Going Back to School in Recovery
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Going Back to School in Recovery

Going Back to School in Recovery

Deciding to become sober is life-changing and presents to you many new and exciting opportunities. Among these opportunities might be your desire to go back to school. Working toward earning the degree you always wanted or pursuing a new career path is ultimately a positive choice that can offer you a rewarding outcome. However, if you decide to go back to school, you will want to consider all the pros and cons to determine if you are ready to undertake the challenge. Remember, your recovery is a life-long effort, so taking on too much too soon can harm your recovery. It is essential to always weigh your options and plan.


Substance use is prevalent among many students living on campus; therefore, you will want to determine beforehand if you can handle being in environments where substance use might be the sole activity. However, placing your focus on the curriculum, commuting to campus, and having others from your support system check in on you is an excellent approach to ensuring you can overcome any temptation to use. Practicing mindfulness and keeping a journal is also a great way to understand your emotions and triggers better. Understanding what might trigger you to use before attending school puts you in the best place to avoid and manage the triggers should they arise.

Going back to school will also present new challenges and demands on what could be an already busy schedule for you. You will want to evaluate your current schedule to see where your priorities and energy go and then try to see if you can incorporate a school schedule's demands. You will need to set time aside for homework and studying. A job, family, or support meetings can all interfere with your efforts. You will want to make sure you will not become burnt-out by going back to school. The ambition for pursuing a new goal is excellent; however, you want to move at your pace and be sure you can take on new challenges. It might help create a relapse prevention plan or work with a mentor to help you organize your goals and priorities.


Determining your educational goals and choosing a career path are also essential parts of going back to school. Perhaps you want a GED to improve your employment prospects, or maybe you want to fulfill the remaining credits needed on a major you were already pursuing. Knowing what you are going for will help keep you focused and motivated on what you want from a school. Determining what kind of career you want after earning your degree will also help you decide which college program is right for you. It also enables you to choose the amount of time you need to dedicate to your college education. For example, certain degrees only require you to attend a community college or another trade school that offers associate's degrees – most of which take two years to earn. However, a four-year degree is necessary for most professional fields such as teaching, nursing, or accounting.


Going back to school is an investment, and supporting it financially could prove challenging, especially if paying out of pocket is impossible. You can look into financial aid or scholarships for adults to see if you qualify for any assistance to help you cover your education cost. You can start by filling out an application with FAFSA to determine if you are eligible for government aid. The school you are considering might also provide financial aid, so it is essential to speak to an admissions or financial counselor about your options and how you can apply. There might even be scholarships or grants for individuals specifically in recovery, and therefore an additional source of funding could be available to you.


Finding a school that will offer you the education you need while also accommodating other priorities in your schedule can be challenging to find. Therefore, finding a school that is a good match for your recovery process is necessary. You can begin by looking into schools that have limited drug and alcohol use on campus. Such restrictions on substances benefit you from having to encounter triggering situations. You can also look into choosing a college that provides a Collegiate Recovery Community or CRC. A CRC offers an environment with a culture of supporting recovery and enables students to complete an education while recovering instead of sacrificing recovery for education. CRCs also provide supportive services for students in recovery, including trained professionals who can provide additional support.

Choosing an online school for adults can also be a good option. These programs allow you to complete work on your own time, which is excellent when balancing other demands. Attending online classes eliminates some of the triggers, such as drug and alcohol use. Some online courses offered through college programs are also more affordable.

Ultimately, going back to school is an excellent idea that benefits your recovery and overall success. Getting an education expands your skillset, value to a company and helps you build a stronger network. Depending on how you are doing in recovery, it can also be a great form of structure, forward momentum, or a source of stress that proves too much too soon. If you are still uncertain whether going back to school is right for you, then it is time to reach out for help. At START UP RECOVERY, we help individuals choose a path when they come upon recovery or career crossroads. We provide a staff of professionals with a strong comprehensive understanding of assisting individuals in recovery find the path that works for them. Our goal is to offer a place where you can meet and network with other motivated individuals that help you realize your greatest potential. You are never too young or too old to get the life you deserve. To learn more, reach out to START UP RECOVERY today by calling us at 310-773-3809.

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