University of Vermont


What is a Collegiate Recovery Program?

A Collegiate Recovery Program provides a nurturing, affirming environment in which students recovering from addiction can find peer support as well as other recovery support services while attaining a college education. Students participating in this community have educational, academic, advisory, community building, and programmatic opportunities that support their decision to maintain their recovery as well as improve their academics and general life skills. Through this holistic approach to continuing care for recovering students, the Catamount Recovery Program helps to provide a normative college experience for students in recovery. 

Why a Collegiate Recovery Program?

Between 1994 and 2004, the number of adolescents seeking substance abuse treatment in the United States has increased by 65% (Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration, 2004) and would appear to be continuing on a similar trajectory.  Consequently and positively, there is a growing population of young adults in recovery.  In our current day and age, a college education is paramount to success. However, it’s a daunting proposition for someone in recovery.   In addition to the normal struggles with coursework, living away from home, relationship issues, and working on their recovery program, these students also have to contend with the college environment, which is often unofficially organized around alcohol and other drug use.  (Wechsler, Davenport, Dowdall, Moeykens, & Castillo, 1994). Simply put, the college environment is abstinence hostile, and it appears to be growing more so with each passing year (Cleveland, Harris, Baker, Herbert, Dean 2006).

A Collegiate Recovery Program offers an alternative.  It provides a supportive environment within the campus culture that reinforces the decision to disengage from addictive behaviors. It provides a community of peers with shared experiences, goals, and values around recovery.  It offers an educational opportunity alongside recovery support to ensure that students do not have to sacrifice one for the other.  It reinforces accountability for recovering students that comes from self, peers, and higher education staff. And finally, it provides a normative college experience for individuals in recovery apart from the culture of drinking/substance use that is present on today’s campuses .

Last modified May 21 2015 04:06 PM