Bringing Sobriety Back to School - The Phoenix

Bringing Sobriety Back to School

In any college or university social scene, it can be intimidating to return to school sober. If this is your first experience sober back at school, you may be unsure about how school will affect your recovery experience. Even if you’re new to handling school, stress, and the social scene while sober, there are plenty of resources out there to help you maintain your recovery goals. Here are a few expert tips for staying sober at school. 

Make a Plan to Protect Your Sobriety 

Being prepared for different situations is the first step to staying on track with your sobriety goals. Before you start school, it’s a good idea to reflect on the upcoming challenges. What triggering situations may arise? Are there certain events that you should avoid? Then, consider the best ways to overcome potential obstacles. If you don’t feel safe at parties with substance use, don’t hesitate to duck out. Prioritizing your sobriety is the best choice you can make. 

While you create a game plan, it’s a good idea to bring in a couple of allies. In triggering social situations, an ally can be an invaluable asset. If possible, choose an ally that you associate with on a regular basis, like a roommate or close friend. 

Share Your Recovery Experiences

College is a time to explore the many different facets of your identity—including your sobriety. Along with sharing your recovery experiences with the allies around you, consider seeking out spaces where you can comfortably discuss them with others. Today, a growing number of universities are creating spaces specifically for those in recovery. Organizations like the Association of Recovery in Higher Education are making a significant mark on the recovery scene. The ARHE is developing a growing number of collegiate recovery programs at schools all across the country. These programs are creating spaces specifically for sober students. In collegiate recovery programs and similar initiatives, you’re likely to find like-minded people that you can open up to about your recovery experiences. 

Go on Alternative Vacations

Whether it’s spring break, winter break, or a long weekend, vacations can be one of the challenges for students in sobriety. Luckily, the typical college vacation scene isn’t the only choice. If you’re looking to avoid potentially-triggering parties—but you still want to take a good break—there are plenty of other options out there. Plan a trip, volunteer for an important cause, or go on a wellness retreat. Whatever you do, make sure it’s something that you enjoy! Like all students, you deserve an enjoyable, relaxing break. 

Enjoy the Sober Social Scene 

There are more sober-friendly spaces out there than you think. Check with your school’s social calendar for potential sober-friendly events. If your school has a support group or collegiate recovery program, it’s a good idea to keep an ear out for activities and get-togethers. 

No need to limit yourself to your university. Explore the surrounding area for sober bars and alcohol-free events, like public parades and city festivities. If you feel comfortable, you can branch out to non-sober-specific activities—just be sure to bring an ally along with you. 

Build Your Sober Crew 

At The Phoenix, we believe in the power of community during recovery. Chances are, you’re not the only one going to school sober. University is a place to make new connections and lifelong friends, and the sober scene is no different. Whether you meet them in class or at a sober support group hosted by your university, it’s important to make connections in the sober community. When you surround yourself with others that share your sobriety goals, you create a system of mutual strength and support. Together, you can take on new challenges and celebrate the joys of going to school while sober.