Alcohol and drug use in college seems to have become the norm in the United States. All-day tailgating for football games, drink specials at a different bar every night, and using the four year time period as experimentation for life is shown in movies and other areas of mass media to the point of normality.
The 2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, conducted by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, found that statistically, in the year 2011:
The rate of illicit drug use was 22% among full-time college students aged 18 to 22.
The rate of illicit drug use was 25.8% among male full-time college students aged 18 to 22
The rate of current illicit drug use was 18.9% among female full-time college students aged 18 to 22.
Similarly, 23.7 percent of male full-time college students aged 18 to 22 were current marijuana users compared with 17.5 percent of female full-time college students aged 18 to 22.
Young adults aged 18 to 22 enrolled full time in college were more likely than their peers not enrolled full time (i.e., part-time college students and persons not currently enrolled in college) to use alcohol in the past month, binge drink, and drink heavily.
Among full-time college students in 2011:
60.8% were current drinkers,
39.1% were binge drinkers, and
13.6% were heavy drinkers.
Note: Among those not enrolled full time in college, the rates were 52.0% current drinkers, 35.4% binge drinkers, and 10.5% heavy drinkers.
Overall, college kids are drinking and using drugs.
What about college students who have already gone through rehab and want to stay sober throughout their college career? How do these individuals handle recovery in college?
At many college campuses now, there are communities of sober kids who can ban together to find social activities to engage in that do not include drugs and alcohol. There are even sober colleges as an option for those in recovery.
What is the subject you want to study, and the major you would like to apply for, are best at a four-year university where drinking and drug use is the norm?
1. Seeking Out Local Fellowship Organizations
Whether you prefer Twelve Step Programs like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, or something more like SMART Recovery, there are ways to find like-minded people nearby. You may have to do some research and put in some time, but there will be people just like you working to stay sober in college.
2. Committing to Recovery
No matter where you are in your recovery process, making a daily commitment to do everything in your power to stay clean that day is of the utmost importance. You are in charge of your choices and behaviors, and even your thoughts. Each day is a new opportunity to believe and to stay true to what you want.
3. Phone a Friend
When you experience a craving, a trigger, or a temptation to drink or use, call someone who understands. With technology, we can be in touch with virtually anyone at any time. Call, FaceTime, or Skype a loved one who will support you. Do you have a sponsor at home? What about a family member who gets it? A close friend, even when far away, can offer a reminder of why you continue to make the commitment to be sober.
Exercise, eat right, listen to your body, find sober activities, join a club or an intramural sports team, and even find an individual therapist to keep your physical, mental, and emotional beings healthy.
You can handle recovery in college.