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Despite being twice as likely to suffer from addiction, there are only two LGBT sober houses in the US

Lily Wakefield November 23, 2019
B. Riley House, one of two LGBT+ sober houses in the US

Renovation plans for B. Riley House, one of two LGBT+ sober houses in the US. (GoFundMe)

There are reportedly only two LGBT+ sober houses in the whole of the US, despite LGBT+ people being at a higher risk of addiction.

Sober houses are facilities that provides safe and supported housing to those transitioning out of rehab programmes, encouraging them and keeping them accountable before rejoining the community.  Sometimes people move into sober houses without having been in rehab first.

It has been proven that mental health problems and addiction disproportionately affect LGBT+ people of any age compared to their straight or cisgender counterparts.

But according to News 5 Cleveland, there are only two sober houses in the US that cater specifically to LGBT+ people.

One of the two is the B. Riley House sober home in Northeast Ohio, which offers both residential and outpatient programmes.

Mikey Pentkowski, a trans man who used drugs for 21 years before arriving at B. Riley House, told News 5 Cleveland: “Coming here was my first attempt at getting help or where I finally realised that I needed help. I literally came from the street into here and I was a mess.”

He added that the sober home helped him to embrace his true gender.

He said: “Being in a house that was 24/7 recovery and being that its an LGBT house made me feel more comfortable. When I came in here I was Melissa Pentkowski.

“Now I’m the person I was meant to be but I’m also clean and sober for the first time.”

As well as running groups like psychotherapy, relapse Prevention and coping skills, the facility offers treatment specifically tailored to its LGBT+ residents. 

Its sexual health programme covers topics like identity-related shame, sex and HIV related anxiety and sexual abuse and assault. It also runs a group focussing on HIV and Chronic Illness.

B. Riley House’s executive director, Tony Correa, also told News 5 Cleveland: “The LGBT community is two times more likely suffer from substance abuse and addiction and that’s because of social stigma, discrimination.

“They’re coming in here beat up, disowned by family, lovers, they have nothing no clothing.

“We help connect them to all the resources they need to be productive members of society.”

B. Riley House is currently crowdfunding to buy the building it currently rents, and to pay for renovations.

There is another LGBT+ sober house in North Carolina called Lavare’s House. 

More: addiction, alcoholism, drugs, Ohio, rehab, rehabilitation, sober houses, therapy

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