People in recovery come from all walks of life, including college campuses. However, being sober in a college environment can be a challenge. Incoming freshmen may feel they need to drink or experiment with drugs to make friends and engage with their peers, and those struggling with addiction (or not interested in drinking or using drugs) may feel exiled from social circles. Many students wonder, “How do you possibly socialize in college without alcohol?”
Enter the Collegiate Recovery Program, which aims to make sober living in college easier by offering a “safe zone” in which students can enjoy social events. More than 130 campuses across the country have made Collegiate Recovery Programs a part of their community. One of those colleges is the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, which was profiled in a recent New York Times article. Michigan students shared their experiences since becoming members of the program. A few of the fun—and sober—social activities that they list are sober tailgates, pumpkin-carving, volleyball games, dance parties, study groups, community service projects, and just hanging out. One student said, “Honestly, we really do have fun,” and hopes more students will see that it is possible to enjoy college without alcohol.
Advocates are optimistic that these programs will have a positive impact at the universities that offer them and are encouraging other schools to offer similar outlets to their students. As Mary Jo Desprez, who started Michigan’s program, said, “It shouldn’t be that a young person has to choose to either be sober or go to college.”