Its difficult to put the detail of all my meetings in the blog so I just want to dedicate this one to the people I have had the luxury of spending time with to date. I hope my memory does them justice. I am trying to retain all the wonderful knowledge which is often challenging me!
In North Carolina I met up again with Frank Alison the Collegiate Recovery Initiatives Program Coordinator, I met Frank last year during my visit to North Carolina and I am grateful to him and Emily Eisenhart of Georgia Southern for the inspiration to apply for a Winston Churchill Fellowship. Frank took me to an amazing organic café for breakfast where we talk about the core components of the UNC Chapel Hill collegiate recovery programme. The one thing I have picked up is that each university programme has it’s own unique components. Frank describes how they deal with relapse and how they can act as advocates when brokering return to their degree programmes.
Students in the Chapel Hill CRP have the option to live in campus based recovery housing or off site in Oxford housing. I met with Paula the Oxford Housing link who told me that this was the only collegiate Oxford model in the state and gave me an overview –
Oxford Houses are a clean and sober housing option for individuals in recovery. The first North Carolina Oxford Houses were established in Durham and Asheville, NC in the spring of 1991. North Carolina is part of a network of 2,000 Oxford Houses with more than 16,000 beds. As of June 2017 there are 232 houses in North Carolina, with locations in 30 cities. With an average of 8 beds per house, there are more than 1,750 Oxford House beds in the state. Individuals typically enter an Oxford House after completing a drug and alcohol treatment program. Individuals living in a house are expected to participate in a recovery program in the community during their residence.
She told me the CRP students functioned well with the Oxford House model but had come up with some local agreements that differed from the usual model. One example was the age limit for house members which they set at 25 and under, over the development of the CRP collaboration Paula acknowledged that trusting the students decisions has worked well. It is really obvious to me that sober housing is a crucial component of a collegiate recovery programme. The Oxford House model offered the students the experience of running a home, paying bills, problem solving and living in the community.
In San Francisco I met up with Jon Anderson the Programme Director for The Haven at College. The Haven is an organisation that provides a recovery support programme and accommodation to Universities and are currently in 6 sites. This model looks very like a community based recovery support service and supported accommodation. Rather than an internal campus based organic growth based CRP, Haven have a standardised model they can implement at any university.
My final meeting in San Francisco was with a wonderful lady Angela who teaches Addiction Studies at San Mateo College, she is very passionate and energetic about training professionals and I am absolutely astounded when she tells me she is 80!
I had a weekend of R & R in San Francisco and met up with friends who are touring California, we crammed in every tourist attraction we could in 2 days and did 35000 steps, more than my first 2 weeks in the USA..
On the plane again to Lubbock Texas and Texas Tech to meet back up with Dr Tom and Vince. The days are flying over and I am still in awe and full of gratitude for this opportunity.