On this episode of The Addicted Mind podcast, Duane is joined by two practitioners in and advocates for recovery high schools. Michael Durchslag leads PEASE Academy in Minneapolis and Andy Finch is an academic researcher in the field of recovery schools at Vanderbilt University and co-founder of the Association of Recovery Schools.
Recovery schools have been around since the late 1970s, but their growth has really started climbing in the past 20 years and there are currently 45 recovery schools in the US. Recovery schools provide a high school education and significant recovery support to students who are in recovery for a substance use disorder. Adolescents leaving rehab often find it difficult to maintain their sobriety when they return to the same home environment and school situation, so recovery schools are a great resource for students to learn and be specifically supported.
These students have likely not dealt with heightened emotional reactions that are normal for teenage development without turning to a coping mechanism, so recovery schools are set up to provide adequate resources to help them process what is going on without turning to their old habits. Additionally, since research has shown that adolescents are mainly motivated by their peers, it is ideal for students in recovery to also be surrounded by others who are on the same page, rather than those who may be a bad influence on them. This is a built-in form of accountability, but there are additional programs and structures within recovery schools that further support the students’ journeys.
Recovery schools are typically day schools, so it is good for these students to have peers like them that they can spend their time outside of school with as well. There are also usually family support or community groups for the parents of the students to be involved in as well, since this journey is so impactful on the parents. In fact, many parents refer other families to recovery schools based on their positive experiences and the progress they have seen in their own children.
Mike and Andy have both seen incredible results from recovery schools and believe in this as the best option for the continuation of recovery care during the high school years. In fact, going through a recovery school sets students up for a great transition to one of the more than 100 collegiate recovery programs as they continue their education. For more information about recovery schools or to start the process of advocacy for a school in your area, check out the recoveryschools.org website or reach out to Mike and Andy through their contact methods below.
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