Substance abuse and alcoholism are affecting our population at an alarming rate. One pattern I have witnessed myself over the last 11 years is the increased number of young people under the age of 18 who are suffering from the disease of alcoholism and addiction. The youth today face increased pressure from so many sources, and whether it’s trying to ease the feelings of not measuring up to some imaginary standard they’ve attached themselves to or any one of a hundred other reasons, they’ve found drugs and alcohol as a method of comforting themselves.
In 2018 the Center for Addiction presented some eye-opening facts.
- 9 out of 10 people who are addicted to nicotine, alcohol or other drugs began using these substances before they were 18.
- People who began using addictive substances before age 15 are nearly 7 times more likely to develop a substance problem than those who delay first use until age 21 or older.
- Approximately 50% of teens have admitted to misusing drugs (prescription or illicit) at least once in their life.
- 63.2% of high school students reported that they have consumed alcohol at least once in their life.
- Every year that substance use is delayed during the period of adolescent brain development, the risk of addiction and substance abuse decreases.
The good news is that they are embracing recovery at an earlier age also. So now the young student has gotten sober and has a solid support system in place to help them maintain their sobriety when suddenly it’s time to go off to college. The college landscape is filled with a minefield of triggers and temptations as the sober student will now need to interact with the nonalcoholic or addicted students who are simply enjoying the “college experience”, in the fullest manner possible. If left without a safety net, old feelings may surface and they may reach out for the chemically induced comfort as a quick fix solution.
Enter the Collegiate Recovery Programs (CRP). All across the U.S., college administrations have taken notice and more importantly, taken action in providing recovery assistance to students. One such program is the Collegiate Recovery Program at Fairfield University in Connecticut where I graduated from in 1988. This award-winning program has given sober students the resources to excel academically while living in a sober atmosphere that provides support and accountability to those students who strive to maintain their sobriety. It has become a model program for campus recovery in the United States.
This directory provides a listing for Collegiate Recovery Programs all across the U.S. and if you or a friend or relative is facing these challenges while pursuing higher education, having a resource like the CRP may prove to be invaluable.
The largest portion of your life is spent where you live and if you have roommates who either don’t respect your sobriety or don’t understand it, then it’s time for a change. Notice I didn’t say it’s time to make a decision-there is no decision to make. Your sobriety comes first, period. It is common sense that if you are around people who are drinking and getting high, you will be tempted to use again and thoroughly understanding that will be the difference between staying sober and having a relapse. Identifying past triggers and having a written plan to deal with them as they come up should have been part of the tools discussed in the rehab, detox or out-patient process. As you enter into the recovery phase of your life, seeking out a sober living arrangement will be the number one priority. Counselors at your treatment center or detox may have some suggestions of a sober living residence nearby, but there is also a growing number of online resources aimed at helping those in recovery to find sober roommates. A couple of those resources are listed here:
An ideal living situation is to have roommates that are committed to living a sober lifestyle and supporting your efforts to do the same. The bonds that are created by the shared experience can be a powerful after-tool when trying to navigate a sober landscape.
Stay committed and stay hopeful,