College Opportunities for the Addict in Recovery

Contributor: Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC, Special Projects Coordinator at Eating Disorder Hope/Addiction Hope

Open book.Addictions are often all-consuming and cause disruptions in a person’s life in various ways. For the individual who is pursuing college or who may currently be in college, the struggle of an addiction to drugs or alcohol can make the pursuit of this goal much for difficult.

Academic ambitions can be much more difficult to accomplish when physical health is compromised and mental capacity is significantly reduced – both which are common consequences of an addiction. Making recovery and treatment a priority are absolutely necessary to be successful in academics and career.

If you are currently a college student who has found yourself in a battle with an addiction, it is important to seek out treatment as early as possible. College campuses and the surrounding environments may sometimes be a trigger for addiction behavior, so it is necessary to review your current circumstances and decide what would best support your life moving forward.

Weighing the Consequences of Leaving College

For some students, dealing with an addiction means taking time off of school to enroll in treatment and seek out the appropriate help and care that is needed to recover. As difficult as it may be to make the decision to take time off from college, it is important to weigh the consequences that may result if you decide to continue living with an addiction.

Without the necessary intervention and treatment, the chances are that more complications will likely result, which may dampen your future dreams and goals. Some students may be highly-functional addicts, but this does not mean that detrimental physical, emotional, and psychological consequences may unfold down the road.

trinity-college-405783_640Some students may be hesitate to take time off of school for treatment for fear that they might be unable to return to college. The reality is that college opportunities will always be available in one form or another.

Making your health and life a priority will only enable you to succeed in any collegiate career that you decide to pursue following your treatment from a drug or alcohol addiction.

Opportunities to Continue College While in Treatment

While in recovery from addiction, there may be some opportunities for you to finish or continue with your college education if appropriate. This may depend on the level of treatment and care that you are currently receiving.

It is more likely that collegiate opportunities can be pursued at an outpatient or intensive outpatient level of care when a person is typically more stable and able to begin integrated everyday activities once again.

When Is it Time to Resume College?

When you do make the decision to resume college courses and classes, be sure to do so with the support and guidance of your treatment team. By working with a counselor or therapist, you can process any feelings or emotions that you may be experiencing about a potential return to campus.

libraryWere there certain friends, situations, or experiences on campus that may have been related to your addiction? If so, it is crucial to work through these scenarios with your counselor as well as develop healthy coping mechanisms to deal with such potential situations upon your return.

You may also want to work with an academic counselor on campus to figure out the best way to configure your credits and school schedule. When returning to college, consider easing back into your school routine by taking a smaller number of courses. This will also allow you to make room for continued treatment and support, which will only make you successful in your return to college.

Regaining Control Over Your Life

Your college goals do not need to be thwarted by an addiction. You can regain control over your life and enable yourself to be in a position to accomplish your goals by making your health, treatment, and recovery from an addiction a priority.

If you are currently struggling with an addiction, be sure to confide in someone you trust about these concerns. Seeking out help early will help you recover quicker and allow you to truly thrive in life.

Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!

Are you a college student who has recovered from an addiction? What has helped you resume your college career and academic aspirations? How did you work to maintain your sobriety while back in school?

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on July 7th, 2015
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