Home or College

by Dan

Will my recovering child have a better chance of staying clean if he stays home or if he stays in a dorm room at college? Is there more stress and depression at school or at home with parents and siblings?

thank you for your question.

I don't think there is a simple answer to this question...there are a lot of variables.
Has your son attended any alcohol drug treatment centers? How long has he been out/sober? What is your home situation like? Sometimes it can be just as hard for the people living with an alcoholic as it is for the person who has a problem. Does your son have good support, such as narcotics anonymous meetings/alcoholics anonymous meetings, near home?

These are just a few of the questions you may want to ask yourself while you and your son make this decision. I was in this exact situation when I got out of treatment for drug addiction and alcoholism. I was in the middle of college and was trying to figure out where I was going to go to school and where I was going to live. Ultimately, I decided that a college dormitory environment was not conducive to my sobriety.

I cared more about staying clean than having a normal college life, so I commute to school. My friends and my support are closer to where I live, and when I go to school it is solely for the education and to go to class...Once classes are over, I head back home to where I feel safe and where I have support.

This is not to say that
your son wouldn't be able to have a good support if he were to go to college and live in a dorm. He could find twelve step meetings there and be part of a twelve step program. He could go to the school's counseling sessions for free. He could try to find an outpatient center near his school. There are certainly a lot of options.

I think each case is very individual and there's no real answer to this question. My honest opinion is that I wouldn't really recommend anyone in early sobriety (first couple years) to go live on a college campus in a dorm. That is mostly speaking from my own experience though and my own fears and precautions.

I think ultimately you and your son and family need to sit down and try to figure out what is best for him and what is going to give him the best opportunity to stay sober AND enjoy his life. If his sober life isn't somehow better than his life drinking or using, it may be hard for him to stay sober because there would be no point. I wish I could give you a more clear cut answer, but it really is a very personal decision.

If you have any more questions or would like to bounce some ideas off of us, feel free to write in again and we would be happy to tell you what we think. Just remember, my answer comes solely from my own experience, opinion, and what I have seen the people around me go through.

Best of luck to you and your son!


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