Unlike any other treatment center, Sober College offers clients the opportunity to complete college courses through Woodbury University, on-site at the learning center while they are in treatment.
Five courses are offered on-site: Psychology, Sociology, Creative Writing, Health and Wellness, and Public Speaking. These courses provide transferable units towards other colleges, and allow clients to begin their path to graduation. Clients are encouraged to enroll in two courses during the first 90 days their stay. If clients are currently enrolled in courses outside of Sober College (i.e., Online courses), they may continue and complete those courses.
The courses offered at Sober College are unique in that many of them relate to addiction and alcoholism. Sociology of Drugs and Alcohol in Popular Culture is a course taught by Rachel Sanders, the Academic Director at Sober College. In this course, students learn how society views addicts and alcoholics by studying and analyzing common stereotypes, mass media and its effects on social constructions, and the influence of those seeking to maintain the status quo.
In addition to lectures, clients are shown a variety of documentaries and movies over the duration of the course in order to further expound upon concepts learned in class. Students participate in group discussions, which sometimes lead to heated debates—Professor Sanders ensures that these discussions remain relevant and on topic.
Having the opportunity to take college-level courses in a safe environment is paramount in each client’s recovery, whether or not the client chooses to complete his or her degree. Courses such as these provide more than just subject-specific knowledge. They teach clients to be productive, which is one of the Five Core Competencies that shape Sober College’s program and that all clients must maintain throughout their stays. Furthermore, going to school helps clients normalize their lives. It requires them to establish a routine, meet deadlines, think critically, and deal with real-life pressures.
In my own experience at Sober College, the Sociology course provided me with new insight and understanding in regards to the elusive, yet widely prevalent drug problems pervading this country. I became more skeptical of certain media outlets and began to question the motives behind their messages and advertisements. I learned that being a “drug addict” is simply a label put on us by society and that it doesn’t aptly describe who I am or what I am capable of. I was reminded that I have as much of a right to a fulfilling life as anyone else, and that my struggles with addiction don’t make me any less of a human being than the next man. Furthermore, I learned how to express myself. I began to speak my mind and eventually built the confidence necessary to defend my opinion. I reconstructed the basic skills required to be a good student. For once in my college career, I did my homework. I learned to find enjoyment in something I previously thought I would hate – school; in doing so, I took a step towards changing my perceptions. I began to see my potential again.