If your addiction is at a level where you would benefit from round-the-clock care, taking a semester off may be your best option. You’re giving yourself the gift of achieving and maintaining sobriety to become a healthier, more capable person who can then successfully take on academic challenges.
If you’re entering an outpatient addiction treatment program where you attend meetings and counseling sessions for a few hours or days a week, you’ll have more flexibility to also fit college classes into your schedule. Since you’re not residing in a treatment facility during outpatient treatment, you have more schedule flexibility to attend classes.
However, don’t substitute outpatient for inpatient treatment if you need a higher level of support. A mental health professional can help you make the best choice to effectively treat your addiction.
By consulting with a mental health professional who has experience dealing with addiction, you’ll make a more informed choice that gets you to sobriety and helps you maintain it. Your first stop could be your college’s student mental health center. Addiction is a prevalent issue for many young people, and most colleges have services in place to help students. Some programs may refer you to off-campus treatment centers, and others may have services available right on campus.
If you’d rather find out about treatment off-campus, see a mental health professional privately such as a psychologist, social worker or psychiatrist. These types of certified and licensed specialists can help you explore your addiction treatment options with the understanding that college is also a priority for you.
Support Systems in College
Whether you decide to stay in school while attending outpatient treatment or take a break and attend a residential program, it’s important to build a support system that you can count on for help. A positive support system can offer advice, help you learn new skills and hold you accountable to do what needs to be done.
Your support system can consist of your sponsor, mentors, recovering peers, friends, family, therapists and addiction support groups. Many colleges also offer comprehensive support programs to help students in their recovery journeys.2 The more support you have, the better the chances are that you’ll enjoy long-term recovery and find success in your college career.