Photo courtesy of Will Noland
Senior business administration major Will Noland never pictured himself as the kind of person attending an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. But two years into recovery, these meetings have allowed him to find community and comfort on his road to sobriety.
“On paper, AA isn’t supposed to work,” Noland said. “Scientifically they don’t know why it does — it’s just a group of alcoholics talking about being alcoholic and knowing that we can’t do it alone.”
Noland said he first started experimenting with substances around age 15. Experimenting slowly became addiction. After starting college at Tulane University in New Orleans, Noland fell into a cycle of substance abuse that later led him to withdraw his second semester and move to a rehabilitation center closer to home in Minnesota.
Noland spent months progressing from an inpatient center to a halfway house and later a sober house. In Minnesota, he began to build a life for himself: attending community college courses, leading AA meetings and staying sober.
In Spring 2018, Noland applied to Pepperdine. Noland said he was drawn to Pepperdine for his next step in life because of the university’s Christian beliefs and dry campus.
“Being at Pepperdine seemed like a really great place for me just kind of to focus on my recovery, but also my spirituality and find a really good community of people, which I have and I’m really grateful for,” Noland said.
On campus and off, Noland continues to be an advocate for support groups and mental health resources.
“I wouldn’t be here without mental health awareness, therapy and help from my family,” he said. “Even just being open about it is something that helps my mental health.”
Noland is working with the Inter-Club Council to implement an AA support group on Pepperdine’s campus for others looking to walk the road of recovery together.
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