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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Sober in College aims to change status quo

SiC offers a 12-step program and plans to host social events on campus, Daily said.

Sober in College, a new organization starting at MU this fall, aims to promote living a sober lifestyle during the college years.

This organization, currently a small group of students, has been meeting regularly throughout the summer to get this organization off of the ground.

“The Wellness Center has really helped us out with getting some grant funding and helping us through the process. Right now, we’re looking at just filling out the paperwork to become an official organization,” said junior Laura Daily, a founding member of SiC.

Until organization registration opens up in the fall, SiC organizers are focusing on laying out the plans for their 12-step program, which includes weekly open meetings where students are able to ask about recovery, and social events.

“There aren’t enough people in town this summer to actually have fully functional meetings,: senior Stuart Abrams, another member of the original group, said. “So right now, it’s just organizational meetings trying to get stuff planned out for this year.”

SiC has a threefold purpose: as a recovery program, an educational program and a place of support for anyone who leads a life of sobriety.

“A lot of times, people look at recovery as this very adult issue,” Daily said. “I’ve known people that have been in recovery since they were 12 years old to people who started their journey in their nineties.”

While SiC offers a 12-step recovery program, recovery is not the only main focus of the group.

“Half of it is, yes, recovery, and another part of it is also people just having a social atmosphere for those that don’t drink for any other reason,” Abrams said.

Daily said SiC aims to combat the stereotype that in order to have fun in college, one must drink alcohol.

“Mizzou has such a reputation as a party school,” Daily said. “But … there’s so much more. This organization gives us a chance to show that you can do college sober.”

Members of the group vary from those in recovery to those who choose not to drink due to religious or personal reasons.

SiC also plans to educate students on the subject of sobriety and what it means to be sober.

“Our goal in the future is to do educational programming on how to interact with someone that’s sober,” Daily said. “I think there’s such an expectation that when you come to college you’re going to drink. People don’t realize that’s an option.”

Part of the educational programming will include how to interact with someone who chooses to be sober. Seemingly innocent questions can become overbearing when asked frequently.

“When I go to a party, or I go out with my friends, it doesn’t make me less of a person if I don’t have a drink in my hands,” Daily said. “It doesn’t make me less fun. It is just a part of my being that I don’t drink.”

SiC may be in its beginning stages, but founders have big ambitions for the future of the group.

“One of the coolest things they’ve talked about is having a Sober in College resource center, just like the LGBTQ (Resource Center). You know, a safe place for people like us to hang out and call our own,” Abrams said.

Daily said that, as a founder of SiC, she feels that sobriety, whether for religious, personal or recovery reasons, remains an underrepresented population on the campus.

“There’s so many of us on campus and we need to have our voices heard — that there are other options, that you don’t have to drink in college, that you can be sober,” Daily said.

SiC intends to provide social events for students that do not involve drinking.

“It’s very open to all allies, so even if you drink and you want to come to our club and be supportive, it’s just not using, not glorifying drinking, not putting down others for not drinking, and being sober in that time and place, so it’s very open to everyone,” Daily said.

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