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Habits of Successful Sober College Students

College-Aged Substance Abuse

The idea that college is both a time for learning and for heavy partying is one that has dominated our culture for decades. And while many students can manage to party responsibly and still get their coursework completed, there are others who quickly find their party lifestyle spiraling out of control. For these students, the risk of potentially developing an addiction is a very real one.

The most recent study from Monitoring the Future found that among college students:

  • 67% consumed alcohol within the last month
  • 32% participated in binge drinking within the last two weeks
  • 27% used marijuana in the last month, with nearly 10% reporting daily use
  • 19% used an illicit substance in the last year

Habits of Successful Sober College Students

While there is certainly no shortage of temptation on college campuses to use drugs or alcohol, that doesn’t mean there is no hope for students trying to live a sober life. Arming yourself with healthy habits can help set you up for a successfully sober college experience. Here are our top nine healthy habits that we believe can help you maintain your sobriety while in college.

Surround Yourself With Sober Friends

Perhaps the most important change you can make to help you stay sober is to surround yourself with sober friends. Whether it is because they are also in recovery, or simply because they do not believe in using substances, these people are going to be the best at supporting you in your journey. Others in recovery will also be able to help you hold yourself accountable for attending treatments or meetings you may still need.

Avoid High Risk Situations

One of the biggest reasons why people relapse is because they end up putting themselves into risky situations. This usually means trying to hang out with your old substance-using crowd, or going to Greek or tailgating events, believing that you can simply say “no” if you are offered drugs or alcohol. But the fact is that it is extremely difficult to stay sober if you are in these situations because old habits die hard. Avoid putting yourself in any type of high-risk situation by politely declining the invitation – and remember that you don’t need to justify your decisions to anyone who doesn’t understand.

Aim to Live A Balanced Life

While it may be tempting to try and throw yourself totally into your studies and ignore everything else, this is not going to lead to long-term success for sober college students. It is a good idea to try to avoid having too much free time, but you should also make time for fun, positive activities like trying new hobbies or hanging out with sober friends. Consider volunteering in your local community to help others in need. These can all help you to unwind, build self-esteem, and help keep you from feeling overwhelmed by your coursework.

Learn How to Manage Stress

Stress is one of the biggest enemies of sobriety, which is why sober college students should have de-stressing activities to turn to when things get tough. This can be anything from exercise to meditation to a relaxing hobby. Having these healthy coping mechanisms to turn to when you’re stressed from projects or finals can make a world of difference for helping you stay sober.

Take Advantage of On-Campus Resources

With the rising concern of substance abuse on college campuses across the nation, many have begun to offer on-campus resources for students. This can include a number of different things, from sober dorms to recovery programs. Research what your campus offers, and take advantage of what is available to you to support your sobriety.

Keep Your Sobriety in Perspective

It can be tempting to fall into a rut watching other students go out to parties and the like while you stay behind. That is why it is very important for you to keep your sobriety in perspective. Think of it less as giving something up, and more as working toward something bigger – getting good grades, gaining knowledge, and maturing in order to find yourself in a rewarding career one day.

Avoid Party Destinations for Breaks

This goes hand-in-hand with avoiding high-risk situations, but it is worth talking about on its own. Many sober college students may think that going to a party destination for break doesn’t mean that they will relapse, the fact is that it almost certainly guarantees it. You can’t expect to be surrounded by upwards of thousands of people drinking and partying and still avoid falling back into old habits. Instead, choose a totally different destination and invite sober friends to come along with you. Make your own trip full of sightseeing and trying new foods or activities, and feel more confident that you will return to campus without breaking your hard-earned sobriety.

Anticipate and Prepare for Relapse

For most people who have an addiction, relapse is going to be a very real issue at least one during their lifetime. For sober college students, the risk is even higher. Stress from coursework and temptation to party are both very real issues that can contribute to relapse. In order to help avoid this issue, you should anticipate and prepare for it. Be aware of the things that could trigger a relapse, and have a plan in place for how to deal with them. Keep in regular contact with your sponsor, mentor, or a sober living facility so that you can get support whenever you may need it.

Live in a Safe & Sober Environment

If you are living somewhere with other students who are still actively drinking or using drugs, the temptation to relapse will be almost impossible to avoid. It may be far more beneficial to your recovery to stay at a sober living facility rather than living on campus. Not only will a sober living program like Riviera ensure you aren’t living with people who use drugs or alcohol, you will have continuous access to help and support whenever you need it. You will also be able to get treatment for any co-occurring disorders you may have, and be surrounded by people who understand exactly what you are going through.

Sober Living for College Students in Los Angeles

Riviera’s programs have been specially designed to help support young adults in overcoming an addiction. Our programs help you to create new habits to find a healthy, happy life outside of substance abuse. And we don’t just help you plan for the short term – when you leave Riviera, you’ll have all of the tools you need for a lifetime of success in sobriety. Contact us today to learn about our services, and how we can help sober college students find success in fulfilling their educational goals.

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