Alphatribes regular health and general gay personal issues columnist is an expert on Chemsex. On the eve of the launch of his first book on the subject he exclusively told us about the book and what he knows as regards possibly the biggest problem and issue in 21st Century gay culture.The book was written by Justin Duwe, a gay therapist based in London, who specialises in Chemsex Addiction based in London. This little understood yet common addiction is a problem many gay men face in their daily lives. Not since the HIV/AIDS epidemic has the gay/bisexual community been faced with such a massive health issue. This book addresses its’ causes, prognosis, and solutions for individuals, family members, therapists and medical professionals whose paths cross with individuals suffering form Chemsex Addiction.
Justin Duwe’s therapy practice is not far from Soho, the heart of London’s world-famous gay scene. He has amassed thousands of hours connecting to gay men from all over the world suffering from the same illness, Chemsex Addiction. Duwe is at the centre of the gay community, yet his book: The Truth About Chemsex: Understanding and Overcoming Chemsex Addiction, challenges his readers to re-examine their relationship with drugs and the Chemsex community.
Duwe’s self-help manual is the first non-fiction book to seriously discusses the global phenomena of Chemsex Addiction, its causes, implications on gay/bisexual men’s lives and relationships. The book is quickly becoming a benchmark in the community and comprehensively addresses from start to finish the biggest health problem facing the community since the HIV/AIDS crisis.
The title does exactly what it says, helps the reader understand the truth and how to overcome Chemsex addiction. “Chemesex addiction, is unique in the challenge it poses the modern gay and bisexual men’s community. It causes physical and psychological changes that are often severe and are unparalleled when compared to other forms of addiction I treat” Duwe says. “I have been treating this illness for years and was amazed to discover that there was such lack of good reliable material available. I decided to take matters into my own hand and to write a book for my clients and others whose lives who are affected first hand by Chemsex issues. I found it particularly discouraging that no major publishers wanted to get behind my book. They all said that Chemsex was not a big enough issue worth publishing about. I knew they were wrong as I get requests all the time from men all over the world asking for my help with their Chemsex addiction. So, I decided to take matters into my own hand a publish the book myself” he explains.
Duwe’s argument is that misunderstood emotional and psychological processes are behind Chemsex addiction and this drives men to use drugs they later become addicted to. “As men we are typically encouraged to avoid the expression of and understanding of our emotions, to have them means that we are weak and many of us had to be ‘toughened up’ as we grew into men and were encouraged to avoid expressing our feelings. This has resulted in men all over the world who are unable to understand or express why they feel their feelings. Instead, they find themselves driven to drugs as it helps them connect with men sexually and socially. Chemsex addicts typically lack the education they need to overcome their social and emotional blocks and use drugs as a way around these issues. I teach men in the book and in my practice how to develop the skills they need to overcome these blocks and thus no longer need to use the same drugs that once offered a solution but can kill them at any moment.”
Duwe’s belief about drug addiction is commonly held by other mental health professionals that treat drug addiction. If Duwe seems to be able to connect so well with his readers it is because of his first-hand experience with addiction. “I have been in recovery from my own addiction for the past 15 years, it almost took my life. When I look back, I know I learned a lot about addiction and I’m glad that my addiction didn’t kill me, which it almost did, but that’s another story for another day. Years later, I now help other men who don’t understand themselves, just as I didn’t how to regain control
and order in their lives.” Much of his book is based upon his clinical experience treating Chemsex addiction and is combined with his own experience of addiction in his own life.
“A question I often get is ‘if Chemsex makes me happy then why should I stop? Why do you pathologize Chemsex use?’ I am not saying that everyone who uses drugs has a problem and needs treatment, if the drugs make you happy, if there are no consequences to your use and you have control, then enjoy yourself, it is your life.” If gay/bisexual men are increasingly facing cuts to social programmes aimed at helping them with their mental health, they will increasingly need to seek out self-help material, like The Truth About Chemsex: Understanding and Overcoming Chemsex Addiction.
Justin Duwe is still currently working with men from all over the world online and in his office in London and writing for Alphatribe. He is now developing his first youtube channel called Gay Men’s Coaching, where he plans on producing mental health and lifestyle content designed for professional gay men. When asked, he concluded with: “I’m not sure if I’ll write another book anytime soon, but I am really excited about what I hope the future will bring.”
The Truth About Chemsex: Understanding and Overcoming Chemsex Addiction is available on Amazon and other book publisher’s websites.
My name is Justin Duwe, I am a 34-year-old openly gay British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) accredited psychologist, sexologist and international columnist. I have been in private practice since I was 22 years old, making me one of the youngest and most experienced gay psychologists, sexologists in the field today. I have personally battled with: eating disorders, drug addictions, sexuality issues, self-harm, suicide attempts, identity issues, family complications, relationship problems, psychosis, body-image, depression, and anxiety disorders since I was a teenager. My own mental health challenges led me to needing therapy at the age of 15. The relationship that I developed with my therapist literally saved my life. This same relationship later inspired me to become a psychologist with the aim to help as many people as I can.
I am proud to write that I have successfully battled my own mental health issues, addiction to club drugs, and sustained lots of good and bad therapy. I have a deep personal and professional relationship with mental health issues. Mental health is my passion and I have a deep desire to
improve people’s everyday lives. My long personal and professional journey has allowed me to accumulate an insight into what it is like to look for answers and the frustration involved when there seems to be none available. Daily, I work with men and women on the issues in which I specialise. Over the past few years I have noticed a dangerous new trend in addictions which I now specialise, Chemsex Addiction. You are wrong if you think Chemsex Addiction is not an problem, I can assure you that it is the next health epidemic facing the gay/bisexual male community.
Being a gay man, I have a unique perspective on what it means to deal with the complexities of being a modern gay man. People who think it is now easy to be gay because we have equal marriage are wrong. It is now even harder to find a health path to being one’s true authentic self because of the increasingly commonality of Chemsex addiction in major Western cities across the world.
My practice for years has been filled with men whose lives have been utterly devastated by this little understood addiction. I can assure you that treating this disorder is complicated, frustrating and yet very rewarding and possible when you know the correct approach. I am pleased to write that I have found a unique and effective treatment approach that works for most of my clients. Unfortunately, there is little good written information for the general population about this topic. There are no books about this topic understanding and Overcoming Chemsex Addiction.