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Space aims to help students recovering from addictions

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As a child, Ahmed Hosni said it had always been his dream to work at Ohio State. But after battling an addiction to alcohol, Hosni said he felt that dream had faded away.

But his dream has now been revived: He serves as the program coordinator for the Collegiate Recovery Community.

“I like to think it was my destiny to end up here, since I too am a person who is in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction,” Hosni said. “At one point in my life, that dream kind of faded away and then got sober.”

The CRC helps OSU students struggling with alcohol addiction get and stay sober while in college. The organization also operates an on-campus living option for students in recovery from drug or alcohol addictions called Pennsylvania Place. The residence hall is located on South Campus at 1478 Pennsylvania Ave.

Not all students in the CRC live in the Recovery House, though. All students interested in joining the program are invited to join the CRC, which has moved to a temporary location in Lincoln Tower.

“The lounge (in Lincoln Tower) opened the same day I started, so my first day was the first day of the lounge,” Hosni said.

Although Hosni didn’t spend much time at the old location of the CRC in the Student Wellness Center in the RPAC, he said he can already feel the positive effects of the new location.

“Our old place was a very small space that could fit about one person, and so we moved from that desk to this big wonderful new space so that we could host our own events and give our students a place where they could make themselves a home on campus,” Hosni said. “Having a place on campus has made it tangible because it’s a place where people can go. It’s got an address, it’s got its own location, so if someone asks about the CRC, it’s that place over in Lincoln Tower.”

Christina, a student in computer and information science who wished for her last name to remain anonymous, entered recovery at age 21 and is now a member of the CRC. Christina said she loves the location in Lincoln Tower and the most important thing the location has brought to her is a sense of community.

“That’s what this space helps provide to students in recovery ­— new people, places and things in a way that is safe, but we don’t feel left out of the college experience,” she said.

Christina said she often goes to the CRC between classes, and added that it feels good to have a place where she feels comfortable hanging out.

“Frequently I am found there between classes. It’s huge … and has so many things to offer,” she said. “We have a lounge space with games, kitchen with lots of snacks and room for our lunches, computers, meeting space, a meditation room, lockers to stash our stuff and free coffee — people in recovery love coffee.”

The longer walk to Lincoln Tower is the only drawback Christina said she has with the new location, but she added that is the only minor inconvenience of the new location.

Although Lincoln Tower is only a temporary space for the CRC both Hosni and CRC program manager Sarah Nerad said they hope to find a permanent location for the CRC by August. Nerad said the challenge has been the fact that the move is being funded by outside donors.

“We’re going to use a lot of outside donors to help fund it, so there is still some things we’re working on,” Nerad said.

Hosni said he knows first-hand the importance of having a program like the CRC available to students. Hosni credits a program similar to the CRC to helping him become and stay sober.

“Having gotten sober at a really young age while I was in school myself and knowing the benefit of being a part of a program like this because the college I attended had its own collegiate recovery community, I know how greatly it’s impacted my life and how different my life is today because of receiving services like the ones we offer. I don’t know where I’d be without a program like this,” he said.

“Being here at Ohio State is pretty special. It’s a dream come true. I’m excited to be here, I love what I do supporting students in recovery.”

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