Category Archives: handout

Men & recovery

I often do men’s groups and lately I have been working with men in recovery from intoxicant use. Below is a handout I sometimes use to facilitate discussion.

1. SAMHSA studies (1996 and 2000) have found that the vast majority of American men over 12 years of age (82.6%) had used alcohol at least once in their lifetime. The data indicate that 9% of men reported heavy alcohol use (five or more drinks at one time in the previous month), compared to 2% of women. Approximately 34% of the sample reported using illicit drugs.

2. Men are more than twice as likely to develop substance use disorders as women. Men begin using substances earlier than women and have more opportunity to try drugs. Men become intoxicated twice as often as women and are 3-4 times more likely to experience problem drinking and alcoholism. These patterns cross all demographic lines of race, income, education, marital status, and geographic location.

3. Men suffer far more adverse consequences of substance abuse than women. Clearly, the social construction of masculinity plays a significant role in these statistics.

4. Men’s attitudes toward alcohol and drugs tend to be generally less negative than women’s attitudes. The use of substances is not viewed as a problem for men but rather as a rite of passage, a sign of true manliness. By contrast, substance use is more likely to be viewed as something for women to avoid due to increased sexual vulnerability. Moreover, such behavior is viewed as incompatible with female roles, including family and relationship expectations.

5. Co-occurring psychiatric disorders occur commonly among men. One study found that 55% of the men identified as having a substance abuse problem also experienced mental health problems. Men often suffer from depression in conjunction with a substance abuse problem. On the other hand, men are not as likely as women to express their feelings of guilt, sadness, or worthlessness (all signs of depression) and may engage in reckless behavior as a way to deal with their depression. Men are also at greater risk of depression when they have experienced a trauma such as combat, an accident, or physical violence.

6. Men are also at greater risk for co-occurring medical problems, such as disorders of the liver, pancreas, and the neurological and gastrointestinal systems. Heavy alcohol use correlates with greater risk of prostate cancer and lower amounts of testosterone. Men who abuse alcohol are more likely to engage in unprotected sex and are at greater risk of contracting HIV, hepatitis, and other STDs.

7. Violence is closely associated with substance use and abuse among men. The relationship between early childhood sexual trauma and substance abuse in men has been well documented. Substance using and abusing men also show high rates of violence.

8. Men who use and abuse substances also tend to have higher rates of problems related to fatherhood and families. They are twice as likely not to pay child support as those without alcohol and drug problems. Substance abuse and violence may also be a factor in separating men from their families. The results of this alienation are dramatic: when men are not in relationships or do not have children they are less likely to complete treatment.

Positive Statements about you

I am a group therapist who generally works with adults. I facilitate groups using creative arts, processing oriented, or psycho-education. Sometimes I actually sort of combine these in to a psycho-educational process oriented creative group. I provide info (psycho-educational, we talk about it from a personal perspective, and than create something out of the discussion.

 

One thing I have notice over the decades is that when people are stressed or overwhelmed about events in their life they tend towards a negative self perception. Below is a handout that I often use. One way of using this is to start out discussing what is positive self esteem, how you get it, maintain it, and why bother with it. I than pass out the hand out and folks write and than we share it in the group or in groups of 2 or 3 folks.

Positive Statements about you

  1. I like myself because:
  1. I’m an expert at:
  1. I feel good about:
  1. My friends would tell you I have a great:
  1. My favorite place is:
  1. I’m loved by:
  1. People say I am a good:
  1. I’ve been told I have:

 

Honesty handout

This is a handout I use for groups that tend to be dishonest. 
  1. Figure out why you lie and who you lie to. We’ve all lied at one time or another, to different people, to ourselves, and for different reasons. But coming up with a systematic plan for becoming more honest will be difficult unless you try to define those reasons and those people for yourself.
    • Lies to make ourselves look better might include exaggerations, embellishments, and flat-out tall-tales we tell to others, and ourselves, to make ourselves feel better about our inadequacies. When you’re unhappy about something, it’s much easier to fill it in with lies than tell the truth.
    • We lie to peers we think are better than us, because we want them to respect us as we respect them. Unfortunately, being dishonest is disrespectful in the long run. Give people more credit for their ability to empathize and understand you on a deeper level.
    • Lies that avoid embarrassment might include lies told to cover up bad behaviors, transgressions, or any activity we’re not proud of. If your mom found a pack of cigarettes in your jacket, you might lie and say that they’re your friend’s to avoid punishment.
    • We lie to authoritative figures to avoid embarrassment and punishment, including ourselves. When we’ve done something we feel guilty about, lies are told to eliminate the guilt, avoid the punishments, and get back to the objectionable behavior we’re forced to lie about. It’s a vicious cycle.
  1. Anticipate behaviors that will make you feel guilty. To break the chain of embarrassment and lying, it’s important to learn to anticipate things that you’ll likely    feel guilty about in the future, and avoid those behaviors. When you lie, you’re covering up some uncomfortable truth that’s more easily couched in a lie. You can either get comfortable with the truth, or abandon the behavior that makes you embarrassed.
    • If you smoke cigarettes, you won’t have to lie if everyone knows it’s true. Own up to it. If a behavior is un-own-upable, it’s probably best to avoid it. It would be humiliating for your wife to find out that you had an inappropriate relationship with a coworker, but you won’t have to lie if you don’t do it.
  1. Avoid situations in which you’ll have to lie for others. Be wary when someone tells you something in confidence that you know that you should share with someone else (e.g., knowledge of a crime, a lie, or a harmful act against another). Hearing such information puts you in a difficult position, especially when the truth eventually emerges and reveals to the affected person that you knew all along.
    • If someone begins a sentence with “Don’t tell so-and-so about this, okay?” be prepared to offer your own disclaimer: “If it’s something that I’d want to know about were I them, then please don’t tell me. I don’t want to be responsible for anyone’s secrets but my own.”