Are the LGBTQIA+ Communities able to Maintain their Identity within Twelve-Step Programs: A Brief Narrative

Nelson J. Tiburcio*, Kristin S. Kimmell and Scarlett L. Baker

Are the LGBTQIA+ Communities able to Maintain their
Identity within Twelve-Step Programs: A Brief Narrative.

Affirming one’s self-identity can be powerful and empowering.
So, when an individual seeking help with their addiction is
questioning their gender identification or sexual orientation,
or if they are very clear about either one, they need to have a supportive encounter.

The message given needs to be one of sensitivity, respect, and validation.
If you are unfamiliar with terminology and definitions as they pertain to the lesbian,
gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual or ally, and other identities
(LGBTQIA+) communities, you can find a comprehensive list online.

Note that definitions may vary with location, era, and culture.
During the last decade, we have seen a proliferation of
substance use disorder (SUD) that has led to death and destruction,
such as never witnessed historically.

Costs of SUD to the United States (U.S.) economy are profound,
estimated at $193 billion annually related to lost work productivity, healthcare, early
mortality, and crime, from the abuse of illicit substances; when
including alcohol-related costs these totals exceed $220 billion.

LGBTQIA+ individuals have higher rates of alcohol use than cisgender people.
Surveys among lesbian, gay and bisexual adults
have found that sexual minorities have higher rates of substance
misuse and SUDs than people who identify as heterosexual.

Still in its nascency, it is not yet possible to establish long-term trends
about substance use and SUD prevalence in LGBTQ populations.

Similarly, research is currently limited on rates of SUD treatment episodes
among transgender populations, although extant research shows
that transgender individuals are more likely
to seek SUD treatment than the non-transgender population.

Soc Behav Res Pract Open J. 2023; 8(1): 15-17. doi: 10.17140/SBRPOJ-8-138