I live on the Health Science campus and would like to know what 12-step groups (ACOA, AA, OA, etc., if any) meet here. Is there a person/number that I can contact to find out more info?

Also, what kind of nutrition services are available through student health on this campus? I need to get back "into step" and would appreciate any assistance you can offer for a recovering anorexic desiring a healthy transition while here at Columbia.

Thank you.

—Hungry for help

Dear Hungry for help,

Sounds like you are ready to get support to make major life changes — support that can be critical in successfully taking steps to improve your health. So bravo! You'll be happy to hear that Columbia University and its surrounding community offer many of the programs you asked about and more. Here's the scoop:

At Columbia, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings on the Health Sciences campus take place at the Hammer Health Sciences Library, located at 701 West 168th Street (at Fort Washington Avenue). New participants (both Columbia and non-Columbia affiliated) are asked to check with security for the room number. There aren't currently meetings on the Morningside campus proper, but there are a plethora of AA meetings in the area. Up-to-date information on meeting locations, times, and dates are available at AA, and for New York specific locations, at The Greater NY Al-Anon Family Intergroup.

In terms of counseling for eating habits, Columbia Medical Center (CUMC) has its own Student Health Service, which offers nutritional counseling and related services. Additionally, for students on the Morningside campus, Columbia offers students nutrition services. These services are comprised of nutrition counseling, an eating disorders team, and a weight management program. Students can meet with a registered dietitian to discuss their unique nutrition needs and approaches to healthy eating habits. Morningside students can make an appointment by logging in to Open Communicator.

Perhaps you would be interested in seeing a counselor to discuss the particular challenges you're facing and the changes you'd like to make. CUMC offers mental health services on campus. On the Morningside campus Counseling & Psychological Services (CPS) offers the opportunity to speak with a counselor regarding individual concerns. Students may also be interested in CPS groups and workshops that focus on issues such as body image and eating concerns, as well as more general group therapy and stress-management groups. You can make an appointment with CPS, or inquire about any of the groups, by calling x4-2878.

Another helpful resource might be wellness counseling, offered at CUMC for students on that campus. Wellness Counseling is a solution-based approach to addressing a wide variety of personal concerns that can range from alcoholism and eating issues to career choices and general anxiety. Wellness counselors are not therapists and will not try to give you advice, rather they will help you to strategize about how to deal with and improve your individual concerns.

In addition to resources offered by Columbia, you may want to check out these organizations, which all have meetings nearby:

Overeaters Anonymous (OA)

Narcotics Anonymous (NA)

Sex Addicts Anonymous (SAA)

Co-dependents Anonymous

Cocaine Anonymous – New York (CANY)

Gamblers Anonymous

This is a lot of information about possible ways to get support, and it's easy to get overwhelmed when thinking about making major changes in one's life. But it might help to remember that finding just one or two groups or counseling services that work for you could be enough to help you reach your goals and transform your life in lasting, healthy ways.


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