Dealing with Alcoholism and College Life

Every teenager dreams of the day when they can go off to college – away from the watchful eye of their parents – become independent for the first time and immerse themselves in the entire college experience. Meeting new friends, joining fraternities or sororities and having a big social calendar is just as much a part of the college experience as getting an education is. Unfortunately, so is drinking. Alcoholism and college life have evolved to go hand-in-hand, and while there is nothing wrong with letting loose with friends at a party after a long week of studying, it is important to know when it turns from fun into alcoholism.

Dangers of Alcoholism and College Life

According to, there are many consequences that happen when college students drink too much. They include:

  • 1,825 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die from alcohol-related unintentional injuries, including motor-vehicle crashes.
  • 696,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are assaulted by another student who has been drinking.
  • 97,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 report experiencing alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape.
  • Roughly 20 percent of college students meet the criteria for an AUD.
  • About 1 in 4 college students report academic consequences from drinking, including missing class, falling behind in class, doing poorly on exams or papers, and receiving lower grades overall.

Avoiding Alcoholism and College Life

If you are beginning college soon, or feel as if alcohol is already getting in the way of your studies, there are some things you can do to hopefully avoid experiencing alcoholism and college life.

  • Learn to say no. It is important to start setting boundaries for yourself. If you are feeling pressured into drinking or attending an event, when you know that you probably shouldn’t, just remember that it is okay to say no. Your friends might give you a hard time, but they will get over it. If they are your true friends, they will respect you and your boundaries. If they persist, it might be time to reevaluate your friendships.
  • Find sober activities you enjoy. If you’re looking to escape the drinking culture of college, find some sober hobbies or activities that you like to do. This can include joining a club on campus, volunteering or other extracurricular activities.
  • Lean on your support. The most important thing you can do is open up to your loved ones. Check-in with your family and friends and let them know how you are feeling, and listen to their advice.

What Can Parents Do?

If you are worried that your child might fall into alcoholism and college life, there are some things you can do to make sure you and your child feel as comfortable as possible. Even if you are thousands of miles away, there are many things you can do to remind your child that you are always there for them.

Check-In Often

While part of the college experience is children exploring their independence, it is still important that you check in with them often. Call or text them often and keep an eye for red flags on their social media. If you start noticing they are distancing themselves from you, their grades are suffering or that they are acting differently, take note. These are the beginning signs that a problem is occurring.

Educate Your Child

Make sure your child understands the dangers of binge drinking and the consequences that can happen. Alcoholism and addiction know no boundaries, and anyone can be affected. If you or your child feels like it won’t happen to them, it is important to know that you are not exempt. Make sure you and your family understand all the dangers and how to prevent them from happening.

Provide Support

One of the most important things you can do as a parent is to provide support for your child. Make sure you don’t get upset if they come to you with an issue related to alcohol and provide an understanding and helpful ear. Help them find resources on campus, such as a sober study group or other sober resources, if they are feeling overwhelmed by the pressures of drinking and partying.

About Pinelands Recovery Center

College can be a wonderful life-shaping experience for many people, and it can still be just as enjoyable without alcohol. It is important to remember the main reason you are in college, which is to earn and education. Everything else that comes along with it is a bonus, so don’t feel bad if you need to turn down events or feel like taking a step back from social activities. It is important you put yourself and your well-being first while you are in college so that you can get the best education possible.

Pinelands Recovery Center of Medford is widely known as one of New Jersey’s finest, most respected addiction treatment facilities. With comfortable 30-bed accommodations and 24-hour professional staff, we can offer clients a serene, relaxing environment amid the lush piney woods. This stress-free setting with its sense of warmth and welcoming enables you to feel comfortable and confident about your clean and sober life ahead.

We will establish clear goals, both general in nature and specific to your needs. We continue to monitor those goals, to make sure that our clients are progressing and buying into their recovery plan. We thrive on assisting clients in feeling connected to the recovery community, share and demonstrate effective coping techniques, help clients to modify attitudes and patterns of behavior and everything else you will need to be happy and productive living a sober, healthy life.

We ensure that clients complete their planned concrete tasks, encourage hope, optimism and healthy living. Our recovery program is not a revolving door treatment program; it is a recovery model designed to help clients go on to lead productive, happy lives. For more information, visit