The Value of a Collegiate Recovery Community for Students Battling Addiction

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More than four out of ten college students across the United States have used an illicit drug in the last year. Almost the same number of students have reported excessive alcohol consumption. But the problem stretches even farther. Currently across the country, an estimated 10 million young people (ages 12 to 29) – in high school, college, and elsewhere – are battling a substance use disorder.

As substance abuse and addiction become more common among adolescents and young adults, many of us are starting to hear more about the benefits of collegiate recovery communities (CRCs), also referred to as collegiate recovery programs (CRPs).

Collegiate recovery communities aren’t a completely new concept. In fact, according to the Association of Recovery in Higher Education (ARHE), the idea was conceived as early as 1977, when Brown University began offering school-based recovery support services for students battling addiction. Collegiate recovery programs have since evolved – extending across schools and drug treatment centers, and becoming important resources for students overcoming substance addiction.

What are Collegiate Recovery Communities (CRCs) and Collegiate Recovery Programs (CRPs)?

Used interchangeably, collegiate recovery communities and collegiate recovery programs are institutionally-sanctioned programs for college students in or seeking recovery from a substance addiction. These students desire to obtain their degree, but face unique challenges posed by their substance abuse – making it more difficult to attend or transition to college.

Collegiate recovery communities are designed with students’ end-goals in mind: allowing them to experience the opportunities available with a college education, while simultaneously supporting them throughout the recovery process. Often, CRCs are offered on-campus, within college environments, so that students can still have an authentic college experience while maintaining their sobriety. In this setting, CRCs are actual communities of students in recovery, supporting one another on their journeys.

Collegiate recovery programs and similar models may also be enacted in addiction treatment facilities. Some students will go to college with newfound freedom only to find themselves spiraling amidst the addiction cycle – whether that’s due to academic pressure, parties and peer pressure, social anxiety, or other mental health factors. In these cases, they may desire to get professional help, but do not want to put their lives on hold to go and “get clean.” These students still have goals of finishing school and finding future success. A drug treatment center with a collegiate recovery program in place is a great option for these students who want to stay on track, with their academics and their health.

According to the ARHE, many collegiate recovery programs will provide academic courses, retreats, leadership workshops, gender-specific events, health and wellness activities, recovery conferences, 12-step meetings, and more for students in recovery from addiction. Almost all CRPs on college campuses strive to provide space (such as a dedicated classroom) for 12 step fellowships and support groups. Often, these groups are organized by the student community themselves.

How are Collegiate Recovery Communities and Programs Valuable for Students?

For young adults, relationships (and a social life) are of high priority, especially for the college student. Many students will go to parties and drink or use drugs in efforts to establish their status or simply to make friends. For those in recovery, the relapse triggers present in college can be discouraging, particularly when trying to build relationships. That is why having a sober support network of peers who are of similar age and experiences can be such a valuable asset throughout the recovery process.

On campus, collegiate recovery communities offer a safe space for students to come together and build meaningful, supportive, sober connections with one another. They allow students – who otherwise might be navigating a crazy campus life on their own – to talk about their experiences, share coping methods, and build a sober network that will stand through the good days and bad.

In a treatment program, collegiate recovery programs are valuable assets to keep students on track towards their academic and career goals, even in the face of substance addiction. Because one of the most devastating effects of substance use (and any co-occurring mental health disorders) is that it can be limiting – damaging important relationships, closing the doors on career goals, and feeling as though a college education is out of reach. A young adult rehab center that places a focus on academics can ease these conflicts, by ensuring that every student in recovery has the ability to finish high school and pursue their college degree, regardless of their past.

Turnbridge Academy offers an array of academic services in part with our drug treatment program for young adults. Our staff of Ivy League-educated academic advisors works with clients to create a comprehensive educational plan according to their unique needs. While clients are interacting with other peers in the Turnbridge community, they are also receiving one-on-one academic advising, help with college applications or transfers, and attending regularly scheduled study halls and tutoring services. Turnbridge Academy also has connections with local colleges and universities, some of whom enact collegiate recovery programs and sober support services on their campuses. For information about our college affiliations, click here.

You can realize your educational aspirations and begin planning for a healthy, successful future, all without putting your life on hold. A collegiate recovery community can help you get there. For more information on Turnbridge Academy for young men and for young women, call 877-581-1793.