It is finally September! From going back to school to the Fall season approaching, September brings us many things. One incredibly important thing that September also brings us is National Recovery Month! This Recovery Month, we wanted to give DePaul students in recovery a space to share their experiences with recovery and mental health to help educate the greater DePaul community. Each week, we will be shining a spotlight on one student in recovery to talk about what recovery means to them, debunk the many myths surrounding mental health and recovery, and much more. Without further ado, let’s introduce our first recovery student, Genera*!
Genera is 21 years old and just finished her Psychology degree this past spring. She identifies as being in recovery mainly from cannabis and alcohol use, but also mental health and domestic abuse. Genera attends DePaul’s weekly Collegiate Recovery Community (CRC) meetings (which are now virtual) to help support her recovery.
Tell us about the Collegiate Recovery Community at DePaul
When asked about what comes to mind when reflecting on the CRC, Genera first thinks of the word “friends.” She explains that she feels that the CRC is a place where she can get support from those in the community. In fact, she sees the CRC as her “home group,” meaning she attends other recovery meetings but DePaul’s CRC is home base. While she does note that she came into her first CRC meeting feeling a fear of being judged, that fear was squashed and she now feels quite close with everyone and enjoys attending meetings each week.
Help us debunk some myths about recovery
On the topic of judgement, there are a few myths about mental health and recovery that Genera wants to debunk. The first of these myths is that having a mental illness or being in recovery is uncommon. She noted that many people identify as being in recovery and mental health disorders are relatively common. Similarly, she also spoke about how cannabis is a drug and can, in fact, be addictive. Many people do not consider cannabis to be a substance that can be addictive, however, Cannabis Use Disorder is a diagnosable condition.
Another myth she wants to debunk is the idea that recovery is “scary.” She wants to make it clear that it is not scary, and neither are those who identify as being in recovery. When it comes to recovery itself, Genera points out that recovery is a process, not a simple destination that one “gets to” like many people believe. She describes the recovery process as a journey that is not linear. This nonlinear journey, she explains, is one that those in recovery are always on and working towards.
Genera wants other DePaul students who may be interested in joining the CRC to know the weekly meetings are both helpful and fun. Since joining herself, Genera has invited a friend to come with her to a CRC meetings, promising that they would like it. She even went as far as to promise her friend that if they did not enjoy the meeting, she would buy them dinner. Needless to say, she has yet to buy them dinner.
What do you want the world to know about recovery and the CRC?
First, Genera wants everyone to know just how wonderful she believes the CRC is. She notes how welcoming the meetings are and the fact that they are free, making recovery more accessible. She also wishes more people knew about the CRC. She believes that because of the stigma that surrounds recovery and mental health, people tend to be more secretive about being in recovery and seeking out help with recovery. Genera wishes that more people knew about the CRC because she believes that the connections she has made during meetings and the support that these connections have provided her have saved her life.
Finally, Genera wants the world to know that people in recovery are strong. In explaining the strength of those in recovery, she emphasizes that anyone can be in recovery. Not only can anyone be in recovery, anyone can be in recovery from anything. From substance use to mental health to an unhealthy relationship, she believes that anyone can work towards recovery.
If you would like more information about DePaul’s Collegiate Recovery Community, feel free to email the Office of Health Promotion & Wellness at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check back next week for another Recovery Student Spotlight interview! Happy Recovery Month!
*Name is shared with permission