“We commence to make many fast friends and a fellowship has grown up among us of which it is a wonderful thing to feel a part. The joy of living we really have, even under pressure and difficulty. “ Page 15 Bill’s Story – Alcoholics Anonymous
After coming from a life of internal isolation, we learn that the program offers us a real shot at a family of our own making. Many of us come from places that we don’t want to go back to, and many of us can’t go back for a while, addiction treatment alumni programs are the first step in finding our own fellowship.
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As we continue down our path of sobriety, there will be a time when we realize that one of the most influential keys to staying in these rooms is the fellowship that grows up around us. In times of struggle and chaos, when it feels like prayer isn’t working and everything is falling apart, one thing that will always work is the other people in the rooms, our sober supports.
Statistics show that the relapse rate for newly recovering addicts and alcoholics is 40-60%
That percentage is pretty alarming, especially considering the overdose rates right now are through the roof, we need recovery now more than ever, and statistics also show that those people who get involved in addiction treatment alumni programs after treatment have a much higher likelihood of maintaining sobriety.
What is an Addiction Treatment Alumni Program, Anyway?
Every treatment center is different. However, alumni programs usually remain the same throughout, some offer things others don’t, but they have the same goal:
Becoming a Part of a Community of Like-Minded People in Recovery
The other main goal of an alumni program is one that centers around the idea that those clients who are actively working a program of recovery can be of service and can provide a comfortable transition for those clients who are still in treatment and newly graduated.
Different Types of Addiction Treatment Alumni Gatherings
Again, every program is different, and they can vary depending on the treatment center. FAR prides itself on a strong alumni program for their graduated and future clients. For the most part, you can generally expect from HRC or any other alumni group:
- Frequent Gathering – some places are weekly, some places are monthly. Some centers have them at the center, other centers coordinate dinners off campus.
- Recovery based Activities – sometimes there is a 12-step style meeting, where a graduated client will tell their story, sometimes they have fun and games in the park.
- Milestone Celebrations – Many centers offer milestone and anniversary celebrations and coins to the people who have been graduated for some time.
- Special Speakers – some centers will even have a big annual alumni celebration, bringing back clients that have maybe gone home, or who have stayed in the area and bring in a special speaker for the event.
What Addiction Treatment Alumni Programs Can Offer
Once again, depending on the center, an alumni program can offer a wide variety of post-graduation opportunities for clients to get involved in that will help further their sobriety. I have personally seen some facilities offer post-graduation therapy to some clients, I have seen case managers continue to work with graduated clients to help them with any financial planning, education assistance such as applying for the GED or even for college!
Another goal of alumni programs is to help create that network for newcomers to feel a part of something big in recovery. It can be pretty scary sometimes, graduating from treatment and being expected to walk into meetings and make a million new friends that you can trust to hold you accountable.
This is where alumni comes in – not only have these people been through the same treatment center that you went through, many of them might have suggestions on good meetings to attend afterward, fun recovery based activities to get involved in like volleyball games, bowling parties, or a big group meeting night.
After a while, the goal is for each alumni member to continue on with alumni, and help the next newcomer that graduates from the program. These people can help the newcomers find a good meeting, or even point them in the direction of some quality sober people, and maybe even a good sponsor!
Whether you are new to your alumni program, or whether you are one of the veterans, everyone has a part to play. Those who have been around a little longer and might be a little more established can offer the newcomers with rides to AA or NA meetings, can possibly help out with suggestions on where to get a good job, and even with good recommendations on a good halfway house. These suggestions can be followed up with a therapist or sponsor to make sure that you are on the right track.
Many alumni programs will provide their clients with relapse prevention groups to learn tools on how to stay sober, through the good times and bad. Life skills training is another handy tool that many centers use to provide knowledge and education in areas that our schools probably skipped over. These can vary from place to place but can consist of:
- Tax help
- Communication techniques
- Interview training classes.
It is pretty to crazy to think about it all, how our lives, before getting sober, were often extremely lonely and isolated, either internally or externally. When we get sober, our worlds are opened up to a loving and compassionate network of like-minded people. Alumni programs keep us in the loop, or in the middle of it all. They remind us that we aren’t alone and that we never have to be again. They help us get back on our feet, and they help us feel human again.
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Freedom From Addiction
If you have found yourself or a loved one suffering from alcoholism or addiction, you are not alone! If you are ready to change your life and live free of addiction, then FindAddictionRehabs.com can help. We give you the jump start to recovery you need. Our holistic program is unique in that it doesn’t just treat the addiction, it treats the whole person. For more information on our program, call 1-877-959-7271 today.