Mississippi State University’s Collegiate Recovery Community is fostering discussion about alcohol and drug addiction with bi-monthly Recovery Night events. Hosted by the CRC, Recovery Night at MSU is an event that encourages all students, regardless of the addiction they are currently struggling with, by allowing them to hear from speakers around the MSU and the Starkville community who have also battled drug, alcohol or behavioral addictions.
Libby Fields, a Health Promotion and Wellness graduate assistant specializing in alcohol and drug prevention at MSU, said this event can encourage discussion about addiction.
“It’s just a chance for them to listen to someone who’s going through recovery, who has been in the early stages, or in the middle stages, late stages, things like that. It’s really big with our Collegiate Recovery Community, so sometimes our students will speak at it, but we’ll also have community members speak at it as well,” Fields said.
According to the Collegiate Recovery Community Program Coordinator Blake Schneider, the speakers discuss various topics such as their background on addiction, recovery and steps they are taking to ensure their recovery lasts for the future.
“We try to get speakers from on campus and off campus just to share their story, what it was like growing up, what their use was like, what happened that made them want to make a change, and what their (alcohol and drug) use was like,” Schneider said.
Ever since it started, Recovery Night at MSU has grown from small groups to groups of around 50-70 students learning about the process of recovery.
This year, students who have seen the flyers around campus and digital media advertising Recovery Night have come, allowing the event to grow even further and for more students to take the first step in the recovery process.
“As a result of (Recovery Night), we’ve had a few people who’ve made the beginning steps towards recovery, so I would say it has been pretty beneficial and vital in helping people maintain and sustain their recovery,” Schneider said.
Lisa Ziegler, a graduate assistant who works in the area of alcohol and drug prevention with Health Promotion and Wellness at MSU, said she believes students in recovery would benefit from attending this event.
“It feels good for somebody who is just starting recovery to hear from somebody else that’s already a little bit further in the process. So, that’s the main purpose for somebody who’s just starting out their recovery process or are thinking about it, to hear those stories and how they went from struggling to living a fulfilled life without addiction,” Ziegler said.
However, the event is not only focused toward students struggling with addiction and substance abuse, students who are not in recovery are also invited to attend. Schneider hopes students can become more aware of how many of their peers are actively going through the recovery process.
“For a student who isn’t in recovery or isn’t in danger or worry of having an addiction problem, I think it’s a really cool educational opportunity for them to learn more about this population on campus because, statistically, one in 10 people are actively in recovery or could benefit from being in recovery,” Schneider said.
According to Fields, anyone who would like to begin the process of recovery can come to this event and take the first step towards finding an outlet to discuss their addiction with other students struggling through the same issues.
“The stigma around it can isolate them, or isolate anyone that’s in recovery, not necessarily students, but anyone in general, who’s going through it … I think we also need to open up this conversation as well and make that space for them to recognize that there are people that are going through this, and you want to be there to support them,” Fields said.
The event is open to all students and members of the Starkville community, not just those in recovery or members of the CRC. Recovery Night meets every second and fourth Thursday at 7 p.m. in McCool Hall in room 128. Anyone is encouraged to attend the event to learn more about the personal side of addiction, the different types of addiction and how many students and members of the Starkville community today have overcome their initial struggles with addiction. For more information about Recovery Night, visit the Collegiate Recovery Community’s website at recovery.msstate.edu, or follow them on social media @msstate_crc for more information on future events.