The University has its own recovery programme - Better Than Well - for people in recovery from alcohol, drug or behavioural addictions. The program has a weekly timetable of peer support meetings, drop-in services, peer support, ‘dry’ social activities and opportunities for volunteering and service to the local community. It is coordinated by academic staff from the Institute for Mental Health, but run by students supporting their peers to maximise educational and social opportunities whilst continuing a personal program of recovery from addiction.
Education is often a key part of recovery, but University life can present a variety of challenges to recovery. Therefore the University of Birmingham has a peer-led support program for students wishing to maintain abstinence-based recovery. This project is led by Dr Ed Day from the Institute for Mental Health in the School of Psychology, supported by a philanthropic grant from the CrEdo Foundation.
The primary goal of Better Than Well is to provide a safe haven for young adults who are struggling to maintain their hard-won abstinence from their addiction(s) while surrounded by the frequent temptations offered by the social context of a University campus.
We aim to promote hope and purpose, positive identity development, a sense of achievement and accomplishment, capacity for stable interpersonal relationships, and healthy coping skills by:
- support with completing the university admissions process, early orientation, developing individual plans of study, and general academic advice
- establishing a safe, anonymous space for students to express their struggles with addiction(s) and to receive peer support for behaviour change
- a weekly open meeting in ‘celebration’ of recovery that provides continued support to CRP members whilst also educating the wider community about the reality of addiction and recovery
- training student peer mentors to address both recovery and educational issues
- developing a student organisation responsible for facilitating recovery-orientated recreational and community volunteering activities