Resources for Addiction Recovery in the LGBTQ+ Community
Oar Health Editorial Team
May 18, 2022
In This Article
Substance use—whether alcohol, drugs, or nicotine—is an all too common part of American culture. What’s more, there is evidence to suggest that substance use tends to be higher among LGBTQ+ people than their non-LGBTQ+ peers (1). While use of substances is an individual choice, it’s important to recognize the risks they can pose.
For many people, using substances can develop into a dependence or addiction. If you don’t take steps to address this, you can experience severe health and quality of life effects. Recognizing addiction is the first step to seeking treatment and starting recovery.
You’re not on your own in your recovery journey. You’re part of a caring community, and there are incredible resources out there to support you.
The following resources can help you on your journey to sobriety:
If you’re quitting alcohol, making a quit plan and joining a supportive community can go a long way. The Gay & Sober initiative can play a key role here.
The organization provides LGBTQ+ people with education, events, and wellness programming for a safe sober experience. They also offer daily online support meetings that are available worldwide and are free of charge.
You can search for Gay & Sober meetings in your area on their website.
AA is a peer support network for people living with AUD that’s formulated around a 12-step community recovery plan. Their Gays and Lesbians in Alcoholics Anonymous (GAL-AA) branch offers meetings for LGBTQ+ people. AA also has literature chronicling LGBTQ members’ journeys through the recovery process.
Visit the GAL-AA website for more information about meetings near you.
Medication-assisted treatment is one way to overcome alcohol cravings. Oar offers access to naltrexone—a Food and Drug Administration-approved medication to treat AUD—through online prescriptions.
The Oar program also provides a consultation with a clinician from your state and a mobile app to track your recovery progress.
Through an online assessment, personalized treatment plan, and ongoing support, you can begin to empower yourself on the road to recovery.
SAMHSA plays a key role in gathering research about LGBTQ+ people’s relationships with AUD and mental health challenges. They’re also advocating for U.S. states to make treatment resource allocation more inclusive.
In addition to being a good source of educational AUD information, SAMHSA also provides links to relevant federal initiatives.
You can start on SAMHSA's LGBTQI+ page to access these valuable resources.
Inpatient and outpatient alcohol rehabilitation clinics are available across the country. While SAMHSA provides a free treatment locator, it does not specifically screen treatment centers for LGBTQ+ care.
To find out whether a clinic offers care tailored to LGBTQ+ people, visit the clinic’s website and call to ask about their approach. You can ask if they have references from LGBTQ+ clients, employ LGBTQ+ clinicians, or have a specific program for LGBTQ+ people.
Visit the SAMHSA Treatment Locator or call the SAMHSA National Helpline at 800-662-HELP (4357) to get started.
We curated these resources to specifically help LGBTQ+ people cope with drug misuse:
The Pride Institute provides drug rehabilitation services to the LGBTQ+ community. With the Pride Institute, your route to recovery is supported by professionals who are well-informed about the health and social challenges you may face.
Alongside inpatient residential treatment, the organization also offers telehealth services.
The Pride Institute website has more information on their programs, as well as educational resources.
Going through drug addiction recovery can put additional strain on your mental well-being, particularly when you’re young. The Trevor Project is a vital helpline that provides empathetic counseling and support via phone, text, or live online chat to LGBTQ+ young people.
You can call their lifeline at 866-488-7386, text “Trevor” to 202-304-1200, or visit The Trevor Project website for live chat.
There are various aspects of trauma that may contribute to your experiences with substance use disorder (SUD). The Inspire Recovery program is designed to provide rehabilitation for LGBTQ people in a trauma-informed manner.
Alongside drug rehab for gay, lesbian, and transgender people, Inspire Recovery also offers rehab for people who are queer or questioning. Their recovery blog is also a useful resource to check out.
For more information about Inspire Recovery programs, call 561-899-6088 or visit the Inspire Recovery website.
While 12-step recovery programs can be effective, many are rooted in religion. Some LGBTQ+ people don’t welcome this approach. The SMART Recovery program is a peer-support rehab network based on secular methods, like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). The organization offers both in-person meetings and online support.
Visit their website to access SMART Recovery groups.
If you’re quitting smoking, the following resources can help:
It can be challenging for LGBTQ+ people to get nicotine cessation treatment. Studies show LGB people are five times less likely to call a quitline, and LGBT people are less likely to have insurance to cover treatment (2).
The U.S. government-backed Smokefree program provides access to LGBTQ-friendly helplines and treatment options. It also features a text chat service and the option to download the quitSTART support app.
Access these resources and more on Smokefree’s LGBT page.
The CDC is at the forefront of research and initiatives surrounding public health. The agency recognizes that there are various factors contributing to nicotine addiction among LGBTQ+ people.
To help curb nicotine addiction in this community, the CDC provides relevant information and advice about quitting smoking for LGBTQ+ people. They also offer a guide to parents of LGBT youth.
Head to the CDC Pride Month page for more information.
Cancer is one of the most concerning outcomes of nicotine addiction. The National LGBT Cancer Network offers educational resources about smoking-related cancer and how to quit. Their Outlast Tobacco campaign also provides a dedicated quitline.
Freedom From Smoking is a nicotine addiction program developed by the American Lung Foundation. It offers peer support groups, activities, and behavioral techniques to help you quit. There’s also an online treatment option available for English and Spanish speakers.
You can join Freedom From Smoking by visiting the American Lung Foundation website.
Truth Initiative is dedicated to helping individuals and communities address nicotine addiction. The organization has performed research into tobacco use in LGBTQ+ communities. The fact that 35% of transgender adults are currently using cigarettes has helped highlight the need for greater community outreach (3).
Truth Initiative provides access to quit smoking plans, mobile apps, and research resources.
Head to the Truth Initiative website to access their tools to quit smoking and vaping.
Here are even more resources to aid you in the addiction recovery process:
Resources for LGBTQ+ veterans have often been overlooked. The VA is working to address this gap by offering substance use treatment related to AUD, SUD, and nicotine addiction.
Because substances like alcohol can damage your health, these services fall under VA health benefits. You can get counseling, medication, and inpatient rehab, among other tools, from the VA.
The VA website provides more information about accessing addiction services.
The LGBT National Help Center provides peer support and resources for a range of challenges, including mental health issues and addiction recovery. The organization has national, youth, and senior hotlines that offer support. They also provide access to online peer chat options.
Access the LGBT National Help Center’s services on their website or by calling their toll-free helpline at 888-843-4564 between 4 p.m. and 12 a.m. ET Monday through Friday, or between 12 p.m. and 5 p.m. ET on Saturdays.
The addiction recovery process can take a serious toll on your mental health. If you find yourself needing immediate support, a crisis hotline can offer help now.
Thrive Lifeline provides access to qualified responders who are experienced with supporting marginalized communities.
You can start a conversation with Thrive by texting 313-662-8209.
A supportive community is ready to help you navigate your journey to recovery. Whether you are looking for care tailored to LGBTQ+ needs or not, you have many options.
It may take some trial and error as you take your first steps quitting alcohol or other substances, but you can get there. Your recovery path is waiting for you.
About The Author
Oar is a telemedicine platform that makes science-backed, medication-assisted addiction treatment approachable and accessible for millions of consumers who feel excluded by the current treatment landscape and who may have a wide range of goals, from moderation to abstinence.