Addiction Recovery on the University Campus
Article Furnished By, Sobriety Home
Students who are in recovery from alcohol addiction can find the university life incredibly challenging. It is impossible to enter university studies in most parts of the world without being exposed to alcohol, especially alcohol being used in dangerous excess.
The Dangers of Alcohol Abuse on Campus
Studies have shown that approximately 42% of students binge drink at some point in their school experience. Young people are far more susceptible to develop an addiction, and for any student with a predilection towards alcoholism, whether due to past abuse or a strong family history, the university experience is mired with challenges.
Every year there are fatalities of binge drinking during Frosh Week, before classes have even begun. This is caused not only by accidents due to impaired thinking but often alcohol poisoning. The classic university drinking styles-slamming shots, chugging drinks and games- are geared towards inebriation in less than ten minutes. This drives up the blood alcohol level at a rapid rate at which the (usually) inexperienced drinker cannot keep track of. While these deaths are tragic extremes, alcohol also interferes with student’s mental and physical wellbeing, social circle and schoolwork. Many students drop out after their first semester, the well-known ‘Christmas graduates.’
Some universities have now begun to implement limits on the amount of alcohol available per student through the official Frosh Week, but in such a large institution there is no way to safeguard all students from the dangers of alcohol abuse.
On-Campus Addiction Recovery
University is a difficult for those in recovery- the stress of maintaining grades, budgets and friendships triggers many to cope by resorting to alcohol and drug abuse. In order to provide a support system for these students, a number of universities have begun directing resources towards on campus programs for students in recovery.
These addiction treatment programs (which cost no more than normal tuition) usually consist of a designated living space for those in recovery, classes on how to remain substance free and planned activities. At many of these universities there is now the option for both a ‘sober’ or a ‘recovery’ room. These programs allow students in recovery to live in a space that is not only substance-free, but also geared towards re-affirming sober living.
This offers students a way to meet and befriend like-minded individuals also studying at their university. Socialising and working towards recovery together helps to fill the void left by destructive influences. Friends will be there if someone relapses to get them the help and support they need, and most importantly to express solidarity through shared experience.
At many of these centres including Rutgers, Texas Tech and Augsburg the sobriety rates have averaged in the mid to high 90s. The success of this style of program has seen it spread across the U.S. The original program, Alcohol and Other Drug Assistance Program at Rutgers in New Brunswick, N.J. was founded in 1988 by Lisa Laitman. At the time of writing there are now over 20 of these programs across the U.S.
In an environment where almost half of the population partakes in alcohol abuse of some kind or another, it is crucial to have addiction recovery programs like this in place for those who have pre-existing histories and are trying to recover while completing their studies. This substance-free alternative to campus life makes this possible.
For more information, check out this recent NYT article by Abigail Sullivan Moore, ‘A Bridge to Recovery on Campus” (20/01/2012)