Group helps Cougs in drug, alcohol recovery

Program consists of self-help, weekly meetings, community support



Jonathan Wallis, Cougs For Recovery president, left, and doctoral candidate Noel Vest, right, discuss Cougs for Recovery on Wednesday at the Compton Union Building.

JAYCE CARRAL, Evergreen reporter

For students recovering from drug or alcohol addiction, the WSU student group Cougs for Recovery provides resources and advocates for the reduction of stigma surrounding drug and alcohol dependence.

The program follows similar recovery models present in other universities nationwide. It is split between two sections, the first consisting of self-help and recovery meetings and the second focusing on creating a community of support.

“There were no options for students in recovery,” said co-founder Noel Vest, who is also a health promotions specialist and substance use prevention and liaison for registered student organizations.

Senior Jonathan Wallis, the other co-founder and president of Cougs for Recovery, noted that life after sobriety can be difficult for many. Those recovering and allies are welcome to join to be a part of a community after addiction, he said.

“The earlier a person uses drugs and alcohol, the more likely they are to develop an addiction,” Wallis said. “If [students] do need help, then this resource is there for them.”

Vest said WSU is meant to represent the community, meaning the same measures should be taken on campus as anywhere else.

Recruitment and spreading awareness is a large focus for the leaders of Cougs for Recovery, Vest said. Flyers advertising the group can be found around campus along with links to the group’s social media platforms.

“The idea is that we are just trying to plant a seed,” Vest said. “We want to make sure this program lives on after us.”

As the group expands, Cougs for Recovery will be partnering with other campus organizations such as the Office of Equity and Diversity, Student Affairs and WSU Housing to create sober-living options on campus.

The combined efforts of these organizations will allow for a safer and healthier experience at WSU, Vest said.

“Drugs and alcohol are not inherently bad things,” Wallis said. “It’s all just molecules.”

Weekly meetings take place from 5:30 to 6:45 p.m. every Thursday in room 208 of the CUB. On Fridays, the group hosts sober social gatherings.

For more information on battling addiction, the group’s mission and how to donate visit the Cougs for Recovery Facebook page.