When Charlie Misch was a high school student in Rumson, New Jersey, his older brother took him to a college party. “It was the best time I’d ever had,” says Misch SAS’17, a Maryland resident who works for the federal government. “I wanted to relive that experience so badly when I got to college.” He relived the experience, but the fun ended quickly: Misch developed a substance use disorder while attending a Pennsylvania university.

Once he began his recovery, he transferred to Rutgers to live in Recovery House, an on-campus residence hall where about 20 students support one another’s sobriety while receiving counseling and attending 12-step meetings. With the support of his housemates, he was able to rebuild his love of music and developed meaningful relationships in the process.

Misch’s stay at Recovery House was one of his best decisions. “I learned to take responsibility for my own actions,” he says. He also learned how to stay in recovery on his own.

Misch’s story is the kind of experience that inspired Andy and Tracey Roettger to make a generous gift to Recovery House this year, coinciding with the house’s approaching 30th anniversary. Their gift created the Recovery House of Hope Endowed Scholarship, which provides financial assistance to students receiving counseling from the Rutgers Alcohol & Other Drug Assistance Program (ADAP).

The goal of ADAP and Recovery House, Andy RC’84 says, is to help students “restore their hope for their lives.” A related fund, the ADAP Recovery Program Fund, secures resources for students seeking recovery, or looking to maintain it, while at Rutgers and includes scholarships, activities, and programming to help the recovery community.

“These are people who want to have fulfilling lives, who want to get degrees and contribute to society,” says Andy, a senior vice president at Morgan Stanley.

Tracey RC’83, a seventh-grade math teacher, says, “If we invest in this program, these students can do remarkable things with their lives and give back to  the community.”

That’s not just speculation. Begun in 1988, the Rutgers house is the oldest recovery house at a U.S. college and the model for recovery housing at universities, according to Lisa Laitman, director of ADAP. Hundreds of former residents have earned advanced degrees, she says.

“Housing like this can make the difference between someone who’s going to succeed and someone who’s going to relapse and fail out,” Laitman says.

Nationally, similar programs are scarce: fewer than 100 universities in the country have recovery programs, and only 14 provide housing options for those maintaining sobriety. “We’re still in the infant stages of the collegiate recovery movement,” Andy adds.

The Roettgers, who live in Chester, New Jersey, know firsthand how crucial these resources are, having had a family member benefit from Recovery House. Andy and Tracey are determined to show their gratitude for the program by helping it grow. “Our gift,” Andy says, “doesn’t begin to scratch the surface of what we’ve  received.”

For further information about or to support the Rutgers Recovery House/ADAP program, contact Shawna Rodgers at 848-932-8188.