More Than a Sober Fraternity – A Bridge to College in Recovery

More Than a Sober Fraternity – A Bridge to College in Recovery

Of late, there has been growing recognition in the addiction treatment community of the need for specialized programming for collegiate-aged individuals. Concurrently, a growing number of universities have instituted Collegiate Recovery Communities – on campus, university-sanctioned support programs for recovering students. These efforts indicate a fundamental and essential shift in how addiction treatment is viewed with a move from generalized, acute care to a more individualized, long-term continuum of services.

Current research shows that individuals involved in a Collegiate Recovery Community have about an 8% chance of relapse (source). Needless to say, these programs are effective. Demographic research conducted by Cumberland Heights Drug and Alcohol Treatment Center in Nashville, TN found that 50% of clients in their Young Men’s Program have had some college experience, but only 5% have completed a degree.

So, the current addiction treatment milieu has both awareness of effective modalities and terrific offerings for individuals seeking sobriety and those that have found long-term recovery. However, missing was a transitional reentry platform for college-bound people that are not clinically appropriate for the low level of structure most CRCs provide. Furthermore, CRC services, while incredibly effective, are generally reserved only for students enrolled in that particular university.

What Alpha 180 provides is “A Bridge to College in Recovery.” Individuals completing treatment need a place to develop a foundation of recovery, solely focused on creating a support network, fellowship, and platform for personal growth. However, identifying goals and developing an intentional and multi-faceted game plan for achieving them is crucial. Young adults, especially, benefit from seeing their progress as they accomplish short-term objectives. Placing academic goals completely on hold is a disservice in that it enforces seeing yourself as a “failure” from a traditional academic track and it means that when the student returns to school, the transition will be abrupt and they will be left unprepared.

Side-by-side, we can identify goals, potential pitfalls, emotional barriers, and executive functioning deficits to develop a strengths-based plan for reintegration to college. Staff with personal experience and clientele at various stages of their academic plans (from contemplation to full-time students) provide inspiration and direction. This specific, measurable goal-setting, along with campus-lifestyle fun in sobriety creates a community of flourishing, motivated, recovering young adults. These students are on fire for education and recovery.

Going back to college in sobriety is a BIG deal. It should not be rushed, abrupt, or motivated by fear. Thoughtful and well-laid plans with plenty of support make the most sense. Whether it’s a period spent just preparing for the next step, a class or two at the community college, or embracing a full course load, Alpha 180 is prepared to support next steps for the recovering college-bound student. Let’s maximize the upside of recovery and cross the bridge to greatness together.

Nico Doorn M.Ed., LCDCI

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Sober Fraternity
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