Even without addiction issues, going back to school can be a bear. Going from middle school to high school is a huge shift, but more often than not, you’re not away from home. However, the shift from high school to college can be huge, especially if going to college means living on your own. All of a sudden the safety of any parental input (no matter how annoying it may be) is gone–trust me when I say this, you’ll eventually miss the family dinners you fought so hard to get out of.
There are a few things to keep in mind when going back to school, particularly when most schools and colleges are starting and our nerves are shaking. If we’re newly sober, then the heat is really on, particularly when we’re going back to our old stomping grounds.
- Stay connected with your sponsor and others in sobriety.
- Set firm boundaries with old friends that may be weary of the new you. If they want you to “hang out” like you used to before you “went away,” say no. Real friends won’t try to drag you down.
- Maintain open communication, not only with your sponsor and friends, but with your parents and therapists as well. Recovery is a net: if you weave a wide enough web, you are more apt to create an environment of emotional and physical safety.
- Develop a healthy exercise program. Sometimes, a good run or a long bike ride can clear a muddled mind. This is a great area to create a buddy system. If you don’t do it one day, you didn’t fail!
- Make realistic goals. You don’t have to do everything at once.
- Remember to be kind to your body: just because you’re sober doesn’t mean you can start poisoning your system with junk food.
- HALT: never get too Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired
- Show up no matter what. You’re not only showing up for others, you’re showing up for yourself and your sobriety.
The reality is, school can be frightening: the newness, the change, and the idea of venturing into the unknown. Taking things one breathe at a time is key to survival. Sleep is your friend, cry if you need to, and ask for help. Everything is going to be okay!Resources:
Angels at Risk
Angels at Risk