You’ve probably heard people refer to recovery from drug abuse as a journey. If you’re currently undergoing treatment or you’ve just finished a program at a treatment facility, you should know that your journey is just beginning. Addiction recovery is a lifelong effort that requires you to constantly reinforce what you’ve learned during active treatment. Successful recovery also calls for a community that can support you as you readjust to life after treatment. As a result, joining an alumni program for addiction is crucial to sober living.
Rehab alumni programs can bring together people who’ve undergone inpatient and outpatient treatment alike. Let’s explore what an alumni program entails and why joining one may be the best thing you can do for your addiction recovery journey.
What Is an Alumni Program?
An alumni program is a free service offered by drug rehab centers to people who’ve finished inpatient, outpatient or partial hospitalization programs. Most alumni programs offer aftercare services, in which addiction specialists from your rehab facility monitor your progress to see how you’re faring.
You can call or meet up with your assigned aftercare specialist to discuss the transition to life after treatment. You might talk about the activities you’re happy to participate in, the problems you’ve encountered and factors that are threatening your sobriety. Your counselor will offer resources to reinforce your commitment to living sober, whether that’s advice, reminders of the coping skills you learned during treatment or re-enrollment in a treatment program.
Alumni programs are also a great way to find a supportive community of people who are on the same lifelong journey as you. Most rehab centers have alumni departments that organize social gatherings where former patients can interact and make friends. The close connections you make with other alumni will reinforce what you learned during treatment and create a strong, empathetic support network that can keep you from relapsing.
Director of Alumni Services
Benefits of Alumni Programs
Many people who finish treatment are shocked by how many people casually use drugs in social situations. If you’re in recovery, attending gatherings and parties where booze and pills are easily accessible can seriously threaten your progress.
Another dilemma faced by alumni in recovery is the possibility of being a wet blanket during social gatherings. While friends and family may hold sober events out of courtesy, over time you may start to feel like catering to your needs impedes their enjoyment and choose to stay home while your loved ones have fun.
A rehab alumni program offers you a way to remain sober while still having a good time. Alumni in recovery hold sober gatherings where you can discover numerous nonalcoholic drinks, play exciting games and have conversations that aren’t tainted by drug use.
Once you leave treatment, you may find that you have little in common with the people you knew before undergoing rehab. Such a discovery can leave you with two options: emulating their behavior to keep enjoying their company or ending the friendship. The latter is a choice many in recovery have to make, which can lead to devastating isolation after leaving active treatment. Such isolation isn’t productive and can destroy all you accomplished during treatment.
Joining an alumni program for addiction can help you maintain an active social life. You’ll get to participate in physically and mentally challenging activities, develop new hobbies and connect with people you would never have met in your previous social groups. A rehab alumni program can relieve the loneliness many feel after leaving the supportive treatment environment.
Substance use affects more than just your personal life. Being intoxicated or using drugs at work may lead to either a suspension or dismissal. Finding your way back to gainful employment after treatment can be difficult, especially if drug use eroded the trust people in your line of work had in your abilities. As a result, many alumni programs offer professional assistance to help you get back on your feet.
You may receive career coaching, resume assistance, professional mentorship and even job opportunities from other members of your alumni group. Interacting with other professionals in recovery can also help you learn ways to manage work stress without resorting to drug use.
Rehab facilities often have an alumni department that plans activities throughout the year for all their former clients. These activities tend to vary, but all are designed to be healing, enriching and enlightening.
Common activities offered by an alumni program for addiction include:
- Sober parties
- Arts and crafts
- Water sports
- Self-care weekends
- Educational seminars
- Career events
- Life skills events
- Volunteer and community service activities
Many alumni programs also use virtual meetups over Zoom and social media to keep in touch with clients who can’t make it to the physical events. Subscribing to alumni magazines and newsletters is also a good way of learning more about other alumni and finding relevant activities in your area.
How to Be of Service
Volunteering your expertise to help people in your community is a great way to give back and teaches you how to be grateful and present in your life. You can lend a hand to community programs for:
- Children without parents
- At-risk youth
- Unhoused people
- People looking for jobs
- Charity runs
- Cancer societies
- Recovery programs
As an alumni in recovery, sharing your experiences with people who are also undergoing treatment can reinforce your commitment to sobriety. Ask your alumni program if they need speakers for drug awareness campaigns or additional members in group therapy so you can teach and learn from others dealing with substance use disorder.
Join Sunlight Recovery Alumni Program
Sunlight Recovery is committed to ensuring your long-term sobriety, which is why we have a robust alumni program for everyone who undergoes treatment at our facility. Our aftercare and alumni program helps you form meaningful friendships that will see you through all the ups and downs of recovery. Contact us today to learn more about our treatment and alumni program and make connections to last a lifetime.