8 Helpful Tips for Staying Sober in College

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Staying sober in college can be a challenge – students are surrounded by friends, stressed out, and interested in experimenting. However, if you're interested in staying sober in college is possible.

In this article, we're going to share some helpful tips for staying sober in college.

Staying Sober in College

Just say no. I’m sure you have heard many people offer that piece of advice. If it were that easy, everyone would be sober. But it’s not easy to stay sober all the time, especially in college, where there is a party going on somewhere all the time.

College life has become synonymous with party life. This makes it hard for those who want to stay sober while in college.  There is an underlying pressure to pay your dues, get wasted, and make memories you will reflect on at each class reunion.

The party life can have many negative effects on your personal and academic life, however, and can eventually affect your professional life.

Some of you have realized it’s just not worth it, to be drunk so often in college. You have decided to avoid drinking and using drugs for the rest of your college career. So, why does your decision make you feel worried or scared?

Some think these feelings come from not having a backup plan to partying. Without a backup plan, boredom, curiosity, fear of missing out, and peer pressure will lure you back into the party lifestyle.

However, it is possible to stay sober in college. Below are nine tips for helping you succeed in staying sober.

Live in a Sober Free Environment

Many colleges have sober living residences, or they can connect you to sober living housing. It would be very hard to continue to live with your partying roommate and not be tempted to get drunk or high.

If your college does not offer sober living housing, find a roommate who also wants to avoid the party life. If possible, live off-campus with or without a roommate. This can help you avoid immediate peer pressure from those living in your dorm.

Get Involved in Sober Activities

Once you begin looking for sober activities taking place on your campus, you will be surprised to learn there are many from which to choose. Think about the hobbies or activities you enjoy or what you enjoyed doing in the past. Seek activities on campus that match your likes.

If you like playing soccer, join an intramural soccer team. If you like reading, join a book club. If for some reason your college does not have activities you enjoy, start one of your own.

Join Sober Groups

Joining sober groups is different than joining sober activities. Sober groups are those set up to help you overcome your desires to drink or get high. Sober groups include on-campus Alcoholics Anonymous groups or group therapy with other students who want to stay sober.

You can find the groups available by connecting with the campus counseling center. If they don’t currently have a sober group, work with staff to create one. There are many students who can benefit from this type of support.

Meet with a Counselor

While accessing campus counseling resources, schedule an appointment with an individual counselor. Many colleges offer the services of individual counseling with therapists who specialize in addiction and recovery, and mental health.

Working with a therapist, you will learn tools that can help you say “no” to friends wanting you to party. You will learn coping skills and prevention methods. Counselors can also teach you how to make your physical and mental health a priority, a big part of staying sober in college.

Take Care of Your Health

The healthier you are, the more capable you will be to make good decisions and stay away from drinking or using drugs. Taking care of your health starts with being mindful, listening to your body’s needs.

If you have days where you feel overwhelmed and anxious, you may need to learn stress management skills. If you have crying spells and must force yourself to get out of bed, you may need help for depression. If you have persistent pains in your body, you may need medical attention.

Make yourself a priority and begin healing yourself inside and out. This will give you the strength to stay sober in college.

Get a Job

In college, having a part-time job has many benefits. Every college student needs extra cash to pay for books, meals, and social activities. Previously, you may have used this extra money to buy alcohol or drugs. But now, you can find more positive uses for the extra money earned at a job.

Working a part-time job also gives you a great excuse to skip a party. It can also be a place where you meet other students trying to stay sober in college.

Connect Spiritually

Connecting spiritually can mean different things for different students. But it can help all students trying to stay sober in college.

Meditation has numerous benefits and it can help you stay focused on your personal and academic goals. It helps you relax, destress and use your breathing to calm your mind and body.

Other ways to connect spiritually include attending a church service or study group, begin a prayer routine, start writing in a journal, or read motivational and uplifting books on spirituality and sobriety.

Get to Know Your Emotions

Emotions can make it hard at times to stay sober in college. Even when you are feeling happy, you can be triggered to drink or get high. Sadness, anger, loneliness, excitement, anxiety, and fear are just a few more emotions, when not under control, can lead to a desire to drink or use drugs.

The more you know your emotions, the more you will know your triggers. And this knowledge can help you stay sober while in college.


In conclusion, the statistics alone should be enough to make someone want to stay sober in college. Rapes and sexual assaults, physical assaults, injuries, and even deaths do happen when alcohol and drugs are being abused.

But by implementing some of the tips listed above, you can protect yourself from harm, and reach your main goal of graduating from college with a diploma and a bright outlook for your future.