College is a time in a lot of people’s lives where they become independent for the first time. People experience a new way of life full of meeting new people, learning new things, and building a better understanding of who they are as a person. With this comes experimenting with new and exciting things and experiences, but a typical experience most college students have is drinking and partying. College is a time of meeting new people and having fun, it also happens to be around the age people become legally able to drink alcohol. This creates a lifestyle where drinking to excess becomes the norm. Research shows that more than 80 percent of college students drink alcohol, and almost half report binge drinking in the past 2 weeks.  College students may not even realize they are becoming physically dependent on alcohol until they find themselves sick until going back home for vacation. Therefore, college can be a difficult time for students in recovery or prone to addiction.
Alcohol isn’t the only substance prevalently used in college. It has been a growing concern that students have drifted into a multitude of other drugs to help alleviate some of the stressors that come with college. The constant pressure to succeed academically mixed with the social pressure to continually go out, meet people, and have fun can be a difficult act to juggle. This is why many students rely on stimulant drugs like Adderall or Vyvanse to help them study or stay awake to study through the late hours of the night. Marijuana and is also a very popular drug that students use for the purpose of social partying as well as alleviating tension and stress. Cocaine, another popular drug used when socializing and partying. Benzodiazepines have grown in popularity as a means to alleviate anxiety and stress that can be common for students.
With all of these drugs being so prevalent in the college scene, it can start to seem like these types of actions are normal and thus not dangerous. Students start to fall into harmful patterns and begin to rely on these drugs to socialize, study, and alleviate stress. After years of relying on these drugs, it can be hard to stop after graduation.
It is very common for students to be so involved in the social scene and using drugs that they start to lose sight of the purpose of college; as a result, their academics begin to falter and eventually drop out. This is why it is important for college universities to implement resources for these struggling students to seek help during these times before their academics suffer. There are ways for students to take a medical leave of absence in an effort to focus on getting their actions back to a healthy and sober mentality before returning to school.
When returning to campus after gaining sobriety, it can be difficult to know how to stay sober with a culture instilled with drinking and partying. But if you look beyond the limelight of the college scene, you may begin to understand this scene is just the surface of college socializing. In fact, there is a large culture of the college population who do not focus on drinking. So, without further ado, let’s look at some of the ways college students can live a happy and sober life while attending their university.
Meet Other Sober Students
Friends are a reflection of your personality. If a person mingles and identifies with other people who party and drink, it can be difficult to quit unhealthy actions when everyone around them continues to engage in these activities. Often times, these social circles place drinking and drug use as the central piece of having fun – meaning if a person chooses not to drink they may feel disconnected from their peers.
There is a misconception that finding people who do not drink means going out of your way to finding people who choose not to drink for religious or allergenic reasons. This stems from the party culture – if you are immersed in a culture that is centered around drinking you feel as though everyone who is normal does it. Believe it or not, there are a large group of people who simply do not like drinking in excess. They find their entertainment in fun healthy and human ways. Being able to have a safe and sober fun actually becomes more beneficial and rewarding because people learn that they have more natural feelings and end up remembering more of the memories. Having people that you can rely on on a night out to be sober can make your decisions easier to make.
Obviously, it can be hard to disconnect entirely from a friend group, especially if the relationship is long and deep. This disconnect doesn’t have to be instant or even a disconnect at all. Finding another social group that can have fun without drinking only means you are exchanging your party time with another social circle; not disengaging entirely. So, for instance, on a Friday night when your friends would typically go out and party, you may spend time with people who have fun in other ways. This can be a healthy way to keep old relationships strong while keeping your sobriety intact.
Tell People Around You
If your current friends are true friends, they will understand and support your sobriety. Therefore, it will be easier for you to stick to your resolution if you let them know your sobriety goals and in this way, your friends can hold you accountable. Don’t be shy about sharing your feelings and concerns with your friends, it is perfectly reasonable and mature enough to make these decisions.
Know What Type of Settings To Avoid
College is about learning and socializing. Many people meet their lifelong friends in college, but it can be hard to stay social when most socializing in college involve alcohol. Staying away from clubs and bars are obvious, but a common way students meet people is through social clubs. There are two types of clubs you should avoid to help you stay on the straight and narrow – Greek life and drinking societies. While Greek Fraternities and Sororities are an easy way to gain instant relationships with hundreds of people, they almost always rely on alcohol. Find academic social clubs, and in this way, you will be able to find individuals who value academics and typically focus more on healthier life actions.
Become A Morning Person
Almost all drinking, partying, and drug usage happens during the evening and night. Not drinking allows you to have time to do many things you might not have thought possible. Your productivity will be greatly increased when it is not wiped out by the activities the night before. Waking up fresh and healthy allows you to take morning classes, and have time to do things in the afternoon like exercise, play sports, and engage further in your academics. You will come to realize your full potential when your days are not caught up with partying and recovering.
Meet other people who value a healthy non-drinking lifestyle? Check!
Keep you accountable? Check!
Transform you into a morning person? Check!
Scholarships to help you pay for college costs? Check!
ROTC is an amazing way to help build a strong and fulfilling life both in college and after college. The education and skills gained from ROTC training help build strong and outstanding individuals. Enrolling in an ROTC program does not enroll you into any service obligation. The obligation comes when you decide to contract into the ROTC program to become an Army Officer.
Join A CRC or Sober Community
A CRC stands for Collegiate Recovery Community. These are clubs and sober spaces with the particular intention of joining other students in recovery. CRC events typically happen during the evening hours to provide alternative events to drinking and partying. Most major universities have a CRCs on campus as they understand the pressure students in recovery face during social situations. Take advantage of all of these opportunities to have a fulfilling social life in college without alcohol or drugs. If your current college does not have any CRCs, push for them to be instituted. Creating a sober club can be a good start and can display your hard work and determination for your and others sobriety.
College tends to be a time when most people experiment with drugs, especially alcohol. Maybe you already know the consequences of drinking, maybe you experienced alcohol use disorder already, or maybe your current goals are trying to become clean and sober; whatever the case may be, we hope this article shows you that there is a path for you to pursue as a sober college student.
Here at Coalition Recovery in Tampa, Fl, we offer life coaching for current and aspiring students to help them not only apply for college (re-admit), but we set them up with counselors, sober alumni, living facilities, and student organizations that promote safe and sober living. We bridge this gap for students while they are in treatment so when they leave, they are set up to obtain the education of their dreams without the worry of relapse. This is called our Renaissance Program – to learn more click here!