The Challenges of Going Back to School for Recovering Addicts

By: 
Steve Trevino
September 8, 2022

In recent years, drug use among high school and college students has become a growing problem. According to the 2021 Monitoring the Future survey by the National Institute on Drug Use, about 50% of high school seniors have tried an illegal drug at least once.

The availability of drugs and relentless peer pressure can make it difficult for young people to resist trying them. And while most young people who use drugs don't go on to develop a substance use disorder, for those who do, the consequences can be devastating. They may end up with physical and mental health issues and even death due to overdose.

A SAMHSA report showed a strong correlation between drug abuse and dropout rates. Students abusing drugs are more likely to drop out of school than those who don't. But luckily, those who go through addiction treatment can regain control of their lives and get back on track. For some, this means going back to school.

However, going back to school after addiction treatment can present its own unique set of challenges, including:

Juggling a Busy School Schedule and Managing Addiction Recovery

Managing triggers and avoiding relapse is a full-time job for anyone in addiction recovery. But the challenge is even greater for those who are also juggling a busy school schedule. Between classes, homework, extracurricular activities, and social obligations, there is little time for self-care. And when addiction recovery is not given the attention, it needs, the risk of relapse increases.

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The key to managing both a busy school schedule and addiction recovery is to create a support system. This might include finding a trusted mentor or sober friend, attending regular meetings, or working with a therapist. By enlisting the help of others, those in recovery can increase their chances of success in both areas of their life.

Making New Friends and Building Relationships with People Who Are Not Addicts

This can be difficult because the recovering addict may feel like they have to explain their past or justify their choices to the non-addicts. The addict may also feel like they are not worthy of friendship or love from non-addicts.

However, it is important to remember that everyone has a past and that everyone is worthy of friendship and love. If you are a recovering addict, try to be open and honest with new people you meet, and give them a chance to get to know you. You may be surprised at how accepting and understanding they can be.

Staying Sober in a Party-Filled Campus Environment

Returning to school as a recovering addict can be challenging, especially if the campus environment is party-filled. Staying sober in an environment where others are binge drinking, smoking marijuana, or even taking prescription drugs can be difficult, but it is possible.

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Overcoming Self-Doubt and Believing in Oneself Again

It can be challenging for a recovering addict to overcome self-doubt and believe in oneself again. This is especially true when going back to school. The addict may have been out of school for many years and may feel that they are not up to the task of completing a degree. They may also have battled with drug or alcohol addiction for many years and feel that they're not capable of achieving success in sobriety.

However, the addict should remember that they can achieve anything they set their mind to. If the addict is willing to work hard and stay focused, there is no reason why they cannot succeed in school and recovery.

College Programs Designed to Help People Recover

Addiction is a serious disease that can have devastating consequences. Thankfully, there are college programs designed to help people in recovery succeed at finishing their high school diploma or college degree, including:

  • Most college campuses have multiple on-campus 12-step meetings, which can provide support for those in recovery.
  • Substance-free housing for those who want to live in a sober environment.
  • Recovery coaching for support and accountability in early recovery.
  • Substance-free social events and activities provide fun and safe alternatives to partying. These programs can make a big difference for those in recovery and help them achieve their academic goals.
  • Professional counseling by treatment specialists who understand addiction and recovery.
  • Many colleges also have sober living dorms, which provide a safe and supportive environment for students in recovery.

These programs provide support and resources that can make all the difference in someone's journey to recovery. With the right support, people in recovery can achieve their educational goals and go on to lead happy and healthy lives.

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Benefits of Completing your Education 

For many people in drug addiction recovery, going back to school can be an important step on the road to a successful future. Returning to education can help boost self-esteem and confidence and provide a sense of structure and purpose. It can also lead to improved employment prospects, increased earnings potential, and better relationships with friends and family members.

Moreover, research has shown that people who have continued education are less likely to relapse into drug use than those who drop out. Therefore, returning to school can be an extremely beneficial step for those recovering from drug addiction.

Quitting Drugs and Alcohol Can Make Life Better

Addiction can ruin health, relationships, and finances. If you're struggling with addiction, getting help from a professional drug rehab can be vital to turning your life around. In addition to getting professional help, you can also do a few things on your own to increase your chances of success.

  • Surround yourself with positive people who will support your sobriety.
  • Find new hobbies and activities that you enjoy and that don't revolve around drugs or alcohol.
  • Take things one day at a time, and don't get discouraged if you have a slip-up; everyone makes mistakes, but what counts is how you learn from them and move on.

Deciding to quit drugs and alcohol can be daunting, but it's also one of the best decisions you can make for your health, relationships, and future. With the right support, you can overcome addiction and go on to lead a happy and successful life. Call us today to begin your pathway to addiction recovery!

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About The Author: 
Steve Trevino
Steve Trevino is married to Julie, his high school sweetheart and they have two daughters. He is the founder and executive director of CrossCentral Church and Recovery Center. With experience in both non-profit and for-profit treatment, he has helped thousands find freedom from addiction through residential programs, recovery workshops and consulting around the world.

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