FOOTNOTES TO
ALCOHOLISM AND ADDICTION IN HOMOSEXUALS
ETIOLOGY, PREVALENCE & TREATMENT

Roy Young, J.D., M.S.W., L.M.S.W.

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[1] Email Roy Young. For paper updates go to: http://www.royy.com/pap.html.

[2] "Nobody loves an old queen." Modern, Anon.

[3] As used herein unless within quoted material, the terms "substance abuse," "addiction," and "alcoholism" are used interchangeably, and include abuse of and addiction to alcohol and other mood altering drugs. "Substance abuse" includes dependence.

[4] "Gay men" and "lesbian women" are sometimes referred to herein as "homosexual," acknowledging that to do so may be less desirable.

[5] For a summary and critical evaluation of the equally distorted psychoanalytic view on the etiology of homosexuality, see Nardi (1982) at 14.

[6] After the active addiction has been broken (usually taking 6 months to a year of continuous anstention). Most alcoholics are too upset by the trials of early recovery to be able to do much insight-oriented psychotherapy.

[7] It is the "sad truth that in any system based on suppression, exclusion, and exploitation, the suppressed, excluded and exploited unconsciously believe in the evil image which they are made to represent by those who are dominant" (Erikson, 1959, p. 30).

[8] Unless referring to a person of know gender, the pronouns he and she, and their variations, are used herein randomly and interchangeably.

[9] The following examples are from the author's personal experience or the experience of his close friends.

[10] To the extent that literature quoted herein was researched or written before the mid-1980's, it often does not take into account the explosion in drug use in the homosexual population which occurred in the late 1970's and resulted during the 1980's in a greatly increased dual addiction to alcohol, amphetamines and their analogs, designer drugs and cocaine. Author bases this assertion on anecdotal evidence arising from his attendance for a number of years at gay special-interest meetings of AA, NA and CA.

[11] The author has no theory as to why lesbians under 30 show higher rates of addiction.

[12] The increased use of CNS stimulants such as amphetamines and cocaine in the 1980's in the gay population substantially increased the speed of the addictive process. Many more gay alcoholics are now joining AA in their 20's and 30's.

[13] The author grudgingly admits that straight women and others in today's society may also face pressure to compete upon the basis of youth and beauty, but it is author's observation that gay men can be even more shallowly narcissistic than straight men. Author is, admittedly, an older homosexual, over 35 . . . well over 35.

[14] For instance, (1) the gay bar is often a place to meet friends, potential sexual partners, and a lover, and (2) casual "back-room" or bathhouse sex is a widely accepted sexual release for many male homosexuals. Both present a risk that the recovering alcoholic will be tempted by the ready availability of alcohol; amphetamines, including "Crystal" or "Meth" (methamphetamine); cocaine/crack; "Ecstasy" (methylenedioxymethamphetamine, also known on the street as MDMA); "poppers" (amyl nitrate, butyl nitrate), and "Special K" (ketamine hydrochloride). In addition, because of the wide use of alcohol and drugs (especially poppers) for sexual disinhibition and pleasure, some recovering addicts are not able to have satisfying sex without them for some time into sobriety. Newly recovering addicts need cautioning, instruction, and assistance in finding alternatives to these sexual outlets or in learning to use these outlets with minimum risk of relapse.

[15] Such as Pride Institute in Minnesota (800-547-7433.)

[16] Alcoholics Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, and Marijuana Anonymous. See http://www.royy.com http://www.royy.com for links to information about gay special-interest 12-Step meetings and for meeting lists for New York City groups.

[17]

Home is heaven and orgies are vile
But I like an orgy, one in a while.
-- Ogden Nash

[18] Today many addicts recovering from substance abuse other than alcohol nevertheless attend AA meetings as well as meetings relating to their substance of choice (e.g., cocaine). This is helpful for several reasons:

The author recommends that the recovering addict also attend some meetings in the 12-Step program relating to his drug of choice. Thus, a cocaine user might go to a couple of Cocaine Anonymous meetings a week, and go to AA meetings the other days.

[19] Many of these myths have been created or endorsed by the older psychoanalytic disciplines, and prevail in them today, sometimes in their most dangerous form: unacknowledged.

[20] It is important that the therapist (gay or straight) not bring into treatment his own preferences or prejudices as to what constitutes "appropriate" or "healthy" sex any more than it would be appropriate for the therapist to bring into treatment her own preference for the gender of her sexual partner. If the client's sexual practices are (1) dangerous, such as unsafe sex, (2) ego dystonic to the client himself, or (3) run a risk of triggering a relapse, then the therapist may encourage the client to question the practice or question his own (perhaps unreasonable) feelings about the practice which make it both seductive for him and yet at the same time ego dystonic. Smith (1982) lucidly encourages therapists and clients to adopt a non-judgmental stance towards a wide variety of sexual practices, noting that "sexual compulsiveness is not the same as high frequency or so-called casual sex" and that, "The value system of the client must be given importance since casual sexual relationships are unjustly discriminated against through cultural notions" (p. 60).

[21] Or "bitter old queens."

[22] The author is not suggesting that relating in sexual ways is bad, but only that it can be limiting. Unless sex leads to love, sexual interest most often wanes, and will not by itself support a continued friendship. A series of one-night stands does not usually lead to having a group of friends for support or companionship, which is a vital resource in recovery.

[23] Helping someone newer in the program to achieve and maintain sobriety.