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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Recovery High Schools, Colleges and Sober Living College Programs

We can all agree that raising children, parenthood, is a full time "career." If you are lucky your child (ren) will move through life learning and enjoying life and celebrate high school graduation with plans for college or motivated to find a career with employment in a field that continues their maturation in becoming functioning adults. However, many parents often find themselves discovering that their child has started to use drugs or alcohol and then come to discover that their beautiful child has crossed over from drug use to full-blown addiction. So what does a parent do? If you are lucky you can find recovery treatment for your child with the help of counselors and hopefully entering treatment is accepted by your child before they become entangled in the legal system.

Recovery treatment for teens can work miracles. They learn about their disease, they make new friends, they spend anywhere from 30 to 180 days sorting through the process of recovery and look forward to "starting over" and returning to their family and taking each day one day at a time. But what becomes of the teenager who has just discharged and finds him or herself back in the high school environment where they don't fit in because now that they have experienced sobriety they are not sure how they will relate to old friends and temptations?  The fact is it is hard to do.

Our last post dealt with high school kids looking to fit in after going through treatment. Today we want to talk about alternatives that are available in the United States for sober high school students, college students and even those who may have dropped out of college and sought treatment and are now looking to reboot their college goals while living in a sober living home.

You might be surprised to learn that the first recovery high school was conceived in 1987 and opened its doors in 1989 as Sobriety High in Edina, Minnesota. Now 25 years later there are at least 35 recovery high schools in the United States and five more in development. Additionally, the non-profit Association of Recovery Schools was founded and its members include sober high schools, colleges and associates and whose mission is:

"The Association of Recovery Schools advocates for the promotion, strengthening, and expansion of secondary and post-secondary programs designed for students and families committed to achieving success in both education and recovery.
ARS exists to support such schools which, as components of the recovery continuum of care, enroll students committed to being abstinent from alcohol and other drugs and working a program of recovery."

According to NBC Nightly News, while recovery high schools first started in 1987 recovery dorms were first offered on a college campus in 1988 at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J.  Today, July 18, 2012, the 11th Annual Association of Recovery Schools Conference will get underway in Houston, TX.

The message today is that there are answers and solutions. We just need to ask the question "where can my teenager or young college age student continue their recovery after primary treatment?"

Learn more from Michelle Lipinski, founder of Northshore Recovery High School in Beverly, MA. As Michelle says of her students, our children, "They are all worthwhile..."

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