Life-gripping addictions knocked them down, but they’re back on their feet again

Published 11:12 am Thursday, September 5, 2019

A successful chef and father of two used to drink vodka at 6 a.m. until he passed out in public, then wake up and try to go to work and conceal his problem.

A bright, young student hooked on alcohol and Xanax accumulated multiple arrests in 18 months, including one for assaulting a police officer. He eventually landed in prison for 90 days.

A gifted young man went to a major university on scholarship but partied his way out of school twice. He spent several blurry years lost in a cycle of arrests, serious depression, liquor, pills and drugs.

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These individuals – Eric Peters, Sam Peeler and Weston Aron – all have one thing in common. They’re University of Mississippi students who have overcome serious substance abuse that could have killed them, and each of them are on track to earn their degrees.

They haven’t changed their lives alone. They chalk a lot of their success up to the support of UM Collegiate Recovery Community, a part of the new William Magee Center for Wellness Education. The CRC is a network created for students to help them draw support and accountability from one other to stay on track.

Erin Cromeans, UM assistant director of wellness education, oversees the CRC. She has seen how this community provides students a vital link to the support network of other students in recovery.

“It is important for students to connect early and engage often, all while navigating college life,” Cromeans said. “Our CRC continues to grow not only in membership size, but in opportunities for social activities, campus leadership and engagement, and also scholarship. I’m excited for the continued momentum of our organization.”