Pride Institute offers lifeline for LGBTQ + addicts


Although it is only a mid-sized city, Eden Prairie has an institution with big ideas on Martin Drive.

Founded in 1986, Pride Institute, 14400 Martin Drive, specializes in the treatment of drug addiction in LGBTQ + patients.

Terri Hayden, who has a master’s degree in psychology and many years in drug addiction treatment, is the Executive Director of the Pride Institute.

Hayden answered questions about his facility, programs and patients.

The logo of the Pride Institute based in Eden Prairie.

On why treatment is limited to gay drug addicts, Hayden said it gives patients a chance to focus on themselves and feel safe. Patients do not have to explain themselves to non-homosexual patients.

She said drug addiction is not a particular problem for gay people, but rather affects everyone.

Since the Pride Institute does not keep data on the parents of drug addicts, Hayden cannot say whether gay drug addicts are from drug addict parents. Typically, she said, people treated at the Pride Institute have multiple addictions rather than just one.

Pride Institute is a good choice

Hayden said the Pride Institute uses a variety of treatment programs, including 12-step, dharma, and “smart” programs.

She noted that telehealth (Zoom and / or phone sessions) works well in the outpatient treatment of the Pride Institute, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Telehealth makes it easier for clinicians to access and also helps contact a patient’s physician and, if applicable, a patient’s parole officer.

The Pride Institute can simultaneously address substance abuse and sexual health issues and deal with mental and physical health.

Customers are comfortable being gay, and the Pride Institute celebrates being gay and being yourself, she said.

After treatment, a patient may receive support from the Pride Institute Alumni Association as well as Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous and other support groups. People in recovery use the term “sober” interchangeably to describe recovery from alcohol or drug addiction.

Processing mechanics

Hayden said the Pride Institute uses both individual treatment and group therapy treatment.

It has 42 beds for residential treatment and also a large outpatient treatment program. With COVID-19 and everyone’s current activity, about half of Pride Institute patients are enjoying its outpatient treatment, allowing them to get to work.

The Pride Institute has a formal outpatient center in southern Minneapolis. Some patients move from the residential program to the ambulatory care center, while a significant number of patients connect directly to the ambulatory care center.

Licensed drug and alcohol counselors are always difficult positions to fill. At the Pride Institute, these counselors work with nurse practitioners, nurses and contract psychiatrists.

Who pays?

Hayden indicated that the Pride Institute networks with almost all health insurance companies and in contact with Minnesota Medicaid.

Partial hospitalization accommodation is available and is located away from the institute’s accommodation center. It’s a house arrest, like what used to be called a halfway house.

A former student

Jon H. is a recovering gay and drug addict who several years ago was treated at the Pride Institute. He now works as an addiction and alcoholic clinician at a major drug treatment center.

The Pride Institute was Jon’s seventh treatment for drug addiction. He had lived on the East Coast and applied for the Pride program in Minnesota, deciding he would be more comfortable in an environment with gay patients.

The Pride Institute cares for the LGBTQ + community
The Pride Institute treats the LGBTQ + community.

He said he experienced some trauma becoming gay. He thinks addiction is more likely for gay people. This is because a large part of gay life is centered around gay bars, which could lead to a higher rate of addiction in the gay community.

According to Jon, his homosexual life and addiction was shaped by his early life experiences.

Jon is now “15 years sober and sober.”

He is categorically not “cured” but rather has an ongoing recovery program that he follows. Nodding in favor of the hard work of the Pride Institute, he estimates that the average doctor probably only has about seven hours of training in drug treatment.

Jon said multiple addictions would be typical for many gay drug addicts.

He mainly went through a 12-step treatment program. However, he said the 12-step emphasis on spirituality is difficult for many gay people to accept, given the stigma against homosexuality by many mainstream religions.

There appears to be little difference in outcome between long-distance and in-person drug treatment, he added.

I wouldn’t be alive if I didn’t get sober.

Jon, recovering addict and addict and alcoholic clinician

Jon believes that drug addiction and sexual health can be treated together. He said a facility can address both mental and physical health (and their considerable overlap). Still, he conceded that few places have such capabilities.

As homosexuals, at one point or another, struggle with their identities, Jon said they have generally come to terms with their homosexuality as they seek drug treatment.

He believes suicide is more common in the gay community than in the community at large. There is support for the patient after the treatment.

In addition to the Pride Institute, there is a “strong and vibrant” Twin Cities recovery community, including Out & Sober Minnesota and Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation outpatient programs. There is also an abundant supporting literature.

Most treatment centers use group therapy, Jon said. Her own treatment was residential with some outpatient work.

As a clinician, he said it was difficult to meet the demand for licensed drug and alcohol counselors, even though only 9-13% of addicts seek professional help.

For him, total abstinence from addictive substances is not always as important as a better quality of life.

Drug addiction treatment improved his life as a gay man.

“I managed to find my way,” he says.

The more a person is associated with a treatment experience, the better the outcome.

He admitted that his family had paid for his treatment and that he had no difficulty accessing the trained and licensed staff of the Pride Institute.

“I wouldn’t be alive if I didn’t get sober,” he said.

Jon went on to graduate school and “became the cliché”: the recovering addict who becomes the clinician. He says the Pride Institute is a pioneer in the field.

Old school and yet advanced

Another recovering drug addict who is gay completes the story.

Looking for a way to maintain his anonymity, he suggested with a laugh that he be called “Joe Blow (not his real name)”.

Alcohol and newspapers.  Photo by Frank Malley
Alcohol and newspapers. Photo by Frank Malley.

Forty years ago, Joe was not entirely gay.

He was part of a newspaper community, where alcohol was the staff of life.

Even though it was 1978, Joe’s employer was so advanced that he had a chemical addiction counselor on staff.

To treat his addiction, Joe was taken to Meadowbrook Hospital, which found him an outpatient program. He participated in the program five evenings a week for a month.

Coming from a pragmatic Norwegian lineage, Joe said he had an old-fashioned agenda: don’t drink and go to AA meetings.

During the treatment, he learned a useful lesson.

“Drug addiction is not the problem,” he said. “It’s the solution to a bigger problem.”

He concedes that the long-term success rate of the treatment may be 10%.

As he completed his formal treatment, Joe was encouraged to attend “follow-up” meetings and find a sponsor (a recovering addict who would act as a mentor). Joe said recovery meetings “are the foundation of recovery”. Today, people can find not only recovery literature but also recovery applications.

Joe’s treatment consisted of a combination of individual and group therapy. He also received therapeutic missions.

Drug addiction is not the problem. It is the solution to a bigger problem.

Joe, recovering drug addict

The treatment improved his life as a gay man. He said his counselors told him, “Coming out will be a big part of your recovery. ”

Joe noted a challenge. Hospital treatment costs around $ 30,000, but insurance pays a large part of the bill.

In passing, he said that the Pride Institute has become a for-profit institution. He did not say that it was in itself a strike against them.

Joe said he subscribed to the old idea of ​​recovery: an addict needs to change his playground, his playmates and his toys.

The treatment has taught her to pay attention to what is going on in her life. He also learned to hang out with sober people.

“You don’t do it yourself and you don’t have to do it,” he said.

If he hadn’t had treatment and worked hard to recover, Joe is certain of his fate.

“I would probably be dead or – worse yet – a failed old alcoholic,” he said.

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