know deficits too. One such drawback for men is the Western acculturation to deny, suppress, or simply disavow painful emotions. We hear comments like “boys don’t cry” from a very early age that has significant long-term negative consequences to our emotional lives as we move into adulthood. For many men, there is an emotional “stunting” that is nearly universally experienced in our culture. Learning how to express your emotions, depend on others for support, and to give yourself permission to not “have it all together” are critical life skills that many men have been robbed of. For many of our clients, the psychological management of their façade, the inability to genuinely connect with others, and or the lack of honest emotional expression, was a chief contributor to the abuse of drugs and alcohol. Helping men discover new and healthy strategies to manage their emotional lives is a centerpiece of our recovery program.
Strained Family Life
Most of our clients coming to treatment arrive amidst family pain, strained marriages and the debris left behind caused by addiction to drugs and alcohol. Our clients are incredibly motivated to regain the trust of their family and desperately desire to return to the fathers and husbands they once were, prior to addiction taking them hostage. Our facility has very skilled, licensed marriage and family therapist who specialize in addiction treatment & family therapy to help our men and their families repair the emotional ruptures caused by their addiction.
At Hotel California, we’re passionate about helping this unique population of individuals from slipping through the societal cracks by mistakenly seen as “having it all together”. A recent study suggested that 77% of the addicted population in our country were employed, which is roughly 15 million people in the workplace struggling with addiction to drugs and alcohol. Addiction is not just happening to the homeless, the downtrodden or the marginalized – it is silently affecting the “average Joe’s” to the CEO’s and these men desperately need and deserve the help that is available to them.
Quentin Hafner, LMFT