New resource for college students recovering from substance abuse
UW-L student Tim Good noticed the warning signs of alcohol addiction his freshman year. He’d spend Friday and Saturday nights drinking in excess, consuming anywhere from 10-12 shots of vodka.
Good says addiction is a problem on both sides of his family. His half brother missed out on college because of a heroin addiction.
Early in his college career, Good worried he was headed down the same track as his brother. When the addiction started to affect his part-time job and grades, he wanted out.
“I was like wait, wait, wait… I can’t do this,” he recalls.
Good says support from friends helped him notice the problem and see a way out. Now a UW-L junior, he hopes to do the same for others as UW-L’s new recovery intern.
The position coordinates The La Crosse Collegiate Recovery Program, which aims to connect students recovering from all types of substance abuse from La Crosse’s three colleges. Good is charged with helping forge those connections by planning alternative events and working with community partners such as Coulee Council on Addictions.
The La Crosse Collegiate Recovery Program is funded by a $10,000 grant UW-L received from Transforming Youth Recovery, an organization dedicated to helping students who are recovering from addiction.
The next alternative event is a film screening of “The Anonymous People” at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 29 in Ward Room, Cartwright Center.
Good is getting the word out about the addiction events. Statistics show he’s not alone in his addiction struggles during college. About 20 percent of full-time college students meet the medical criteria for substance abuse and dependence, according to a 2007 report from the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University.
Yet, students on college campuses often find it hard to find other students going through recovery, says Kristen Marin, associate psychologist in UW-L’s Counseling and Testing Center who helped apply for the grant. “What really helps with recovery is to have others who know what you’re going through,” says Marin. “Sometimes college students don’t feel like they fully fit some of the community resources available.”
That’s why the new program specifically targets college students. Good says he caught his addiction in time — before it caused him major harm. Now he’s helping others do the same. A community health education major, he’d like to use his own struggle to one day work with people in recovery as a community health educator.
Good started as UW-L’s recovery intern in February 2014. He is already seeing how fulfilling that work can be.
“Hearing the feedback and excitement from participants that something like this is starting was huge for me,” says Good. “I realized this is what I need to be doing. I want to help those in recovery — help them have the chance that my older brother didn’t have.”
Get involved in recovery efforts
Faculty, staff and students who want to get involved or support La Crosse Collegiate Recovery can visit the Facebook page or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The program is looking for students who could potentially benefit from the program, as well as anyone interested in being an ally of the program or providing mentoring to people in the program.