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.