Alumni Recovery Programs Provide Strength in Numbers
I think the first question asked of a child is, “If so and so jumped off a bridge would you?” The answer given is always no, but that’s not the truth. The real answer is, “No, but if Jimmy and Johny and Sara and Tom all jumped off a bridge then yes, yes I would.” You see, that little example is exactly why addicts do drugs and it is also how addicts stay sober. They see Tom, Dick and Sally feeling good so they want what they are on – whether it’s heroin, alcohol, pot or recovery. The first time I saw J.P. Sherwood taking shots in my basement I wanted what we had. I wanted to feel like that. I wanted to be able to talk to Karen Goff with the cool charm of Zach Morris too.
The first time I saw Chris S. walk into a room I wanted the program of recovery he had. Long hair, tattoos, people laughing at every joke and men in AA hanging on every word. He inspired people just by showing up. Addicts and alcoholics got high together and they must recover together. That’s why one of the single most important aspects of a great treatment center is having a thriving and active alumni recovery program. Here are 4 reasons why they are so vital to long-term sobriety.
#4 Alumni Programs Encourage Recovery
This makes me think about the first person who figured out that kissing a girl is amazing. Think about it, two people smashing their faces together seems very weird. What happened? Did a guy like, fall on a girl, their lips hit and the rest was history. What could possible make one think, “You know what might feel good? If I press my face against her face.” It’s totally weird but once it happened, everyone was doing it because they felt great afterwards, it brought them closer together emotionally and physically, plus it lead to even greater things.
That is what an alumni recovery program does for recovering drug addicts. One person gets sober and it encourages others to follow along in search of feeling fantastic feelings. An alumni recovery program is the greatest evidence of recovery working. Hope is walking on two legs all around the treatment center. Teachers, coaches, therapists and parents can tell an alcoholic how they should stay sober but only another recovering alcoholic can show them that it works. Brian C. is one weird dude but seeing him graduate substance abuse treatment and succeed at life is what encouraged me and many others to follow his path. This guy was homeless, using notebook paper to roll and smoke cigarettes and then in 6 months was a shining example of how recovery works. If it wasn’t for the alumni recovery program that brought him to the newly sober patients in Intensive Outpatient many people wouldn’t be sober today. Including me.
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#3 Treatment Center Alumni provide Unconditional Support
My Mother told me that she would always love me – even if I was an Ax Murderer. She said she’d be pretty pissed if I killed people with an Ax, but she would still love me. I thought she was a nut, until I entered recovery and felt that unconditional love and support when an alumni at my Outpatient Treatment center came to see me during a tough time. I had tried to beat this kid up, talked crap behind his back and a bunch of other stuff. When I crashed my car in a drunk driving accident that alumni was standing next to my hospital bed and said, “If there is anything I can do to help please let me know.” That is the unconditional support alcoholics can only get from another alcoholic.
Alcoholism is a bond that is incredibly strong. All of our stories are different, but all of our stories are the same. All you have to do is say, “I’m an alcoholic” and instantly you’re connected and there is a whole room of people who would do anything for you simply because, they understand. Just the other day a Jen M. gave birth to her baby. The day after that she was lifting a couch of a girl she had recently met at IOP and carrying it into her garage. She didn’t steal it. She was holding it for her while she went back to treatment. I’ve seen alumni carry sad and intoxicated patients of drug rehabs into their homes to let them sleep it off. You can’t make these stories up and you can’t find this type of unconditional support anywhere else.
#2 Recovery Communities Are Built on The Backs of Alumni
Delray Beach, Florida and St. Paul, Minnesota are said to be the recovery capitals of the world. More people are sober in these two cities than anywhere else on the planet. How did this happen? Both have high concentration of treatment centers and as patients graduate treatment they stay in the cities surrounding the Drug rehabs. They get involved in recovery events and mentor and support the new clients just heading back out in to the world.
The end result it entire cities with recovering alcoholics and rug addicts living, working and supporting each other. Recovering alcoholics in these cities don’t have to look far for someone to talk to or for someone to help them out of a tough situation. Each community built by an alumni recovery program have not only become a safe haven for struggling addicts but have also eliminated the stigma of addiction from the areas in which they live making it a million times easier for the non-recovering individuals to show compassion and acceptance. Jane J. lost her job and her fiancé in the same day. She went down to a oyster bar and restaurant in Delray, sat up at the bar and ordered 3 shots of whiskey.
She never drank them. Standing behind the bar was Lisa L. a young woman in recovery for over 3 years who noticed Jane from her alumni support group a few years back. She refused to serve Jane, called a few other women and together they kept Jane from a drink. This happened 3 years ago, Jane is still sober and her recovery is a product of the community of caring built by a thriving and supportive alumni recovery program.
An Alumni Recovery Program Features Tips & Tricks on How To Stay Sober
Stay out of a relationship for 1 year. Go to 90 meetings in 90 days. Get a plant before you get in a relationship. Get a sponsor. Share at meetings. The meeting after the meeting is just as important as the meeting. Never say no to AA. Keep coming back. It works if you work it. Men with men women with women. This meeting helped me a lot. So and so would be a great sponsor. Talk to Rick he went through this last year. Put your keys under your bed and pray when you pick them up in the morning. Live close to your meetings, you’ll always drive farther to work cause they pay you. Keep it simple.
These are just a few of the tips and tricks and advice passed down through the years from people I met at my alumni recovery program. Alumni of drug treatment center have all the answers and all the tips on how to live a sober life because… they are living a sober life. These life lessons are some of if not the most important things a person in early recovery can learn, and it takes someone who has been there to teach it to them – it takes an alumni to pass on incredible messages like this one…