Young people attempting to maintain sobriety or abstinence from drugs and alcohol may struggle to navigate the collegiate social scene, which often revolves around situations that may lead to drinking or drug use, such as parties or tailgates. However, as more and more people become aware of the dangers of addiction, the support systems available for sober students continues to grow.
Of course, living in sober housing doesn’t guarantee success for a young person in recovery, but it does offer a safe haven and provides them with an opportunity to build a network of like-minded classmates. Such an opportunity can prove invaluable, with 44% of college students in the United States demonstrating a pattern of binge drinking, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
Check out our tips below for how to successfully transition into or back to college while in recovery.
Get involved in structured activities that are interesting for you. The collegiate social scene doesn’t revolve entirely around parties. Schools tend to offer a ton of recreational options, from film clubs to ultimate Frisbee teams. Find a club (or clubs!) that fit your interests and build your schedule around those healthy, meaningful activities.
Learn to relax and prepare for high-stress situations. Although college can be fun, it can also be extremely stressful. Learning relaxation techniques such as yoga or meditation can be a great way to combat stress and help lessen the temptation to return to drugs or alcohol to deal with tough situations.
Find a therapist and recovery sponsor. A qualified therapist that specializes in addiction and/or young adult issues can provide help when you need it, while a recovery sponsor can offer one-on-one guidance and perspective to help you stay sober.
Determine whether your school has recovery dorms/sober housing. Many colleges and universities have begun offering sober living options for students who don’t want to be around drugs or alcohol, including institutions like Ohio State University, West Virginia University, and Penn State University. If your school doesn’t offer these resources, ask around on campus: there may be some dorms that have a reputation as “party dorms,” while others are considerably calmer. Off-campus housing can also be an option. Click for a full list of schools participating in the Association of Recovery in Higher Education’s Collegiate Recovery Program.
Have fun, but remember to keep sobriety a priority. It can be easy to get caught up in the rush of college life, but remember to keep staying sober a top priority. A commitment to staying away from drugs and alcohol can help you be successful in terms of academics and maintaining your recovery.
A Bridge to Recovery on Campus – The New York Times
College and Rehab Under One Roof – Inside Higher Ed
Going Back to College in Recovery – Alcohol Rehab
5 Steps for a Successful Transition Back to College After Rehab – New Hope Recovery
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