The TCU Recovery Support Group hopes to prevent relapse by creating a community for students in recovery, Rachel Leshner, program specialist in the Alcohol and Drug Education Center, said.
The Alcohol and Drug Education Center formed the group to support students who are already in recovery and those who are questioning whether or not they have a problem, Leshner said. The program is also intended to be an outlet for students to escape the temptations of relapsing and to build a healthy environment within the university community.
“Not only is it a counseling group that they’re making, but they can then find each other and build their community within themselves to hang out on the weekends or to do things alternative to events where substances are around,” she said.
Leshner said the Center hopes to expand the program with the $100,000 donation they received from head football coach Gary Patterson and his wife, Kelsey, last year. Plans are in the works that will provide opportunities for students to build a community that exists outside of the group meetings.
“We’re looking to do – and kind of started doing – some other outings beyond the Tuesday night group, whether that means eventually funding conference attendance, or some sort of student scholarship,” Leshner said. “We’re looking to do some volunteer work together, attend outside Alcoholics Anonymous meetings or Narcotics Anonymous meetings together and then go from there.”
Kendall Gilfillan, a junior religion and philosophy double major, said her only knowledge of the group came from seeing a flyer sent via email, but noted that community “can be a powerful thing” for students in recovery.
“It’s a great idea, especially for those who need that extra encouragement from simply knowing they’re not alone in the recovery process,” she said.
Gilfillan said she also thinks there could be a need for additional support groups.
“I think developing a program working with drug and alcohol abuse combined with depression or anxiety would really benefit the TCU community,” she said. “To me, those seem to be two of the biggest issues plaguing the student body and often they go hand in hand.”
The Alcohol and Drug Education Center encourages students with issues besides substance abuse to join the TCU Recovery Support Group as well.
“It’s also open to process disorders; it’s not always a substance that is an issue, but maybe an eating disorder [or] other process disorders like sex addictions, spending, gambling or gaming,” Leshner said.
She said about 10 to 15 students attend the group weekly, but thinks far more students could likely benefit from the group considering “approximately six percent of college students meet the criteria for substance dependency.”
The TCU Recovery Support Group meets every Tuesday at University Christian Church in Room 306 from 6-7:30 p.m.