I first saw Collegiate Recovery programmes in the film The Anonymous People. Watching the film back in 2013 got me curious about a number of things. The one area illustrated in the film that seems to be totally absent in the UK is the support of students in recovery from addiction within educational settings. College and university campus are rarely abstinence friendly, student life generally includes alcohol and other drugs. So how do students who abstain experience the other side of campus life?
I have asked a few people who have completed degrees whilst in recovery that very question. Answers included not disclosing recovery status for a range of reasons to being open but opting out of any alcohol related activities.
If we cater for other marginalised groups on campus such as LGBT, Autism/Asperger’s or Eating Disorders etc then surely the opportunity of a peer led recovery programme is viable?
A visible recovery community within the educational setting can offer resilience for themselves as well as students experiencing problematic alcohol and other drug use.
No brainer right?
This prompted me to apply for a Winston Churchill Fellowship on my return from a trip to North Carolina & Georgia in 2016. After visiting two Collegiate Recovery Programmes in both states I could clearly see our need. A successful fellowship award would give me the opportunity to look closely at the set up, maintenance and outcomes of the programme.
I was awarded the fellowship (still shocked!) and will be travelling to Prague to meet up with Texas Tech collegiate students doing a summer school followed by a trip to the USA in the Autumn. I will be spending time with Texas Tech, Archway Academy, Young People in Recovery, Georgia Southern and University of North Carolina.
The most amazing thing that’s come from the planning is Professor Thomas Kimball and Vincent Sanchez from Texas Tech are visiting the UK to deliver a seminar on Collegiate Recovery at Teesside University on June 15th. They have pledged support to help me influence and get a programme off the ground. That’s the beautiful world of recovery.
I will blog regularly to share my learning .
Turn your face towards the sun and the shadows will be behind you.