Campus recovery center sees growth

New support groups established since center’s inception last fall

After a year since its inception, the Center for Students in Recovery has increased its operations to provide support for students recovering from addiction.

The center also established a new student organization in January called Students for Recovery, which organizes social activities twice a month like bowling, camping and watch parties for students in recovery.

Its purpose is to cultivate a supportive community of students that can benefit academically and socially while maintaining their recovery said Matison McCool, a student worker at the center and the president of Students for Recovery.

McCool said the greatest challenge has been tailoring the program around students’ varying needs.

“I’ve gained the ability to combine my education with my recovery,” McCool said. “Because it’s on campus, I don’t have to leave during the day to catch a (recovery) meeting.”

Collegiate Recovery Manager Zachary Ramsey said people have become engaged in the activities at the center, which he attributes to a need for it on campus.

Additional group sessions have recently began at the center, including a peer-led eating disorder support group held Tuesdays at 6:45 p.m. called “Nourish.” It is a process group, which means that group members communicate openly and honestly with each other in a safe environment, Ramsey said.

According to the National Eating Disorder Association, about 10-20 percent of female college students and 4-10 percent of male college students have eating disorders. They also have the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder, and the longer they are left untreated, the more permanent and serious the damage becomes, according to the Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders.

The center offers a variety of services including individual counseling with a professional, recovery meetings and groups. Students can participate in groups which provide social support while in recovery, but counseling can also be helpful for individuals with addictive behavior, Ramsey said. There are a total of eight different groups available at the center.

They work mainly around students’ schedules. The center is open and active from Tuesday through Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. It also celebrates recovery milestones the first Friday of every month.

Eric van Leeuwen, a graduate student who has been in recovery for nine years, said that before the center opened, recovery used to be separate from life on campus and it used to be very private.

“During my day, I have the chance to just go in and decompress and be around people in recovery that are on the same path.” van Leeuwen said.

Ramsey said young adults in recovery have unique circumstances because drinking and recreational drug use are more common in this period of life than in any other.

Graduate student Ashley Pinon said she’s felt like an outcast because of her abstinence from alcohol.

“(The center) brings a sense of normalcy to being a college student,” she said.

The center also began a meditation group once a week, since meditation is thought to relieve stress and anxiety, as well as reduce addictive cravings. The meetings are held at 2:30 pm on Tuesdays.

There are groups open to students with any kind of addiction including Campus Open Recovery on Thursday nights and a process group on Fridays.

“No matter what somebody is dealing with, we can help them in some way through educating them and providing support,” Ramsey said.

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