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Staying Sober in College after Substance Abuse Treatment

Posted on :  October 27th, 2014  |  By :  towardsrecovery

Maintaining sobriety after undergoing a substance abuse treatment program is tough for anyone, but for college students, it can be especially challenging. Unfortunately, “getting high” often goes along with higher education. Alcohol is prevalent on many college campuses and drugs are easy to obtain as well. A student coming out of recovery has many potential triggers that could lead to a possible relapse. However, there are proactive steps a student can take to maintain sobriety while attending school.

Avoid going to a “party” school

You may be familiar with the ever-popular Playboy magazine’s list of top party schools. This list categorizes the colleges most known for “extracurricular” activities such as alcohol and drug use, as well as loose sexual morals. While many young people flock to these institutions for the party atmosphere, for the student in recovery, these universities can be dangerous. It would be wise to avoid them.

In some cases, though, a party school may be a student’s only option because of location, cost, or a specific academic program. In that scenario, the student should consider looking into sober housing options and joining a support group.

Look into sober housing options

Whether the college has a party school reputation or not, seeking out sober housing options is a must. Many colleges and universities understand the needs of recovering students and offer special housing consisting of either sober dorms or sober off-campus residences. Taking advantage of a sober living environment can make things much easier.

Sober housing is more than just living with other sober students. Many sober housing options offer additional services such as tutoring and academic counselling, recovery and relapse programs, as well as crisis management for both medical and mental health issues.

In some cases, students are fortunate enough to live at home and remain within driving distance of a school. Living at home and commuting is perhaps the best sober living option available. Nothing compares to having the support of one’s family close by when faced with the challenges of maintaining sobriety.

Look for a support group

Support groups or 12-step programs are invaluable resources for students in recovery. Not only do they help students face challenges associated with daily sober living, they are also a great way to meet people and make new friends. Most large colleges and universities offer on-campus 12-step meetings. If possible, the student should opt for an on-campus or school affiliated meetings, rather than traditional group meetings. Why? Most off-campus groups are comprised of adult recovering addicts, who don’t always relate well to students and their unique issues. With on-campus programs, students have the benefit of meeting other students with similar problems, needs and interests.

Be honest regarding recovery

Maintaining one’s sobriety while attending college also relies on honesty. Although it’s not necessary to share details about addiction treatment with everyone, a student should let roommates and new friends know about his or her sobriety. That also means explaining why sobriety is a choice. Being honest about one’s status as a recovering addict can help avoid troublesome situations like going to a party where drugs and alcohol are present. It will also stop others from pressuring the sober student to partake in these substances.The sober student will also quickly learn whom to trust. No matter what, honesty is the best policy.

Enjoy the learning experience

Finally, part of maintaining sobriety is to embrace the positive aspects of life. For a college student, that means enjoying the learning experience, not just in terms of academics, but also in terms of life. Participating in meaningful activities as well as cultivating new friendships is an important part of a college education, but perhaps the biggest lesson of all is how to live and enjoy life sober.

If you’d like to learn more about maintaining sobriety during recovery, and live in or around Hamilton, St. Catharines, or Brantford, Ontario, you can make the first step by contacting Towards Recovery on 519-579-0589 to locate your nearest clinic and kick start your journey. Make sure you have an unexpired OHIP card or call 1-866-532-3161 to find out how to get one.

Don’t hesitate to call us! We’ll be happy to help you.

Who We Serve ?

  • Individuals using/abusing street narcotics (e.g. heroin).
  • Patients abusing prescription narcotics(i.e., Codeine, Talwin, Percocet/Percodan, Dilaudid, Morphine or Demerol, et cetera).
  • Individuals displaying any of the following behaviours: Compulsive drug use or drug seeking/craving.
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