Early one morning in the spring semester of 2016 I confidently walked in to Room 321 on the third floor of Baker University Center. All a part of my “new year, new me plans,” I guess. Those plans lasted for as long as most resolutions do.
You see, Room 321 in Baker Center houses the Ohio University Collegiate Recovery Community called RISE (Recovery to Inspire, Share and Empower). No, I’m not an addict. RISE does not only provide support to students, staff and faculty members who suffer from addictions and addictive behaviors, but also people who have been impacted by the addiction of others. This is where I come in. My father was an alcoholic for as long as I can remember until he died in August, 2012. As one would think, growing up in a home where the person who was supposed to care for you was almost always drunk came with its challenges. Needless to say, I have some issues.
Now let’s get back to the Spring of 2016. I had emailed Ann, the woman in charge of the program, to let her know I was coming in. Before, this my dad’s drinking and how it affected was not something I talked about, but I was determined to do something about it. So, I put on a brave face and told Ann my story. She was super nice and invited me to RISE meetings which happen every Friday at 3pm.
I attended three RISE meetings that entire semester. Don’t get me wrong, the meetings were good. However, it was not easy to open up and get comfortable talking about the things that were so personal to me. I made excuses (mostly to myself) that I was too busy to attend weekly meetings.
Flash forward to last semester: the fall semester of 2016. I was taking a Strategic Social Media class and needed a client to work with on my project for that class. I remembered that Ann had mentioned that RISE needed help with social media. So once again I contacted Ann, this time asking if I can work with RISE to develop a social media plan. She agreed but urged me to attend weekly meetings so that I can keep abreast with what was happening with the group. This was a blessing in disguise.
It’s funny how it was once so difficult to sit in this room for one hour each week and now it is one of my favorite places in Athens. I just needed to give it a chance. The room is always warm and inviting. Motivational and inspirational quotes cover the walls. There’s always pop in the fridge and coffee in the pot, and there’s a comfy couch that I can take a nap on anytime I need a break from the day.
What I love most about this room, though, are the people who fill it. It is so comforting to have a group of people who understand and support me. They always say at meetings that you can share as much or as little as you are comfortable with. Sometimes our conversations get really deep, but sometimes we just sit around and talk about our week, or whatever is happening in the world at that time. They have helped me to understand addiction so much more, and they also help me to keep my own actions in check since I know that it could be easy for me to also go down the path of addiction.