Tips for Balancing College with Rehab and Recovery

Tips for Balancing College with Rehab and Recovery

College students are under a lot of pressure, and many students engage in risky behaviors like substance abuse. If you’re a student in recovery, you can get help even while you attend school. It’s important to make sure you have everything you need to lead a healthy life. Creating a good balance between school and recovery starts with taking care of yourself and knowing that you’re not alone. Here are a few ways you can give yourself every opportunity to succeed.

1. Learn how to manage your stress in a healthy way.

Most college students are dealing with new levels of anxiety and stress brought on by the workload of classes and extracurricular activities. It’s easy to see why young adults justify using alcohol and drugs to help them relax or take the edge off the pressures of higher education. However, there are better, more sustainable ways to deal with being overwhelmed by the academic and social aspects of college. Here are some examples of stress prevention and healthy coping mechanisms:

  • Sign up for a manageable class load.
  • Set aside enough study time.
  • Talk to your professor right away if you fall behind.
  • Make time for safe social activities on campus.
  • Prioritize regular exercise to improve mood and stay healthy.
  • Try meditating regularly to unwind and check in with yourself.
  • Get plenty of sleep.

2. Room with someone sober.

Many colleges give students the option of requesting a roommate who is either sober or also in recovery. If you can room with someone on the same page as you about sober living, it’s going to make daily life less stressful. Having a roommate who parties and keeps alcohol or drugs in shared areas might be too tempting or create an environment unsuitable for someone going through recovery. Surround yourself with the kind of people who will help you reach your goals, not hinder your progress.

3. Get involved on campus.

If you’re balancing your schoolwork well and find yourself wondering what to do with your free time, consider taking up a sport or hobby. Join a club that focuses on one of your interests. Not only will this solve the problem of boredom, but being an active member of the school opens opportunities for friendship and a chance to make lifelong memories.

4. Establish and maintain healthy boundaries.

As a young adult in higher education, you want to fit in with your fellow students and make friends, but peer pressure can get the best of anyone and lead down a slippery slope. Establishing boundaries beforehand will prepare you for inevitable awkward situations. Accept that it’s OK to say “no.” Remember, if you constantly find yourself in environments where people who know you’re in recovery still push your boundaries, it’s time to find a new crowd.

5. Seek out safe social spaces.

As fun as it is to go to a party, it’s best to avoid gatherings where drugs and alcohol will be present. There are plenty of other ways to pass time and have fun with friends outside the classroom. For example, many campuses have collegiate recovery programs that put on regular social events for students in recovery. As a two-for-one, you can join a study group for one of your classes and make studying more social and a little more fun.

6. Take care of your mental health.

Issues with drugs and alcohol often go hand-in-hand with other mental health concerns such as anxiety, trauma, and depression. If you or a loved one is interested in exploring treatment, we encourage you to reach out to a licensed professional. Our team would be happy to speak with you about ways we can help.

*This blog post was adapted by Dr. Talia Barach from the following article: Addiction Recovery During Higher Education by Higher Education Team. To read the full article which covers: which substances pose the greatest risks to young adults, the potential consequences of being caught, how to get better, and recovery resources, please use the following link: