Almost exactly four years ago a high school senior in Delaware took the leap into long term recovery to confront his struggles with substance use. Despite his struggles in the past, he applied, was accepted, and enrolled in classes at George Washington University later that fall. Fast forward to present day, “I’m a senior in the School of Business, soon to be a graduate student in the School of Education and Human Development, studying Higher Education Administration,” and if that is just not enough, “Currently, I’m the Education Lead for the DC Chapter of Young People in Recovery, on the board of the Association of Recovery in Higher Education, and on the Student Organization Advisory Board here on campus.” Meet Tim Rabolt.
While living in a dormitory as a freshman, Tim found out that his roommate struggled with mental health and substance abuse issues. Their shared struggles with substance use sparked a bond between the two, and from that bond grew an idea, and that idea blossomed into Students for Recovery. Students for Recovery is the District of Columbia’s first collegiate recover program. It offers a peer-to-peer support group for students seeking long-term recovery. This includes recovery from substance use disorders, depression, PTSD, eating disorders, and other addictions. Members of Students for Recovery pursue a variety of pathways to recovery. No particular method is encouraged over the rest. They offer on-campus meetings five days a week, Monday thru Friday, and off-campus meetings seven days a week.
GW Students for Recovery will host The George Washington University “Raise High for Recovery Day” on Thursday April 23rd. Raise High for Recovery Day will be an opportunity to recognize those that positively impact the recovery community at GW and beyond. The day of events includes panels, awards, keynote speakers, and an evening reception with student performances and complimentary hors d’oeuvres. Invitees for the day’s events include GW staff and faculty, families and friends of our members, and recovery supporters from the community.
I recently had the chance to ask Tim some questions about his event, his thoughts on recovery, and what he sees on the horizon regarding substance abuse and mental health:
What motivated you to get involved in mental health rehabilitation? And what do you find most rewarding about it?
My roommate freshman year dealt with multiple mental health disorders on top of his substance use disorder, which we had in common. The university did not have the support structure in place to allow him to thrive in this recovery-hostile environment. Starting our collegiate recovery program was one step in the right direction, and we have taken many strides in the right direction over the past 3 years. The most rewarding aspect is knowing that you are bringing people further from death and closer to happiness.
Is there anything about GW Recovery Day you want to tell me that I can’t find on the webpage? Something you want everyone to know?
We are announcing that after 3 years, we are hiring a graduate assistant to further support our collegiate recovery program. The main goal for next year will be to raise $1.5M to endow our program with a full-time staff member and a programs budget. This event is a segue into many more collegiate recovery events in DC and throughout the nation.
How do you envision this event changing in the future? What would you like to see happen?
I think I always want the event to be free so the most people can experience the benefits of collegiate recovery and mental health support, but I just want to see the turnout grow. It would also be great to have more support/connections within the nearby universities. Lastly, I want to add some superstars to the lineup in future years (perhaps a performance from Macklemore, opening remarks from a notable political figure, a keynote from a celebrity, etc.)
You can find a full itinerary of events for Raise High for Recovery Day, as well as testimonials, and information about on and off campus meetings on Students for Recovery’s webpage: http://www.gwsfr.org/recoveryday. Tim is certainly a bright light in a sometimes dim world, and I speak for all of us at Life of Purpose when I say that we are very excited to see how massive of an impact he will make on substance abuse recovery in the future!
Zachary Chase Ertel
Life of Purpose Blog Contributor
Life of Purpose Treatment
3848 FAU Boulevard, Suite 100
Boca Raton, FL 33431