St. Scholastica Merges Studies and Sobriety

By KBJR News 1

September 6, 2012 Updated Sep 7, 2012 at 10:24 AM CDT

Duluth, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) - For College of St. Scholastica Junior, Ben Baltich, the college experience once had a different meaning.

"People ask what was your drug of choice," said Baltich. To me it was pretty much anything. Everything that was mind altering."

Baltich's drug use carried on for several years. He says it got to the point where he didn't want it, he needed it.

"My little spree of things stopped becoming fun, because it was a necessity."

Baltich realized his life was crumbling, and sought treatment.
He says a major push in the path to his sobriety is the Clean program at St. Scholastica.

"Every campus, frankly, whether we like to admit it or not has students struggling with addiction and alcoholism," said Theodore Nielsen, the college's recovery program community development coordinator. "We're simply providing resource that could be needed at every college."

The Clean program is now in its fifth year. The program gives traditional and nontraditional students a second chance. Students hold each other accountable through weekly meetings, campus events and living in sober housing.

"We don't want to prohibit students from pursuing an education because of the fear of returning to a hostile environment for someone struggling with addiction," said Nielsen.

Nielsen and the dozen students in the group are actively promoting themselves to their peers to show college isn't just one big party.

"I feel like I can experience the college experience without having to experience the lifestyle of a typical partying college student," Baltich said.

It's the next step, Baltich says, in learning how to live again.

This year, the Clean program teamed up with Hazelden, an Addiction Treatment Center, to bring in experts to talk about addiction, treatment and recovery.

A national expert will go behind the science of addiction at the College of St. Scholastica Thursday night.

As part of the college's "Clean" program, the Dean of Graduate Studies at Hazelden Alcohol and Drug Addiction Treatment Center, Dan Frigo, will talk about what addiction is and how it works.

The event begins with a social hour at 6:30 p.m. at Somes Lounge.

Kevin Jacobsen
Bio - Facebook - Twitter - E-Mail