New recovery program brings peer support
Fort Worth, TX
by Rick Waters '95, TCU Magazine
Before this semester, TCU students seeking alcohol or substance recovery support may have been directed to external sources for help, such as Alcoholics Anonymous or a licensed counselor.
Now, those students have the option to talk with Horned Frog peers in a new program called the TCU Recovery Support Group, sponsored by TCU Alcohol and Drug Education Center.
Started in August, the program has met six times—every Tuesday for 90 minutes—just off campus, said Rachel Leshner, program specialist in the center who oversees the confidential sessions.
The program gives the TCU Alcohol and Drug Education Center a peer recovery program in addition to existing education and outreach efforts, such as Frogs CARE.
“We let it organically happen,” said Leshner, who is licensed by the Texas State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors. “Students bring up the topics they want to discuss. Then a staff member is there to provide resources and help facilitate.”
The program is aimed at TCU students in recovery or those who think they need recovery, even ones who “just had a long weekend and are questioning whether or not they may have a problem,” she said.
“Our hope is that by having this resource for students on campus, it will attract more students,” she said.
It’s not just for alcohol and drug recovery either. Students grappling with issues such as eating disorders or compulsive behaviors, such as sex addiction, gambling or overspending, are welcome as well, she said.
The program drew inspiration from the Collegiate Recovery Community program at Texas Tech, regarded as a leader in the field.
“We’re seeing more and more students already in recovery groups by the time they come to a college campus,” Leshner said. “To have the TCU Recovery Support Group here is a baby step. But it gives us another avenue to offer students.”
Directing students to an off-campus program is hit-and-miss for college students, she said.
“What is the population of the group?” Leshner said. “Often, a student will look for help, can’t relate and then is turned off. The TCU Recovery Support Group will give them a confidential group with peer support.”
The group will benefit from a $100,000 pledge by TCU football coach Gary Patterson and his wife Kelsey that was announced today at his weekly press conference.
“We’re very grateful for his support, and the program will expand as a result,” Leshner said. “There are a lot of options we’ll consider.”
For now, the TCU community can help by spreading the word about the new group and urging students to investigate it, she said.