Can I Manage Addiction While Still Attending College?

April 20, 2023

Written By: Buena Vista Recovery

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2019, over 70,000 people died because of overdoses in the United States. Also, there were more deaths in youth and young adults aged 15 and over than in those aged 35-44 in the same year. These shocking statistics tell us that college-aged kids can be majorly affected by addiction. 

Unfortunately, many may feel like they can’t talk to others about their struggle with the use of substances or alcohol and, therefore, try to hide the problem from others. Then they will only reach out when they feel like there is no other choice. But you do not have to wait until you feel like you don’t have another option. You can start today by taking steps to manage addiction. Your addiction!

You Can Manage Addiction While Attending College

The short answer is yes! You absolutely can manage addiction while you are in college. It may seem like an impossible task, but it is possible. You can find fun things to do in college that don’t involve using substances or alcohol. If you are in college or planning on attending college but struggling with an addiction, you are not alone. 

There are so many people who have gone before you and got help with their addiction while they were still in college. It is all about setting yourself up for success and creating a positive support system around you, adding other types of support like counselors, rehab centers, and 12-Step meetings to be the most successful. 

Start With Small Steps to Manage Addiction

When you decide you are ready to kick your addiction, it is essential to start small. Maybe start with making a list of goals followed by some action steps you can take to achieve those goals. Make sure your goals are realistic and achievable, and challenging enough to push you out of your comfort zone. True change comes when you are outside of your comfort zone. 

Once you have made a list, keep track of the progress you have made. We recommend keeping track of things as thoroughly as possible so that if things get tough later, you can refer back to your notes and see what worked for you and what didn’t. This type of accurate record will help you on your path of recovery and, ultimately, self-improvement. 

Get Organized Ahead of Time

Benjamin Franklin once said, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” This quote is perfect for this situation. Not only are you in college, which is a ton of work and planning, to begin with, but now add trying to battle an addiction. It is a lot of work and many things to keep track of. 

There will be many things that you need to keep track of throughout this process, such as: 

  • Your class schedule
  • Extracurriculars
  • Homework assignments
  • Test dates

However, when struggling with addiction, you’ll also need to commit to some of the following: 

  • Group therapy
  • Individual therapy
  • 12-Step meetings
  • Meetings with case managers
  • Doctor’s appointments

All this is on top of trying to have a social life and make friends. 

It is important to take some time and figure out your schedule for your week. Maybe taking some time on Sunday to plan out your week. Write down a schedule that shows what appointments are on what days and what time they are, along with your class schedule. This will help you plan your days so that you don’t forget anything. It is the best way to set yourself up for success. 

Save Your Sanity While You Manage Addiction

There are things you can and shouldn’t do to help save your sanity throughout this process. One of those things is to keep yourself out of situations where substances might be present. Do you think it wouldn’t be wise to go to a party where friends and peers might try to pressure you into partying with them? It would be best to avoid those situations altogether. 

Although it can be difficult, it might also be a good idea to set boundaries with your friends. Ask them not to pressure you to participate in those activities and not to offer you any substances. If they cannot respect that boundary, it might be work keeping some distance from them. Hopefully, one day, they will be able to support you in your recovery. If now is not that time, it’s better to protect your peace than to keep a friendship that might derail your progress. 

Remember the Good Times

When you are in the thick of recovery, especially in the beginning parts of recovery, it can feel like you can’t do this. It can feel like it would be easier to use it again; this is not the case. It is simply not worth it. 

When these feelings start to arise, try to think back to the positive moments you have had in recovery. Try to think about all your successes to keep you going since most of those are no short suits. These are major things you have accomplished, and they deserve to be remembered when you feel like this is too hard to accomplish. 

Taking on the task of getting a degree while battling addiction is no small feat. However, you can still achieve your goals without relying on substances, and we are here to guide you through it. Higher education is challenging enough without adding the additional stress of substance use disorder. Together, we can help you create a custom schedule that will lead you to the road of accomplishment. If you are in need of inpatient treatment or a detox program, call Buena Vista Recovery. For information about treatment options and the services we offer, call us today at (480) 741-9414. We can help your brain recover and maximize efforts at school.