At Fairfield University: Students battling addiction have a home

A residential home for students recovering from addiction was recently launched by Fairfield University.  Recovery House is for young men who want to learn how to balance their education with their recovery.

Recovery House provides students with an independent living environment of fully-integrated support services, recovery coaching and access to many recreational activities and special events. An unmarked university-owned house is located within walking distance to campus.

“Our recovery program involves mind, body, spirit,” said Fairfield University’s Susan Birge, assistant vice president and director of counseling and psychological services. “We have social events, academic support, meditation, counseling, psychiatry if warranted, and coordination to AA and NA meetings on and off campus.”

How it's set up

A house manager lives on premise and is available to advise and support students. Students must apply to live in the Recovery House and agree to abide by the standards of that community, according to a press release from the university.

All house occupants are part of Fairfield University’s Recovery Program, which promotes healthier choices and substance-free living through a nurturing and affirming environment, the university said.

As part of these efforts, Fairfield University joined the Association of Recovery Schools, a national network of 17 colleges and universities. Fairfield University is the only Connecticut school in the network.

“Our funding for Recovery House comes from two state grants, a private donor and some university dollars,” Birge said. “Although Recovery House is currently only available for men, hopefully in the future we will have a Recovery House for women.”

Addressing substance abuse issues

Recovery House is the latest initiative in Fairfield University’s efforts to address substance abuse issues. Orientation for first-year students includes presentations about substance abuse, healthy choices and campus resources.

Prior to coming to campus, freshmen are required to complete AlcoholEdu, an online alcohol education program.

Fairfield University provides educational classes, clinical assessments and treatment modalities including motivational interviewing, harm reduction and 12-step approach. The university hosts AA and ACOA (Adult Children of Alcoholics) meetings on campus and offers individual and group counseling as well as psychiatric treatment.

Students also receive training to assist other students such as the Red Watch Band Training, a bystander program. The university provides a Recovery Lounge, a private area with flat screen TV, gaming, library offerings, coffee and snacks for students to relax, socialize or study.

For more information, contact counseling and psychological services at 203-254-4000, ext. 2146.