A blog for parents concerned about their teens alcohol and drug use

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

Hello, From a Drug and Alcohol Abuse Expert (and Now Blogger)
Friday, October 23rd, 2009

What do I know about blogging?  That question occurred to me when I was asked by my colleagues to host this blog.  I quickly realized that I don’t need to know anything about blogging — only about this topic, which is near and dear to my heart.  Frankly, I consider myself an expert on drug and alcohol abuse, having used almost every drug on the planet prior to entering recovery over 21 years ago. 

If only there had been such helpful resources in the ’70s, perhaps my parents could have done some things differently.  But then I wouldn’t be here today, with my dream job and this wonderful opportunity to help others.  This chance to share my thoughts, insights and experiences with parents and other caregivers, is tremendously exciting and rewarding.

I began using alcohol and drugs at age 13.  My parents never talked to me about the dangers and were heavy drinkers themselves.  My father traveled frequently so raising me was left pretty much to my mom.  In my recovery journey, I have come to accept that she did the best that she could, but the truth is that her desire to be my friend more than my mother really backfired.  She was one of those mothers who thought drug use was a rite of passage and believed that sharing that experience with me would minimize the risks.  Her intentions were good but the outcome was not.  By the time I entered college, I was a full-blown alcoholic and addict.

The roots of addiction run deep throughout my family.  In addition to being an alcoholic, my mother was addicted to prescription drugs, as were her two brothers and her parents.  My older sister is, thank God, a recovering alcoholic, with almost 18 years of sobriety.  However, I watched her son, my only nephew, struggle with addiction for over 20 years.  Just like me, he began using as a teen, and just like my mother, I used drugs with him, wanting to be a “cool” aunt instead of a responsible adult.  Tragically, he died from a drug overdose almost three years ago, at the age of 36.  I often wonder what else could have been done to prevent his death.  Sometimes I feel that I failed as an aunt by not setting a good example, but I was in the midst of my own addiction, and made terrible choices.  I have made amends. 

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Posted by Becky Vance  /  Filed under Alcohol, Dealing with an Addicted Child, Family History, Recovery, Taking Care of Yourself, Writing About Addiction  /  Comments: more

The Rollercoaster of Helping an Addicted Child
Wednesday, June 17th, 2009

When you suspect your child is in trouble, one of the most difficult challenges is figuring out how to approach him or her.  Beyond dealing with their particular substance abuse, the big question is how to get them engaged and encouraged to accept treatment. 

Our first attempt at approaching my stepdaughter Katherine did not go well.  As a young adult, access to private information through the school was denied, while friends and acquaintances were never honest with us.  Our only recourse was to invade her personal space at home. 

We read through papers she left around, checked the trunk of her car and found ourselves investigating our own child.  This is not a pleasant undertaking but much needed. 

To this day, I firmly believe Katherine wanted to be helped as she left, in plain sight, writings regarding her usage as well as the failing school notice.  It was then that we decided to tell her that we were no longer paying for her college tuition. 

With this devastating information she left our home for her mother’s in Hawaii.  Ultimately, life in Hawaii took her further downward. 

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Posted by Linda Quirk  /  Filed under Recovery & Relapse, Treatment  /  Comments: more

Katherine, the Early Years
Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

My stepdaughter Katherine’s high-school years were like most teenagers.  She was a good student, had great friends, acted in school plays, and sang in the chorus.  She was the center of laughter with a creative mind. 

We shared her excitement when the University of San Diego accepted her and we sent her off beaming with pride for what we thought would be some of the best years of her life.  We wanted to believe she was going to experience everything positive that comes from a college freshman’s first time away from home – dorm life, new friends and feelings of accomplishment. 

But at some point she deviated from the normal college experience and entered a fast-paced world of addiction and chaos. 

It began with hair variations (many colors), weight change and body piercing.  In the beginning these behaviors, by themselves, did not appear to be anything other than experiments with her new-found independence.  Her father and I were not happy with any of these decisions but we rationalized it as typical freshman behavior. Looking back on it now, it’s clear that these were early signs of her drug use.

On another visit we noticed bolder actions.  This time, not only was her hair an issue, but more body piercings were on display.  I will never forget the shock on her father’s face when he first saw her flashy tongue piercing and bright blue hair.  Katherine routinely asked for more food money because she was always running low.  She responded to the discussion of grades with resistance (we later found out that she was on academic probation.)

Visits home during the holidays became confrontational with new “friends” showing up at our door – we later discovered that she used her computer to network and meet dealers and meth users online.  The neon lights were flashing as we began to notice this new Katherine.

Posted by Linda Quirk  /  Filed under Warning Signs  /  Comments: 0


About this blog
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.

A free service to help you determine if alcohol may be harming your health or putting you at risk.

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