Being a young person in recovery certainly has its benefits, but it can also be very challenging for a variety of reasons. Enrolling in rehab and sober living at a young age can provide you with a great deal of knowledge, life experience, and older mentors to encourage and support you, but you may also face some obstacles along the way.
Before we dive into the specific challenges of getting sober young and how Eudaimonia supports that specific population of sober living clients, let’s take a closer look at the prevalence of drug and alcohol abuse among young people in America.
Substance Abuse Among Young Adults
Addiction and drug abuse have a much larger effect on young people than you might expect. In a culture that consistently glorifies alcohol and drug abuse in music, movies, TV shows, and popular culture, these risky behaviors have life-changing effects on the young people that end up addicted to these substances. Here are some recent statistics that clearly illustrate the substance abuse problem among young adults in the U.S.
- One in every six young adults in America, ages 18 to 25, battled a substance use disorder in 2014.1
- 6 percent of 12th graders reported using illicit drugs in the last year.2
- 9 percent of 12th graders reported using marijuana in the last year.2
- 7 percent of 12th graders reported non-medical use of amphetamines in the last year.2
- In 2014, the nonmedical use of prescription drugs like opioid pain relievers, ADHD medication, and anti-anxiety drugs was highest among young adults.3
- In 2014, more than 1,700 young adults died from prescription drug overdoses (mainly opioids).3
- In 2015, about 40 percent of 12th graders reported being drunk in the last year.4
- Nearly 25 percent of teens have ridden in a car with a drunk driver.5
- In 2014, the majority of people suffering from marijuana addiction were between the ages of 12 and 25.1
- Heroin addiction among young adults ages 18 to 25 has doubled in the past 10 years.6
4 Factors that Can Make Getting Sober Young Difficult
Although there are many benefits to getting sober young such as saving money, building healthy relationships, and being a mentor for other young people who are struggling with addiction, there are also several unique challenges involved.
- Romantic relationships – Many young people who enter detox, rehab, and sober living programs are single or dating but not yet married. Romantic relationships can make many things in life more complicated and sobriety is no exception. Whether a boyfriend or girlfriend is supportive of an individual’s recovery (or not) dating in early sobriety can sometimes hinder the success of sobriety maintenance and overall recovery.
- False assumptions about time – Older people in recovery may make comments about the younger clients in their sober living home or support group, such as, ‘I wish I would have gotten sober so young,’ or ‘It’s great to have so many young people in group.’ While these types of comments are typically well-intentioned, they feed into a false mentality that young people in treatment still have all the time in the world to get sober. This could not be further from the truth. Sadly, many young people die every day from drug and alcohol addiction, and submitting to treatment and recovery as early as possible is ideal.
- Peer pressure in social situations – Young people tend to drink and use drugs more often and more regularly, especially in social situations. Life experiences such as going to college, turning 21, or even just going out with friends on the weekend can be a serious obstacle if you’re sober. Not only do many young people face intense peer pressure when these situations arise, but in some cases, they may also be forced to choose between using drugs and alcohol or being excluded entirely. These can be difficult choices to make, especially at a time in life when social inclusion is so important.
- Ongoing brain development and maturity issues – According to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the human brain does not reach full maturity until at least the mid-20s. Even at 25, the brain may still not be fully mature.7 Many of these neurological changes may impact decision-making and judgment. In addition, young adults are guaranteed to make a certain amount of mistakes in early adulthood—it’s just a part of life. These life changes can make it seem like sobriety is extremely difficult when in reality, learning how to live as a high-functioning adult is a challenge for all young people, sober or not.
Addiction Recovery Support for all Stages of Life
At Eudaimonia Recovery Homes, we provide addiction recovery support for people in all stages of life. That being said, many of our clients are young men and women in their early twenties who are working hard to maintain their sobriety after rehab.
To properly address the needs and challenges our young clients face, we are proud to provide an extremely diverse team of Recovery Specialists. This team of addiction treatment specialists is made up of men and women of all backgrounds and ages, with varying amounts of personal sobriety experience. Each of these individuals is in recovery themselves and they are uniquely qualified to guide our sober living residents through the obstacles of early sobriety.
Some of our staff members even have personal experience getting sober young and can provide helpful wisdom and encouragement to clients who find themselves in similar situations. A perfect example is one of our Recovery Specialists, Derek Stone.
“I started experimenting around 12 or 13 years old, he says. “I got sober when I was 20 but I tell people that those were my three main food groups of substance abuse: pot, pills, and alcohol.”
“While I do believe there are certain clients that only I’m going to be able to reach because of their age, their position, their family dynamics, or even their drug of choice, I also believe that there’s a group of people out there that I can’t reach for those very same reasons.”
“That’s why we have such a variety of people on the Recovery Specialists team. We have people from different walks of life with different lengths of sobriety. I’m definitely by no means a one-size-fits-all Recovery Specialist. There are people that I’m uniquely qualified to help, and I’m grateful for that, but there are others that can’t be helped by me alone.”
At Eudaimonia Recovery Homes, we offer sober living homes, recovery support services, and IOP programs that are tailored to people in a variety of walks of life, including young adults. If you’d like to learn more about our sober living houses and programs for men and women, please call (512) 363-5914 to speak with a member of our admissions team today.