Substance Use Recovery

The content on this page is focused on providing education, resources, and support to students in recovery and students impacted by others’ use of substances (whether that be family members, friends, roommates, teammates, etc.).  Allies and community members who are interested in reducing stigma and building an inclusive recovery friendly campus community will also find this information useful.  

Navigating a college social life while growing your recovery can be challenging. It can also be exciting and fun when you have peer support and access to social activities that are not centered around use of alcohol or other drugs. 

We welcome you and hope you find what you need here. 


What does addiction feel like?

Addiction is the term used to describe a relationship with a person, place, thing, or substance that one becomes dependent on psychologically or physiologically.  The drug becomes the “go to” feel okay.  There are multiple factors that predispose one to developing substance dependence including family history of mental health challenges or alcohol, nicotine, other drug dependence, as well as tolerance. 

This video, “Nuggets,” offers a glimpse of what it feels like to be addicted and showcases the progression from experimental use to dependency illustrated by a bird without wings who has a dream to fly. 


What is Recovery?

If you identify as a Wildcat in recovery from alcohol, nicotine, cannabis or other drugs, what does your recovery look like?  How would you define or describe your recovery?   

Descriptions of recovery include, but are not limited to, the following: 

  • A process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self- directed life, and strive to reach their full potential. (SAMHSA) 
  • Hope, the belief that these challenges and conditions can be overcome, is the foundation of recovery. (SAMHSA) 
  • The process of recovery is supported through relationships and social networks. (SAMHSA) 
  • Recovery is not just abstaining from all mind-altering substances (i.e., sobriety), but also includes embracing a positive view of wellness and personal growth (Betty Ford Institute, 2007; Laudet, 2007). Recovery is generally seen as a process, rather than a cure, and therefore requires ongoing support and effort to sustain (Harris, Baker, & Cleveland, 2010). 

Thriving In Recovery at College: What Does It Take? 

Your well-being is dependent on your ongoing recovery efforts. 

Make recovery your highest priority! It may feel counterintuitive, however, if your recovery is solid the rest will fall into place.  This is not to say that it will be easy.  Most first year college students experience stress adjusting to college and balancing multiple demands on their time.  Creating a priority list based on your values can help. 

Make a point to reflect on how people, places, and things affect your thinking and stress levels. It’s helpful to notice where you feel at ease, and where you feel dis-ease as you move through your day. Being able to recognize the situations, social media, environments, persons, and things that trigger thoughts about using alcohol or other drugs is essential to safeguarding your recovery.    

Taking space from, and removing triggers, until your recovery is well established is an act of self-care.  

Social connection is VITAL!  Connecting with peers who are also on a path of recovery, can help you navigate the college experience with success. Rather than rely on one person and risk disappointment if they are not available, reach out to a number of people to create your network of support.  

If you are concerned about being isolated or missing out, there are many  ways to make social connections at UNH and experience the excitement of exploring new activities and interests.  It is an absolute misperception that the most fun at college happens by engaging in activities that revolve around use of alcohol or other drugs.  In fact, it’s just the opposite! 

Remember your spirit! Recovery is a one-day-at-a-time commitment that takes tremendous courage, patience and practice—especially on those days when life is particularly challenging.  You are part of this world and you are not alone.  Taking a walk, sitting by a pond or stream, breathing in fresh air, going to the woods, reveling in nature, seeing the vast space of the sky – all these can help shift your perspective when it seems that your troubles are insurmountable. 

You Are Not Alone.

UNH recognizes the need to build a collegiate recovery community that fosters belonging and connection among students. The Supportive Recovery Campus Community (SRCC) is a coalition of campus partners and students working together to create an environment that is inclusive and reduces stigma associated with addiction and recovery. The following are core beliefs of the UNH SRCC: 

  • We believe that harm reduction is fundamental to the process of recovery. 
  • We believe that peer support, social connection, and a sense of belonging within the campus community are essential to engaging in and maintaining recovery during college. 
  • We believe in the power of lived experience and the importance of developing a trauma informed lens to promote resilience. 
  • We believe that continually identifying and removing structural and systemic barriers is instrumental in supporting individuals and communities in their recovery. 

UNH Peer Social Support Group - Wildcats for Recovery

Did you know that there is a space on campus where students in recovery can meet, connect, and support each other?    

Wildcat recovery group fall group

Are you...

  • seeking to meet like-minded Wildcats that want to have fun and are not into the drinking culture?
  • looking to connect with other Wildcats who are in the process of changing their relationship to alcohol or other drugs?
  • looking for friends to support you in being true to yourself on your recovery journey at UNH?

If yes to any of the above, please drop-in to our weekly meet-ups on THURSDAYS from 5:30-7:30 pm at the Hamel Rec Center, Thrive, Room 238, 2nd floor.

The meetings are a place for students in recovery to socialize and plan activities together under the guidance of trained Student Peer Leaders with lived experience in recovery.   The Student Peer Leaders and are supervised by licensed clinicians from UNH Health & Wellness and Live Free Recovery Consultants (a treatment provider located in Newton, NH). The model for this group is an adaptation of the evidence-based Alternative Peer Group developed and implemented throughout the state by Creating Connections NH, a program out of the UNH Institute on Disability (IOD). 

For more information, email

Stop the Stigma

Stigma creates a major barrier for people who need support.


About Recovery Services at Health & Wellness 

Health & Wellness serves as a main contact point for Wildcats in or seeking recovery support and for family members seeking information on recovery resources on and off campus.  

Health & Wellness provides a welcoming and inclusive environment.  We understand that recovery is a journey and unique to each individual.    

Our aim is to empower you to be true to your values, express your authentic self, and live each day with a sense of purpose and well-being. 

“The hype around college life and alcohol or other substance use is just that – hype.    Because spending time in situations where alcohol and other drugs are being used—unfortunately, an all-too-common scenario on America's college campuses—and continuing to interact with friends who drink and use drugs are two reliable predictors of relapse, especially in early recovery. Conversely, having a strong support network of pro-recovery peers can serve as a critical counterweight to sustain recovery (Harris, Baker, Kimball, & Shumway, 2008; Harris et al., 2010).” (Source Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation) 

Services to students in recovery are provided by Alcohol, Nicotine, and Other Drug (ANOD) Educator / Counselors who are professional staff that can assist you in discovering, maintaining and growing your recovery at UNH. 

We invite you to meet with us to: 

  • Support your transition to college and campus life 
  • Discuss options for connecting with students in recovery 
  • Identify and plan for managing triggers for returning to use in the college setting 
  • Connect to campus resources that support your well-being and academic success 
  • Acquire knowledge on addiction based on current science and research 
  • Gather information on local and online recovery support and resources 
  • Reflect on how to use your relapse (re-learning) to strengthen your recovery 
  • Participate in creating a thriving recovery community at UNH!   

Individual appointments with our ANOD staff are at no cost, confidential, and tailored to your needs. 


Self-Care is essential for your well-being and provides a strong foundation for a healthy recovery. Below are activities that can support your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. 

  • Eating nutritious meals 
  • Enjoy the outdoors 
  • Meditate 
  • Exercise 
  • Stay hydrated 
  • Talk with people who support you 
  • Listen to music or podcasts 
  • Read a book 
  • Draw/paint 
  • Cook/bake 
  • Play a board game 
  • Leave positive self-notes for yourself 
  • Take a social media detox 
  • Journal your feelings 
  • Live in the moment 

UNH Support & Resources


Health & Wellness provides services, education, and support to help you make informed and value-driven choices around alcohol. Learn more


Use our resources to learn more about taking care of your own health and wellness. Learn more

Self-Help: Psychological & Counseling Services

Collection of resources that you may find useful. These resources are for informational purposes only and are not intended to treat any conditions. These resources are not meant to substitute for mental health counseling.  Learn more

Mental Health Screening

Brief screenings are the quickest way to determine if you or someone you care about should connect with a behavioral health professional. Think of these as a checkup from your neck up. This program is completely anonymous and confidential, and immediately following the brief questionnaire you will see your results, recommendations, and key resources. Learn more

Emergency & After-Hours Care

You will be automatically connected with a medical call center, where staff will conduct a phone assessment and make suggestions for additional care options, including a visit to an urgent care center or hospital, if appropriate. Learn more

Additional campus resources

Peer Supports and Recovery Programs

The mission of SOS Recovery Community Organization is to reduce stigma and harm associated with addictive disorders by providing safe space and peer-based supports for people in all stages of recovery. Located in Dover, NH at 4 Broadway or Rochester, NH at 63 S. Main St , SOS offers peer support groups, telephone and text support services. LEARN MORE

Alcoholics Anonymous is a community of individuals that meet together to support each other in recovering from misuse or dependence on alcohol.  Virtual meetings are accessible and in person meeting are local and can be identified through the meeting finder on this website. There is no cost associated with attending AA meetings. Participation is open to anyone who wants to do something about their drinking.  Learn more

Marijuana Anonymous is a fellowship of people who share our experience, strength, and hope with each other that we may solve our common problem and help others to recover from cannabis dependence.  Learn more

NA is a community of individuals that meet together to support each other in recovering from drug misuse or dependence.  Meetings are based on the Twelve Step program of recovery.  You do not need to be abstinent to attend or participate in open meetings.  Learn more

The Phoenix is an online sober active community offering free workout sessions, yoga classes, meditation, and group meetings.  The only requirement for participation is being sober for 24 hours.  Learn more

Al‑Anon is a mutual support program for people whose lives have been affected by someone else’s drinking.  By sharing common experiences and applying the Al-Anon principles, families and friends of persons impacted can bring positive changes to their individual situations, regardless of whether the other person changes their relationship with alcohol or seeks help.  Learn more

A virtual space for college students around the country to connect and share their experiences regarding the unique challenges of recovery in college. ZOOM LINK 

SMART Recovery (Self Management And Recovery Training) helps individuals gain independence from addiction (substances or activities). Our efforts are based on scientific knowledge and evolve as scientific knowledge evolves. LEARN MORE>

New England Marijuana Anonymous primary purpose is to stay free of marijuana and to help the marijuana addict who still suffers achieve the same freedom. LEARN MORE>

Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACA)/Dysfunctional Families is a Twelve StepTwelve Tradition program of people who grew up in dysfunctional homes. LEARN MORE>

The Buddhist Recovery Network promotes the use of Buddhist teachings and practices to help people recover from the suffering caused by addictive behaviors and is open to people of all backgrounds, and respectful of all recovery paths. LEARN MORE>

Faces & Voices of Recovery is a vast resource in the quest to advance peer support services and recovery efforts everywhere, free from injustice and discrimination. Together, we significantly impact how recovery wellness efforts are understood, organized, funded, and shared. LEARN MORE>

AA Agnostica is meant to be a helping hand for the alcoholic who reaches out to Alcoholics Anonymous for help and finds that she or he is disturbed by the religious content of many AA meetings. LEARN MORE>

Other Resources

A guide to help support you on a cannabis tolerance break.  Learn more

Excerpt: “Recovery opens up a whole new way of seeing the world. It helps us to stay planted and not run away- to INSTEAD be fully present in our lives so we can form our identities, find our voices, and discover all that is true about us. To let the right things define us.”  Learn more

The Doorway offers assistance with accessing every level of treatment. Call 211 to be connected.  Learn more

National Helpline: 1-800-662-HELP (4357)  Learn more

To overcome the addiction epidemic, collective action is required. That is why the SAFE Project works collaboratively to bring solutions to communities, campuses, workplaces, and active-duty service members, veterans, and their families. Learn more

Recovery is a daily practice, and some days are bound to be more challenging than others. Mobile apps from Hazelden Publishing offer you anytime-anywhere access to inspiration and support. Our daily meditation books are available as apps on iOS and Android. LEARN MORE>

Hear what leading addiction and recovery experts are talking about—addiction trends, topics and challenges as well as research, practices and advances that point the most promising way forward. LEARN MORE>

A sober active community offerings include a variety of fitness classes and outdoor events both online and in-person.  Cost of admission of 48 hours of sobriety. LEARN MORE>