Seven Action Steps to Help the LGBTQ+ Community Reach Recovery During COVID-19
As we all continue to limit social interactions with those outside of our immediate household, LGBTQ+ youth in recovery face unique stressors that may pose a barrier to recovery. For some LGBTQ+ youth, friends, community centers, and even school can be a safe haven to express themselves freely. When home does not feel like an affirming environment, LGBTQ+ youth may not feel as if they have an outlet to be their true selves and may use ineffective coping skills to deal with this stress.
However, no matter where you are in your recovery journey, it is never too late to get back on the path towards full recovery. If you are reading this blog, you’re already making a positive step toward your goal! There are a number of action steps described below that may help you get closer to your goals while we continue to follow guidelines that are helping to keep us all safe and healthy.
- Stay connected to affirming supports. Whether this means professional support, friends, extended family members, clergy, or community organizations – find a way to stay connected (safely)!
- Create a home environment that is conducive to recovery and LGBTQ+ affirming. Even if this space is only in your room, make pride art that includes positive affirmations, cover up mirrors with a pride flag or identity-affirming quotes.
- Follow body-positive or recovery-related LGBTQ+ social media accounts.
- Express yourself! If you can do so safely, wear the clothes and accessories that align with your identity, even if you can only do so behind closed doors. Even if you have to stay home all day, putting on identity-affirming clothes (and other accessories) can help decrease body image concerns and increase the level of comfort with expressing yourself externally in a way that reflects how you feel internally.
- Be open with your professional supports about LGBTQ+ related concerns and how these may affect your recovery, especially if you do not have an affirming living situation.
- Remind yourself often that this is temporary, and you will be able to surround yourself with chosen family again.
- Write out your ideal long-term plan in which you will be able to live as your authentic self. Then, about how recovery fits into this picture, and how your plans may shift if you do or do not work towards recovery.
To all LGBTQ+ folks in recovery, remember you are valid, you are not alone, and you are needed in this world. Recovery is possible and you can do it!
To find a list of LGBTQ+ youth resources: https://www.cdc.gov/lgbthealth/youth-resources.htm
Noah Granade (they/them pronouns) is a graduate student of social work who has professional experience in the eating disorder recovery community. Noah recognizes the unique struggles for individuals in the LGBTQ+ community who are also in eating disorder recovery. Noah recognizes the importance of culturally affirming treatment for all peoples and is an avid believer in complete recovery from eating disorders.