Tag Archives: college

Alcohol Use Disorder In College Must Be Addressed

alcohol use disorder

College, young adult males, and alcohol—what could go wrong? People who decide to pursue higher education do so to increase their prospects for a better life. The skills one acquires while in college prepare you for being a productive member of society. Landing a good job after college leads to financial security and a better life quality overall, typically. Naturally, the above is the best-case scenario; but for many young people, unfortunately, heading off to college is the start of a perilous journey marked by addiction.

Most young people, particularly males, consider alcohol use their right; they graduated high school, been accepted to a college, and are technically adults. Even though university freshman and sophomores are not 21, it has never stopped the age group from imbibing. While most underage drinkers do not progress to alcoholism, some do experience problems, and an alcohol use disorder (AUD) develops. Without treatment, such people will end up experiencing heartache (or worse) in the coming years.

Students who opt for Greek Life at campus fraternities and sororities are at an unusually high risk of substance abuse. In many ways, heavy alcohol consumption is a prerequisite (seemingly) of such affiliations. Immoderate drinkers in high school can expect their relationship with alcohol to take a turn for the worse in college. These young people who join fraternities can almost guarantee such an eventuality.

Alcohol Use Disorder By The Numbers

Research from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) puts things into perspective for the general public. First and perhaps most salient is the finding that roughly 20 percent of college students meet the criteria for AUD. Each year, 1,825 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die from alcohol-related unintentional injuries (i.e., motor-vehicle crashes).

Heavy alcohol use leads to non-lethal injuries as well. Some 696,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are assaulted by a fellow student under the influence. NIAAA reports that 97,000 college students report experiencing alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape.

Young adults who meet the criteria for an alcohol use disorder are far more likely to experience adverse academic consequences. Such people miss class more than their non-drinking peers and receive poorer grades. If the behavior continues, academic probation, suspension, and expulsion are possible.

College is of the utmost importance for ensuring a stable, healthy life; alcohol along with college drinking culture is an impediment. If you are a young male who has been accepted to college and is struggling with alcohol, please consider postponement. Putting off college to address mental health concerns will enable you to succeed in school, rather than pay tuition and fees only to see your condition progress.

Ensuring College Bares Fruit

Many young men think that, despite drinking more than their peers, they are too young to be an alcoholic. Some believe that their unhealthy relationship with alcohol is just a passing phase, brushing off negative consequences already experienced. However, while smoke doesn’t always indicate a fire, there is an excellent chance that the effects you’ve already experienced portend severe problems down the road. Addressing one’s propensity to consume alcohol now, will pay off significantly in the future.

There’s no age requirement for alcohol use disorder or any mental health condition for that matter. Are you finding it challenging to manage responsibilities? Is alcohol use a consideration when making decisions? When you start drinking, do you struggle to “turn it off?” If so, it’s strongly advised you seek assistance via addiction specialists. Those already in college who take a semester off to address an alcohol disorder are more likely to graduate.

At PACE Recovery Center, we specialize in the treatment of college-age males with alcohol and substance use disorder. Our young adult rehab is the perfect environment for beginning or extending the journey of recovery. In addition to breaking the cycle of addiction and showing you or your son how to work a program of recovery, we teach our clients life skills useful for employment and college. Please contact us today to start your life-changing journey of addiction recovery.

Addiction Recovery In An Environment Hostile to Abstinence

addiction recovery

Young people in recovery have several different forces to contend with, compared to those a little bit older. Some of the apparent obstacles include navigating the drinking and drug culture pervasive to young adulthood. Most teenagers look forward to coming of age, escaping the oversight of one’s parents. As well as, making their own decisions, partying with their peers without fear of parental admonishment—some would call it a rite of passage. However, for people coming of age whose down spiral into addiction has already begun, such freedoms are fraught with peril. Unless an introduction to addiction recovery commences, one’s early twenties are typified by heartache and disappointment.

Coming to terms with one’s addiction is not easy in young adulthood. It’s impossible to avoid posing questions to one’s self, ‘Why me? Why can’t I drink like my peers?” These questions are easier asked than answered; even if you did have the answers, it wouldn’t change anything. If you have been touched by the disease of addiction early in life, it’s best not to reason why. What’s important? Acknowledging that a problem exists and commencing to work on the problem. When one’s search for meaning ceases, your only recourse becomes clear—recovery. Those who seek it, honestly, undergo what can only be called a transformation on a mental and spiritual plane.

Young adults who set a path for recovery find spheres of opportunity open up. What was impossible a short time ago, is now within reach because of one’s program. Those who stay on a course for recovery find few limits to what is achievable, especially young people. Self-betterment requires more than working spiritual maintenance; higher education is the complimentary catalyst for achievement. Breaking the cycle of addiction unlocks the doors of possibility, college opens and lets you through—pursuing any conceivable dream.

Obstacles to Young Adult Addiction Recovery

At PACE, we prepare young men for the obstacles to addiction recovery, including a college culture unsympathetic to sobriety. Just because you are working a program doesn’t mean the gravitational pull of drugs and alcohol will vanish. College is equal parts learning both beneficial and harmful behaviors; campuses are rife with substance use, after all. We teach our clients proven relapse prevention techniques, how to stay clear from dangerous environments. Naturally, the college substance use culture is the farthest from being an ideal environment.

Young people in the Program must be vigilant in protecting their sobriety. While in school there are forces that will attempt to throw you out of orbit. It’s vital that you choose a school that values the needs of young people recovering from use disorders. Of the 20 million students who embarked upon higher learning this fall, recovering addicts and alcoholics are a minority. Meaning, from the start, you need to find peers who share your goal of abstaining from drugs and alcohol. Fortunately, scores of university campuses have addiction recovery support programs now. CRPs (college recovery programs) significantly improve one’s ability to avoid the pitfalls of their mental illness. They offer peer-to-peer support, counseling, and group meetings. Equally important, CRPs facilitate sober social activities providing young people an avenue to have fun in recovery.

One college that has long understood the importance of catering to people in recovery is Rutgers University. In 1983, Rutgers began their student recovery program, The Chicago Tribune reports. The school has a dedicated residence hall for abstinent students, known as the Recovery House. Today, 150 colleges offer CRPs and 50 offer substance-free dorms to students.

Addiction Recovery Oasis

In the United States, Lisa Laitman, director of the Alcohol & Other Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) at Rutgers University, points out, 30 percent of university students have substance use disorders, according to the article. “That’s a lot of students who need help,” said Laitman.

Laitman says that CRPs for young men and women in recovery are “a kind of oasis in the desert.” The more you can do to protect your recovery, the more likely you will be to succeed. For those planning to attend university this winter, we implore you to investigate what your college offers—recovery-wise.

If you’re young man with substance use disorder, whose ambitions include a college degree, please reach out to us. We designed our PACE Academy program with you in mind. We will help you break the cycle of addiction, provide you with the tools and support needed for successful outcomes. Alcohol and substance use disorder doesn’t have to keep you from fulfilling your dreams for the future.

Addiction Recovery In College


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?

Sober Housing

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.

Alcohol Use: Colleges Deadliest Ritual

alcohol use

Young adults who go off to college typically have few allusions about the prevalence of alcohol use on campuses. Most have expectations of attending parties where drinking and drugging takes place, and know full well that they will probably partake in the use of such substances, at least from time to time. For others, drinking alcohol in unhealthy ways will be a weekly ritual. Engaging in binge drinking, which is when a male consumes 5 alcoholic beverages and female drinks 4 in a 2 hour -period. Over the course of the night, drinking in that manner can bring one’s blood alcohol level to dangerous, and even deadly, heights. Yet, both young men and women will take such risks several days in row, sometimes from Thursday to Sunday.

Try as colleges and universities might, educating young people about the inherent risks of alcohol use, especially regarding binge and high-intensity drinking (i.e. women/men consuming 8+/10+ drinks in a day), is a difficult task. People in their late teens and early twenties often forget the impermanence of existence. That is, they are not invincible.

All of us, especially those who are working a program of addiction recovery, at one point in our lives harbored false beliefs about what we could tolerate; we have views about what we can put our mind and body through without consequence. Most of our former errors in thinking we inherited from our peers, in many cases those who are older than us. You may have an older sibling or close friend that introduced you to drugs or alcohol at a young age. They may have encouraged you to do certain things without a second thought of the consequences. In most cases, people who are exposed to mind-altering substances early on actually move on to adulthood without any serious, life-changing costs. But for others, something quite different often occurs.

Alcohol Use Disorder In College

Most teenagers have their first drink in high school. Some parents will try to instill a healthy relationship with alcohol at fairly young ages (which often backfires). In other cases, initiation begins at parties, or with older siblings or peers of similar age. But for those who will go on to experience the unmanageability and true costs of heavy drinking, it usually occurs at and around schools of higher learning—where entire communities revolve around both a learning and drinking culture.

In many ways, campuses are the perfect environment to incubate the growth of unhealthy drinking patterns. From social drinking abuses at fraternities and sororities, to a wealth of parties where drinking games and drug use are rampant. Those who engage in heavy drinking on a weekly basis put themselves at serious risk of developing alcohol dependency, and some will develop an alcohol use disorder. This may not happen in college, but later down the road.

It is not uncommon for college students to need to seek help for an alcohol use disorder. Some will drop out, others will take a semester hiatus to go into treatment. At PACE Recovery Center, we know first-hand that a significant number of male students need help, but only a few receive assistance. Partly because it is easy for a young person to convince oneself that their consumption is on par with their peers, thus convincing himself that he doesn't need treatment. A college faculty is rarely equipped with skills to identify which students are in need of intervention.

Campus faculties across the country do work hard to mitigate the prevalence of alcohol consumption, and encourage students to exercise good judgment, if alcohol is to be imbibed. But, and by default, if alcohol is mixed into just about any equation, sound judgment has left the party a long time ago. And it is often only after a tragedy when a university realizes that several of their students needed far more than an hour-long orientation into the dangers of drinking, or having to take a class after being caught with alcohol in the dorm. It is usually only after a death, or several, before someone says, ‘wait a minute.’ The behaviors exhibited in Greek life should not be allowed to continue. Yet each year, young men die from alcohol and hazing related deaths.

One Drink Too Many Changes Several Lives

Naturally, in the field of addiction our primary focus is to encourage people to seek help when their lives have become unmanageable because of substance use. This is not always an easy task with young males. We know that when addiction is left unchecked, the risks of serious life problems and premature death are exponentially greater. But it is also important to discuss the risks of substance use even when addiction is not part of the equation, as is often the case in college.

Even when you are not the one who is injured because of alcohol use, there can be a cost. As is the case involving the death of student this year at Penn State University. A fraternity party in early February that involved alcohol hazing, caused 19-year-old pledge Tim Piazza to incur an estimated BAC of .40. After repeated falls, and then falling down a flight of stairs, Piazza sustained a collapsed lung, ruptured spleen, and a non-recoverable brain injury, according to NBC 10. A tragedy to be sure. But what has many people across the country alarmed is the fact that the Brothers of Beta Theta Pi did little if anything to help the sophomore pledge—failing to call for an ambulance until 10:48 a.m. the next day.

The New York Times reported last month that eighteen members of the fraternity were charged in connection with the death: eight were charged with involuntary manslaughter and the rest with other lesser offenses. The death of one young man will, in one way or another, change the lives of nearly twenty young men in the prime of their life. And for what?

Alcohol Use Can Be Deadly

Cases like Piazza are not unique. Sadly. There is little way of knowing what it will take to convince young people that the game they are playing with alcohol has the highest of stakes. Whether from alcohol-related trauma, or the development of an alcohol use disorder, little good comes from heavy drinking. If you have a son in college who you believe to be abusing alcohol, please contact PACE Recovery Center today. We specialize in the treatment of young males whose lives have become impacted by the use of drugs and alcohol.

Continuing Your Education In Recovery

recovery, collegeFor many young adults who require, or have required treatment for a substance use disorder, it usually means taking a hiatus from higher learning. Recovery, especially early recovery, demands one’s complete dedication to clearing the mind and body of drugs and alcohol, and learning the skills necessary for being able to not have to pick up a drink or drug ever again. Naturally, college is not going anywhere, but many young adults upon completing treatment want to rush back to school. Hurrying back to college may not be conducive to recovery, even if your parents or other family members are pushing for it. While college is a place of learning and working towards the future, it also where a lot of drinking and drug use occurs - which are extremely dangerous to be around in early recovery.

Thinking It Through

Before you commit to going back to school you should discuss it thoroughly with your sponsor and/or therapist. Even if you feel like you are at a place in recovery to take on the added pressure of a class load, they may not feel like you are ready for it and that such pressure may compromise your program. It is often said that people who are new to recovery should avoid making major life decisions during the first year. The more time you have, the stronger you are likely to be when the time comes to continue your education. Remember that failing to put the needs of your recovery first can become a slippery slope that leads back to a drink or drug.

Recovery Support Network

If you are at a place to where education will not strain your recovery, it is important to establish a support network where you will be attending classes. A number of colleges have dorms that house people who are in recovery, if you will be living in the dorms it may be in your interest to find out if that option is available. It is a guarantee that there are other young adults, like yourself, that you can connect with; staying close to such people will be of great benefit should a problem arise. Always remember you can find AA and NA meetings in every neighborhood.

Taking It Slow

When going back to school, it is suggested that people working a program start with a smaller class load. Doing so will help you get your footing, easing you back into the swing of things and keep you from becoming overwhelmed. A number of people have dove head first back into college, taking over 12 units; this is often the result of feeling like you are behind your peers because you took time off to recover. Many of the aforementioned will relapse because they have taken on too heavy of a burden and their recovery was put on the back burner. Education is not a race, and as long as recovery comes first, you will have a better chance of staying clean and sober and come out the other side with a degree.

Personalized Feedback About Alcohol Can Reduce Drinking

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The consumption of alcohol is a common occurrence among college students, especially freshman - free from the nest for their first time. While many students are able to moderate their alcohol intake, there are those whose drinking gets out of hand, and can result in academic, social, and addiction problems. Naturally, limiting alcohol consumption is a top priority for faculty members on every campus across the country. New research suggests that sending students personal feedback about their drinking habits via text message and websites can reduce alcohol consumption, The Wall Street Journal reports. In-person interventions appear to reduce drinking by as much as 13 percent. Robert Leeman, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine, says that electronic interventions “dramatically increases access to techniques that have been proven to work.” The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism found that 4 out of 5 college students drink alcohol, and around half of them engage in “binge drinking” - the practice of drinking as much as you can as fast as you can. Opening up a dialogue with students about drinking practices can save lives, which is important when you consider that 1,825 students lose their life each year from alcohol-related injuries. “Most students overestimate the amount and frequency that other students are actually drinking, and research has shown that if you can correct this misperception, students’ drinking tends to decrease to be more in line with the true norm,” said study co-author Jessica Cronce of the University of Washington. In 2011, researchers from the University of Washington in Seattle published a study which indicated that electronic intervention programs were more likely than general alcohol awareness programs to reduce college drinking, according to the article. ___________________________________________________________________________ Excessive alcohol consumption is not only dangerous, it results in an alcohol use disorder. If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol, please do not hesitate to reach out for help.