For those who have already fought addiction and achieved sobriety, college can present a new set of challenges and temptations. Staying sober in a college setting is doable, though. With the right mindset, support groups and goals, you can maintain your sobriety and have a full college experience.
Staying Sober On Campus (& Off)
Eighty percent of college students report drinking alcohol, and many of those — about half — participate in binge drinking. These statistics may feel overwhelming for someone who is working to maintain a sober lifestyle. But don’t get discouraged. Many students don’t drink alcohol and find great ways to have a fun-filled time in college without it.
Although almost every college campus will have students who drink, not all campuses have the same attitude toward alcohol or partying. If you have a choice of where to attend school, taking these factors into consideration will be helpful. Often private schools with religious affiliations will have a no drinking policy, and this type of environment may be helpful for those looking for an alcohol-free experience.
Even if your school is known for heavy drinking among students, you can still have a great time and fulfill your educational goals without drinking and partying. It starts with choosing the right group of friends during those extremely important first weeks on campus.
Continuing in Recovery
Having good support in recovery is another key to success. Although it may feel comfortable to hang out with people you used to drink with, you will have a much easier time staying sober around like-minded friends. In addition to pursuing non-drinking friends, you can find out if your school has support groups for students who struggle with addiction or even an AA meeting on campus. College recovery programs are becoming more popular too, and there’s a good chance your campus may offer one. Being proactive to continue in your recovery in this way will give you a structured support team and people to provide accountability to help you avoid tempting situations. If you do renew old friendships, choose activities where drinking isn’t an option like going for a hike or taking a yoga or spin class together.
Other ways to be proactive about your recovery include:
- Be prepared for how to say “no” when offered a drink.
- Keep non-alcoholic drinks with you and protected at all times.
- Take a sober friend along for moral support to any situation where there may be drinking.
- Designate a friend you can call in the midst of temptation.
- Have a plan in place to leave a situation if needed.
Practicing these steps may be uncomfortable at first, but they will get easier with time and help you find new ways to choose not to drink.
Pursuing a Healthy You
When fighting addiction, it is important to remember your overall health. Getting enough sleep each night, eating well-balanced meals, exercising regularly and drinking plenty of water are all beneficial goals during this time. Other important areas of health include your social, emotional and mental health too. By pursuing health in each of these areas, it makes you better able to avoid relapse and become a healthier and happier you.
Article written by Becca Owens
A writer for The Oaks at La Paloma
 “Underage and College Drinking.” National Council of Alcohol and Drug Dependence, June 27, 2015.
 White, Donna M. “5 Ways to Avoid Addiction Relapse.” The Huffington Post, July 18, 2013.
 “Building your drink refusal skills.” National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Accessed October 10, 2017.
If you or someone you love is struggling with drug addiction or alcoholism, or you just have questions, please contact Lighthouse Treatment Center today. We are happy to provide a no-cost, no-obligation consultation with one of our experienced treatment advisors. Help is available today.