We asked a CRP participant to tell us more about their experience with the Collegiate Recovery Program. Here is more about their experience, in their own words!
What do you enjoy most about the CRP?
The community! In addition to the awesome counselors that run the CRP, the other students in the recovery at the CRP became some of my closest friends at Georgia Tech and a group of people who are always eager to help and support each other.
What can I expect from the CRP Recovery Seminar?
The recovery seminar was always the part of a week I looked forward to the most. It is always a relaxed and welcoming environment full of people excited to support and connect with other students in recovery, whoever they may be and regardless of their background or reason for being in recovery. We all understand that addiction is a challenge which people from all walks of life can face. Each seminar usually begins with us "checking in." During this, I would have the opportunity to say how my week was going or whatever else may be on mind. This could range from being anything from plans I'm looking forward to the upcoming week, to difficulties and challenges in recovery or classes, to venting about personal problems or insecurities, to saying nothing at all if I preferred to just sit and listen. Never once did I feel pressured to share more or less than what I wanted, or felt looked down on in any way. After checking in, we usually had some activity during seminar. Some of the more memorable ones for me were some of the mini-clinics we had on time management, having healthy relationships, and getting good sleep, as well as more hands-on activities like making vision boards from magazine clippings. We’ve had some AWESOME CRP trips as well where we’ve gone camping, to a Brave’s game, haunted houses, and Top Golf to name a few. These activities were always fun and laid back, and what I got out of them was not only the opportunity to take a time-out from my day-to-day life to learn about myself and healthy habits, but to connect and grow with other students in recovery.
How does the CRP help you in your recovery?
Above all else, the CRP helped me in recovery by being a support network which kept me accountable to be the person I strive to be. The CRP and its community did this not by being an authoritarian stick to keep me sober for one more day by reminding me of my mistakes, but by being a pillar of support which I could lean on for so much more than just staying sober. The CRP helped me by being a definitive constant reminder to myself of my intentions to focus on what is truly important to me, and to not become consumed in my worries and challenges of the present day. By acting as this reminder and with the unconditional support of the surrounding community, the CRP has helped me with so much more than just staying sober: I have developed some of my closest friendships, I have been able to address and let go of problems in my past, I have rebuilt relationships with my family, and I have rediscovered what is truly meaningful to me and am now able to realize this meaning every day in a career I love. Joining the CRP was one of the most difficult, yet simple actions I have ever taken, and I have not regretted it once since.
What has your experience with AA been like?
There are a million and one different ways which may push someone to try sobriety, from legal problems to personal damages, but in order for sobriety to be successful for an alcoholic there needs to be more than just factors pushing them into sobriety and attending meetings; there needs to be a pull as well. For me, AA is precisely that; it has not so much pushed me to stop using drugs and alcohol but has been a course of action to pull my life in sobriety forward towards a life full of authenticity and meaning.
I had no intention of joining AA when I got sober, but one event led to the next and one day I found myself in an AA meeting on Georgia Tech’s campus. I was incredibly hesitant at first, and I don’t think I said a single word any of those first couple meetings. I felt like control of my life was being taken away from me, and I was tentative to open up and give AA the little bit of control I felt I had left. To my surprise, however, no one seemed the slightest bit offended by my lack of participation or even slightly inclined on telling me what I should/shouldn't be doing. At that time, I wasn’t completely convinced AA or even sobriety was what I wanted in my life, so I was relieved that no one at those meetings was judging me for why I was there, but only there to share their experiences and offer help if I wanted it. Eventually, I warmed up to this community and began listening and relating to the experiences of others. Never was I expected to accept something “just because” and I was always encouraged to just take what works for me and to not worry about measuring up my own story or what is successful to others. What has worked for my recovery, however, has been the 12-step program outlined in Alcoholics Anonymous by working with others in recovery. I have no pressure in the world to keep going back to these meetings, but I do anyways because I find meaning and am energized by getting to connect with both new and old friends who are interested in learning more recovery. This simple act has been one of the most meaningful experiences in my life and it has given me the greatest gift I could ever ask for; to be able to live life on life’s terms, both the warts and roses alike, and to do so without needing to escape with any addiction.
To anyone reading this who is interested in sobriety for themselves or someone else, no matter whether you are certain that you need help stopping a bad habit or have a vague feeling that there is something off with your relationship to alcohol or drugs, I would just say that the doors of AA are always open to you free of any judgment and with no strings attached. All are welcome, and it might just end up the simplest but best steps in your life.