How to Work on Your Recovery at a Large College

How to Work on Your Recovery at a Large College

If you are in recovery at a large college, there are some important things to consider in order to help you continue toward a sober lifestyle

College is a time of different challenges for students. It is a time of growth and development and a time of change in new surroundings where an individual is not in familiar surroundings. It could even be the first time in your life that you are living away from home. If you are a freshman, this is the first time in your life where the strict schedule of high school is gone, so time is now spent in whatever way you see fit. When in recovery, this is also a very challenging time in your life. You will face a lot of temptation with the larger student population. It has even been stated that college students spend more money on alcohol than they do on textbooks.

While going to college can be a very positive time focused on new opportunities, this is also a time many young men and women are at a high risk to develop addiction or in this case to relapse while in recovery. Students at a large college face some unique challenges when in their recovery. The following are some of the specific areas to consider:

Freshmen often face new challenges and pressuresSome freshman will act differently in a new environment and with new people in order to fit in. This often leads to more stress. This could look different for each student, but at bare minimum every student must have someone they can talk to so they can sort out their feelings and know they have support. This could mean going to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings on or near campus, getting a sponsor, talking with a counselor or intentionally spending time with friends and family. This network does not just form around you by itself. You must be intentional and know that your support network plays an important role in your sobriety. Know you will be tempted – Temptation is inevitable as you will see others drinking or using drugs at parties or even showing up to class hung over. There will also be talk of drinking, advertising focused on drinking and many events that are surrounded by a culture of binge drinking and drug use. According to the , binge drinking is defined as four to five drinks on a single occasion. With this definition, binge drinking is very common. If you go to a large college like LSU or Ohio State, each football game is surrounded by an incredible amount of tailgating and parties. Many parties involve drinking, and it is unavoidable. As an addict in recovery, you will have to have a plan, which is a strategy even for how you will handle this. You could hang out with a few friends and watch the game, but to even do that you need to have a support network.

Be aware as to what your triggers are – You really need to know what tempts you the most. These are often called triggers and create a craving to use again. There are three basic triggers which include environmental triggers, exposure triggers and stress triggers.  Environmental triggers could be being at a bar, party or social event. You may also experience this if you are at a location where you used to get high or drunk. Just being in that familiar area will likely bring up old feelings and remind you of using again. An exposure trigger is when you are exposed directly to a substance again. If you see someone drinking near you or find a bottle of beer in the refrigerator, the sight, smell and even sound can make your senses want or even crave a substance. Stress triggers are related to your emotions and how you feel. In many cases, you may not be fully aware of how you feel. For example, you may be depressed or have anxiety and not know about it yourself. Treatment is a great way to be aware of this and also to express your emotions to a professional instead of relapsing or wanting to relapse.

If you have never been to therapy before, this is not something to worry about. It is really as easy as having a conversation with an established professional who has experience working with addiction. He or she will give you helpful, practical information to help you get or stay sober and live a healthy life. For example, if you have a stress trigger, a therapist or doctor may recommend you exercise to reduce stress and in many cases this leads to less cravings. You can call our 24 hour, toll-free helpline if you would like to talk with one of the counselors who can give you an idea of what else to expect in treatment. If you or someone you care about struggle with addiction, our helpline will address your needs and guide you through various treatment methods. Please call today.

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