LGBTQ & Substance Abuse

LGBTQ & Substance Abuse

Buster Ross, MA, CADCII, LPC R-1

Tim Craley, MA, CADCII

Both of Hazelden Springbrook

October 12, 2012

Hello Everyone,  This training was so filled with useful shares and information Grace On You brings it to you in parts!!!

Name – Why are you participating – One thing that scares you – one hope for the future

I fear I will open mouth insert leg.  How heterosexist I truly am.  How homophobic I really am.  The more in touch with my fears I am the more effective I am.  It really starts with me.  If I am going to ask someone to face their fears – well if I can’t do that then I’m not effective.  We are in a sex negative society.  We are in a racist society.  As counselor the lower our self esteem is the hungrier we are to know all we can to make up for it.  I need to learn from my clients.  How do I remain empathetic and effective?  We fear we may say something offensive.  I catch myself talking slow to.  What do I call someone Mexican or Spanish? One thing that scares me is sex crimes in jail.  I want to gain knowledge.  I am scared of EVERYTHING – more so with staff members than inmates.  Going into a male bathroom and people think I am a male.  What scares me is who is NOT here.  Who is not being educated?  I fear I will find out how much I don’t know.  I fear being misunderstood.  I want to educate the staff I work with without being the token Lesbian.  I want to take it back to my program and talk about it in a positive way.  I want to learn how to communicate – how much do I disclose?  I fear I a part of the problem.  How do I position myself? Why do I have to join a team?  I am me.  Being a male in an all female inmate and staff facility makes me feel like I need help.  I fear being pigeon holed.  My biggest fear is doing harm.  I don’t want to appear clueless. I want to be able to relate to people.  I want to be able to reach out to anyone.  I want to find resources.  Grew up in LDS so “I don’t know” is a perfect response but I have an open mind.  I am afraid of the question – sexual orientation.  I grew up around it – I only had 5 hours of sleep but I couldn’t imagine not being here.  I fear the violence that happens.

Fears and concerns: don’t share a water pic.  Getting the feeling from my program – If I’m going to talk about this I do so at my own risk.  Patients don’t feel safe.  Identifying as a female but having a penis automatically placed in a men’s unit. Many places patients will leave in the first 2 to 3 days.  I want to learn to not be so turned on by two women kissing and not be so turned off by two men kissing. I want to be more sensitive.  I want to be more authentic. I want to be able to post a sign in my front yard and not worry my home will be torched.

Addiction is about moving away from feelings.


By not taking a side we are taking a side.

If we automatically side with the vulnerable one – the one getting bullied we miss out on a learning opportunity.  We need to validate both.  What if the bully was raised by homophobic parents?

We can’t talk about this without having a spectrum of people – some very comfortable talking about this and some extremely comfortable talking about this.

Ten years ago it would have been really hard to even find a training on LGBTQ.

We have 18 page assessments filled with boxes but no box that asks How do you identify.

Agencies struggle in retaining people who identify in the continuum.

There is a continuum- being able to talk about it makes me a part of them.

If the energy going out of me is …It’s in the air, in my bones, I’m drinking it – people can see it.

The safer I feel the more positive energy I have.

Not wanting to say the wrong thing so we say nothing adds another layer.

The GAIN for adolescents asks 175 questions – some are how do you identify?  Who are you attracted to?

Generalizing or making assumptions is not okay.

Our agency advertising states we are accepting of all populations – where are our queer programs?

We are Gay accepting not Gay Affirming.

We ready ourselves by doing it – implementing LGBTQ program first then learning  from it to make it continually better.

Ask the individual what pronoun do they want to be known for?

We are open in this training but this information is not percolating to the parts of society that really need it.

By connecting we get stronger.

Sexuality is a continuum.

There are 71 year old men who are not out yet.

Page 140 in the 12 steps and 12 traditions.  Read it!


Central City Concern participated in the Gay Pride Parade!

At Hazelden when a transgender individual who identified as a man but was a woman was admitted  it made the community better and stronger.  The patient was so socially fluent that that person educated the staff.


70 year old woman presenting on sexual information initially shocking then became comfortable.  Walk through the fear and see what’s on the other side.

They are out yeah!  My ignorance – my want for things to be wrapped in a pretty package they are ok now that they are out is wrong.  I will say I am fine with the fact that you’re gay.  They are not.

Being out – every time I have sex with a man (their shame intensifies) they feel disgusted.  Some gay people go to groups and state “I didn’t like the support group – they are too gay.”


Imagine you are raised by two same sex parents – two females or two males and you live in a community where everyone is in same sex relationships.  You are surrounded by same sex partners.  And you leave your community and find yourself in a place where people of opposite sex are in a relationship.  You discover that you are attracted to someone of your opposite sex and you have to return to your community.  Everyone is going to a dance – you go and you are approached by a same sex individual and they are attracted to you.  They ask you to dance.  You dance.  They try to kiss you and you let them.  You are repulsed.  But being with the opposite gender is not acceptable in your community and you have to tell your family.  How do you feel.


Some feelings identified by participants were;  alien, desolation, estranged, anger, lonely, disconnected, ashamed, scared, sick, lacking, paranoid, fear, isolated, powerless, awkward, unloved, misunderstood.

The above info is to the best of my recollection!  There will be More to come!


Guadalupe Aragon, Seeing the world through an LGBTQ Lense!


I am a Life Coach/Brief Interventionist. My emphasis is on trading in our relationship with alcohol, drugs and negative thinking for an amazing relationship with others and most importantly developing an extraordinary relationship with our self!

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Guadalupe Aragon
Grace On You

(360) 334-2626

Self Care Is Imperative For Caring Professionals
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