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Posted: October 21, 2019 — Did you know that many people living and working alongside of you are in RECOVERY?  Recovery is a widely used term for those people who have struggled in the past with active addiction to drugs or alcohol.  According to SAMHSA, recovery is “a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.”  People in recovery are living lives full of hope however often feel ashamed to share their stories.  For some in recovery, the stigma and isolation can lead to feelings of depression or anxiety. Through the efforts of many students, faculty and staff at Fulton Montgomery Community College, students are finding the courage to identify themselves as a person in recovery.

Whether students are in early recovery or have lived for many years in recovery, engaging in higher education at FMCC can prove to be a strong motivator.  However, participating in higher education also brings with it a number of additional stressors.  Sometimes students in recovery face the complication of having to choose between academics and maintaining sobriety.  Therefore, the college community must be engaged in offering support to such students.

Students in recovery will find support here on campus in many ways.  Last January, the Recovery Resource Room was opened in Student Development which provides a drop in service where students can connect with a Peer Engagement Specialist from the Recovery Center or the COTI Project.  New this fall, students are invited to a weekly support group called “Life in Recovery” which focuses on the benefits and struggles of living in recovery.  Positioning support services on campus helps students engage in assistance between classes and while on campus.

Another exciting opportunity for students in recovery is a new class which will begin for the spring 2020 semester called Recovery Coach Academy and Ethics (HUS 102).  This class will provide the course work needed to become a Certified Recovery Peer Advocate (CRPA).   A CPRA is someone who is in sustained recovery or has a close friend or family member in sustained recovery or active addiction, who is able to provide non-clinical peer support services.  CPRA’s provide vital services at the outpatient treatment level or in Recovery Centers working to engage individuals into treatment and help to sustain recovery.   This class will be taught on Tuesday evenings 5-8pm by Ginger Cato for the spring 2020 semester.  Ginger Cato is an FMCC alumni and the Director of the Rob Constantine Recovery Community and Outreach Center in Johnstown.

FMCC is a welcoming and supportive environment where students in recovery can thrive and gain the support they need to be successful!  For more information regarding support for students in recovery, please contact Julie Lindh at juile.lindh@fmcc.suny.edu.  Julie is the Human Services Instructor at FMCC and runs the Human Services and Chemical Abuse Counseling programs.

This article was written by Julie Lindh, Instructor in the Human Services Program at FM.

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