The University of Michigan has a Collegiate Recovery program (which is a university program to support students in recovery) and Students for Sobriety (which is a student organization for recovering students).

Collegiate Recovery Program

(Published September 14, 2011 in the Michigan Daily By Elyana Twiggs)

A young woman, newly sober and in recovery, is ready for her new beginning as a graduate student in the University’s School of Social Work. After she signed up for a student organization and got her first e-mail from the school, she read the subject line. Her heart dropped. It was an invitation to a pub crawl, which she obviously couldn’t attend. She automatically felt alienated from her classmates, without even having met them. This woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, is a recovering alcoholic.

The University’s new Collegiate Recovery Program is helping students who have to cope with a less talked about struggle when entering the college environment: addiction.

The program started when Mary Jo Desprez, an administrator for the University’s Alcohol Policy and Community Initiatives Program for more than 20 years, attended an alcohol and other drugs convention at the beginning of last year. A female student who was a recovering addict approached her about starting a support system for recovering students. After making that connection, the Collegiate Recovery Program was born.

“Staying sober on a college campus would be really hard, especially since most people are pretty new in sobriety, so if you think about it, it would be really different than somebody that has 10 years (of sobriety) and going to a new job,” Desprez said.

“Most people in college are pretty new in recovery and coming into a culture surrounded by parties,” she added.

With money granted by the University Health Service, support from other Michigan programs like Counseling and Psychological Services and private donations, Desprez and Social Work graduate student Jennifer Cervi have been trying to grow a program already in place at 15 other universities. MORE . . .

Students for Recovery

(Published October 7, 2009 in the Michigan Daily by Veronica Menaldi)

For many students, moving to Ann Arbor to begin their careers at the University of Michigan is a time of excitement, curiosity and maybe a little bit of fear. But for School of Social Work graduate student Ivana Grahovac, the emotions were different.

As Grahovac prepared to start her time at the University, she was also recovering from a five-year addiction to heroin. Though she had been clean and sober for four-and-a-half years in her hometown of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., she wasn’t sure she could recreate that security in Ann Arbor.

Grahovac said coming to Ann Arbor was a “leap of faith” and that once she arrived, she felt her sobriety constantly threatened.

“I was constantly getting these e-mails about being invited to join people for keggers, drink night specials and pub-crawls,” she said. “There was just a real lack of understanding going on that maybe there are people for whom this would be a very bad choice and possibly cause some serious negative and tragic consequences to occur.”

It was in this environment that Grahovac decided to create Students for Recovery, a group aiming to support and provide provides information for students recovering from addiction. The group also helps students find sober programming as an alternative to the usual Friday night party filled with red Solo cups and alcohol. MORE . . .