Luke picked up a rock, rolled it around in his hand, and laid it down under a tree on the Quad. As he placed the stone in his favorite spot on campus, he found his mind wandering to the Recovery for Redbirds recovery discussions he’d led and the recovery lounge hours he’d participated in during his experience at Illinois State. He thought of the natural laughter that would erupt from his peers during their time spent together, most often over pop culture references to the show Schitt’s Creek. On April 15, National Collegiate Recovery Day, Luke was feeling especially grateful to have found the exceptional friends and mentors to guide him in his journey to becoming a high school science teacher.

Illinois State celebrated the journeys of students, faculty, and staff who are in recovery and the meaningful relationships built from their shared experiences. Recovery packages were created and delivered, painted rocks were hidden across campus advocating for those in recovery, and allies wore purple, the color of recovery.

The support provided by Recovery for Redbirds encompasses a wide spectrum of substance and behavioral challenges, such as gambling, sexual impulsivity, and disordered eating. Although abstinence-based recovery is the focus of those who are in the group at this time, recovery is defined by each individual student. For some, recovery is abstinence-based, while for others recovery means risk-reduction or moderation management. Anyone who wants to explore their use of substances/engagement in a compulsive behavior is welcome, as long as the person can attend functions without being under the influence of substances.

Another significant event for the organization was their first graduation ceremony and year-end observance. Jamie Laurson, Recovery for Redbirds advisor, said, “It was an emotional celebration, marked by the graduation of several students in long-term recovery (four-plus and three-plus years) reflecting on the relationships they’ve built and the support they’ve received throughout college.”

If you would like to offer your support to students in varying stages of recovery at Illinois State, we invite you to take the following steps:

  1. Help the group expand its recovery meals and socials by making a gift to the Student Engagement fund.
  2. Send a brief email of celebration, support, and/or wisdom to students in recovery at Emails will be shared with all students who are part of Recovery for Redbirds. If you prefer to send an anonymous message, please indicate that preference so your signature can be removed. 
  3. Sign up for recovery ally training to learn more about the experiences of students who are in need of or are in recovery.
  4. Learn more about addiction and recovery by viewing documentaries such as Anonymous People or Prescription for Change.