Did you successfully complete an addiction treatment program this summer, or sometime this year? If you answered ‘yes’ to that question, there is a good chance you are preparing to begin or return to college this fall. Many universities, in fact, begin classes at the end of August. This means time is of the essence for forming a recovery plan for while you are away at school.
Working a program of recovery is challenging during the first year. It is vital to limit one’s stress level and avoid situations that could precipitate a relapse. Naturally, collegiate environments are not often considered to be alcohol, drug or stress free. Nevertheless, it is possible to attend college in the first year, by ensuring that safeguards are in place. Always putting your addiction recovery first.
Whether you are attending college for the first time, or returning, you know that college life often revolves around alcohol. You know that there are parties every weekend, where young men and women imbibe heavy amounts of alcohol. Of course, you know that there is nothing for people in their first year of recovery at a college party. This is why you’ll want to avoid such situations at all costs. Even if you only have a few months sober, you have invested a lot of time and energy into your program. One party could jeopardize all your hard work.
Keeping that in mind, it is worth pointing out that avoiding parties may not be your biggest challenge. If you are in school it means you are challenging your mind. Absorbing huge amounts of information and abstract thinking can take its toll on your serenity. Preparing for exams and writing essays can hinder one’s ability to stay grounded. Thus, making it difficult to stay centered and Present.
Light Class Load In Early Addiction Recovery
In such situations people are inclined to seek escape, and before you know it you could find yourself at a bar or a party. Dealing in absolutes (seeing things in black or white) is a specialty of alcoholics and addicts. So then, it can be difficult to moderate. After getting clean and sober, you feel as though you have a new lease on life. No longer bogged down by drugs and/or alcohol, you may feel like diving head first into your studies. So, what might that look like?
A full class load is 12 units, but students often take more. Often with the hope of finishing school in under three years. The practice of taking more than a full load may be OK for some people. But for those working a program of recovery, sticking to 12 or fewer credit semesters during your first year is strongly advised. Financial aid recipients are often required to take a full load. If you are not dependent on financial aid, you should strongly consider taking fewer classes. Mitigating your risk of stress, and allowing you more time to focus on what is most important—your recovery.
Remember, at this time you are not just furthering your education. You are working a program, one that requires you to do the work, i.e. working with a sponsor and going to meetings. People in early recovery are advised to hit a meeting per day. Doing so helps you establish a support network, which will be there for you in times of struggle.
If you are attending college out of state, you may be going to meetings you’ve never been to before. And you may be in need of a new sponsor. Make sure your class load does not hinder that necessity. Recovery first, remember?
Avoiding parties, taking a reasonable class load and going to meetings is crucial, and could make all the difference. Equally important, though, is where you are going to be living when you are away at school. If you are returning to school you know that the dorms can be a place of rampant drug and alcohol use, much to the dismay of the faculty. Try as campus facilitators might, keeping the dorms substance use and abuse free is next to impossible. Young adults working a program should be leery of living in the dorms.
However, you may not be aware that a number of campuses across the country have begun offering sober housing. Aided by the Association of Recovery in Higher Education (ARHE), certain universities are providing collegiate recovery programs (CRP). ARHE defines CRP’s as a:
...supportive environment within the campus culture that reinforces the decision to engage in a lifestyle of recovery from substance use. It is designed to provide an educational opportunity alongside recovery support to ensure that students do not have to sacrifice one for the other.
Students attending colleges with established CRP’s can live in dorms or housing among other young men and women in recovery. If keeping your recovery intact while in college is your top-priority, please take advantage of every resource available. If you would like to find out if your college offers addiction recovery resources, please click here.
College Is Not Going Anywhere
This article was intended for young people in recovery looking to go back to college. Although, some of you reading this may be planning to attend classes this semester and are still using. If that is the case, you would be wise to consider taking a semester off to seek treatment. Doing so will not only save your life, it will help you to better achieve your higher learning goals.
At PACE Recovery Center, our young adult male treatment program is designed to always consider our clients’ futures. While learning to work a program of recovery, we assist them to develop healthy coping skills for stress. Additionally, our PACE Academy program clients work toward the degree of their choice, while attending life skills groups. Prioritizing financial planning, combating procrastination and establishing healthy social habits. Please contact us today to learn more about PACE Academy.