Kennesaw State University
The CYAAR: A Beacon for Campus Recovery
In addition to the academic excellence and social opportunity provided by Georgia’s third largest university, Kennesaw State University (KSU), the institution is also home to a department providing outreach to students battling addiction. The Center for Young Adult Addiction and Recovery (CYAAR) was established in 2008 as an opportunity for students struggling with and recovering from addiction to experience college life in a healthy, enjoyable way while maintaining sobriety and to provide education and intervention services for the entire KSU campus. The CYAAR includes the student support system of the Collegiate Recovery Community (CRC), a range of services provided by Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) education, and research to continue the study and support of CRC’s as implements for recovery.
“College life doesn’t have to be about drinking and partying. It is about readiness, motivation, and commitment,” says Teresa Johnston, M.A. LPC, Director of the CYAAR. The Collegiate Recovery Community (CRC) provided by KSU validates this, not only by providing a safe haven for students in need of protection from the peer pressure that makes them feel otherwise, but also by providing the chance to overcome the stigma of addiction and succeed in college life and beyond. The CRC provides “a portal into the university system” while being a means of support that students trying to overcome addiction require to stay focused on sobriety and academics. Students attend a recovery meeting and CRC group meeting weekly, along with monthly Celebration of Recovery meetings. The CYAAR meetings include: 12-Step Recovery, Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD), and SMART (Self-Management And Recovery Training) Recovery. The CRC provides a place to seek help without shame or judgment, to practice sober living in a social setting, to connect with mentors and peers with similar situations, or to simply meet for a cup of coffee.
Though enjoying the social experience of college while staying sober and healthy is important, the CYAAR also appreciates the goal of any college student: to graduate. The CRC is not only a wonderful social model, it also offers immense opportunity for academic success. The William S. and Betsy B. Duffey Scholarship Fund and the Scott E. Duffey Scholarship Fund are both scholarships available to members of the CRC, based on academic achievement and commitment to the CRC. The academic advising plan offers students a staff academic advisor exclusive to the CRC. This advisor meets with each individual twice a year to help choose classes, decide on a major, and council in career direction. Walk-in advising is also available throughout the year to answer questions, find tutors, and help develop study skills. CRC students also receive early registration time for classes in accordance with good academic standing. CRC students are also connected to campus resources such as counseling, psychological testing, medical care, and guidance for veterans so that they can stay focused on academics as much as possible.
The CYAAR at KSU gives students and parents an opportunity for peace-of-mind about the recovery process while attending college. Whether living on campus or off, students in recovery have a place to go for help with school, a relatable community of peers, and, most importantly, a retreat from weakness and vulnerability. Efforts are made to strengthen body, mind, and spirit, and that is something any college student can benefit from.
Written By Jessica Drake