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Accessing mainstream services


“From our experiences and from our members’ experiences, people who are referred to mainstream services feel a little out of place, and the reason is normally that AA is a group of men with alcohol problems and AlAnon is a group of women whose husbands have the problem. Being a gay man and going to AlAnon for example you end up being amongst the wrong sex. Apart from having to express having an alcohol problem they find it difficult to express they are also gay.”

“There is a slight problem, as there is always an intake of breath when you make the fact public (that you are gay) in a predominantly straight male group; we wanted to provide a space where the assumption was that you were gay and would not need therefore to cross that boundary, as well as saying ‘I’ve got a substance abuse problem’.”

“One of the reasons many addicts give for their addiction is ‘You would too if you had my troubles’. It’s very easy to see that someone who is worried about being gay might say to any mainstream service provider - ‘You would take drugs too if you had the misfortune to have discovered you were gay when you did not want to be’. It would be very difficult for any NHS substance abuse service to find a way of convincing an unhappy gay person to be happy about it, as well as leave the gin alone.”

Contributed by: LGBT Alcohol Support Group, 4

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