Recovering addicts have plenty of options to choose from after completing their rehab programs. One form of support is alumni recovery programs. These programs help maintain relationships between former patients, staff members, and other recovering addicts. While they might seem unimportant, they can be critical in promoting connection among sober friends and long-term recovery.
What Are Alumni Recovery Programs?
Alumni recovery programs or rehab alumni programs are groups that keep former addiction treatment center patients in contact with staff and other patients. The idea is to help former patients maintain their sobriety by enabling connections among sober individuals, advice, and encouragement, as well as an outlet to engage in exciting sober activities.
Most early recovering addicts find alumni recovery programs extremely valuable because the early days of recovery can be challenging. Some rehab facilities offer alumni recovery programs after completion of intensive outpatient programs, while others provide aftercare services.
Benefits of Alumni Recovery Programs
Addiction recovery is a lifelong journey — sometimes with many ups and downs. Most people don’t realize the first five years of sobriety are still considered early recovery. Building healthy relationships, practicing healthy lifestyle habits, and focusing on relapse prevention are all critical for staying sober after completing addiction treatment programs.
During rehab, recovering addicts are exposed to new overwhelming access to support. Most of the time, family members of those in recovery struggle providing continuous support as they believe they might be enabling the addiction patterns. However, when patients move out of treatment, not having that ongoing support can be catastrophic.
Alumni recovery programs offer the opportunity to maintain the same levels of support in the early stages of recovery. These programs boast many of the same benefits recovering addicts received during treatment. Support can come in the form of education, life skills development, issue resolution, and more.
Opportunities to Give Back
When people have the opportunity to stay in touch with their recovery community, they have plenty of opportunities to help others in recovery. Some people in recovery chose to share their experiences with those who may be in the early stages of their journey. Mentoring can help both the mentor and the mentee in their progress.
Some recovery alumni will move to become sponsors at 12-step support group meetings. Others might join other forms of recovery rehab programs that offer community-based mentoring. No matter what, feeling that they can help someone else through their journey is a compelling feeling that can fuel recovery efforts.
Another big benefit of these programs is the activities. The exact types of events will vary from facility to facility. However, most of the time, they include virtual and in-person sober activities that promote connectivity. Examples include:
- Virtual video group meetings
- Facebook alumni groups
- Hiking trips
- Annual gatherings
- Volunteering opportunities
- Movie nights
- Restaurant visits
- Arts and crafts classes
Social events keep alumni members in positive spirits and show them that a sober life can be fun as well. Being a part of a group helps participants rebuild their sense of identity and rebuild their social circle.
The purpose of these activities is to work as reminders to enjoy life, the importance of mindfulness and gratitude in recovery, and so on. Volunteering opportunities show the importance of helping others. But beyond having fun, these activities help develop new skills, maintain empathy, improve health, and encourage. All of these traits are critical elements for a positive and long lasting recovery.
Finding Long-term Sobriety
Living in sobriety isn’t always easy, but when you have support, suggestions, positive reinforcement, and a great environment to receive each of these, it does get better, and you can recover.
Alumni recovery programs and meetings play a critical role in helping patients from treatment centers maintain their sobriety, and can even be an excellent way for them to get back into recovery if they have relapsed. Choosing a treatment and recovery addiction rehab facility that offers alumni meetings to help them stay connected and promote recovery support is critical.
Get Help Today
If you or someone you know is struggling with substance use disorder, don’t wait any longer. Countless treatment options can help them conquer their addiction and manage any withdrawal symptoms. Remember, quitting potent drugs alone can be life-threatening. It’s essential to have the support and supervision of drug addiction specialists by your side.
At Lighthouse Recovery Institute, we believe in offering customized drug addiction treatment plans for those struggling with drug or alcohol abuse. We look at each treatment program on a case-by-case basis to cater to whatever your needs are to get better and walk towards recovery. From detoxification programs to group meetings and more, everyone in our team is committed to helping you win the struggle with addiction.
For those in early recovery, we recommend asking about our aftercare recovery programs. Similar in structure to alumni programs, we designed our aftercare program to offer ongoing support that helps those in recovery learn the tools they need to maintain sobriety and succeed in their recovery journey.