Diving Into Wellness : Block 1 Week 1 Red Zone

A recurring column exploring various statistics related to sexual wellness, mental health, and substance use at Colorado College, brought to you in collaboration with the Wellness Resource Center.

By  SUSANNA PENFIELD

85%

When the National Campus Health Assessment Survey was administered, 85% of Colorado College students reported drinking alcohol in the past 30 days. This percentage exceeds the national average by 19 points.

Though survey statistics such as these do not convey the quantity or rate at which alcohol is being consumed, the prevalence alone is telling of a larger issue.

Drinking is a common catalyst for group gatherings. It occurs at family events and during holidays; we go out to drinks as dates, to bond with coworkers, or to share time with friends. Alcohol pervades everyday routine and interaction, yet it is this acceptance that can mask potential abuse.

In many ways, it would appear that our lives are structured around drinking. We grow up seeing beer in the fridge, or spirits in the liquor cabinet. We watch family members and favorite TV characters meet for Happy Hour after work or indulge in a glass of wine during dinner. We might get peer pressured into trying it during middle school, or high school, or college. We might choose to partake, and we might choose not to.

Alcohol’s centrality in social life makes overuse easy to ignore. However, as college students and young adults, it is important that we think critically about how we engage with substances. The accessibility and prominence of alcohol makes it a crucial time in our lives for this interrogation.

Recognizing the symptoms of alcohol abuse is a good place to start. No matter how minor a drinking problem may seem, it is crucial that these signs do not go ignored, some of which include:

  Making excuses for drinking, such as to relax, deal with stress, or feel normal.

  Choosing drinking over other responsibilities and obligations.

  Becoming isolated and distant from friends and family members.

  Drinking alone or in secrecy.

  Feeling hungover when not drinking.

  Changing appearance and group of acquaintances you hang out with.

New resources are being offered at CC to aid in this process of recognition and recovery. These include:

•Alcoholics Anonymous meetings that will be held Mondays at 7:15 p.m. in Sacred Grounds, starting Sept. 23.

•Al-anon meetings on Wednesdays at 6 p.m. in Sacred Grounds for those who don’t necessarily identify as alcoholic but care about someone 00struggling with alcoholism.

•Narcotics Anonymous meetings on Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m. in Sacred Grounds.

•Peer-to-peer recovery support group on Thursdays in the CC Counseling Center based on the SMART recovery model. For more information 00reach out to the Counseling Center directly.

For further questions or clarifications regarding substance abuse resources at CC or beyond, contact Chris Walters in the Wellness Resource Center (cwalters@coloradocollege.edu). 

Susanna Penfield

Susanna Penfield

Susanna Penfield, class of 2020, writes the weekly column “Diving Into Wellness” in collaboration with the Wellness Resource Center. She is a Political Science Major and Feminist and Gender Studies Minor, co-chair of Student Title IX Assistance and Resource Team (START), editor for the Leviathan - CC’s journal for art, poetry, and prose - and member of the Cutthroat Rugby Team. In addition to the Catalyst, Susanna has been published in Cipher and the Leviathan, and her personal essays have been featured in both Colorado’s Emerging Writers: An Anthology of Nonfiction and the America’s Emerging Writers Series.
Susanna Penfield

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