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Substance Use Disorder Recovery in College: 10 Things to Expect

Substance Use Disorder Recovery in College: 10 Things to Expect

Make no mistake about it, going through substance use disorder recovery while trying to earn a college degree is going to be challenging. Though every path to recovery is unique to the person walking it, there are a few experiences that you can expect to encounter along the way.

  1. Emotions May Feel More Extreme
    As you work through the recovery process, your emotions may gravitate from extreme highs to incredible lows. Anticipating and learning to manage these thoughts is integral to the recovery process.
  2. Withdrawal Symptoms May Arise Unexpectedly
    At the beginning of the recovery process, your body will still have to contend with physical dependency. These withdrawal symptoms might continue for days or even weeks after you’ve stopped using. Be prepared for symptoms to crop up at unexpected times.
  3. Seriously, Don’t Date for a Year
    You’ve got enough on your mind contending with a course load and the recovery process. Starting a new relationship can be distracting, and if it doesn’t work out, it can be very stressful. Don’t put yourself in a position where you want to use; it’s just not worth it.
  4. Narcotics Are in More Places than You Think
    Unlike the larger world where it can be easier to avoid substances, in college, drugs and alcohol will be prevalent. It’s important to understand that the temptation to use will likely be strong.
  5. Attitudes Toward Substance Misuse on College Campuses Can Be Lax
    The college years are often thought to be a time for experimentation. Whereas heaving drinking or drug use is unacceptable in the “real world,” it’s often celebrated on a college campus. This type of tolerance makes it easier for people to engage in behaviors they would typically choose not to indulge.
  6. Beware of Overconfidence
    You should be proud of milestones you achieve in your recovery process. But successful completion of a few benchmarks is not equivalent to a complete recovery. Be aware that the temptations and stressors that existed before your recovery likely still exist.
  7. Not Everyone Will Get What You’re Going Through
    As someone who’s recovering from a substance use disorder, you’ve got life experience beyond most of your peers. While you may get frustrated and feel like your friends aren’t supporting you, remember they aren’t doing anything to you “on purpose.” More than likely, your friends genuinely don’t understand how tough the recovery process is.
  8. Some Might Understand, Though
    On the other hand, college campuses tend toward open-mindedness. Be open-minded yourself will help you find people who are willing to listen to your perspective or even those who understand it. Also, most schools now have collegiate recovery communities or programs.
  9. Your Course Load Won’t Lighten
    You may want to communicate with your instructors about your situation. While your professors will likely support you, it’s also likely that they will not provide exceptions or special treatment. It is important to try to work on your courses a little bit each day so that your assignments don’t pile up. Be sure to utilize the resources available to you on campus or through your treatment facility.
  10. Help Is Always Available
    This one is an easy one to forget. The commitment to sobriety coupled with daily stressors might make using a tempting proposition. Always remember that help is available, no matter what time of day or night.

At Life of Purpose, we regard education as an essential element of one’s identity, and our goal is to help guide you to a deeper, self-determined commitment to recovery. Our collegiate recovery programs are designed to help address these experiences by managing stressors common to college students while maintaining a focus on educational and personal growth.

If you are interested in collegiate recovery options, contact us 24 hours a day at 1-888-787-7673. Our academically-focused collegiate recovery advocates are here for you as you look towards your future in recovery.

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