Journal Entry 1, Digital Story
College is a place to explore who you are and make new friends with new people with new backgrounds. It is no secret that the social scene of college includes drinking and drug use, usually for the first time for some people. In fact, use of adderall and cocaine to finish homework and projects is not unheard of amoungst college students and is more common than you think. According to the NIAAA (National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism), 60% of students have drank in the last month and 2 out of 3 binge drank. Drugs and alcohol are unavoidable on a college campus. However, there are the select few students who are in recovery and who work every day to fight an addiction against drugs and alcohol. For my digital story, I want to explore the journey of those in recovery who are also students at the University of Minnesota. What struggles have you come across? Has it been harder to be a part of the college community without being a part of the party scene? What is the success rate of addicts and alcoholics in college? Do addicts and alcoholics in college feel like they are missing out on a vital part of the college experience?
I have chosen this topic for my Digital Story because I am a recovering addict/alcoholic. I have been sober for 2 years prior to becoming a student at the University of Minnesota and have continued my ongoing sobreity since beginning my academic career here. Before college, I attended a sober high school called P.E.A.S.E. Academy (Peers Enjoying A Sober Education). This is the oldest recovery school in America and my graduating class still only had 11 students. Even though the community was small, I found it essential to my sobreity. Being surrounded by kids my own age who were not participating in getting drunk and/or high made it substantially easier to be the healthiest me I could be. I did have worries that I would relapse once I got to college. I voiced these concerns to my fellow addict who attends the U (I will refrain from using their name for anonimity purposes), and they informed me about the existence of the U of MN’s Sober Club. I contacted the Club President and they were more than willing to welcome me into the U’s recovery community.
My experience with drugs and alcohol during my first few weeks at college were not as bad as I expected it to be. During my first few attempts at making friends, the topic of drinking and smoking weed was brought up in almost all conversations. However, once I explained my situation the topic was dropped. I have been an outside observer, seeing my peers enter the world I once participated in. It is exciting for us youths to feel freedom for the first time, and with this freedom comes parties. The first couple of weeks (Welcome Week and the first week of classes) was full of parties. People indulged in drinking and made many friends through this social scene. I, however, stayed in my dorm room most of that time or participated in the “lame” events such as movie night (which I enjoyed! Finding Dory!!). To my astonishment, I have been pressured to drink and use drugs on only a few occasions. I do not blame those who challenged my sobriety, instead I tried to understand that they did not understand addiction. It is not their fault, addiction comes in many faces and it is not uncommon to find those who have not been properly educated on the disease. Other than those couple of encounters, it has been easy to stay true to my sobriety while at college.
Not only did I become a member of the Sober Club at the University of Minnesota, I became a Club Officer. Therefore, I see myself as an engaged member of the U of MN’s recovery community. For my Digital Story, I would like to interview willing members of the club to hear their stories and ask them questions to gather data for my project. How did they discover the Sober Club? Have you found it easier to abstain from drugs and alcohol since becoming a member? Are you also a member of any of the following: Narcotics Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous, etc.? If so, how do you balance going to meetings, meeting with your sponsor, going over step work, and going to school? Does the stress of school ever trigger you to use? If so, what do you do? What do you do for fun?
If there are addicts and alcoholics at the U of MN who are not a part of the Sober Club, I would like to interview any who would like to participate as well. Do you find it easier to be sober while not a part of the Sober Club at the U? Do you have a community of people that support your decision to abstain from drugs and alcohol? Do you work a program? Is that enough to keep you sober? What do you do for fun?
Here’s a link for some insight on what being young and sober is like: