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Gay Men and Substance Abuse: A Basic Guide for Addicts and Those Who Care for Them Paperback – April 1, 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Hazelden; 1 edition (April 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592858899
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592858897
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,613,949 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Gay Men and Substance Use: A Basic Guide for Addicts and Those Who Care for Them

Book Review

About.com Rating 3 Star Rating
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By Elizabeth Hartney, About.com Guide

Updated June 16, 2011

Publisher's Site
A much-needed book for a vulnerable group of people with addiction and other substance use problems, Gay Men and Substance Use is a compassionate and informative guide for people trying to understand substance use among gay men. Written from the perspective of a gay male counselor with years of experience counseling gay men with substance use problems, this book speaks to gay men and the people involved with them in an encouraging and knowledgeable way. However, I would hesitate to recommend this book to some potential readers, which I will explain later.

A Useful Starting Point for Addiction Counselors

Perhaps the best audience for this book is addiction counselors who have little or no experience with gay men, urban gay culture or substance use in these contexts. These readers will benefit from understanding some of the psychological struggles faced by gay men, which tend to worsen drug and alcohol abuse and addiction. Reading this empathetic account of how substance use problems develop in a specific sub-group of gay men, many counselors would gain a deeper understanding of the ambivalence many gay men face, both in terms of their sexuality and in terms of their substance use and recovery.

I think this book tries to cover a lot of ground by appealing to gay men with addictions and those who care about them, which actually includes partners, friends, counselors and family members. Each of these is a different audience, with different needs, and I don't feel this book is a good fit for every gay man and his family members. Thinking about clients I've worked with who are gay men with substance use problems, and their families, I would hesitate to recommend this book to them.

Not Recommended Reading for All Gay Men

Why? Because a lot of the content is either obvious to them, unnecessary or potentially complicating to their situation.

Gay men who have been part of the gay scene described in this book -- including gay men seeking help for substance use problems, and their partners, will already be aware of the information on drugs and party and play. For them, it is redundant. The information on how to get help might be useful, but as the process of treatment and recovery is portrayed in a rather negative way, some may be put off getting help.

In contrast, the more naive, younger gay men who are going through the coming-out process and starting to experiment with sex and/or drugs may be intrigued by the details of casual sex and party and play, and the implication that drug use is a rite of passage in the gay community. This could potentially influence an 18 year old to try meth, even though he'd only tried marijuana when he picked up the book.

And there are many gay men, particularly those who are not part of a large, urban gay community, who would be alienated by the references to group sex and party and play, particularly those who have no interest in these activities. Research shows that it is a myth that meth is the drug of choice for gay men. The drug most commonly used by gay men, as with the straight community, is alcohol. Again, much of the book would be irrelevant to gay men who use alcohol but not other drugs.

May Help Couples, But Could Be Too Much Information for Parents and Families

Although the author acknowledges that family members may find the explicit nature of the book uncomfortable, the title does invite parents to read it as "those who care about" substance-using gay men. I think many of parents of gay men would find this difficult reading while they are trying to figure out how to support their sons. I don't think they want or need to read details of the extreme sex lives of some gay men. It may not even be relevant to their son's situation, and many would find this information embarrassing, upsetting and frightening.

On the other hand, there is some useful guidance on how to understand and communicate with a gay man struggling with substance problems. Therefore, partners might find this information helpful. There is also quite a bit of information on how to conduct an intervention, so friends and loved ones have some structure and guidance on how to set this up. However, interventions are not supported by research and can easily magnify problems for the individual and family, so this advice should be followed with caution.

Useful Resource on Treatment Services and Recovery

The book provides some useful information on treatment services and self help groups, and on the process of recovery, although it is 12 step oriented. The section on relapse may be particularly helpful for gay men, particularly if they are quitting alcohol or drugs without professional assistance. It is also important for partners and family members to know that quitting is often not a one-time deal, and relapse is frequently part of the recovery process -- it doesn't mean the person has failed or isn't serious about recovery.

The presence of homophobia within society, including among healthcare professionals, is certainly important to mention. Perhaps I have been particularly fortunate in working in places that emphasize acceptance, and have clients who are particularly tolerant and well informed about sexual minorities. My sense is that the culture has changed and is not as homophobic as it is portrayed here.

In my view, the description of ignorance about sexual minority issues in the context of treatment services is overstated, and unnecessarily negative. I have found the addictions-treatment community to be one of the safest and most accepting place for sexual minorities. Expressions of homophobia are unacceptable, whether from staff or other clients -- anyone exposed to this kind of abuse should report it to an authority immediately.

Self-help groups are another issue entirely, as they are unregulated and run by participants. Therefore, as the book warns, gay men who attend self-help groups run a higher risk of being judged if they are open about their sexuality.

Publisher's Site
Disclosure: A review copy of advance uncorrected proofs was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
(Elizabeth Hartney About.com/Addiction)

New Book, Gay Men and Substance Abuse, Launched by Hazelden

Link to article: http://www.edgechicago.com/?117688

CENTER CITY, MN - Hazelden Publishing has released Gay Men and Substance Abuse: A Basic Guide for Addicts and Those Who Care for Them - one of the first books ever published in America for gay men who are addicted to alcohol and other drugs, along with their friends and family.

Offering in-depth information on addiction and recovery that is specific to the lifestyle and culture of gay men, the 216-page paperback by treatment counselor Michael Shelton is available at bookstores nationwide beginning May 1, 2011. Shelton reveals the social and psychological factors - including shame and internalized homophobia - that play into homosexual men's addictions. The book presents a comprehensive look at best practices in meeting gay men's unique needs in recovery.

Among the topics covered in Gay Men and Substance Abuse:
· The connections between homophobia and drug abuse
· Substance abuse and romantic relationships
· Common challenges for gay men in recovery
· Successful relapse prevention protocols for gay men
· A loved one's role in regards to intervention and support
· Decoupling sexual activity from drugs and alcohol

Shelton, M.S., C.A.C., a nationally-certified treatment counselor who works with homosexual men dealing with substance abuse disorders at facilities in the Philadelphia area, is also the author of four other books, including Boy Crazy: Why Monogamy Is So Hard for Gay Men and What You Can Do About It.

In Gay Men and Substance Abuse, he highlights the unique challenges involved with substance abuse and gay men. The author explores a range of factors specific to the gay male culture that can heighten abuse of alcohol and other drugs and impact recovery, including the coming out process, feelings of shame and internalized homophobia, the prevalence of unsafe sex while under the influence, an intensified focus on body image and the club scene where poppers, GHB, Ketamine, MDMA and Meth are commonly used.

Side quote:
"Given that gay men have a higher incidence of chemical dependency than the overall public and that Hazelden Publishing is intent upon serving a diverse community, Gay Men and Substance Abuse truly fills a void for gay men."

"There have been very few books, if any, that have been written specifically on issues relating to gay men and addiction that are designed to be read by the addicts themselves- and by the people who love and care for them," says Nick Motu, publisher and vice president of Marketing and Communications at Hazelden.

The goal of Hazelden Publishing is to publish real-world resources on addiction, treatment and recovery that are accessible for all experience levels and learning styles.

Dedicated to providing products that help people recognize, understand and overcome addiction, Hazelden Publishing started in 1954, when world-renowned addiction treatment center Hazelden bought the rights to a book written by Richmond Walker. The book's format was untried - a brief meditation, followed by a daily reader and prayer. The book launched Hazelden's publishing operations by selling almost 5,000 copies in its first year. Since then, Twenty-Four Hours A Day has sold over 8 million copies in 30 countries.

"Given that gay men have a higher incidence of chemical dependency than the overall public and that Hazelden Publishing is intent upon serving a diverse community, Gay Men and Substance Abuse truly fills a void for gay men and their partners and friends who need guidance about addiction, treatment and recovery. Gay Men and Substance Abuse is a landmark book, written with compassion and deep insight by Michael Shelton."

For more information about ordering copies of Gay Men and Substance Abuse ($14.95 sugg. retail), visit the Hazelden Bookstore at www.hazelden.org/bookstore or call 800-328-9000.

Gay Men and Substance Abuse will also be available on amazon.com and at booksellers nationwide.

(Edge Chicago)

About the Author

Michael Shelton, M.S., C.A.C., is a nationally certified treatment counselor and does clinical work with males with substance abuse and sexual disorders at four facilities in Philadelphia. He's the author of four other books, including Boy Crazy: Why Monogamy Is So Hard for Gay Men and What You Can Do About It.


More About the Author

The author of five books including "Family Pride:What LGBT Families Should Know about Navigating Home, School, and Safety in Their Neighborhoods" (Beacon Press, 2013), Michael Shelton is the director of sexual-minority treatment services and works with same-sex families at Equilibria Psychological Consultants in Philadelphia. He is also the residential director for Mountain Meadow, one of two summer camp programs in the United States for the children of same-sex parents. He lives in Philadelphia.

Photo Credit: Lynnette Mager Wynn, 2012.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Terrance Richard TOP 500 REVIEWER on June 30, 2011
Format: Paperback
One of the many problems that have faced us in the gay community is alcohol and drug addiction. This is due to the fact that many of us have had a bad experience growing up as many young gay boys were bullied and abused by their peers and felt isolated from the rest of the world. After many boys come out they find their families have disowned them leading them down the dark path of drug addiction. Drugs are also a huge part of our gay culture with many experimenting at circuit parties and gay pride events only to realize too late they have become hooked on meth or cocaine. Drug addiction in the homosexual world is a serious problem, one that leads many of us to "bareback", a term that refers to unsafe anal intercourse that of course can lead to sexually transmitted diseases including AIDS.

This book has everything in it including detailed information as to why gay men start using drugs, how they can pinpoint if they have a problem, and how they can seek help for recovery. It's also a book that helps lovers in understanding their partner's addiction as drug addiction not only effects the user, but those who love them.
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