Returning to College in Recovery

When you’re ready to go back to college, you may wonder if it’s possible to maintain your recovery journey and have a fulfilling college experience. If you choose a college with a Collegiate Recovery Community, the task may be a little easier than you think.

What Is a Collegiate Recovery Community?

A Collegiate Recovery Community (CRC) is a campus-based program that helps individuals in recovery from substance use disorders enter college or reestablish their educational path. These communities encourage a fulfilling recovery lifestyle all while providing educational and sobriety support.

The mission of the Collegiate Recovery Community (CRC) at the University of Mississippi is to provide recovering students with the resources and support to achieve academic success, to further personal and professional growth, and to have an active and fulfilling collegiate experience without the use of alcohol or drugs.

How to Return to College in Recovery

family member in group therapy

Once you’ve made the decision to return to college, you may be wondering which ones have recovery communities. Colleges and universities that have Collegiate Recovery Communities will have this information on their websites. To connect with a Collegiate Recovery program or community at your campus, or to support students in recovery, visit the Association of Recovery in Higher Education (ARHE). However, if you aren’t able to locate the information or if your local schools don’t currently offer a CRC, it can be beneficial to find local support groups on or near campus.

If you choose to go to a school that offers a CRC, like the University of Mississippi, they can be an invaluable tool to help get you back on course.

Approach Your Collegiate Recovery Community about Re-Entering College.

When you’re ready to go back to college, staff or volunteers with your campus’s Collegiate Recovery Community can help you navigate the admissions process.

“One of the ways that we help students is by walking through the admissions process with them,” Nicholas said. “A lot of steps have to be taken, and sometimes it’s overwhelming. Our board members are available to sit down with students once or twice a week until all of the steps are taken. We don’t do it for you; we just help you break it down into small, manageable steps.”

Among the ways CRC staff or volunteers can help you is in:

  1. Reviewing your academic status if you were previously in college and helping you determine what classes you need to take.
  2. Helping you assess your financial situation, including directing you to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and finding other means of financial aid.
  3. Helping you brainstorm interests you have, to focus in on what type of degree to pursue. CRC staff or volunteers can talk through what sounds exciting to you, and what you might enjoy thinking and learning about.
  4. Discussing concrete steps that need to be taken, such as building a schedule, finding an advisor, and getting comfortable using the campus’s computer interface.
  5. Providing a referral to Student Disability Services or to the Counseling Center if either are needed.

Benefits of Collegiate Recovery Communities

Community is an important part of the recovery process. Having the support of people who know what you’re going through can be helpful when you run into challenges, triggers, or are dealing with cravings. This is where Collegiate Recovery Communities come in. There are a number of benefits to participating in a CRC at your school. These include:

Connecting With Others in Recovery

After students are admitted and are ready to attend classes, they can apply for membership in the CRC. Students must meet certain membership requirements that include:

  • Being enrolled in at least three credit hours as an undergraduate, master’s level or doctoral student.
  • Having a minimum of three months of recovery.
  • Participation in CRC community service projects and other events.
  • Remaining abstinent from the use of alcohol and drugs.
  • Complying with all other university-related obligations.

Students in the CRC benefit from a faculty advisor who meets with students every-other-week to share challenges, successes and support each other. They get together for student-led social outings and plan a community service project each semester.

Participation in the CRC is not meant to a burden on students’ schedules. Rather, it provides encouragement and support, and enables students to connect with others in recovery.

Getting Help Paying for College

“We know that one of the most tangible ways we can assist students is to help them pay for college,” Nicholas said. “We want people in early recovery to know that higher education can be an option for them.”

The CRC at the University of Mississippi offers scholarships based on the availability of funding and the number of students who apply. The CRC’s goal is to award $250 to $1,000 to each student, and students must reapply every semester.

The CRC is working to build an endowment that will fund scholarships for students. They hold fundraisers, apply for grants, and solicit donations, giving people the opportunity to show their support for recovery by giving to the fund.

“It shows our students that there are people who believe in them so much that they donated this money,” Nicholas said. “It also allows people who have recovery in their own lives an opportunity to give back. It’s part of this bigger, beautiful system of people helping each other.”

A Collegiate Recovery Community Can Be Your Safe Haven.

As you re-enter college, you’ll have more freedom than you did when you were in treatment for addiction or living with your family after treatment. You’ll have to manage that freedom well in order to avoid relapse.

One of the most important things a Collegiate Recovery Community can offer you is a safe haven on a campus that has a culture of alcohol and drug use. A CRC is not a 12-step program, and there is no guarantee that being part of a CRC will protect you or keep you from relapsing. You still have to work a recovery program. But through the support of a Collegiate Recovery Community, you can surround yourself with students who are also in recovery and give yourself the best chance of staying clean and getting your life back on track.

Recovery Support for College Students

If your college campus does not offer a CRC, it is still possible to get robust addiction recovery support outside of inpatient treatment. Outpatient addiction treatment and sober living homes are both great options for students who want or need recovery support while attending classes, working, or fulfilling other day-to-day obligations.

To find out more about outpatient drug and alcohol rehab in Mississippi or sober living homes in Oxford, MS, call our navigators at 24/7.

Find Addiction Treatment in Etta, MS

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction to drugs or alcohol there is help to get you on the road to recovery. At our inpatient rehab near Oxford, MS we help individuals struggling with substance use disorders discover how fulfilling a substance-free life can be.

To learn more about our treatment center, contact our knowledgeable and compassionate admissions navigators at . They can answer your questions about what to expect in inpatient treatment, how to start the admissions process, and give you more information about ways to pay for rehab. They can even help you find out about using your insurance for addiction treatment and help make travel arrangements for you.

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