Typically, social media feeds fill up with rainbow-colored images and words celebrating LGBTQIA+ Pride every June. Unfortunately, these celebrations can be tricky for those in recovery or choosing to live substance-free.

If individuals are struggling with a substance use disorder (SUD), seeing the rainbows plastered all over liquor companies can be triggering. There are still ways to celebrate Pride Month in sobriety.

Prevalence of SUDs in LGBTQIA+ Population

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH), 9% of those in the LGBTQIA+ community report opioid misuse, in comparison to 3.8% of the overall population. Numbers are also higher in this population for marijuana use as well as tobacco and e-cigarette use. NIH also notes that those who belong to the sexual minority population, “often enter treatment with more severe SUDs.”

There are several possible explanations for why LGBTQIA+ adults might be at greater risk for substance abuse. First, many in this community face discrimination, violence, and rejection from family, friends, and society at large.

As a result, LGBTQIA+ individuals are more likely to experience co-occurring disorders like anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. As a result, many people in this community self-medicate with substances as a way to cope with these mental health challenges.

Additionally, alcohol is often at the center of LGBTQIA+ social events. Things like gay bars and drag brunches condone and even encourage drinking and drug use. During Pride Month, this population often turns to party drugs like cocaine and ecstasy to enhance the celebratory experience.

While there are many contributing factors to the high rates of substance abuse in the LGBTQIA+ community, awareness and education are key to prevention. The good news is that organizations and resources are available to help LGBTQIA+ individuals enjoy Pride without using.

Sober Options

LGBTQIA+ people have a higher rate of SUDs than the general population, so socializing during Pride Month can be a trigger for many. There are plenty of ways to get into the spirit and enjoy this joyful time of year without reaching for a drink.

There are now sober Pride events being held in cities across the country, which provide a safe and welcoming space for LGBTQIA+ people in recovery. There are also sober online communities, like Sober LGBTQIA+, that offer support and connection for people who are staying sober.

In addition, many mental health organizations offer resources and support groups specifically for LGBTQIA+ people in recovery. With a little bit of research, it is easy to find plenty of ways to celebrate Pride Month while staying sober. Some options include:

  • Gay and Sober Pride Festival: LGBTQIA+ individuals and their allies can enjoy a weekend of substance-free activities with Gay & Sober. The Pride Celebration starts with the free Pride Fest Block Party during the day. The ticketed dance follows this on the river cruise at night. Monday’s event is also open to attendees for those wanting to make a whole weekend of it. LGBTQIA+ individuals and their allies can enjoy a fun and safe environment at these pride-themed events. These events are a great way to show support for this community while promoting sobriety.
  • Virtual Pride Events: LGBTQIA+ people and their allies will continue to participate in Pride activities all across the globe virtually this year. In-person Pride events usually consist of marches or parades where participants carry banners with LGBTQIA+ affirming slogans, give speeches, and dance. Over the past two years, many organizations have shifted their celebrations to online. This provides numerous benefits, such as reaching a larger audience with LGBTQIA+ affirming content and allowing for event planning creativity. For example, one could host a movie marathon or have a drag queen story hour for kids.
  • Volunteer at a local LGBTQIA+ organization: Substance-free pride activities typically happen during June to celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community. Many organizations are continually looking for volunteers to help support their cause. You can usually find information about these organizations and their volunteer opportunities on their websites or through a quick Google search. Some organizations may have specific requirements for volunteers, so be sure to check with the organization beforehand.

These programs can help LGBTQIA+ individuals feel connected to a community and reduce the risk of relapse during this high-risk time.

Individuals can also get involved in sober Pride events such as marches, parades, and parties. These events provide a fun and safe space for people in recovery to celebrate their queerness.

Finally, individuals can volunteer with or donate to organizations that support the LGBTQIA+ community. There are many ways to celebrate Pride Month sober—it just takes a little creativity and effort.

With June being Pride Month, it is a time for the community to come together and celebrate progress and look toward the future. For many people in the LGBTQIA+ community, sobriety is an important part of their lives. This doesn’t mean that they can’t participate in Pride activities, but it does mean that they need to be mindful of which activities they participate in. There are plenty of LGBTQIA+ substance-free pride activities available, from parades and marches to film festivals and sober meetups. Sober Pride is a chance to focus on your mental and physical health, and to celebrate who you are without the influence of substances. It’s an opportunity to connect with others in the community and create lasting memories. Sober Pride is possible, and it’s something worth celebrating. For more information on how to celebrate Pride in recovery, call Vanity Wellness Center today at (866) 587-1737.

Categories: Vanity NewsTags: , By Published On: June 15th, 2022

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