As summer fades, we begin to feel the pull of school and all that it entails. Walking into any store right now will confirm this, hook, line and sinker. Target has their entire back section stocked to the brim with back to school supplies. Seriously. It’s happening right now and we can’t avoid it. It’s time to wipe the sand from beneath our feet and get ready to rock our backpacks once again.
Often, the dilemma for those who got sober or stayed sober through the summer break is this: How do we navigate going back to school without getting sucked into the rabbit hole of drugs and alcohol, or stress and anxiety, or all of the above? Is it even plausible to keep our old friends or is moving on safer? Will we still be hip or cool now that the crutch of a bottle or a pocket full of pills has been removed? For some, yes, it’s possible to go back into those spaces without falling down, for others, perhaps not. The answers to these questions are really contingent on the individual. Just as addiction and mental health don’t fit into a one-size-fits-all category, neither does recovery. There are definitely some suggestions that might help you find the way to your own answers and help you get back to school using a safe, sober strategy.
- Make sure you are going to meetings. Now, more than ever, you will need the security and support of a recovery community.
- Do you have a sponsor? If not, get one, stat. If you do have one, make sure you continue to work with him or her and continue to check in on a regular basis.
- Ask your school advisor or counselor if there are any sober clubs or groups at your school. You are more than likely not alone in your recovery.
- If there isn’t a sober group or club at school, start one!
- Make new friends. Some of your old ones may, in fact, have to go. It’s for the best anyway. You are on a new path now.
- Stay connected. There’s nothing worse than finding oneself in a situation where you feel emotionally alone and unsupported.
- Ask for help–no matter what. It is not a sign of strength to suck it up; it’s a sign of strength to ask for help. (Took me forever to “get” this one!)
- Get excited about school and about learning in general. You are feeding your brain, after all.
- Make school your full-time job, in other words, give it 100% of your energy.
- Keep your sobriety your priority and make school your driving force.
Don’t forget to have fun! Life is so much better when you have a sense of humor.