If you’re struggling with alcohol or other drug use – or if you’re concerned about or impacted by someone who is – we have services and resources that can help.
Services at Cornell Health
We offer a wide range of services for students — from education to individual and group support.
BASICS (Brief Alcohol Screening & Intervention for College Students) is a two-session assessment and feedback process that helps you evaluate your own alcohol / drug use, and explore in a judgment-free environment how your use may be affecting your life.
Some students choose to participate in BASICS to learn more about their own behavior, and/or develop strategies for decreasing their drinking or drug use. Other students may be required to participate in BASICS when found in violation of Cornell’s Code of Conduct or House Rules.
Visit our BASICS page for more information.
Substance use and mental health are often linked. Frequent use of alcohol or other drugs (AOD) can have a serious impact on one's mental health. Similarly substance use may become habitual as a means of coping with one's mental health struggles. Whichever came first, it's best to work on mental health and substance use at the same time.
- If you're already seeing a mental health counselor (here at CAPS or elsewhere), it's a good idea to talk with them about substance use.
- If you don't have a therapist, but you'd like some help sorting things out, it's a good idea to reach out.
Speaking individually with a counselor can help you work through challenges you might be facing, including those related to alcohol or other drugs (AOD). A counselor can help you develop strategies for reducing or abstaining from AOD use, and address any underlying problems (family issues, depression, anxiety, etc.) that may be contributing to your use. Counseling can also be a great resource for students who are concerned about – or impacted by – a friend or family member who struggles with their AOD use.
Visit our Individual Counseling page to learn more about our counseling services and how to set up an appointment.
Research shows that group counseling is the most effective method of addressing issues with alcohol or other drugs (AOD). We offer counseling groups for undergraduate and graduate/professional students based on the Transtheoretical Model and Stages of Change.
SPRING 2023 GROUPS [Learn how to join a group]
Substance Use Strategies and Support: Find What Works For You
- Undergraduate group on Fridays, 3:15 – 4:45 pm via Zoom, beginning February 10 through May 12
- Facilitators: Jacob Parker Carver, LMSW and Theo Bizimana, LMHC
- Weekly semester group, orientation required, open enrollment
- Graduate / professional student group on Mondays, 10:00-11:30 am via Zoom, beginning February 6
- Facilitators: Jacob Parker Carver, LMSW and David "Alec" Wierzbicki, PsyD
- Weekly semester group, orientation required, open enrollment
So maybe you smoke, maybe you drink, and maybe you do other drugs... but you're noticing some drawbacks. Some people might benefit from reducing their use, some might want to stop altogether, and others might just be more intentional about how and when they use. Let's talk about it and find what works for you. This group will provide a safe and empowering place to talk about substance use, notice patterns, and identify individual goals. Discussion will revolve around values and motivations, exploring behaviors that support the life you want to have and the person you want to be. Most of the content will be based on ideas and questions from those in attendance, each session will include a theme to anchor group discussion with space for reviewing important topics and developing practical skills. Participants are expected to treat each other with dignity and respect, encouraged to search for the wisdom in each other’s experiences.
Mindfulness Over Matter: Addictive Behavior Change
- Tuesdays, from 5:00 – 6:30 pm via Zoom, beginning April 11, 5 week group (4/11 through 5/9)
- Open to undergraduate and graduate, professional and graduate students
- 5 weekly sessions, recommending attendance at all 5, group orientation required
- Facilitators: Linda Stout, MSEd, Master CASAC and David "Alec" Wierzbicki, PsyD
This 5-session group welcomes undergraduate and graduate students who would like to make changes to an addictive behavior - use of alcohol or other drugs, social media or other technology, gambling, etc - and support each other in a confidential space. Each week you'll learn mindfulness techniques and identify common triggers, practice new tools for dealing with urges, and develop skills for regulating strong emotions. Facilitators will provide psychoeducation on the science of behavior change, with opportunities for reflection and practice so you can apply core concepts to your daily life. By the end of the group, you'll have a deeper understanding of your patterns and a plan for building healthier habits.
- Fridays, 3:15 – 4:45 pm, in-person at Cornell Health (masks required), beginning February 10 through May 12
- Orientation required; open enrollment
- Open to undergraduate and graduate / professional students
- Facilitators: Kimberly "Brett" Henson, LMSW and Wahieñhawi "Hawi" Hall, LCSW
Recovery from Alcohol and Other Drugs (AOD) can mean a lot of different things. For many people it's about giving up a specific substance that has caused a lot of problems, for others it's a commitment to full sobriety. It's common to quit using for weeks or months at a time to improve physical and mental health, and some people decide that ongoing abstinence is an important part of their long-term wellness. Whether you're dropping one substance or many, planning short-term or long-term, this group is for you... because we believe you're in recovery when you say you are.
We know that AOD Recovery is about a lot more than sobriety... It's about understanding your values, enhancing motivation, and building a life you don't need to escape from. Each week we'll help identify common triggers, develop strategies for responding to cravings/urges, and explore experiences that provide genuine fulfillment - so you can lead your best life while maintaining abstinence from one or more substances. Most importantly we'll hold a safe space for each other, and work to establish a community of authentic mutual support. This is primarily a process group, with room for education and skill building as requested by participants.
More information on groups: Visit our Group Counseling webpage.
All new incoming undergraduate students (first-year and transfer) are required to complete an online alcohol or other drugs (AOD) education program, even if you are among the many Cornellians who choose not to drink alcohol or use other drugs. This interactive training includes Alcohol eCHECKUP TO GO: a personalized, evidence-based, online prevention intervention developed by psychologists at San Diego State University.
Tobacco / nicotine cessation
Cornell Health provides both personal guidance, pharmacy support, and other resources to those who want to quit using tobacco and other nicotine products. Students wishing to get support for these concerns should schedule an Access Appointment to be connected with a counselor. Learn more about tobacco / nicotine services.
Cornell Health counselors facilitate psycho-educational drop-in workshops focused on helping students to thrive. These 60-minute workshops are offered via Zoom during the academic year.
- Cannabis, Considerations for University Students
- Tobacco and Vaping Cessation
- Drinking Limits, Understanding Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC)
Other on-campus resources
Sober@Cornell is a student organization for those abstaining from alcohol and other drugs (including students in recovery), and others who are interested in exploring and enjoying sobriety at Cornell. Members meet regularly, organize activities on and off campus, and participate in a sober housing option at Cornell.
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings
Alcoholics Anonymous meetings are now available virtually, via Zoom. These are "open" meetings, meaning that all are welcome, regardless of whether or not you drink, or think you have a problem. People interested in finding out what these meetings are like are welcome to log in, listen and observe.
Visit aa.org for more information about AA and what to expect from meetings.
Cornell United Religious Work (CURW)
At CURW, representatives from a wide range of religious faiths and spiritual beliefs can provide free, confidential, and individualized pastoral counseling. Learn more at curw.cornell.edu.
Resources in the community
Alcohol and Drug Council of Tompkins County
The Alcohol and Drug Council of Tompkins County offers confidential individual and group counseling. Fees are on a sliding scale, and many insurance plans are accepted. The Alcohol and Drug Council also offers court-ordered assessments.
The Council is located at 201 Green Street, by the Ithaca Commons and next to the Tompkins County Public Library. To make an appointment, call 607-274-6288.
Cayuga Addiction Recovery Services
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)
Alcoholics Anonymous is appropriate for anyone with questions or concerns about their drinking, and for those looking for a welcoming community to support their sobriety.
While many who attend these meetings abstain from alcohol, you do not necessarily need to be ready to stop drinking to benefit from going to AA meetings, listening to the stories of others, and building friendships. Members of the group lead the discussion sessions and attendance is free.
There are many virtual daily meetings in the Ithaca area to choose from. Please visit the Ithaca Community Recovery website for the up-to-date schedule, with Zoom links and password information.
Please check the AA website to confirm times and places of community meetings.
Marijuana Anonymous (MA)
Marijuana Anonymous offers free and confidential support group meetings for individuals who want to stop using marijuana. They offer in-person and online meetings.
Ithaca Community Recovery
Ithaca Community Recovery provides a meeting and activity space for a wide variety of 12-step and other recovery-oriented groups, including Alcoholics Anonymous, ACA (Adult Children of Alcoholics), Al-Anon, Marijuana Anonymous, and Narcotics Anonymous.
See a current schedule of meetings here. Ithaca Community Recovery is located at 518 West Seneca Street.
Al-Anon / Alateen
Ithaca's Al-Anon / Alateen meetings are for relatives and friends of alcoholics who share their experiences, strength, and hope in order to solve their common problems.
Visit our Alcohol & Other Drugs (AOD) Resources section for information about:
- use among students
- tips for partying safely
- how to identify a dependency problem