Life After Rehab: Community Colleges in Tampa

Tackle Higher Education in Tampa, FL While in Recovery

Life after rehab can open many doors for someone who is now living in a healthier, more positive way. A person’s career, relationship, family, and education can benefit from putting drugs and alcohol in the rearview mirror. Life after rehab also makes room for many new activities, including new hobbies, exercise, and classes for leisure and advancement. In the world we live in, anyone’s life can be negatively impacted by drugs or alcohol. There is no demographic in the United States that has not been touched in some way by alcohol and drug abuse. No matter where you’ve been or where you come from, finding purpose after rehab can be a vital aspect of staying clean and sober.

Stopping using drugs or drinking is not as simple as it sounds. Detox and rehab after months or years of drug abuse and addiction takes commitment. Individuals need to continue to work hard after their formal treatment has been completed. Much of that work has to do with how they fill their free time. Being productive no matter who you are is always rewarding, and that type of positive reinforcement is often necessary for those beginning life after rehab. 

Like most large cities and even smaller towns around the United States, Tampa, Florida has many community colleges and other higher learning institutions. Community colleges are an excellent place for people who are recently sober to look for classes as they often offer continuing education options for adults instead of just choices more fitting for traditional students. They may also provide more courses geared towards job training instead of more focused on a degree’s requirements. There are many benefits at local community colleges for anyone looking to further their careers, including those looking to tackle higher education in Tampa while in recovery.

Here are some community college in Tampa to help jumpstart your education:

Hillsborough Community College 

4001 W Tampa Bay Blvd, Tampa, FL 33614

Florida College

119 N Glen Arven Ave, Temple Terrace, FL 33617

St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus

6605 5th Ave N, St. Petersburg, FL 33710

Every person who has ever had their lives negatively affected by drugs or alcohol has gone through different experiences. Subsequently, each individual’s road to recovery and how they maintain their sobriety will be unique, too. Experts agree that people must eliminate bad habits to stay sober, but they must engage in new ones. Thankfully, the benefits of taking college classes for people while staying sober are many. 

First, it’s often essential for someone newly in recovery to make new connections. This can be done through support groups, trying new activities, and certainly through taking college classes. No matter the topic, you will have an immediate thing in common with anyone in your class. You may also have similar goals as to what you want to get out of taking college classes. College professors often encourage study groups or give assignments that require people to work in teams, both of which can lead to meeting new people. Additionally, many college campuses, even smaller community colleges, have events for students, many of which will not center around partying or other activities that could trigger a relapse. Lastly, community colleges may be a location for local Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) groups, making it convenient to attend both classes and regular meetings.

When a person struggles with substance abuse, their life is impacted in many ways. Two of these are their finances and their career. Taking college classes is a great way to move into a new field, advance your career along its current path, or learn a skill that can be used to make an additional income to supplement your regular job. No matter which of these three is your goal, there are many college classes to choose from that will fit the bill. Colleges, and often more so community colleges than large institutions, also offer certificate programs. A certificate program is usually aimed at a fairly specific job, like website design or accounting, among many others. Programs like these will have several classes bundled together that will have an educational credential that will take a lot less time than an Associate’s Degree. This is a great way to get your foot in the door in a new career field that school counselors can help you assess. It’s always a good idea to take classes in a subject that interests you or that you enjoy, but having a career goal in mind is an outstanding milestone to set for yourself.

In today’s day and age, college classes can be taken in a traditional classroom setting, online, or as a hybrid of the two. This can be a great benefit for two reasons. First of all, it provides flexibility for people, especially working adults, who often have to find creative ways to fit classes into their schedule. Second, it can allow you to take more courses than you typically might be able to by combining online and in-person options. Either way, this is good for people in recovery because it takes away one more stumbling block when engaging in things that take up time each day. Between class time, studying, research, and possible group activities, taking college classes can quickly fill a person’s schedule, which is good for people in recovery. 

Increased Job Opportunities

For most people in America, and probably around the world, making more money, or at least having the ability to so that it’s an option, is a good thing. Traditional education is not the only way to increase job opportunities, but having one more line on your resume is never going to hurt. Taking college classes as an adult is often a great way to increase job opportunities and be more impactful to a person’s career than more traditional students due to a few factors. As an adult, you know more about what employers are looking for because you most likely have already been in the job force. In most career fields, there can be nuances or skills known only to those who have worked in the industry who understand the most sought-after abilities. Second, people who have already worked for several years often become aware of jobs they are interested in or, in some cases, would never want to do, both in their career fields and others they’ve had exposure to along the way. All of this information gives college-goers the ability to increase their job opportunities in a much more guided way, using their own experience to help decide what path they’d like to take in their continuing education.

Self Fulfillment & Mental Well-Being

When a person abuses or becomes addicted to drugs or alcohol, this can begin with having low self-esteem and low self-worth. As a result, addicts and alcoholics can experience these feelings due to their substance abuse as well. That’s why people in recovery need to try new things, start new hobbies, and experience new activities and set goals. Maybe it’s as simple as walking a mile in the beginning with a goal of being able to walk five miles. It could be to read several books per month or year. Although money is not always a reasonable driving force, it is good to have sound financial health, and a savings goal that requires work and commitment may be just the thing. Educational goals are easy to set but sometimes hard to reach. They take dedication and commitment and can have several payoffs. In addition to learning a new skill or gaining additional knowledge, or acquiring a credential needed for a new position, attaining the goal you set can result in self-fulfillment and mental well-being.

Part of the 12 steps of AA is to take personal inventory and continue to do so throughout recovery. Part of this is to attempt to atone and seek forgiveness for past digressions, and another part is to see to it that you are living the best life you can in recovery. If attaining an educational goal, whether it’s for career advancement or more leisurely reasons, is something you set for yourself, taking personal inventory from time to time can keep you honest and focused on what you wish to achieve. It’s not selfish to do something for yourself that makes you proud of yourself and, in turn, helps you be the person you wish to be. When you achieve self-fulfillment like this, you typically enhance your mental well-being, which will reflect outwardly and positively improve the lives of the people around you. 

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AA Meetings Tampa
Al Anon Tampa
NA Meetings
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Tampa Community Colleges
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If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

About the Author

Jackie has been involved in the substance abuse and addiction treatment sector for over five years and this is something that she is truly eager about. She has a passion for writing and continuously works to create informative pieces that not only educate and inform the public about the disease of addiction but also provide solutions for those who struggle with drug and alcohol abuse.