Collegiate Recovery Programs: Green Lights and Red Flags

The recent proliferation of collegiate recovery programs is a great boon for young people who wish to pursue higher education in a manner consistent with their recovery. There are some consistent qualities that indicate a reputable program, and there are some warning signs that students and their families should be aware of. With attention to these simple guidelines, thoughtfulness, and consideration, hopeful collegiate recovery students can make wise decisions about which schools to attend.

Danger indicators families can look for

While no collegiate recovery program is responsible for the abstinence or relapse of its member students, if there are no students in the program with more than a very short period of clean time or sobriety, that can indicate an issue. Another point of concern is whether the program is run or supervised by trained counselors or professionals. Though staff should interact with and be empathetic with students, romantic relationships between the two is a HUGE red flag! The final warning sign students and parents can avoid is programs that do not embrace abstinence as the gold standard for recovery. Acceptance of drug replacement therapies or harm reduction practices have their places in any good program, but the goal should remain complete abstinence.

Best of the best!

A strong and reputable collegiate recovery program need not be long-established or have huge numbers of participants. However, a high-quality program will be affiliated with some type of national association or accreditation, such as The Association of Recovery in Higher Education. A reputable program will be a nonprofit entity and have the involvement of certified addiction specialists on some level, ideally working directly with the students in the program. There is no one-size-fits-all model for a collegiate recovery program, good solid recovery is available from the Ivy League to community colleges. There are many unique programs available, such as club houses for socializing, safe and sober living accommodations, swag, free or subsidized group trips, and even access to therapy animals.  Beyond simply saving the lives of people in recovery, collegiate recovery programs aim to teach their members how to live fun, healthy, and purposeful lives.

The Ammon Scholarship Foundation seeks to empower people in recovery from substance misuse disorders to continue or complete their educational goals. Our blog is here to offer helpful information to anyone in the recovery field, including family members and professionals.