Sober living at college is for those who have completed a drug and alcohol rehab program, or who have entered recovery, can be anxious about returning to college life, surrounded by triggers and students who are entering college for the first time and may have had drug and alcohol issues in the past. In many cases, students may postpone college after drug rehab to avoid these common triggers. In recent times, there has been an acknowledgment of the importance of college students returning to college once addiction rehab treatment is finished. Many colleges and universities now offer sober living located on and off campus to support student’s sobriety and keep them on their academic path.
Substance Abuse and College Life
When a student goes to college, he or she rarely thinks about the possibility of developing an alcohol or drug addiction. College campuses are saturated with events such as weekend parties, sporting events, clubs and nightlife surrounded by alcohol and drugs. It is a perfect environment in which to foster addiction. Attempting to balance a social life with school can produce high levels of anxiety, depression or stress. For relief, students may seek alcohol and drugs to relax, find temporary relief, or just to have fun.
When college students become addicted to drugs or alcohol, they will experience dramatic changes in mood, personality, and approach to responsibilities. Family members will often sense that something is wrong they speak to their loved one.
A few of the warning signs of students with addiction while in college are:
- Failing grades.
- Missed classes.
- Isolating from family.
- Appearing tired all the time.
- Drastically changing friends.
- Changes in appearance.
- Mood swings. For example, changing from irritable to loving and warm.
- Asking for money regularly from family and friends.
Substance abuse can negatively impact the student, both psychologically and physically, making it extremely difficult to complete their college obligations.
Addiction on College Campuses
One of the typical indicators of substance abuse during the college years is the binge using of drugs and/or alcohol. College students will use drugs and alcohol in large quantities in a short period of time. While binging on drugs and alcohol can be dangerous, students participate in this behavior associating alcohol and drugs with enjoyment and relaxation.
Addiction at college may become a pattern for students experiencing increased levels of anxiety, stress, and depression. This can lead to the use of drugs and/or alcohol to numb feelings. Eating disorders, such as anorexia or bulimia, are other negative coping skills that may develop in college. A report by College Drinking Prevention indicated that over 1,800 college students between the ages of 18-24 die from alcohol-related injuries including car crashes each year. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that 51 percent of individuals that are 18-20 years old who drink alcohol are binge drinkers.
Drugs of abuse prevalent on college campuses include:
- Ketamine (Special K)
- LSD / Micro-Dots
- Benzodiazepines (Xanax, Ativan, etc.)
- Oxycodone (OxyContin)
College students referred to drug and alcohol treatment face the challenge regarding returning to a potentially risky environment or taking time away from school. Early recovery is an essential time for young people to build a support network while continuing with academic goals. Downtime can be a trigger for relapse for most addicts in recovery.
Sober Living at Colleges and Universities
Many colleges and universities offer sober living environments for students who have completed alcohol and drug rehab or are in recovery. Recovering students tend to feel safer returning to college knowing that they will be living in a safe, supportive environment with like-minded recovering individuals. Family anxiety may decrease knowing their loved one resides in sober housing. Sober living for college students is configured to support and help students maintain their sobriety throughout their college years.
Components of sober living at college housing:
- Academic Support – Students receive support and guidance through the transition from a drug rehab back into a university environment. Tutors can provide help and support throughout the student’s college career.
- Recovery Programming – the school offers support for finding sober entertainment, managing peer pressure, and handling social situations through workshops and groups.
- Clinical Services – Clinical services offer help and support for psychological or medical issues that may come up with the student. Easy access to medical professionals that have an understanding of addiction can be critical to a successful outcome.
- Relapse Prevention – Residing in a sober living environment offers 24/7 support and services designed to help maintain abstinence from drugs and alcohol.
The following is a list who provide sober living at college and universities.
- Augsburg College – Step Up Program
- Case Western Reserve University, Prevention and Recovery
- Collegiate Recovery Center, Kennesaw State
- Fairfield University, Collegiate Recovery Program
- Jiang-Ping Hsu College of Public Health, Georgia Southern University
- College of St. Scholastica
- Loyola College Alcohol & Drug Education and Support Services
- Grand Valley State University
- Rutgers University: New Brunswick Campus
- Northern State University
- The University of Texas at Austin
- Texas Tech University
- Tulsa Community College
- University of Vermont
- The University of Virginia, Hoos in Recovery Program
- William Paterson University