University Counseling Center offers free services to people looking to alter habits

Reporter and Reporter

There are numerous ways for students to cope with an alcohol problem on campus, and students can utilize various outlets to address the issue.

The biggest step to coping is self-realization, said Faith Yingling, director of wellness at the Student Recreation Center.

Yingling said there are Alcoholics Anonymous weekly meetings on campus and other support groups at the Counseling Center to help students with their substance abuse, but in order for these to be effective the victims must be ready to make the change.

“Until you’re ready to make that change, anyone can say drinking is bad for you, but it really comes from the internal self in quitting to drink,” Yingling said. “I think that people have to be ready to quit drinking. It’s going to have to be something that will affect you to change such as family, academics, friends, a career, etc.”

Senior Nicholas Leach suffered from alcohol abuse and is still struggling with it today. Leach first realized his alcohol problem while attending the University. He was in a relationship where drinking was a part of everything the couple did.

“We couldn’t sit outside in the sun by the pool without having beers and it was bad,” Leach said. “It’s because of the environment we’re in. It’s what college students do. We get drunk all of the time and it’s not healthy.”

Leach said his relationship with alcohol began like any other college student, such as binge drinking on the weekends.

“I realized I was a bit out of control when I first came to college because I was throwing up every time I would drink,” Leach said. “I didn’t start drinking heavily until college.”

Alicia Komives, alcohol and other drug prevention specialist at the Counseling Center, said the difficulty in quitting to drink varies depending on the type of situation and the relationship between the individual and alcohol.

“There are some people who see their drinking as a problem and are able to recognize it on their own, and there are others that can’t,” Komives said. “The people who are addicted to alcohol in this situation are going to need to work at this daily.”

Komives said what she sees from a lot of college students is they have some problems with drinking and with alcohol abuse, but students typically aren’t physically dependent on the substance.

“The challenge for college students is based on who their surroundings and peers are,” Komives said. “A lot of the students say that everybody is drinking. If you can seek out other people who aren’t drinking that is a huge benefit.”

Leach said he wants people to recognize that getting drunk isn’t an excuse to act like an idiot and do things they wouldn’t normally do.

“We should be ashamed of the things that we do when we’re drunk and we need to take responsibility for that,” Leach said. “We’re socialized to just excuse things that happen when we’re drunk. This shouldn’t be the place to act like a fool because we should never act this way.”

If you have a problem with drugs or alcohol, call the Counseling Center at 419-372-2081 for more information. Services provided are free of charge.