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A Welcomed Trend: Sober Campus Living
Friday, September 23rd, 2011

Sober Campus LivingThere are a growing number of services aimed at helping college students who are in recovery or struggling with a drug or alcohol problem. It’s no surprise since the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports that Americans aged 18-24 are the fastest growing demographic group seeking treatment for substance abuse. SAMSHA data also indicates that the rate of heavy alcohol use is highest among Americans aged 20-22 and of that group, college student consumption is heaviest.

In an effort to accommodate the college student subset seeking treatment, we’re beginning to see more campuses support alcohol-free lifestyles.  As of today, 20 colleges have collaborated to form the Association for Recovery in Higher Education and welcome sober students.  Some of the participating schools include:

  • Texas Tech University boasts a Center for the Study of Addiction and Recovery with about 80 members in its “collegiate recovery community” which provides study-pods, recreational activities and campus 12-step meetings.
  • The University of Michigan’s Collegiate Recovery Program offers recovery courses, counseling and drug- and alcohol-free activities.
  • Penn State has allotted campus space and staff to its new student recovery program.
  • Kennesaw State University in Georgia — one of the Association’s founding members — has a community of 50 members, up from just three students in 2008.

Students at Texas Tech, for example, are proof that sober programs work.  Tech’s Center students have a 10-year graduation rate of 80% and a cumulative GPA of 3.34.

Campus sobriety is a privilege granted to those students willing to do the hard work of earning their degrees AND taking care of the precious commodity of living sober.

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Does your son or daughter attend a school that supports an alcohol-free lifestyle?  Please add to our list of schools and share which sober living aspects you like most.

Related Links:
10 Important Questions to Ask Sober High Schools
How to Help Your Teen Cope with New-School-Year Stress
Celebrating with Alcohol: A Reward for a Job Well Done?
My Thoughts on “How NOT to Raise a College Binge Drinker”

Posted by Beth Wilson  /  Filed under Addiction, Dealing with an Addicted Child, getting help, Recovery, Sober High Schools, Treatment  /  Comments: 1

10 Important Questions to Ask Sober High Schools
Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

Sober High School

For teens in recovery, going back to their home schools and old friends can mean returning to old habits.  If your teen has made a firm commitment to recovery, you might consider the option of sending your child to a sober high school like I did.

Sober high schools are academic institutions that have a state approved academic curriculum and recovery support services for teenagers in recovery from alcohol and other drug abuse or dependence.  These schools typically combine academics with a recovery culture that includes counseling for students and families.

Finding the right one can be challenging though.  Here are 10 important questions every parent should ask a sober high school before enrolling:

1.)    What kind of training has the staff had regarding adolescent addiction?

When my son was in a sober high school, the principal was a kind and knowledgeable educator, but he did not have a background in adolescent addiction and was easily manipulated into thinking the kids would voluntarily admit if they or fellow students were using. That didn’t happen. Like teenagers everywhere, not to mention teenage addicts, the kids lied about their own use and covered up for their friends. Staff needs to be educated and trained in adolescent addiction.

2.)   Does staff include specialists like therapists and substance abuse counselors?

Many students in recovery deal with co-occurring disorders like ADHD, depression, OCD or mood disorders. They may need some “mental health time” during the week, either individually or in groups. They also need substance abuse counselors who can reinforce recovery. The school should have a licensed counselor on staff.

3.)   What is the curriculum like? How is it different or similar to mainstream high school curriculum?

One of the things I liked about my son’s sober high school was how the teachers incorporated the kids’ experiences and interests into curriculum. Another neat aspect was encouraging artistic and creative expression as both part of healing and recovery and an opportunity to explore various mediums using new technology or traditional craft approaches. Self-expression, creativity and the chance to discuss how recovery relates to the real world are desirable curriculum components.

4.) Does the sober high school meet state requirements for awarding a high school degree?

Students in recovery are often behind in credits. It is important that they receive valid credits for transferring to either another high school, for graduating with a degree, or for entrance into college. Check out the school’s certification by the state.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by Judy Kirkwood  /  Filed under Addiction, Dealing with an Addicted Child, getting help, Recovery & Relapse, Sober High Schools  /  Comments: 1


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Welcome to Intervene. We are a community of experts, parents and caring adults concerned about our teens’ alcohol and drug use and have come together to share our insights, inspiration, guidance and help.

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