Seawolves for Recovery Helps Students Succeed, Be Well and Have Fun
Have fun and do well in school. Pared down, they’re the twin goals of most college students. Some will achieve them more easily than others, but for students who are in recovery from alcohol or drug use, the process can be an uphill battle.
“It’s a real challenge to be on a college campus where socialization, unfortunately, often revolves around drinking and drug use,” says Lara Hunter, Coordinator of Alcohol and Drug Clinical Services at Stony Brook. “Students are left with very few options if they’re trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle.”
Enter Seawolves for Recovery, Stony Brook’s Collegiate Recovery Community (CRC), a campus-wide program that provides a regular college experience for students without the use of alcohol and drugs. Through social activities, life skills seminars, and recreational events, students involved in Seawolves for Recovery meet other students in recovery who are having fun, staying in school and staying sober. Collegiate Recovery Communities have been established on campuses nationwide; the CRC program is sponsored by the Stacie Mathewson Foundation.
One of the goals of Stony Brook’s program is to provide peer support among students within a nonjudgmental and accepting community. Students anywhere along the continuum of recovery – from those who’ve just taken their first step of acknowledgement to those who have had prior treatment – are welcome. Seawolves for Recovery takes students to the next phase, helping them to maintain recovery as they go through school.
“We offer a socializing alternative,” Lara explains. “Our goal is to find those students who are out there and bring them together.”
According to the organization Transforming Youth Recovery, for individuals who begin using alcohol and drugs before the age of 18, one in four will develop an addiction. Recovery is not a straight path and it may take years or a lifetime to recover, but the younger a person stops using, the greater the prognosis.
“We know from our research that almost 30 percent of students will identify that they have an alcohol- or drug-related concern,” says Lara, citing statistics gathered through Counseling and Psychological Services and other campus-wide research methods. “That’s significant.” Her concern led her and colleagues last year to apply for a grant to fund a CRC at Stony Brook. The grant was awarded, and funding will go toward programming and partnering with other campus resources such as the Career Center and Campus Recreation.
“Students in recovery are not alone,” Lara says. “Here they can see other students who have done really well and have been successful in maintaining their sobriety. They can see by example that this is a possibility for them, too.”
The group meets once a week in a discreet campus setting. For more information about Seawolves for Recovery, email them at SeawolvesForRecovery@gmail.com.
By Toby Speed