Profiles in Recovery

Tim Rabolt

Hugging his parents after college graduation, Rabolt knew he was on a life-changing journey. He had battled drug addiction in high school, and survived planning his suicide as a freshman at The George Washington University (GWU).

But Rabolt got the right help and support, and began to thrive in recovery. He made it through college clean and sober, and founded Students for Recovery, which led to the university’s acclaimed collegiate recovery program. Now working on a master’s degree at GWU, Rabolt was honored with the George Washington award for his commitment to improving the university.

“It wasn’t just graduating college,” Rabolt recalls. “It was knowing I made it through college in recovery – and what that meant to my family.”

Rabolt is on track to earn his graduate degree in human development next year, and is active in the national recovery movement.

Day Job:
Project Coordinator of the non-profit Altarum Institute, a health systems research and consulting organization

What worked for me:
Surrounding myself with those who were sober, fun, and living a life of recovery. Finding a program that I could adapt to my schedule in college, meeting other young people in recovery and finding the best sponsor in the world.

On my schedule today:
Dinner with my mom and sister, catching up on a lot of emails, calling my sponsor to tell him my weekly joke, and tinkering with my fantasy football lineup until I inevitably make the wrong decision on who to start!

My rock bottom moment:
Actually my rock bottom moment was with 8 months of sobriety. It was a Friday night during my freshman year at The George Washington University and I was in my dorm room. I was at the end of my road, and suicide was undoubtedly the best option I could think of.

Fortunately that wasn’t the case. I went to a meeting the next day and things have been a lot better since!

How I get through the holidays:
No tolerance for excessive drama, stress, triggers, or anything else directly conflicting with my sobriety.

If everyone is drinking, leave and go to a meeting! If family members are arguing, go outside or upstairs! If I’m overwhelmed, take some alone time! I always give myself a way out, sometimes escape is necessary.

I get inspired by:
Students in recovery from mental illness and addiction across the country, undrafted athletes overcoming adversity, and my pump-up playlist on Spotify.

On my bucket list:
Batting practice in a MLB park, go somewhere that I can really see all the stars at night, be a great Dad one day, win my fantasy football championship, watch the Eagles win a Super Bowl, see collegiate recovery become a normal thing on college campuses.

On finding purpose:
Don’t put expectations on it, just keep searching and you’ll know when you find it. I don’t know if I’ve found it completely, but I’m a lot closer than I was when using or even in early recovery.

Just keep living life and you’ll get there.

Shed the Stigma:
If you’re a person in long-term recovery who wants to share your
insights, please contact us at [email protected].