Tips for Managing School Life While in Recovery

Drinking and partying can seem like a must-have rite of passage when in school. It’s usually young people’s first time ever living away from home without the watchful eye of their parents, which creates the perfect storm for hard partying. With so many social events and substances floating all around you, it can be difficult to figure out how to manage school life while in recovery. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to make sure you keep your sobriety as priority number one while navigating college.

Lean on Your Support

Support is absolutely essential during recovery. It’s almost impossible to go through a sober life alone, which makes it extremely important that you find a sober support group while in school. Many campuses offer a sober group meet-up, or you can find an outpatient meeting near you for people to lean on.

Having this sober support is important so that you can still enjoy activities while at school without feeling the pressure to take part in all the substances. You can find things to do other than partying, such as going to the movies, bowling, concerts, hiking or much more. If you have reached a point in your recovery where you are more easily able to navigate triggers, you can even take your sober support with you to social events where substances are present. That way, you won’t feel so alone, as if you’re the only sober person in the room.

Don’t Be Afraid to Say No

Saying no might seem like you’re a party pooper or like you’re “no fun” to the peers around you, but it is very important for you to set boundaries. One of the most important ways to manage school life while in recovery is to let the people closest to you know that you are sober. You can also ask them to never offer you any substances to set boundaries. This healthy boundary will help you avoid any potentially triggering situations with your non-sober friends, and they might even stand up for you if there’s any peer pressure happening from outside people.

In addition, don’t be afraid to say no to parties or potentially triggering situations. Your sobriety is priority number one, and you are the one who picks and chooses what goes on your calendar.

Have an Exit Strategy

If you do choose to take part in a potentially triggering situation, such as a party or celebration, make sure that you have an exit strategy in case it becomes too much to handle. For example, never offer to be the designated driver for your friends, and never agree to it if they ask you. This is a potentially dangerous situation because you will feel obligated to remain at the party all night with them to make sure they get home safely.

Other exit strategies for managing school like while in recovery are to pretend like you have other plans or to simply be honest about how you’re feeling with those around you. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, just tell someone close to you and let them know that you are leaving, and to not take it personally. Some situations can be hard to miss out on – such as a holiday party or a close friend’s birthday – but remember, you can always say no. Nothing is more important than your sobriety.

Keep a Routine

One of the most important things when it comes to both school life and maintaining sobriety is to keep a routine. While classes and studying alone can make up a good portion of your time, there is always downtime. Find healthy ways to fill it, such as finding an exercise program or joining a club on campus. You can also volunteer, find a part-time job or find ways to get involved with your school.

Pace Yourself

While the idle hands can be the devil’s workshop, it’s important not to overwhelm yourself. Stress can become a trigger for relapse, so make sure you are pacing yourself and only committing to what you can handle. You are in control of your life, so if you feel as if you are doing too much – then scale back.

Maintain Your Self Care

It’s very easy to let your self-care slip while in college. Sports, social events, clubs and class loads can easily become stressful for anybody. Make sure you find time for yourself and find the relaxation that every college student desperately needs. Self-care can mean something different to everybody. Maybe you enjoy mindlessly binge-watching some Netflix, going on a long bike ride or writing poetry. Whatever it is that gives you peace and happiness, do that, and make it a priority at some point during the week.

About Pinelands Recovery Center

Remember: the number one reason for going to school is to receive an education. While the social aspect of college is important, it doesn’t mean that it has to involve drinking and using substances. You can manage school life while in recovery – and still have a great time!

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