"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)