A recovery network on campus is crucial for students who are striving for a sober college experience. A college campus, after all, isn’t the easiest place to recover from a drug or alcohol addiction.
According to the 2015 Monitoring the Future Survey, daily marijuana use is increasing among college students, with 17 percent reporting smoking marijuana at least once a month and over four percent smoking daily.1 Nearly 32 percent of students reported binge drinking in the past two weeks, and nearly 39 percent reported being intoxicated in the past month. Eight percent report using illegal drugs, including abusing prescription medications like Adderall and OxyContin.
Curbing drug and alcohol abuse on campus is an important focus of large and small colleges across the country, and offering a safe, drug- and alcohol-free experience for at-risk students and those in recovery is a top priority on many campuses.
A Recovery Network on Campus is Essential for Long-Term Success
Students on campus may face a number of triggers for relapse, including old friends who still use, academic pressures, financial stress and social activities that they once associated with using. Having a high level of support on campus is one of the most important considerations for successful recovery in a college environment. Building a recovery network on campus requires actively pursuing it, and colleges are making it easier and easier for students in recovery to stay in recovery.
Federal agencies, including the Office of National Drug Control Policy and the Department of Education, are calling for the expansion of recovery support services on the nation’s college campuses.2 As a result, in addition to substance-free housing, many campuses have begun offering recovery housing and other support services specifically for students who are actively pursuing a drug- and alcohol-free lifestyle.
How to Build a Recovery Network on Campus
The sooner you establish a recovery network on campus, the less likely you’ll be to slip up or relapse, and the stronger you’ll become in recovery. These tips will help you build your campus recovery network.
- Request a non-using roommate. Some colleges allow you to request a roommate who abstains from drugs and alcohol. A sober roommate offers a built-in support system and opportunities for drug- and alcohol-free socializing.
- Identify campus resources. Check with your college about programs for recovering students. Many campuses offer recovery housing, recovery support groups and sober social clubs. Some even offer one-credit classes to help recovering students learn essential coping skills, meet other non-users and develop a toolkit of strategies for maintaining sobriety during college. Take advantage of all your campus has to offer to recovering students.
- Get involved. Join a campus club that suits your interests and offers fun and recreation that’s not centered around drugs and alcohol. Academic, sports and special-interest clubs help you meet other like-minded individuals, and they offer a way to fill the time with enjoyable and meaningful activities to stave off boredom, a major trigger for relapse.
- Get a sponsor. A sponsor on campus offers perspective and guidance for staying sober in college. A sponsor can be a much-needed anchor during your college years, providing reliable one-on-one support and someone to call when things get rough.
Developing a solid recovery network on campus takes a little work, but it will go a long way toward preventing a relapse as well as making your sober college experience fun, meaningful and productive.