Of course, living in sober housing doesn’t guarantee success for a young person in recovery, but it does offer a safe haven and provides them with an opportunity to build a network of like-minded classmates. Such an opportunity can prove invaluable.
Additionally, there are many lifestyle choices individuals can make during their time in college to help maintain their recovery.
How to maintain sobriety in college
If you are determined to live a sober lifestyle while also living on your college’s campus, you might consider implementing different recovery-based strategies into your life to help.
1. Get involved in structured activities that are interesting for you
You might feel like all college offers is higher education and frequent opportunities to party. However, there are many, many organized clubs and groups focused on engaging in extracurricular activities and hobbies. Schools tend to offer a ton of recreational options, from film clubs to ultimate Frisbee teams. Find a club (or clubs!) that fit your interests and build your schedule around those healthy, meaningful activities.
2. Learn to relax and prepare for high-stress situations
Although college can be fun, it can also be extremely stressful with tests, paper deadlines and the ever present drama of the early 20s. Because of this, it’s important to— 1) be aware of the fact that you will encounter stress, and 2) have a plan for when that happens to prevent any temptation or threat of relapse.
Learning relaxation techniques like yoga or meditation can be a great way to combat stress and keep you focused in the present moment. Additionally, taking a walk, going for a run or listening to music can help you take a step back when you feel particularly stretched.
3. Find a therapist and/or recovery sponsor
A qualified therapist that specializes in addiction and/or young adult issues can provide help when you need it, while a recovery sponsor can offer one-on-one guidance and perspective to help you stay sober. You might already be in touch with some kind of professional support, but if you’re not, consider making contact.
Your college might have a counselor center on campus, or you might find an addiction counselor through the suggestions of your treatment center.
4. Determine whether your school has recovery dorms or sober housing
Many colleges and universities have begun offering sober living options for students who don’t want to be around drugs or alcohol, including institutions like Ohio State University, West Virginia University and Penn State University. This not only encourages a culture of sobriety, it provides students in recovery with a non-threatening environment in which to live.
If your school doesn’t offer these resources, ask around on campus: there may be some dorms that have a reputation as “party dorms,” while others are considerably calmer. Off-campus housing might also be a viable option. Consider checking out the full list of schools participating in the Association of Recovery in Higher Education’s Collegiate Recovery Program.
5. Have fun, but remember to keep sobriety a priority
It can be easy to get caught up in the rush of college life, but remember to keep staying sober a top priority. A commitment to staying away from drugs and alcohol can help you be successful in terms of academics and maintaining your recovery. Whether you need an accountability partner, a safe place to live or a regular meeting with a therapist, you can ensure your time in college is both sober and enjoyable.
Addiction recovery support in college
College is a great time of transition and change, but these challenges don’t need to be made worse with the struggle of addiction. By committing yourself to the goals and mindsets you achieved in addiction treatment, finding a community of like minded people on campus and maintaining a strong relationship with an addiction therapist, you will not only survive college sober, you’ll thrive through it.