Pursuing a higher education degree is one of the most important investments you can make in yourself, and it requires significant commitment and hard work. Likewise, addiction recovery is essential to fulfilling your goals and also requires commitment and hard work.
While you may have particular support meetings you attend as well as sponsors who are not associated with your college or university, you may find the on-campus environment less stressful when you also have a community there, composed of people in addiction recovery who understand the stresses and challenges involved with maintaining sobriety in a college community.
Collegiate recovery communities are designed so that students who are in addiction recovery can have a ready community within a college or university in which to provide and receive peer support, help prevent relapse, and take steps to promote excellence in academic performance. Such communities are designed to be safe and supportive environments located on college campuses that provide space for students in recovery to socialize. They may also host on-campus support group meetings, and some provide advisory and counseling services.
The Association of Recovery in Higher Education (ARHE) is an association that represents collegiate recovery programs and collegiate recovery communities. The ARHE also represents supporting faculty and staff, and students who have roles in the communities. It is an organization that provides numerous resources necessary to help students in recovery reach their goals, including education and community connections. In short, the AHRE is a network of faculty, staff, students, parents, policymakers, and other professionals who are committed to helping you achieve your goals through support of collegiate recovery programs and communities.
Contact your school’s counseling or mental health services department to ask if a collegiate recovery community is available, and find out exactly how it is embedded in your school’s structure. Generally, these communities are created and maintained by students, and community members are responsible for choosing and planning social activities within the community.
The ARHE offers a website that can help you find collegiate recovery programs and communities wherever you are located in the United States, and also offers information about schools that are in the process of creating recovery communities on campus. You can learn more information about what your school’s collegiate recovery community offers, what is required in order to participate, and under which college department’s purview the organization operates.
Although some schools’ eligibility requirements differ, in most cases, becoming part of a collegiate recovery community requires students to commit to abstaining from alcohol or other substance use. Some communities require prerequisites as well, such as letters of recommendation and proof of completion of an addiction treatment program. Community members must show a willingness to participate, both in community group meetings and service projects.
If you are in recovery from addiction and are pursuing a higher education degree, you can benefit tremendously from collegiate recovery communities through the support, relapse-prevention efforts, and peer interaction offered by these communities.
Earning a degree requires diligence under the best of circumstances, and earning a degree while in recovery from addiction adds complexity, due to the abundance of on- and off-campus social activities. Collegiate recovery communities can offer a stabilizing influence, plus a built-in community that understands the need for connection and also the need for activities that will not compromise your recovery or your college career.