Getting ready for college sober?.. What to expect
So you have graduated high school and you’re getting ready for the next chapter. College. Sober. What kind of things should you be expecting and how can you best prepare for the semester ahead? For a lot of people, the full college experience involves drinking. This could possibly be very overwhelming seeing that you have chosen a clean, sober and healthy lifestyle but if you are prepared, you will increase your chances of success both academically and with maintaining your sobriety.
According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health 36.9 % of college students reported binge drinking in the last month and 9.6 % of students reported heavy alcohol use in the past month. The study goes on to say that each year 1,825 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die from alcohol-related unintentional injuries, including motor vehicle crashes and 97,000 students between the ages of 18-24 report experiencing alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape. The National Institute of Alcohol abuse and Alcoholism also reports that roughly 25% of college students report alcohol negatively impacting their academic performance. While these numbers are alarming they should help reinforce your decision to stay sober.
I think that the first step is that when you are signing up for classes you should ask your counselor what services they provide on campus for people who are in recovery. This may include AA meetings that are held both on and off campus. There are meeting guides online that will help you find meetings in your area. Another option is to find out if they have sober living accommodations on campus. Seeking out sober living arrangements would be ideal for someone who is trying to maintain their sobriety due to alcohol abuse being prevalent in a lot of college dorms. There is also the option to live off campus with sober roommates.
If you don’t attend AA you can always look into SMART recovery to see if they have any meetings on campus or in your area. There should also be directories for other 12 step programs such as Narcotics Anonymous. Whichever program that you choose it is important that you find out which one works for you and do it.
Another way to maintain sobriety in college will be seeking out healthy activities. Along with working the recovery program of your choice finding healthy things to do while you are in school will help you immensely. This may include going to the gym and activities outside such as playing basketball, running and hiking. Staying busy and maintaining a healthy lifestyle will be a very important part of staying sober in college. Another way to stay healthy is to maintain a healthy diet and drink plenty of water.
One of the more challenging aspects of staying sober in college would be socializing. Ideally you will meet other sober people on campus who you can do things with. Maybe you’ll want to go to the occasional party? Having a sober friend to attend events like this will be very beneficial as you can hold each other accountable and not feel like you’re the only person at the party who is not drinking. You might even volunteer yourself to be a designated driver to make sure that your friends who are drinking get home safe.
At first glance some of these things might seem overwhelming. Just remember that the more prepared you are, the better chance you have of holding on to your sobriety. You’ve worked hard to get sober and you will have to do all that you can to hold onto it through college and beyond.
If you are going to be attending college in the Los Angeles area and need some added support to help sustain your sobriety, please check out The Nook Sober Living. Our house is located near the campuses of Loyola Marymount, USC, UCLA, Otis College of Art and Design and Santa Monica City College. We would love to help and provide with you with a safe and sober living environment while you’re attending school! Please visit us at www.thenooksoberliving.com for more details.