Staying sober on campus has traditionally been an almost impossible task. But the times have changed and more students are advocating for sobriety and recovery on campus’ across the nation. If you are looking for ways to stay sober, check out these seven ways to beat addiction for college students.
1. Staying Sober on Campus Through Better Housing Choices
One of the best ways to beat addiction for college students is to look for better housing opportunities. If your college offers sober housing, apply for a room. Universities are more sensitive to their recovery population, creating programs and dorms geared towards sobriety. Contact your college’s campus counseling center to ask about sober living programs.
If your campus does not have a program yet, consider renting an apartment or house off-campus with other sober peers. Ask for housing recommendations at the local AA office or from group members. If you attend college close to home, consider commuting from home if your family home is a safe environment.
If none of these options is possible for you, contact campus housing and ask to be placed in a dorm room with someone who respects sobriety.
2. Staying Sober on Campus Through Recovery Support Groups
Gone are the days of being outcast for being in recovery. Beating addiction for college students can be a social experience. Seek campus recovery groups. These groups can give you with the support and community needed to graduate college sober.
If your campus does not offer recovery support groups, find a local group for young people by visiting AA.org and search for groups with the YP (young people) designation. But don’t rule out groups with old-timers. They can offer a lot of experience, strength, and hope to the newly sober.
3. Staying Sober on Campus Through Self-Care
One of the most important areas for beating addiction for college students is self-care. When recovering from addictions, it’s critical to get enough sleep and proper nutrition to support the body. Nutrition will continue to repair the damage by drugs and alcohol and support the brain to learn new material.
Sleep is often overlooked during the college years. But studies show that lack of sleep contributes to poor decision making, over-eating, and emotional difficulties. Getting enough sleep daily will help to keep your life in balance.
Sleep also helps the brain declutter unnecessary thought patterns. Every time you go to sleep, the brain clears out unused neuropathways to make room for new ones. This helps a college student recovering from addictions in two ways.
- First, the more you resist using substances, the more those neuropathways will be cleared out of your brain, reinforcing sobriety.
- Second, by clearing out unused neuropathways, the brain makes room for new material and more focus, making learning easier. So, aim for at least 7-8 hours of rest, even when you have an exam the next day.
4. Staying Sober on Campus Through Stress Management
Stress can break any college student. But for students also struggling with addictive behaviors stress can be dangerous. Stress management is the critical for beating addiction for college students. Three of the best stress management tools for college students are yoga or stretching, breathing exercises, and journaling.
- Yoga and stretching can be done anywhere, even sitting in a classroom chair. So, if the tension is getting to be too much, stretch your back, neck and shoulders. This can be done discreetly in a classroom.
- Breathing exercises can also be done in a classroom or anywhere. One simple exercise to relieve tension is to slowly breathe in on a count of three. Hold for a count of three, and then exhale for a count of three, hold for a count of three and start again. Do this as many times as needed to regain focus and calm.
- Journaling is also a stress management tool that is discreet. Use a notebook, smartphone app, or just a document saved to your computer. Any of these items can be used during a class without attracting attention. If stress is building, write your thoughts out to release tension. If you choose journaling during class, bring a voice recorder along too so you don’t miss lecture notes.
5. Staying Sober on Campus Through Alternative Spring Break Rituals
Spring break with friends can be a challenge for any college student, let alone one struggling with addictive behaviors. Instead of heading to the party location consider volunteering for a humanitarian project. Helping to give basic needs to others struggling to survive can lend a health perspective to life. Best of all, it doesn’t offer a lot of time to party making it a great way to beat addiction for college students.
6. Staying Sober on Campus Through Sober Activities
Isolation can increase chances of relapse. While good to spend time on studies, students struggling with addictive behaviors must keep an active life. Look for groups with an activity focus without drugs or alcohol.
- Physical activities like running, walking, bowling, or other sports are great to release stress while being social.
- Intellectual activities like attending museums and art exhibits, book clubs, poetry reading, or painting classes can also relieve stress in a social situation.
- Other fun activities can include learning to shop and cook, gourmet cooking, or baking classes are a great way to get nutritious foods while sharing an experience with peers.
- Last, look for activities that give back to the community such as working in a soup kitchen, helping with a donations drive, or cleaning up the park. These activities get you in the community and help others at the same time.
7. Staying Sober on Campus Through Helping Others Struggling with Addictions
Possibly the best way to beat addiction for college students is helping others struggling with addiction. Call the local AA office or an addiction treatment center and ask for volunteering options. Helping others in the first stages of addiction will help you in two ways.
First, seeing others in the hardest part of recovery will remind you where you came from, how far you have gotten, and why you don’t want to go back into addiction.
Second, helping others get stronger in recovery will strengthen your recovery journey too. Sometimes seeing others struggling with an aspect of recovery will remind you to work on that aspect too, so you don’t slip.
Are You a College Student Looking to Stay Sober on Campus?
If you are struggling with addiction and want to stay sober on campus, call Northlake Recovery at (561)-770-6616. We can help you start a recovery program while in college. Call today!