September is National Recovery Month, and during this month, a variety of prevention and recovery programs from all over the country share success stories and information in order to raise awareness for recovery programs, as well as those who are in recovery or have recovered from substance abuse.
Substance abuse is a serious and real issue that affects millions of people every year, and often goes hand in hand with mental illness. According to the American Addiction Centers, “eight and a half million American adults suffered from both a mental health disorder and a substance use disorder, or co-occurring disorders” in 2017.
In the midst of the deadly epidemic of substance abuse and addiction, Fairfield University maintains programs for students on their journey to recovery.
Lisa Arnold is the clinical director of the Collegiate Recovery Program at Fairfield University. Now in its eighth year, the recovery program provides young men who have suffered from substance abuse with the opportunity to combine their recovery with receiving a higher education.
Substance abuse awareness is raised through programs like the Collegiate Recovery Program and through National Recovery Month as a whole. Arnold believes that National Recovery Month is important “in order to educate Americans that substance abuse treatment and mental health services can enable those who are struggling with addiction to lead healthy and rewarding lives.”
Fairfield University offers compassionate and supportive treatment to victims of substance abuse through the Collegiate Recovery Program. Members live in a separate, cape-style house within walking distance of the University. Arnold says that this housing “provides students in recovery with all of the support and guidance they need to navigate their recovery programs, while also attending college.”
The program administers regular on-site drug screenings and breathalyzer tests to its members to ensure their sobriety and subsequent recovery.
The members of this program are also kept active through a variety of sober activities to assist them in their recovery.
“There is a recreational component, with sober trips including skiing, boating, golfing, retreats and many other activities that the residents may choose to attend,” Arnold mentioned.
The recovery program also promotes community service and involvement to go along with Fairfield’s service tradition. Members of the program can participate in service programs both on campus and in the local community.
Members of the recovery program participate in a 12-step program modeled after Ignatian spirituality, promoting the health and wellness of the mind, body and spirit. That program is facilitated by the house manager, Brian Dolan.
Dawn DeBiase, the director of the Social Work Masters Program, is an academic support advisor for the members of the recovery program, providing additional support.
The Collegiate Recovery Program is very important to the Fairfield community because it both helps those who are on their journey to recovery, and spreads awareness about substance abuse and mental health.
“By providing an education, resources and community connection, Fairfield University is changing the trajectory of recovering students’ lives. We carry this vision and commitment to foster and support those in recovery who seek a higher education throughout National Recovery Month, and every day of the year,” Arnold said.
Arnold is proud of the Collegiate Recovery Program and the work that has been done for those suffering with substance abuse.
“We are now in the 31st year of celebrating the gains made by those in recovery, promoting and supporting treatment and multiple pathways of recovery, the emergence of a strong and proud recovery community and the dedication of service providers and community members across the nation who make recovery in all of its forms possible,” Arnold said.