No Place Like Home
Although there is no set length of sobriety, applicants with at least six months of sobriety are preferred. Each applicant will be evaluated on an individual basis to ascertain if he or she is in strong, established recovery and dedicated to wellness.
Accepted students will be asked to set a recovery plan; those who are not in recovery create a wellness plan that is dedicated to a sober lifestyle and continuous growth in their wellness areas. “We’re looking at recovery capital primarily: physical health, mental health, building a meaningful life and social wellness in the hall, in the CSR and the entire campus,” Castedo says.
Roommates will be other students who have been accepted into the community. “If they wish, students can select their roommates as long as they are part of the LLC,” says Voyles. “In housing, the best situation is when roommates share an interest. Here, we are confident that we’ll have positive roommate pairings.”
The LLC program is expected to grow to 10 residences in 2018 and 15 by 2019, and having a dedicated recovery residence as a cornerstone of the program makes great strides to reducing stigma.
“In the same way that a campus recovery program is a formal part of the university, having a recovery LLC sends a clear message to the general public that students in recovery are not social pariahs; they belong here on campus, integrated with the rest of the community,” says Castedo. “It shows that students in recovery from substance abuse disorders or other conditions are a safe bet. They are in this for life, are resilient and have the ability to ask for help in a way that is advanced in comparison to other students. As research has shown, as compared to typical college students, those in recovery are more committed to their studies, achieve better grades and have lower stress levels. They also have less relapse rates. They are a true benefit to any college campus and by giving them a home, we show them they are wanted and respected.”
For information about the Center for Students in Recovery, contact Sierra Castedo at 512-475-8352 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For information about the housing application process and admittance to the Healthy Lifestyles Living Learning Community, contact email@example.com.
High School Lays Foundation for Recovery
University High School in Austin was founded in 2014 with the assistance of Lori Holleran Steiker, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin School of Social Work and a close friend of the Center for Students in Recovery from its start in 2004.
The recovery high school operates independently as a University of Texas charter school, but maintains close ties with the CSR. “Students from the CSR serve as peer mentors to the high schoolers,” says Sierra Castedo, the CSR’s director. “We took our time developing this mentorship program as it takes a lot of planning to do background checks and investigating how matching will work.”
CSR students are a part of everyday life at the high school, which is right off campus, whether it’s volunteering to chaperone on field day, tutoring or attending 12-step meetings with the teenagers. “The high school students started a 12-step meeting called ‘As Bevo Sees It,’ which was named after our school mascot. Since it is held during lunchtime, our staff can join if they wish,” Castedo says.