Have Questions About Substance Use?

by Blair Davis, Psy.D.

Help is Available, On or Off Campus

Have you ever had questions about your substance use or felt like you needed information and support from others who understand? Or, maybe you have a friend, relative or partner who has a substance issue, and you could use some help knowing how to deal with it. If  these scenarios hit home, you might be surprised to hear how many resources there are on and off campus.

The newest resource for people seeking support for their own or others’ substance use is SMART Recovery, a cognitive therapy–based group that will begin meeting weekly on campus this week. The approach is based on scientifically proven theories of recovery and includes facilitated discussion and education. It can be helpful for problems with any sort of substance or addiction. The first meeting is Thursday, January 7th  from 7 to 8:30 pm at the Stevenson College Senior Commons Room. SMART will continue to meet every Thursday at the same time and location. It’s free, and you don’t need to sign up—just come at 7. SMART also has a weekly meeting downtown on Tuesday nights from 8 to 9:30 pm (Little Red Church, 532 Center Street). For more information, contact Don MacDonald at 831-338-2878.

There are also three existing 12-Step support meetings on campus: Alcoholics Anonymous (Tuesdays, 8–9:00 pm, Charles E. Merrill Lounge, Merrill College), Marijuana Anonymous (Sundays, 7–8:00 pm, Senior Commons Room, Stevenson College) and Stepping Slugs (Mondays, 8–9:00 pm, Silverman Room, Stevenson College). Stepping Slugs is a group for people who need support around any sort of addiction in themselves or a loved one. And, there are many, many 12-Step meetings addressing alcohol issues, drug issues and other addictions in Santa Cruz and nearby communities every day. Just visit aasantacruz.org (local Alcoholics Anonymous site), santacruzna.org (local Narcotics Anonymous site). You can also call Paul Willis at SHOP (831-459-1417) or Blair Davis at CAPS (831-459-5883) for information about on- and off-campus 12-Step meetings.

Finally, there are a couple more alternatives in Santa Cruz. One is Women for Sobriety, a nonprofit self-help organization helping women to overcome alcoholism and other addictions. This group uses an empowering approach that teaches coping skills and self-worth as a way to build sobriety. Women for Sobriety meets Sundays from 4:30 to 6 pm at Sutter Hospital, 2900 Chanticleer Avenue, Santa Cruz. Call Susie Shook (831-345-8838) for more information.

Another is Rebel Dharma, a weekly meditation and discussion group. Rebel Dharma is a Buddhism-based mind-body awareness group for “Radicals, Rebels and Revolutionaries.” The founder of this group, Jason Murphy, has experience teaching meditation to people with substance abuse concerns. The weekly meeting (Sundays 6–7:30 pm, Insight Santa Cruz meditation center, 1010 Fair Avenue, Suite C) includes a 30-minute guided seated meditation followed by discussion centered on the Buddha’s teaching of rebelling against the mind’s tendencies toward greed, hatred and delusion and finding freedom here and now. Everyone is welcome regardless of age, experience, race, sexuality or gender expression. For more information, contact Insight Santa Cruz at 831-425-3431.

Blair Davis is a CAPS staff psychologist who specializes in alcohol and other drug issues. Her office is located at Stevenson College.