4 Powerful Keys to Succeed in School During Addiction Recovery

Going back to school while in recovery can be a transformational experience. Education is a vital part of personal growth and development, and it can play a significant role in your recovery process. However, it’s essential to approach transition with careful consideration and mindfulness. We can easily be ambitious and want to accomplish getting a job, going back to school, starting new hobbies, and other activities, however, it can easily overwhelm and cause anxiety when navigating a new life of sobriety.


Here are 4 powerful keys to succeed in school during your addiction recovery journey.


1. PUT YOUR RECOVERY FIRST – YES, EVEN BEFORE SCHOOL!Put your recovery first when going back to school

The foundation of a successful return to school during recovery is prioritizing your sobriety. News flash: Your recovery journey is a life-long commitment, and it should remain at the forefront of your decisions and actions. School will quickly deteriorate if you’re lacking active recovery. It must come first so everything else we love in life doesn’t come last. This means you’re actively taking steps to avoid the complacency that puts you at risk of relapse.



  • Take One Day at a Time: You may feel that you’re ready to conquer the world. This ambitious sense of optimism is often referred to as riding the pink cloud. You’re breaking old behaviors and preplacing them with new ways of living. It takes time, you must be patient with yourself, and take it all one day at a time.
  • Seek Support: Continue attending therapy, support group meetings, out patience treatment, and counseling sessions. These resources are crucial for maintaining your emotional and psychological well-being.
  • Build a Strong Support System: Surround yourself with friends and family who understand your journey and support your recovery goals. Share your concerns and successes with them, and lean on them when needed.
  • Communicate with your Instructors: Don’t hesitate to reach out to your professors or school counselors to discuss your situation. Many educational institutions have programs and accommodations for students in recovery.



Overwhelming energy shows up differently for everyone, but it can typically show itself in the form of stress. Balancing the demands and deadlines in school with addiction recovery can be challenging, but it’s vital to prevent overwhelm and minimize anxiety. 



  • Set Realistic Goals: Establish achievable academic goals that take into account your recovery needs. Avoid overloading yourself with coursework, too many classes at once, or extracurricular activities.
  • Create a Schedule: Develop a daily or weekly schedule that includes time for classes, study sessions, recovery meetings, self-care, and downtime. Stick to this schedule as closely as possible.
  • Manage Stress: Implement stress-reduction techniques like prayer, journaling, or exercise. These practices help you stay centered during challenging times.


3. FIND BALANCEBalance with school in recovery

Manage your expectations and be sure not to over-juggle or over-commit. Achieving balance in your life as your return to school is crucial for your overall well-being. This involves finding a way to balance the demands of school and the time and effort needed to maintain sobriety.



  • Self-Care: Prioritize self-care activities such as exercise, proper nutrition, and sufficient sleep. These habits will help you stay physically and mentally healthy.
  • Stay Connected: Maintain connections with friends and loved ones. Social support can provide a safety net during your recovery and academic journey.
  • Explore Interests: Pursue healthy hobbies and interests outside of academics and recovery to help reduce stress and provide a sense of fulfillment.



Recovery is a process that requires resilience and mindfulness. When you develop resilience in recovery, you can bounce back from difficult days and become confident in your ability to persevere. As you navigate the challenges of going back to school, remember to stay vigilant and strong.



  • Practice Self-Compassion: You are worthy. Be kind and forgiving to yourself. Recovery and education can both be challenging, but your progress matters more than perfection. Remember, progress – not perfection!
  • Stay Mindful: Stay present in each moment and avoid dwelling on past mistakes or worrying about the future. Mindfulness can help you manage cravings and stress. Remember: This too shall pass.
  • Seek Help When Needed: Build strong support networks because you will need them. If you find yourself struggling with cravings, anxiety, or other challenges, don’t hesitate to reach out to your sponsor or support network for guidance. There’s no reason to do it alone!


Congratulations on going back to school in recovery. Believe in yourself, growth, and ability. It takes commitment and effort, but you can do it.


At Second WakeUp House and Redemption Place, we applaud those who are pursuing going back to school. Returning to school in addiction recovery can be a rewarding and transformative experience, but it requires careful planning and dedication. Remember to prioritize your recovery, avoid becoming overwhelmed, find balance in your life, and stay mindful and resilient through the journey. By following these essential considerations, you can successfully integrate education into your recovery journey and work towards a brighter, sober future. Your commitment to both recovery and education is a testament to your strength and determination.


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