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Staying Sober in College: A Recovering Addict’s Guide

Staying Sober in College: A Recovering Addict’s Guide

Staying Sober in College: A Recovering Addict’s Guide

When some people think about college, they may think of late-night parties, experimenting with drugs, and getting wild.

Because of this party-scene stereotype, college can be daunting for people in recovery. If you just got out on an alcohol detox center and are heading off to school in recovery, you may be concerned about how to be sober in college when you are surrounded by these numerous drug triggers. Although it may have a bad rep, college is about a lot more than partying.

How to Stay Sober in College

Contrary to what you may see in the movies, being sober in college (and still having a good time) is possible. Staying sober at school is all about preparation and being proactive. Our Boca rehab has a few tips to help you stay on track.

Avoid Addiction Triggers

Unfortunately, college can be filled with addiction triggers. While you will not be able to dodge them all, you can do your best to steer clear of the obvious ones. It is best to avoid house parties, frat parties, clubs, and bars. Also avoid the high risk of relapse with an alternative spring break.

Choose Your Living Environment Carefully

Your environment is important. With the frequent parties, living on campus or in college housing may be too much. If possible, you may want to consider living at home and commuting to school. This type of arrangement would let you surround yourself with family support. If you live farther away, look for housing options that are not designated solely for students to limit your exposure to these party scenes and addiction triggers.

Be Active in Your Sobriety

Successful recovery is about being active in your sobriety. Just because you are done with rehab doesn’t mean you should disregard everything you learned while you were there. You should continue to practice the techniques from the different addiction treatment therapies you partook in and attend local meetings on a regular basis.

Stay Busy

Boredom can lead to relapse, so it is important to stay busy. Thankfully, college is filled with groups and activities that you can join. Try something new, get back to your hobbies, or start your own club if they don’t have exactly what you are looking for. There may already be a group for people who are in recovery that could be beneficial to join.

Follow A Routine

Just because some people may gain the freshman 15, doesn’t mean you have to. Part of addiction recovery is sticking to a healthy routine. You should try to still exercise regularly, eat right, and practice good sleep habits. Now that you are in school, it may be harder to follow, but a healthy routine will help keep your sobriety on track and help with your overall well-being.

Pick Friends Wisely

Staying sober in college depends a lot on who your friends are. These are the people that you will be spending almost all of your time with or even living with, so it is important that you choose wisely. Avoid the people who want to go out and party every night as their lifestyle can be detrimental to your sobriety. Instead, try to find friends that are comfortable staying in or who do not drink. A good way to go about this is to be honest about your sobriety. If someone isn’t receptive to it, you probably don’t want to be their friend anyway. You can also try to connect with peers from your rehab programs.

Focus on Your Studies

Remember, you are at college to get a degree, not to party. Some students get carried away with the party scene and their grades will suffer. Because you are staying sober in college, you have plenty of time to focus on your studies. While your peers may be partying, you could be building your resume and setting yourself up for success in the future.


Along with joining various club and activities, now is also a good time to volunteer your time. Volunteering can not only keep you busy to help you avoid relapse, but it can also give you a sense of purpose that you may still be searching for in recovery.

Go to School Part-Time

If you are struggling, you may want to consider backing down and only going to school part-time. This type of arrangement also allows you more time to work and focus on your recovery. Eventually, when you start to feel more comfortable, you could try full-time.

Staying sober in college may be a bit of a challenge, but it is certainly doable when you have the right tools and support. If you are still struggling with an addiction problem or recently relapsed, get help now. School could exacerbate these issues and set you on a dangerous path.

Addiction doesn’t need to control your life or the life of your loved one. At Banyan Boca, we want to help people find lasting sobriety. For more information, call us today at 888-280-4763.

Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.
Staying Sober in College: A Recovering Addict’s Guide
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