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college students with addiction

Moving Along the Continuum of Care: Treatment for College Students with Substance Use Disorders

by Daniel Schwartz For individuals with substance use disorders, treatment is profoundly beneficial in improving health and quality of life. But treatment is not one-size-fits-all—each individual has unique needs in addressing their substance use. Fortunately, the treatment options available are…

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Lives of Purpose: Lissa Franklin

The great Muhammad Ali once said, “It’s lack of faith that makes people afraid of meeting challenges, and I believed in myself.” That quote is the very foundation on which I have built my life. With goals, aspirations, commitment, and diligent effort I am on the path to making my dreams a reality; ever realizing that beyond my existing horizon there are countless possibilities all within my reach. Wholeheartedly believing that, it is hard to fathom that three and a half years ago I had no concept of self, zero will to live, and I was completely hopeless about anything beyond the next minute. With the help of my loving family, compassion from my attended treatment facilities and their helping professionals, support of my friends, and the extended hand of my 12 step fellowship of membership of choice, I can confidently and proudly state that, my name is Lissa Franklin and I have been a young-person in long-term-recovery since February 1, 2012. If I had to guess on that day, where I would be today, I would have sold myself entirely too short. Recovery affording me a life beyond my wildest dreams is an understatement, because I would never have even dreamt of a life this great.

I am a 26 year old, born and raised Iowan. I have a mom and a dad who have been happily married for 28 (almost 29) years, and two not-so-little anymore brothers who are 23 and 21. My childhood could not have been any better. I never had to want for anything, and my basic needs as a human were far surpassed.  I was raised with respect, love, kindness, and manners. Beyond my immediate family, my extended family was just as great. Whether it was a school concert, sporting event, Holiday, or Sunday dinner, we were always cohesive and bound by unconditional love and support.

As a child, and still today, I had a heart of gold, a love for helping the underdog, a drive for athletic achievement, and a passion for learning.  Any of my greatest memories include a ball of some sort, and usually an accompanying trophy. I never wanted to stop learning. During my early elementary years, I was in piano lessons, but that wasn’t enough. When I was able to learn more, I played the Viola in orchestra, the Tuba in concert band, and the Electric Bass Guitar in jazz band. Always raising my own bar, I sat first chair in all three ensembles. As far as scholastic learning is concerned, reading was always my most favorite. I could get lost for hours on my dad’s green carpeted office floor reading my mom’s Britannica Encyclopedia collection, or the latest Box Car Children book. Learning was an outlet for me, and reading was my escape. As great as my life was, even as a young as second grade, I always felt ‘different’.

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Substance Use Disorder and Self Esteem- Higher Education Makes a Difference


If someone had told me in my teens I’d be finishing my Bachelor’s degree at age 32, I would have told them they had quite a sense of humor.

In elementary and middle school, I was the overachieving, competitive type.   It wasn’t unusual to catch me pouting or crying if received a low score on a test or a B on an otherwise perfect report card, especially if my peers received a higher score or better grade.

When I began abusing alcohol on the weekends during my freshman year of high school I had no idea the effect it would have on my brain and, consequently, my academic performance.  

By the time I was ready to apply to colleges, my GPA had dropped below 3.5.  I saw this as unacceptable, and apparently universities did, too.

I remember being shocked when I was denied admission to The Ohio State University.  An in-state university declining me, a top student?  It didn’t register in my mind I was no longer a top student.  But in truth, I was barely average compared with the rest of my class. 

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Life of Purpose: Existentialism and Education in Youth Addiction Treatment

Chemical Dependency is the ultimate expression of existential vacuum; a state of habitual unconsciousness to the exclusion of all meaningful activity and relationships. In existential terms, it is necessary to discover some greater sense of purpose in order for the dissolution of such a painful state of emptiness to occur. The great existential theorist, Victor Frankl stated “Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with any ‘how’.” In this case, the ‘why’ is the meaningfulness that the recovering person ascribes to their sobriety. However, many young clients arrive in treatment confused, fragmented, resistant or unwilling.

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A Problem-Solving Approach: Substance Use Disorder Treatment Through the Lens of a Social Worker

Life of Purpose was created as part of the implementation of a macro level social work intervention to address the systemic needs of young people receiving treatment for substance use disorders (SUD) in a modern environment. By providing a research driven solution through integration with higher education, we are implementing alternative solutions and goals in the field of alcohol and/or other drug (AOD) treatment. Drawing from social work theory and lived experience, the Life of Purpose model treats young adults with substance use disorders from a problem solving approach.  Evaluation of the normative treatment episode would suggest that the industry is not providing effective solutions for the decreasing age of onset and timing in AOD treatment. A treatment methodology where young adults concurrently receive clinical services and educational support produces a service unique and arguably superior to the more generalized and generic treatment models that currently dominate the industry.

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