Please read this important op-ed by Tyler Curry in The Advocate that explores why binge drinking is so acceptable among gay men. Curry turns personal and stays kinda surface; I’ve found with my clients that there are often deeper psychosocial reasons the LGBTQ community hits it hard at the bar. One idea I’ve come across repeatedly is that LGBTQ people may have severe anxiety remnant from childhood in just being in an out mindset, to be in a gay bar. Alcohol soothes those nerves. Also, they may be anxious learning to perceive themselves as acceptable and desirable, soothing these nerves with alcohol.
I’ve worked with plenty of LGBTQ clients who find themselves relying on substances to be comfortable socially and want to pursue a social life without relying on substances. Some solid work on identity development, self-assurance, and anxiety tolerance can make a huge difference out and about. If you’re interested in doing some of that work, call me to see how I can help.