12-step program supports students with addictions

November 14th, 2013

Alcoholism isn’t something to be trifled with. According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, about four out of every five college students consume alcohol, and about half dangerously binge drink. According to the same institute, 25 percent of students nationwide report negative academic consequences due to their reckless drinking, including skipping classes, failing exams and earning sub-par GPAs.

However, thanks to a new 12-step program recently started at JCU, students struggling with alcoholism will now have an opportunity to cope with their addiction at weekly meetings every Thursday at 7 p.m. in the Gesu Parish Center.

When one is suffering from alcoholism, it is often difficult to understand how to get out. If students find themselves to be abusing drugs or alcohol, that sense of hopelessness can now come to an end. A 12-step series of meetings started in University Heights last winter to aid those battling with crippling addictions. The meetings are open to all inhabitants of the University Heights area, including John Carroll University students.

It is self-evident that not every student who drinks is an alcoholic, so how exactly does one know when he or she needs to seek help? Although the symptoms can be extensive, any addiction can be identified when the urge to indulge in the addiction distracts a person from even the simplest of tasks.

The philosophy behind the meetings is simple: only a person who has experienced alcoholism and has remained sober over some period of time is equipped to help a still-suffering alcoholic in their efforts to stay sober. Although there are numerous 12-step meeting series in the area, this is the first set that is tailored specifically to JCU students. The goal of the group is to create an environment where young men and women can share their experiences, strength and hope with each other so that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover.

Questions have emerged from the student body, and freshman Kaylee Quanbeck questioned the logistics of the idea.

“Although I think it’s a great thing to have on campus, what I’m wondering is how much it will cost to students and if students are able to remain anonymous,” Quanbeck said.

To assuage any students who are thinking similarly, rest assured. The entire premise of the meetings is unwavering anonymity. Students who are reluctant to seek help in fear of the stigma surrounding addictions should know that their anonymity will be respected. The program is also completely free of charge to ensure that no one that needs help is barred from the opportunity.

According to Megan Dzurec, JCU coordinator of health and education promotion, the program is a positive and unique addition to the repertoire of services available to JCU students.

“This meeting was specifically started for John Carroll students to aid in their efforts to find a safe, supportive, judgment-free and sober environment in which they can determine if they have an alcohol or drug problem and when/if they do, to have sufficient resources provided for them, free of charge, to aid in their efforts to stay sober,” said Dzurec.