For students in recovery seeking a sense of support and community on campus, The College of Charleston has recently established a campus recovery program. The Collegiate Recovery Program’s mission is “to offer a director-led, student-organized, support-based program for students in recovery from drug and/or alcohol addiction.” The program has been in the works for a few years, and now has almost 15 student participants. Participation in the Collegiate Recovery Program is completely voluntary and is for students who are sober of all substances.
College of Charleston students Isaac Waters and John Nix got the program up and running with the help of Steve Pulley, a former participant in Georgia Southern University’s Collegiate Recovery Community. Waters and Nix were both students in recovery who collaborated with Pulley to develop a similar program at the College. After about a year of hard work and fundraising, the program was established – becoming the first Campus Recovery Program in the state of South Carolina.
The program is directed by Wood Marchant, a College of Charleston alumnus who is in recovery himself and has been sober for nearly 20 years. Marchant has an extensive background working in drug and alcohol treatment with experience working as an inpatient counselor at Charleston Center, the county’s treatment center, and working as an outpatient counselor at MUSC.
When Marchant met Waters and Nix, he was enthusiastic about working with students who are already in recovery and looking to connect with students in the same situation. As someone in recovery himself, Marchant can understand students who have made the decision to get sober, as well as the need for a recovery program on college campuses. “I started experimenting when I was in college and that lead to 10 years of wandering. I got sober when I was 31 but I kind of knew I needed help at 21, I just didn’t know where to turn,” he said.
The Collegiate Recovery Program has member meetings in the Collegiate Recovery Lounge on the third floor of the Stern Center. The lounge overlooks Stern Center Gardens and is complete with couches and a mini fridge filled with snacks. Members get together socially Marchant said the program could be described as “a sober fraternity or sorority.” He went on to say, “These programs strive to give those in recovery a sense of community and other people to be around and identify with because it’s a tough choice to get sober at this age, when it’s not the popular choice. For a lot of students, it’s a huge relief to find out they’re not the only ones doing this.”
For those seeking additional information about the program, getting sober or helping a friend that is in recovery, open meetings are held every Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m. in room 210 of the Jewish Studies Center. Those looking to support the program can make donations at cofc.edu/giving or contact Wood Marchant at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Marchant encouraged students who suspect they may need help to reach out. He said, “Thinking about getting sober at a young age can be daunting, but you don’t have to worry about staying sober the rest of your life, you just have to worry about staying sober that day. Truly, the one day at a time thing that most recovery programs preach makes it a lot easier. It’s the only way I’ve been able to do it for almost 20 years.”