Recovery Tools for the College student in Substance Abuse Recovery

Blog Contributed by Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC for Addiction Hope

If you are in recovery for substance abuse, whether it be drugs or alcohol, you will likely understand the importance and significance of being proactive for yourself to maintain your progress. Achieving a lasting and successful recovery from substance abuse requires ongoing care, maintenance, and dedication for the preservation of your life throughout the recovery journey.

Preparing for the transition to college while in recovery from substance abuse is vital to ensure that you are able to healthily cope with any challenges or obstacles that you might face. College life and culture involve many lifestyle changes, new environments, and evolutions that can cause a shift in your recovery efforts.

The availability of drugs and alcohol on your college campus in addition to the pressure from peers to abuse drugs can test your sobriety and prove to be a tremendous risk factor for your ongoing recovery.

What Do I Do to Stay Sober in College?

What tools are at your disposal while in college to help you maintain your sobriety and recovery, even in the face of a culture that strongly encourages substance abuse? Here are some tips that can help support and strengthen the foundation of your recovery and encourage your determination for sobriety for many years to come:

  • Be aware of your triggers: Do you know what types of situations set off urges to relapse into addiction behavior? Circumstances that incur any type of trauma, stress, anxiety or depression can actively elicit addictive thoughts and behaviors. Understand what your triggers are and be aware of situations that may prompt relapse.
  • Stay connected to your treatment team: Who has been a part of your treatment recovery leading up to college? Maintaining a relationship with your therapist, counselor, physician, etc. can be helpful accountability as you transition to college. If you are attending college close to your treatment team, set up periodic sessions throughout your semester to help uphold the work you have been doing.
  • Even if you are relocating for school, phone or skype sessions with a trusted counselor can keep the connections you have made intact. If it is not possible for you to continue working with your treatment team, be sure to ask for referrals for therapists/counselors close to your college campus. This will build a continuum of care and encourage you to keep your sobriety a priority.
  • Become involved with a support group: Regular and ongoing support with like-minded peers is a vital part of your recovery journey. Seek out a recovery group on campus that you can attend on a consistent basis. This will prove a valuable time to check in with yourself and vent any concerns to peers who will understand your position.
  • Find activities that support your recovery: There are many opportunities on your college campus that will encourage your sobriety and promote a healthy lifestyle, physically, mentally, and spiritually. Seek out activities that are free of drugs and alcohol and that will surround you with people who have similar goals. You can enjoy an enriched college experience without the use of any substances or alcohol.

Sobriety Is An Ongoing Process

Your life is dependent on your ongoing recovery efforts. Though the transition to college will be challenging in many aspects, you can ensure that your sobriety is maintained by utilizing the many tools that will be available to you during your college experience. By making your recovery your highest priority, you will find that your college years will be one of the most rewarding and fruitful time periods of your life.

The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of addictions. These are not necessarily the views of Addiction Hope, but an effort to offer discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

We at Addiction Hope understand that addictions result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an addiction, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Published on Sep 5, 2014
Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on Sep 5, 2014.
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