Healing at Home: UT’s Recovery Housing Initiative

Healing at Home: UT’s Recovery Housing Initiative

SOPHIA TRAN

At a university as big as UT, certain resources and offices specifically intended for our full utilization can become obscured beneath the faff of classwork and administration. One such office has recently taken big steps  toward accommodating the over fifty-thousand students attending UT Austin. The Division of Student Affairs houses the Center for Students in Recovery, a program specifically aimed at students recovering from addiction and substance abuse. The main goals of this office are:

  1. To offer support to all ages and levels of people affiliated with the university, whether they be undergraduates, graduates, faculty, or staff.

  2. To provide supportive programming in the form of social activities, group meetings, service events, and more.

  3. To provide a safe space

  4. To provide resources with a team of committed professionals

CSR recently enacted a housing initiative to start Fall 2017 at Moore-Hill dormitory. This initiative will provide roommate matching between sober students and students overcoming alcohol abuse with established sobriety in the months leading up to move-in.  

The truly remarkable aspect of this initiative does not lie in the fact that alcoholic students are attending regularly scheduled AA meetings and meeting with coaches, nor does it reside in the fact that sober roommates will police them throughout their stays. Rather, the most important point that underlies this program is that learning to overcome addictions such as alcoholism is not done in a closed environment, and CSR’s clear acknowledgment of this fact has extended into this housing initiative.

Let’s do a thought experiment: suppose you were faced with multiple deadlines and obligations. Would you run away from responsibility and let the work consume you? Or would you tackle the issue head-on, and deal with it gradually until it dissipated? Most would elect to suck it up, recognize what needs to be done, and deal with the issues at hand instead of breaking down in the long run . In many ways, this is analogous to CSR’s approach to tackling recovery.

 

Learning is done best in a collaboraitve, immersive environment , and CSR’s new initiative will help students recovering from alcoholism get and stay sober by promoting this exact kind of learning.   With CSR integrating their mission into student housing , the task of recovery is not simply a weekly visit to the CSR office, but an occurrence of everyday life as they live and sleep in the presence of a constant, positive example. Surely, alcohol is not absent in student housing. The culture still exists there, and freshmen will be freshmen. However, learning to cope and recover in the presence of this white noise is much more beneficial long-term, as opposed to attempting recovery in an insulated environment.

 

If anything, this project is an exercise in realism. Knowing that you’re living in a world with alcohol, drugs, and temptation everywhere you turn, living a day sober, two days sober, one week or one month sober will get easier (and more natural) with time. Rather than pushing away traditionally “bad” things,, CSR has come to embrace the perseverance of recovering students in the presence of things that will always be present in a college environment. CSR is encouraging students to say, “Well here’s what I learned, and here’s how I apply it”, thus facing the difficulties of recovery head-on.

 

To learn more about CSR, visit

https://recovery.utexas.edu/index.html

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