Substance Abuse Recovery in College: Community Supported Abstinence

Substance Abuse Recovery in College: Community Supported Abstinence

by H. Harrington Cleveland, Kitty S. Harris, Richard P. Wiebe

More than 80% of college students are drinking. More than a third do drugs. For students struggling with substance abuse, temptations on campus—and stressors that can derail abstinence—run high. In response, several colleges and universities offer effective support in the form of recovery communities, which are more appropriate to campus settings and

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More than 80% of college students are drinking. More than a third do drugs. For students struggling with substance abuse, temptations on campus—and stressors that can derail abstinence—run high. In response, several colleges and universities offer effective support in the form of recovery communities, which are more appropriate to campus settings and young adult development than traditional 12-step groups alone.

Substance Abuse Recovery in College explains in authoritative detail what collegiate recovery communities are, the types of services they provide, and their role in the context of campus life, with extended examples from Texas Tech University’s influential CSAR (Center for the Study of Addiction and Recovery) program. Using data from both conventional surveys and end-of-day daily Palm Pilot assessments as well as focus groups, the book examines community members’ experiences. In addition, the importance of a positive relationship between the recovery community and the school administration is emphasized.

Topics covered include:

• The growing need for recovery services at colleges.

• How recovery communities support abstinence and relapse prevention.

• Who are community members and their addiction and treatment histories.

• Daily lives of young adults in a collegiate recovery community.

• Challenges and opportunities in establishing recovery communities on campus.

• Building abstinence support into an academic curriculum.

This volume offers clear insights and up-close perspectives of importance to developmental and clinical child psychologists, social workers, higher education policymakers, and related professionals in human development, family studies, student services, college health care, and community services.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
From the reviews:

"One might expect to see a text book entitled Substance Abuse in College, not Substance Abuse Recovery in College which feels like an oxymoron. While most college campuses are challenged with providing effective prevention and education resources for students using and abusing substances, very few colleges focus on the recovery population. That is why th text is worth reading. Unique in its contribution to not only the field of adolescent development and addiction recovery, the text offers Higher Education another avenue for approaching and developing a comprehensive alcohol and other drug strategy: on campus recovery support. Additionally, it offers students in recovery hope, while demonstrating to all students that college life is not synonymous with substance abuse. ... This text is an important read for clinicians, higher education policy makers, health and human services and related professionals in human development."

Teresa Wren Johnston, MA, LPC, July 2010

"For many, the term ‘recovery’ conjures up images of worn out middle-aged former addicts or alcoholics. Severely dependent individuals often use drugs and/or drink for two decades or longer before seeking treatment or some other form of help (e.g., 12-step fellowships such as Alcoholics and/or Narcotics Anonymous). Most of what we know about the recovery experience and the type of environment and strategies that support recovery comes from studies conducted among individuals enrolled in treatment programs, individuals in their late 30’s or older. However, substance use typically starts in adolescence. The main contribution of Substance Abuse Recovery in College: Community Supported Abstinence, edited by H. Harrington Cleveland, Kitty S. Harris, and Richard P. Wiebe, is a message of hope: it demonstrates that alcohol and drug problems need not inexorably progress unchecked for years, even decades, shattering lives and dreams along the way, before the individual seeks recovery. Rather, the book demonstrates how youths with substance use problems can simultaneous nurture their recovery and achieve, even thrive, academically.

The book describes the Collegiate Recovery Communities at Texas Tech University (TTU), a youth oriented recovery community designed to support a substance-free life and to promote addiction recovery in the context of institutions of higher education that are too often ‘abstinence-hostile.’ Young people in the process of overcoming substance use problems often forego pursuing a higher education, arguably among the most important assets to a achieving ‘a good life’ but one that is too often denied or delayed by chronic addiction because of the rampant alcohol and drug use on college campuses and the peer-pressure to drink and/or do drug to ‘fit in.’ While 12-step fellowships are an important part of a successful collegiate recovery community, by themselves they may not be sufficient to support abstinence and recovery on a college campus where socializing often revolves around drinking and partying. Collegiate Recovery Communities (CRC) provide a supportive environment of peers in the academic setting, with three goals: (a) to lay a foundation for long-term and sustained recovery, (b) to provide a context where community members can safely pursue their education, and (c) to instill character in students to help them function in society. The program is guided and supported by professionals but relies most on peer-to-peer support, the basis of mutual aid groups, that provides not only abstinence and other forms of support but also role models, shared strategies to handle stress and resist temptations to use drugs or drink, acceptance, identification and a substance-free social network.

Written equally well for the scientist and the lay reader, the book reviews the need for college-based recovery communities and the theoretical Ericksonian foundations of the program; it then presents a series of studies describing the CRC students, their substance use and academic outcomes - a remarkably low rate of return to substance use and impressive grade point averages, and the strategies they use to maintain their recovery; using an innovative technique, daily diary data collection using palm pilots, the authors provide insights into students’ experiences being part of CRC, especially the social support network that promotes abstinence from drugs and alcohol use.

Not surprisingly, the TTU program has become a model for other colleges and universities to build their own collegiate recovery communities with the support of several federal agencies. The book finishes with a ‘lessons learnt’ chapter that puts the CRC model into the context of related efforts such as recovery schools, discusses the logistics of implementing and evaluating a recovery support program and presents examples of pilot efforts to export the model to other campuses. The book is a must read for educators, addiction scientists, and school and college counselors as well as for young people with substance use problems who are considering college, and for their parents."

-Alexandre B. Laudet, Ph.D., October 9, 2009

“Describes the implementation of a collegiate recovery community (CRC) … . this book may appeal to professionals working directly with adolescents and young adults with substance use disorders, as well as to researchers who study continuing care models or alcohol and drug use among college-age individuals. … The main value of this book, edited by H. Harrington Cleveland, Kitty S. Harris, and Richard P. Wiebe, is that it thoroughly introduces this novel continuing care model for college students recovering from addictions.” (Douglas C. Smith, PsycCRITIQUES, Vol. 55 (42), October, 2010)

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Product Details

Springer US
Publication date:
Advancing Responsible Adolescent Development Series
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.01(d)

Meet the Author

H. Harrington Cleveland received his J.D. at Boston College in 1991 and his Ph.D. in Family Studies and Human Development from the University of Arizona in 1998. Following his Ph.D., he spent 2 years as a National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Carolina Population Center at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. While at the University of North Carolina, he worked exclusively on analyzing data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health under the supervision of J. R. Udry. He has published extensively on the influences of genes and environments on both risk behaviors, such as alcohol and drug use, and the social experiences, such as associating with substance using peers, which can encourage these risk behaviors. The last few years, Dr. Cleveland has worked extensively with a community of college students in long-term recovery to understand how they construct their lives of abstinence.

Kitty Harris, Ph.D., is the Director of the Center for the Study of Addiction & Recovery at Texas Tech University. She is also Co-Director of the Texas Tech University Center for Child and Adolescent Development and Resiliency. Dr. Harris received her Master’s Degree in Speech Communication from University of North Texas in 1974 and her Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Studies from Texas Tech University in 1983. Dr. Harris currently holds LCDC and LMFT licenses. She has been on the faculty of Texas Tech University since 1988. In addition, she serves as the Program Director for Supportive Adolescent Services and Pre-Adolescent Supportive Services, a mentoring program in the Lubbock Independent School District designed to help teens with their everyday lives.
As Director of the Center for the Study of Addiction and Recovery, Dr. Harris coordinates two federal grants. One grant is a federal earmark in its second year of funding to replicate the Collegiate Recovery Community at universities nationwide. As a nationally recognized expert in recovery and recovery support, Dr. Harris was a member of the 2005 National Summit on Recovery sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and Center for Substance Abuse Treatment.

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