Larson sits in front of CRC's Program Coordinator Samantha Reitz's desk as they wait for more people to arrive. Sometimes, they'll have a group of three or four; other times, it's just one person.
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Larson bounces his foot as he and the staff of the Collegiate Recovery Community wait for more people to arrive for the weekly meeting. Tonight, a group of four sit in on the meeting plus two staff members.
The Collegiate Recovery Community is adorned with motivational signs and decorations. The room itself is small, and if a meeting gets too crowded, they'll often expand into the next room over. Since the start of the pandemic, that seldom happens because of low attendance. Slowly but surely, though, the staff said that's starting to change.
A large road sign is used while Kirkwood Avenue is closed to vehicles to remind visitors that open alcohol is illegal to have in public. People often hop between bars along Kirkwood and around downtown Bloomington, bringing their drinks with them at times.
The Kilroys on Kirkwood sign is illuminated in the evening during Homecoming weekend as patrons go from bar to bar. It is one of the most popular bars near campus and is known to draw crowds.
A group of women dance along a closed Kirkwood Avenue after exiting Kilroys on Kirkwood, one of the most popular bars in Bloomington. At just after 9 p.m., the bars are filling up by the minute as lines stretching around the side of the building continue to grow longer.
Bennett Larson's apartment is seen Nov. 4, 2022. Larson welcomed us in after smoking a cigarette outside on the front porch. Across the road, a high school football game roared. Walking in, shoes are stacked neatly in the entryway, posters lined the far wall and model figurines covered almost every flat surface. Larson is recovering from an addiction to marijuana that he said left him in a terrible place. Now, he is a part of Narcotics Anonymous and the Collegiate Recovery Community at IU, but on a campus where substance use is incredibly common, Larson still feels isolated from his peers.
Larson looks at the individual weapons and pieces he has yet to cut out and assemble on one of his recent models. He said it takes considerable time to cut them out and put them on the model, but he enjoys the focus it takes to build them.
B-Town Smoke Time has multiple signs posted signaling to customers their rules and regulations. Recreational and medicinal cannabis is still illegal in Indiana, but many cannabis products are marketed as beneficial, especially towards mental health issues, which Larson said he disagrees with.
Larson's Narcotics Anonymous book sits among his models and supplies, idle on the apartment's kitchen table. He said some of the testimonials and stories in the book are harrowing.