By Vanessa Farrior, COC Community Development Intern
My internship with the Community Recovery Project on campus has truly been life changing. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to accompany faculty members Kim Archuletta, Dr. Sarah Zucker and Public Health student Sarah Curry to my first ever UC Riverside Collegiate Recovery Conference! We represented “Aztecs for Recovery (AFR),” SDSU’s newly recognized student organization that provides support to students in recovery and student allies. We had an amazing time eating delicious food, listening to testimonies of students and faculty members, gaining tremendous insight into our own lives, doing fun communication activities and learning a great deal about how we can be supportive to the needs of students in recovery.
During this conference, I went to a variety of interesting workshops. My absolute favorite workshop was where I learned about Motivational Interviewing from Mr. Jerry Phelps from UCSD. One thing that I really liked about the Motivational Interviewing workshop was that it encouraged service providers to draw on the strengths of their clients and help them recognize their capacity to make a positive change in their lives. This workshop also reminded of the importance of cultural humility, of active listening, and of sensitivity to the concerns and needs of others. I also attended an Asset Mapping workshop, where I learned about the importance of Aztecs for Recovery forming relationships with campus and community allies. I learned that through Aztecs for Recovery forming these relationships, a strong network of support is created where SDSU students in recovery have a direct group of individuals, programs, organizations and agencies that they feel they can rely on.
Another cool thing Sarah and I did was attend our first 12-Step meeting. There were about 30-40 people of different genders, ages, races, religions, sexual orientations and states of origin that talked about their experiences. It was surprised to hear so many male students openly expressing their feelings and thoughts about being in recovery. Everyone at the meeting was very respectful and supportive. After the meeting, Sarah and I joined some of the students and played a fun card game and ate pizza and cookies. We had an amazing time hanging out with this group. Even though by the end of the conference we didn’t want to leave, we couldn’t wait to come back to San Diego and share our experience with friends, family and our AFR members!