Championing Recovery at Alabama
A new scholarship through the University of Alabama Collegiate Recovery Community helps honor the memory of a student while also providing hope for future students.
Making the decision to enter into a life of recovery is hard enough on its own, but with it comes a big question: What do I do next? As more and more people are affected by the addiction epidemic and are left struggling to pick up the pieces, this question has become more relevant than ever. It is something that the University of Alabama Collegiate Recovery Community is trying to help answer.
Back in the fall of 2016, a University of Alabama student passed away from an overdose. Martin Stovall started school in 2013 as a freshman ready to take on the world. He was funny, kind, and had a passion for life that was apparent the moment you met him. He made friends everywhere he went. That all came to an end, however, when Martin passed away — a beautiful life cut short by addiction. However, his friends and family were determined to help his name continue to live on. Martin loved the University of Alabama, and so, with the help of many people, the Martin J. Stovall Promises Scholarship was established last year in his memory. It will allow students in recovery from drugs and alcohol to have an opportunity to come to school and earn a degree. The hope is that it will help ease the financial burden of enrolling in classes, whether it be through helping pay tuition or providing a stipend for books and housing. Martin did not get the chance to accomplish his goals in life, so it only seemed right that his legacy would be in helping to give others a chance to achieve theirs.
“Students in recovery deserve every possible chance to succeed, and that is what this is about,” says one of Martin’s friends who helped start the scholarship. “When I left school to go to treatment, I honestly did not think that there was any chance that I would ever graduate college. I certainly did not think I would be able to walk across the stage at a major institution like the University of Alabama. Luckily, I had a program like the Collegiate Recovery Community to get involved with, a place full of people who saw potential in me. Without all the support they have given me since coming back to school, I doubt I would have graduated, much less with Honors. I’m so glad that this fund will be able to give the students that come after me a chance to experience that same feeling of accomplishment. It means even more knowing that it is named after someone that I cared so much about.”
“A lot of people, myself included, don’t exactly have an abundance of resources available to us when we get sober. Most of us burned our bridges way before that point,” said one scholarship recipient. “So having people believe in you and then actually provide assistance to help get back into school … That makes all the difference in the world.”
The scholarship serves as a reminder of “the Promises” coming true for those who do the next right thing and focus on recovery first. So far the fundraising has been completely student-driven, giving everyone involved a chance to make a difference for someone else. Since being created in November, the fund has already raised close to $50,000, and that number continues to grow. Now that it has been officially endowed by the school, it will exist in perpetuity, meaning the Promises Scholarship will be able to help students in long-term recovery for many years to come as well as provide answers to those who are struggling with the question of what to do next.