A NEW LOOK AT COLLEGE AND RECOVERY

College can be a very stressful experience for many people, and there has been a great demand for therapy and sobriety programs for students who are under tremendous pressure to succeed.

In an NBC News story on college and sobriety, the number of college substance abuse programs has taken a good jump, from 29 on campus recovery programs to 186. There clearly needs to be more, but the ones that are currently up and running have counseling, sober dorms, and sober events. As one recovery source told NBC, “Bringing recovery supports onto the college campus can be a key part of an individual’s academic success and the success of their overall recovery.”

This report states that the biggest residential college recovery program is in Augsburg. It’s called StepUp, and it has 85 students living in a sober dorm. The students have many resources at their disposal to stay sober, like weekly meetings, and mental health programs as well.

As Tamarah Gehlen, StepUp’s program director, explains, “When we have that much eye-and-face-time with the students, it’s really helpful for us to be able to see what’s happening and be preventative rather than reactive. Peer-to-peer support is huge.”

One of the big reasons why recovery programs are growing in colleges is to help students stay sober so they can make it to the finish line with their educations. “No one should have to choose between recovery and a college education,” Gehlen continues.

One student interviewed by NBC had struggled with opioid addiction and was taking Suboxone. He hadn’t taken his SAT/ACT tests in high school because he was in treatment. But Augsburg’s treatment program helped get him through, and this student is now pursuing a master’s degree. “When you work really hard on a paper, and you get a good grade on it, that feels so good,” the student said. “It’s a high that I would never trade for drugs and alcohol.”