The Importance of Staying in School While Attending Rehab
8 December 2019,
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College students often are at the greatest risk for addiction because they are under high stress, high pressure, experimentation, and pressure to conform with other students. There are many types of rehab environments that help people who struggle with addiction. While they are getting help for addiction, they are also able to stay in school and keep working towards their career goals. This is important for some students are able to manage this lifestyle because it ensures their safety and well-being while they continue striving towards their goals. 

Why it Works

Rehab is a safe space to explore concepts and ideas of addiction with others in the same boat. While it may improve a student’s life, it is ultimately about improving their prospects of staying clean and sober on the other side of rehab. College can often be an additional stressor at this time so students are encouraged to do what works for them by reducing class load and taking less strenuous classes early on in recovery, but remaining in school. While students are in school and rehab, they might:

  • Stay at an inpatient center for a severe addiction to address medical needs. This may be done during the summer so as not to interfere with fall and winter courses
  • Outpatient rehab can provide a place to spend time outside of rehab where they can schedule time around classes and homework in a structured environment that lets them stay in school
  • Most colleges and universities provide online classes now so that is a great option for people to pursue a degree while recovering from addiction

Continuing educational goals while in rehab can often keep college students focused on the future while they seek help for their present circumstances. While in drug rehab, it might seem that time is standing still. With the right environment, students can still thrive in both rehab and college while pursuing a future of setting themselves up for success in a career post-college. 

Advantages to College

Taking college classes might be difficult for some people in rehab. Beyond helping that person get a degree, it might be taxing to focus on recovery efforts and college coursework. Because stress is a trigger for many college students, it might not be an option for everyone. For those who are willing and able to pursue the work, they  might be able to get a wide range of benefits and advantages with rehab and college course work:

  • Continuing to live life without interrupting education
  • Keeping scholarships and other financial aid to stay in school
  • Helpful distraction from the rigors of rehab
  • Avoids a gap in taking classes that comes from taking a break for rehab. Often students don’t return because it is hard to go back into that environment after it ends. Even taking one class online can maintain a sense of staying focused on current goals in recovery

People who study hard in school and work towards recovery often find it helpful to move at a self-directed pace outlined with their rehab counselors and academic advisors. People take breaks to get their life together in recovery and may not finish. Taking college courses in rehab helps you focus and achieve those important educational goals, so long as you are able to keep up with the load and deal with recovery at the same time. 

Rehab Programs

College rehab programs offer a safe space to explore healing in recovery. Though these programs are not as inclusive as off-site rehab, they still offer a wide range of benefits. This includes people to talk to, sober activities, counseling, group work, and a stress-free environment that lets them connect with others who understand the journey. College campuses may offer sober support groups or there may be some within the community itself. These centers are not always a great option for severe addiction but they may be able to return when they have completed detox and gotten stable enough to consider how much they can handle in recovery. Moving forward, it helps to have a rehab program that understands your needs and the risk of relapse. It is hard to avoid triggers on a college campus, but it is safer than most other places people can be. Some things to keep in mind:

  • Meditation and mindfulness help while in the transition from rehab and recovery to college coursework
  • Attending 12-step groups will be beneficial for people on campus and off-campus, depending on what the plan is for your goals 
  • Find a sober activity and hobby groups or join religious life and spiritual organizations that focus on developing an inward focus rather than going out and partying or drinking for enjoyment
  • Attend class as much as possible, finish homework, and participate in campus life activities that help you feel connected to the social atmosphere while reducing stress and anxiety

Stress and anxiety can lead to relapse. Be mindful of these things while working through rehab and connect with rehab counselors about this to help plan a healthier recovery. When you approach your sober lifestyle with the help of those who understand your needs, you are more likely to remain sober and connected to your recovery plan long term.

At Burning Tree, we help college students find a balance between rehab and academic life.   Through accountability and commitment to the 12 steps, each client will develop the tools to create a sober lifestyle and find lasting recovery. We specialize in the treatment of chronic relapsers and believe with the right support you can experience true and permanent healing. For more information, call us now at 866-287-2877.

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