A Caring, Conscientious, Young Adult Man
Peter has lived in the recovery house at Rutgers for about a year-and-a-half. Prior to moving there he was in residential treatment at Seabrook House, followed by a stay in Maine at an extended care facility for a few months.
We were extremely fortunate to discover the recovery houses at Rutgers. We had considered schools with sober dorms but had heard that drug and alcohol use occurred there; the fines were just higher for violations. The step from living in an extended stay house in Maine to attending college full-time while being in residence there concerned us very much. The Rutgers house made his transition back to full-time college much more comfortable for both him and the rest of our family. We hoped that he would be in a safe environment that would enable him to continue his sober living while also being on a college campus where, of course, drinking is omnipresent. Unfortunately this drinking happens on most campuses despite the best efforts of administrators to end it. We have been thrilled that he has had the opportunity to live and socialize with a group of like-minded people while attending school. It has been an easier transition back to college life with the support of peers who are seeking the same drug-free experience.
It is always a challenge moving into a new environment, and I am sure moving into the Rutgers’s recovery house was no exception. It did seem that Peter quickly acclimated to the house and made friends from the beginning of his stay. The people in the house seem warm and welcoming to both the new residents as well as the parents when they visit. I know Peter did not feel so embraced initially by the house members where he lived while in Maine, and he said he has made a concerted effort to both welcome and support the newcomers in his house since he understands what it is like to be the newest resident.
We have witnessed Peter grow every semester that he has lived in the house. He has wanted to earn his own spending money, has become very solicitous of people who are in need, and continues to expand his horizons there. During the past year, he has begun to sponsor people in AA. We have seen him leave events to return calls to people in need that he is sponsoring. He has begun to give back to a part of the community that has helped him. He has also expressed a desire to mentor younger people, perhaps in the future when he has more free time. He has become a responsible young adult.
These changes are mirrored by the physical changes he has made. He has gone consistently to the gym with a few members of the house and has shown a renewed interest in maintaining his health. He recently stopped smoking cigarettes, which is a big step toward becoming a genuine person with literally no smoke screens between the world and him.
He has gone to concerts with people from the house, taken long trips with them, and generally made friends and had lots of experiences and fun in a sober state. He has learned that one can have an enjoyable time while remaining drug-free. This has been an invaluable lesson. It will make his transition after college much smoother.