The Path to Sobriety in College

The Path to Sobriety in College

The Importance of Early Awareness, Support and Education One of my best friends, “Mike”, has a son who is in college. I’ve changed their names in order to protect their privacy, but for the sake of this blog, I’ll call his son, “James”. Actually, James used to be in college, but is not currently enrolled anywhere. James was a good student in a rural high school. He’d been psyched to have the “college experience” in the big city of Richmond at Virginia Commonwealth University. VCU is considered one of the top party schools in Virginia, and it has plenty of press to prove those bragging rights. James started out strong with 5 As and 1 B during his first semester. Then he wanted more social opportunities, so he pledged and got involved with a fraternity. He spearheaded their big charity event and eventually became President of his fraternity. They even won National Chapter of the Year. James was taking on a full load doing extra service projects, leadership seminars, volunteering, and leading his fraternity. He felt the pressure to do it all. He started mis-using Adderall, which took over his life. This led to him taking more and sleeping less and less. He was drinking on top of using the Adderall, and had two alcohol related offenses. James had fallen in with the party crowd. He drove while intoxicated and got busted. Luckily he did not hurt anyone else or himself. James’ dad was supportive through it all. They had many conversations about judgment, choices and risky behavior versus his future. After the second offense, James had to choose...
Students at SW MN State Inspired Me to Keep Going

Students at SW MN State Inspired Me to Keep Going

I just had the privilege of speaking about Sexual Violence Prevention at SW Minnesota State in Marshall tonight. I told my story of my addictions, shame and assaults. I still get nervous before going out on stage. I feel really vulnerable… still… after all this time… when I share my story. Sometimes, I get crazy thoughts when I’m waiting to go on like “No one wants to hear this stuff.” “No one cares about this.” or “This is just a bad idea.” I go out there anyway, and usually, I am pleasantly surprised. Tonight, I was moved by the students and they inspired me to keep going. We talked about consent, what is NOT consent, active bystanders, undetected rapists. It’s heavy stuff. And when people stopped breathing, I surprised them with a joke or I made fun of myself to get some air back in the room. People can’t learn when they’re holding their breath. If it’s too heavy for too long, they leave the room. Not physically, but mentally, they leave. So I engage them with laughter and we continue our conversation. Tonight I these students inspired me with their willingness to stay in the conversation. They were informed and determined. They were eager and wise at the same time. After the performance, there were lots of students who came up to talk with me and take pictures. I try to make sure to connect with all of them. Every time I visit a school there’s at least a few who wait to talk with me and share their stories. When almost everyone else has left the room,...

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