Early recovery is difficult. Rebuilding a life shattered by substance abuse takes persistence, time and plenty of help. Many people come to rehab physically broken, mentally exhausted and emotionally unstable; this period of a person’s life is not ideal for new intimate relationships or forming romantic attachments. Unfortunately, in mixed-gender recovery programs it is not uncommon for clients to become romantically involved. There is an old adage in the 12-step recovery community that newcomers should stay out of relationships for at least a year. While this may sound like simple common sense, there are also clinical reasons to support the idea of keeping genders separated during treatment.
It’s no secret that some men in America experience a distinct advantage over women when it comes to wages and opportunities. But, according to SAMHSA, despite having this edge, men tend to die at a younger age than women. Beyond that—men are more likely to struggle with a substance use disorder, to be incarcerated, to experience homelessness, be victims of violent crime or die of suicide than their female counterparts. With all of this in mind, it is easy to understand that rehab for men needs to address some very specific issues to prepare men for life without the use of drugs or alcohol.
Rally Point Palm Beach offers a gender-specific rehab program for men designed to heal and prepare clients for living life clean and sober. At Rally Point, a small group of men share upscale homes under clinical supervision in a beautiful beachside community. The protocol begins with a Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) and structured sober living, followed by an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) and outpatient care. A maximum of just six men at a time participate in the PHP, which allows for plenty of personal attention. The program includes group and individual sessions, 12-step meetings and experiential therapies like art, music and outdoor adventures.
Rally Point emphasizes the importance of clients supporting one another and concentrates exclusively on gender-specific care. This is based on the idea that substance abuse impacts men differently than women and treatment must be tailored accordingly. These differences include the physical, psychological, social and spiritual implications of drug and alcohol abuse. Men require different types of medical care than women and are affected by social norms and cultural expectations in different ways than women. Recovery programs just for men, like the one at Rally Point, take the unique experiences facing men into account with their approach to treatment.
It’s not just a stereotype that men don’t like to go to the doctor. In fact, according to the NIH, men are less likely than women to seek medical or behavioral health care. Because of this, they often enter treatment with undiagnosed mental or physical ailments. In order for recovery to begin, these issues must be evaluated and treated. At Rally Point, an experienced staff of certified and licensed medical professionals, therapists and counselors work with clients every step of the way. Men can join the PHP straight out of detox and on-site staff will continue to work with clients to address every facet of their physical and mental health. This includes an MD, a Nurse Practitioner, a Registered Dietitian, Art and Music Therapists and several Master’s-level clinicians.
Rally Point’s Clinical Director, Shira Caswell shares her experiences with traditional gender roles in a treatment setting: “When our clients come in for treatment they typically believe they need to be strong and the one who supports and fixes. Gradually, they redefine their definition of what it means to be a ‘man’ and start including things like emotional intimacy and asking for and accepting support.” Caswell is an LCSW, MFT, CAP and Internationally Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor. Her experience comes from working in behavioral health and addiction treatment for nearly 20 years.
It is common that stereotypes of masculine behavior shape clients’ attitudes when they first arrive in treatment. These deeply ingrained cultural norms include competitiveness, aggression and self-sufficiency. At Rally Point, the staff makes a point to create an emotionally safe atmosphere where clients can drop these pretenses. The idea is that, once they make it to the program, they can feel free to learn effective ways to process their feelings and rebuild a healthy sense of identity. The therapists at Rally Point apply special techniques to address these possible roadblocks to recovery. For example, Rally Point offers alternative therapies like art and music where trained counselors guide clients in activities that can help them express emotions and develop productive coping skills to take with them into recovery.
Men come into recovery from a variety of backgrounds, but typically they have been impacted on some level by societal expectations to engage in different rituals or rites of passage, many of which involve drugs or alcohol. To replace these destructive patterns, Rally Point encourages the guys to bond over shared adventures like fishing, paddle boarding and kayaking. Having access to these types of activities in a safe and structured environment that is free of the influence of substances can help clients rebuild their sense of brotherhood and kinship amongst other men.
Rally Point is different from other treatment centers in that it takes into account the big picture facing men in today’s society and how that translates to recovery. By addressing the specific needs of men, Rally Point helps them recover physically, emotionally and spiritually. With specialized attention and a staff of experienced, certified professionals who genuinely care about the wellness of clients, Rally Point embraces the idea that recovery is truly about healing the individual and preparing them for life after rehab. After receiving quality, personalized care, men leave Rally Point prepared to live without the limitations of their past lives.