For many people, college is a time for hedonism and rebellion: late nights, bad food and binge drinking. For other people, however, their times of excess started long before college. “Voices of Recovery from the Campus: Stories of and by College Students in Recovery from Addiction” tells the stories of 12 students who chose to pursue sobriety during their college years.
All of the writers are students or alumni of Rutgers University. Rutgers, a college located in New Jersey, was one of the first universities to establish recovery housing or dorms designed specifically for individuals recovering from substance addiction. Individuals in recovery housing receive access to specially trained therapists, 12-step support groups and sober group outings. They also receive access to a recovery counselor who can advise students and provide academic support. Better still, recovery housing is completely anonymous – the location of the building is kept a secret and students do not need to announce whether or not they are members. This compassionate, confidential atmosphere has helped college students achieve and maintain sobriety for more than three decades. Now hundreds and hundreds of college recovery programs exist, helping sober students survive what one student calls “the sea of alcohol on the college campus.”
In “Voices of Recovery,” the stories each student tells are true, inspiring and sometimes heartbreaking. The narrative of an individual crawling out from the depths of substance dependence and recognizing the power of sobriety is familiar to anyone who has ever lived through addiction. What makes these individuals special, however, is the young age at which they recognized their life was out of control. They did not lose their jobs or their homes. They did not fall into crushing debt. They did not crash down into the traditional rock bottom – early intervention saved their lives.
The first edition of “Voices of Recovery” was released in 2003, the 20th anniversary of Rutgers’ recovery program. The original intent was to provide students with an outlet to share their personal struggles with alcoholism in college. Now, more than 10 years later, the book has been updated and released to the general public. “Voices of Recovery” is available in paperback.
Written by Courtney Lopresti, M.S. neuroscience, Sovereign Group writer