Two graduate students at EMU offer an outlet for EMU students battling addiction

Students for Recovery is a new student organization on campus, dedicated to promoting the academic and social well-being of students who are recovering from addictions.

Two graduate assistants in the School of Social Work Aaron Suganuma and Miriam Shabazz, who are both on track to graduate with master of social work degrees in spring, co-founded the organization. The pair decided to do more than just study the topic of addiction and created an organization to help students.

SFR puts an emphasis on healing and wholeness and tries to accomplish this through service, empowerment and community building. It seeks to give students in recovery and allies hope and support.

Suganuma’s degree specializes in mental illness and chemical dependency. He was SFR’s original treasurer in 2013. He said, “Student life if fraught with triggers for addictive behavior. SFR provides a safe, sober and supportive alternative.”

Suganuma said these addictions could include drugs, alcohol, eating disorders and gambling.

Shabazz is also specializing in mental illness and chemical dependency and served as the first president. She agreed with Suganuma. “The work hard, party hard atmosphere that some embrace in college can make it difficult to lead a balanced life. Our meetings provide peer support and an environment that reinforces healthy behaviors,” she said.

At the meetings, members provide each other with moral support as well as planning service projects. Some of their past projects have been planting trees at Dawn Farm Treatment Center and volunteering at the Ann Arbor Summer Festival.

“Addiction is a disease that consumes individuals with ‘self.’ Service gets us outside of ourselves and helps us make amends for the years we consumed more than we contributed,” said Shabazz.

Meetings are held twice a month—on the second Wednesday at 3 p.m. and the fourth Wednesday at 6 p.m. All meetings are held in room 103 in Snow Health Center

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