This past October, Sacred Heart University welcomed back alumnus Brian Dolan as a leader in the Collegiate Recovery Program. He returned to campus after managing Fairfield University’s recovery program for nearly five years.
“It’s pretty surreal for me to be back here,” said Dolan. “I never thought that I’d be doing this type of work.”
Dr. James Geisler, the Director of Counseling and Student Wellness, believes Dolan’s role is very important. “Brian’s role is to map and build the short- and long-term future of collegiate recovery here,” said Geisler.
The program aids students recovering from substance use disorders and provides residential housing, meetings, recreational activities, etc.
Dolan himself is in long-term recovery and celebrates six years of sobriety this month.
“My life got really out of control with alcohol and drugs,” said Dolan. “I get to work with people who don’t have to go through the pain that I did.”
He hopes students appreciate their opportunity to attend the university and acknowledged the inescapability of these issues. Dolan said, “drugs and alcohol are such a big part of the college experience.”
“Addiction does not discriminate,” said Dolan. “Every student here is going deal with it one way or another.”
Dolan commends Sacred Heart for addressing difficult situations and looks forward to raising awareness for the program.
“My drinking here was definitely an issue, but I didn’t even know anything about the world of recovery,” said Dolan. “It’s forward-thinking by the university to create and give resources to a program like this. They’re not naive to what’s really going on in the student body.”
One of his biggest goals is to make the university known as a place where someone can receive higher education while being provided with the tools to stay sober.
“Addiction is a big business so it’s about getting Sacred Heart listed as a resource,” Dolan said.
“His ability to build relationships within Sacred Heart and the greater community will be a positive asset as he continues to develop programming and support for students in recovery,” said Geisler.
“The connections he has made off-campus in this new role are admirable, as he is eager to support students in recovery on their academic path,” said Geisler.
They maintain contact with different treatment centers throughout the northeast to assist in the university’s mission. This progress is what Dolan believes can make this resource more accessible as he aims to make the program’s purpose better known.
“My job right now is the residential piece but it’s also to educate the whole student body,” said Dolan.
Junior Ethan Dubrosky said, “That’s definitely a good resource for us to have and more people should know about it because I don’t think many do.”
Dolan is optimistic about the development of the programs and how the recovery population is growing every day.
“Some of the stigma has been lifted,” said Dolan. “I’m very open about my struggles and what decisions I made and didn’t make.”
Geisler said, “Brian has very unique personal and professional experiences, as well as big ideas for Collegiate Recovery, while still remaining curious and open about opportunities for students in recovery to thrive during their time here.”
Dolan feels that education and a better understanding of what the road to recovery looks like are integral to the program’s effectiveness.
“If anyone ever has a concern about not only themselves but a roommate or a family member or something like that, and they just want to talk with someone who’s had a wealth of experience in and around addiction,” said Dolan.
Please contact Brian Dolan, firstname.lastname@example.org if you or someone you know needs help or think the Collegiate Recovery Program could assist.