How to Find the Balance Between Masculinity and Surrender in Recovery?

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How to Find the Balance Between Masculinity and Surrender in Recovery?

As standards of masculinity have developed throughout the course of humanity, they have been influenced by different cultures along with centuries of societal norms and biases. The sense of manliness begins at a very young age. For example, parents have to decide whether their little boy can play with a doll or not. According to society, certain toys are considered too feminine.

Decisions like these are often made from the influence of others, fear of judgment, and confusion about whether something is “normal” or not. Some people let their kids naturally choose their interests. Others fear encouraging the “wrong” behavior as it may lead to future gender confusion. 

Society has an impact on gender norms when it comes to decisions we make during all milestones in our lifetime. Let’s take recovery for example. Individuals require the ability to be vulnerable and to surrender for the treatment process. Finding a balance between what society and recovery centers both expect can be quite challenging for men. Let’s dive into why that is.

What Is Masculinity?

Traditional masculinity emphasizes an individual’s character. A few examples include specific attributes such as a stoic personality, unwavering strength in conflict, and solid independence. Masculinity could be explained as a set of behaviors and roles of a man. Male behavior is thought to be socially constructed yet influenced by both cultural and biological factors. The degree of masculinity is judged by male characteristics according to history and current social norms. 

Society’s Expectations of Masculinity

Gender varies from society to society and can gradually change over time. Society today teaches men that they need to be strong and independent to be masculine. According to the World Health Organization, harmful norms of masculinity can affect men’s health and well-being negatively. These gender norms contribute to males acting out in aggression and violence. The impression of masculinity may encourage males to smoke or misuse certain substances such as alcohol. A male may not seek help or accept health care because of society’s expectations. Male characteristics influenced by society today include: 

  • Protector
  • Leader
  • Strong
  • Dominant

Expectations in Recovery 

Recovery requires the ability to be vulnerable and surrender, acknowledging that you cannot fight substance use disorder alone. This all places an impact on mental health. A study in the National Library of Medicine found that male subject groups ranked higher on narcissism and less on surrender concerning recovery in general. The study also found that females were oppositely correlated. Women were more likely to surrender to recovery and found less narcissism compared to males. Overall, this study displayed that societal norms pervade the expectations of men in recovery. 

Finding Balance

A male may refuse any treatment due to fear of judgment by friends. Friends that think someone is vulnerable for seeking help may be keeping that person from getting treatment as they do not want to suffer alone. Toxic friends may keep people from treatment because they truly do not care about their well-being. If one’s family does not support your decision to sign up for professional help, they may be in denial, have fears related to financial investment, or have given up on the rescue of the person struggling with addiction.

However, certain opinions should not discourage one’s drive to seek help. There are plenty of resources available to assist you in your journey. While individuals may fear judgment from society when surrendering to treatment, what matters most right now is that person’s own judgment. They might feel less masculine for seeking recovery. Understand that everyone, no matter what gender, needs treatment in certain hardships.

It is important to make one’s own decisions regardless of what society may require or what friends and family may say. Individuals should do what they think is right because they know what is best for themselves. No choice is bad if one intends to improve one’s life. Accepting new opportunities can be fulfilling. Finding balance is key to achieving success in all that we do.

The Importance of Recovery 

Treatment provides a safe place for finding well-needed comfort and relief. This decision to accept treatment also provides better sleep and relaxation. Addiction can be the culprit of missed time in a person’s life. An individual who is dependent on a substance may spend too much energy focusing on or using the substance. Addiction is often responsible for controlling every aspect of a person’s life, making that person lose a sense of reality. Recovery can help individuals discover who they are meant to be, guiding them to find their true identity.

Getting help for substance use disorder and the mental health conditions that come with the disease can greatly improve one’s health overall. One should never feel embarrassment, judgment, or shame for deciding to change one’s life. Taking charge of one’s life by surrendering in recovery is always a strong and courageous decision.