Whether you’re considering beginning residential treatment or have just completed treatment and are looking for the next steps, a facility with a quality alumni program can be incredibly beneficial. Active participation in a good alumni program provides a higher chance of long-term recovery. Let’s take a closer look at alumni programs and what makes one a high-quality option to help you maintain sobriety.
Alumni Programs: A Sustainable System of Support for Recovering Individuals
What is an alumni program? A good alumni program provides a long-term avenue of support for people who have completed rehab. Most importantly, alumni groups are sustainable programs staffed by health professionals and recovery experts. They coordinate regular group meetings and fun sober events—all activities and programming center around sobriety and growth in that space.
While you need family and friends for support during recovery, these people may not know much about your addiction recovery struggles. Additionally, they may not be available every time you need support. Some of them may even be judgmental toward your past.
In contrast, a network of peers can provide a safe and non-judgmental space to exchange ongoing struggles and advice. You are welcome in an alumni program throughout your sober life. There will never come a point where you age out or no longer have a place in an alumni community.
Benefits of Participating in an Alumni Program
Many recovering individuals struggle to regain a healthy sense of self-identity. A peer network with shared understandings and goals can be a powerful place to positively reshape who you imagine yourself as. In active addiction, substances may have controlled and defined your life. Now, you can start fresh and explore your identity as a sober individual within a sober community.
Socialization is essential for your recovery and well-being. Alumni events are safer for your sobriety than some other gatherings or outings. You can contribute ideas such as inviting speakers, having a fireside chat, or exploring the outdoors with sober friends. With time, friendships grow, and you will feel more grounded and fulfilled surrounded by like-minded individuals.
Participating in an alumni program also helps you transition more smoothly back into society. Health professionals can construct activities to help you learn healthy coping and life skills that can be applied to real-world situations. Then, when a crisis hits, you’ll have a place to go for valuable resources like outpatient care and mental health counseling.
What to Expect From an Alumni Program
You can expect alumni activities to be fun, engaging, and relaxing. Many facilities schedule creative programs, including dinner parties, nature exploration, sporting events, community service opportunities, and other ways to gather alumni together. Most programs are open to suggestions. It is a very participatory space and can adapt to your needs.
Additionally, you can expect to build and maintain meaningful relationships in an alumni program. Sharing past experiences and recent struggles has the power to bind people together. The conversations often go much deeper than small talk at other social events. Most importantly, this is a safe and non-judgmental space. If you are ready to open up, there is a high chance that your vulnerability will be appreciated and reciprocated. These friends resonate with your struggles and can support you in a meaningful way.
Many alumni programs are open to involving family members through both in-person and virtual means. When your family support system merges with this peer community, your relapse prevention plan is strengthened tenfold. This makes the journey of recovery more enriching.
Choosing the Right Alumni Program
When you choose a facility for treatment, make sure you gather information about its alumni program and include it as an integral part of your decision-making process. Below are a few questions to ask about a potential alumni program:
- Does it connect alumni to resources that may not be available to those outside the program?
- How frequently does it organize sober social activities? Are events well-attended?
- Is there a specific coordinator who works on the programs? Do they reach out to alumni? How do they encourage relationship building?
- What are their protocols when alumni experience relapse?
- Are there testimonials from long-term alumni?
The answers to these questions can give you an idea about what a given treatment center and its alumni program look like. Once you complete rehab, you’ve made huge strides, but your journey isn’t over yet. A strong and diligently maintained alumni space can support you throughout the rest of your life in recovery.
With the support of a good alumni program, you do not need to struggle with cravings and relapses alone. Instead, you get a safe space to rebuild at your own pace. Alumni programs can be a comprehensive accountability system to keep you on track. They also allow you to explore your new self and build meaningful, lasting relationships.
When you begin addiction treatment, think and plan for the long road that remains even after treatment. What happens after your residential treatment stay? Where will you find support? Is there a way to connect with others who also prioritize sobriety? At Laguna Shores Recovery, our experienced mental health professionals and compassionate staff provide support for a quality alumni program. You will find a range of activities and events. Through our alumni program, we have seen meaningful relationships bloom. After you’ve completed treatment, you can discover how to be part of our community, as continued peer support is key to recovery. For more information, call us today at (954) 329-1118.