I always find myself experiencing unpleasant memories of my former alcohol and drug addiction days anytime I find myself on a college campus, like I did just recently when I sat down in the Student Union of the University of Toledo having a coffee from Starbucks with a new friend who is about to graduate from there.
You see, my memories of my college days at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) are not the most positive. I spent the majority of my time there from September of 1990 to January of 1995 totally consumed with the pursuance of getting drunk or high off of alcohol or drugs. Frankly, it’s pretty amazing I got the grades I did, let alone even graduate, given how much my addictions blossomed there.
While I wish I had an abundance of memories of my life at RIT doing things that were memorable in a good way, most of what I remember is actually planning my days around drinking and drugging, where they always ended with me blacking out and passing out, and sometimes not in the most gracious of ways either.
So, on a day that found me sitting in a Student Union on another campus some 25 years later, I was quickly jarred into remembering several trips to the academic offices in my old Student Union, where I was put on probation for my drinking debacles. I also vividly recollected me stumbling through it two sheets to the wind, more times than I could count and throwing up outside of it on several occasions too.
Honestly, I wish that I had better memories of the Student Union I once walked through many-a-times on my own campus, just as much as I wish I had better memories overall from my days at RIT. But, sadly, my addictions to alcohol and drugs became my best friend back then where the majority of my memories surround just me and them and may forever haunt me.
Thankfully though, I’m working on creating new memories now on other college campuses, starting with the University of Toledo. As the day I was there to have that coffee in the Student Union, I also spoke at one of its sororities, Kappa Delta, about my journey from addiction to recovery and everything in between. It was an amazing experience to see so many sister’s eyes light up as they connected to what I shared.
This is why I have a hope and prayer that this may only the beginning for me, as I’d like to do this a lot more. I’d like to share my story with other fraternities and sororities both at the University of Toledo and other campuses around the country, chiefly because I was a fraternity member myself having been in Phi Kappa Psi and know how easily addiction to alcohol and drugs can begin in Greek life.
Nevertheless, I probably will always have not so pleasant memories from my former alma mater days. But, by the Grace of God, I may just very well be able create a whole new legacy of better memories on other campuses by continuing to share my experience, strength, and hope of recovery from addiction to fellow Greeks and students there. And hopefully, it might just help to prevent someone from going down the path I did, spending their entire days at college consumed with alcohol and drugs, two things that will never create any positive long-lasting memories…
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson