September 5, 2017

VSU Forms New Substance Abuse Support Groups for Faculty, Staff

VALDOSTA — Valdosta State University’s Office of Alcohol and Other Drug Education is now offering two new substance abuse support groups for faculty and staff who struggle with drug or alcohol addiction or are affected by someone else’s addiction.

The groups are free of charge to participants and are only open to VSU faculty and staff. Separate groups are forming that will assist VSU students affected by substance abuse.

“There’s a need for such groups,” said Mark Williams, coordinator of the Office of Alcohol and Other Drug Education. “So many people are touched by substance abuse in one way or another. There really hasn’t been an outlet on campus for people to get assistance with that or to share stories that other people can benefit from. We wanted to fill that void.”

The Partners in Progress Support Group is for any faculty or staff member with a substance abuse problem large or small. The group will explore the traditional 12-step approach to recovery as well as other alternatives.

“Substance abuse permits no exceptions based on age, gender, race, education level, or position in life,” said Williams, who will facilitate both groups. “It is an equal opportunity destroyer. The good news is that others have been there and have come out victorious on the other side. How? Often it is with the support and encouragement of those with the same struggles.”

The Strength Through Sharing Support Group will help faculty and staff who have been negatively impacted by a loved one’s substance abuse problem, whether that loved one be a partner, spouse, child, or parent.

Group members will hear success stories and learn the tools needed to deal with the challenges of someone else’s addiction.

Williams said there is power in sitting in a room full of people who share the same struggles and experiences.

“Some people deal with so much by themselves, and they don’t realize that others can relate and maybe help them work through some situations,” he said.

Both support groups will be held in a non-judgmental, supportive environment at the VSU Counseling Center, located on the second floor of the Student Health Center on Georgia Avenue.

“I encourage people to come, even if they’re not sure it’s for them,” Williams said. “They can stay in the background and hear what goes on and decide if they want to join.”

The goal, Williams said, is for both groups to meet once a week for one hour, but the times and dates are to be determined.

“As people respond and sign up, we’ll ask what works best for them,” Williams said. “Ultimately, we’ll do what works best for most. The people who participate will have a large voice in terms of what direction we go with this.”

The mission of the Office of Alcohol and Other Drug Education is to address the issue of substance abuse among the VSU community and its potential impact on academic, professional, and social development. The goal is to provide accurate, up-to-date information in the areas of prevention, education, and referral. Services are available to students, faculty, and staff.

Please contact Mark Williams at (229) 259-5111 or at to join or learn more about either support group. 

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