What comes next? Congratulations, you have been in a substance abuse treatment program and, so far, have been successful in your path to recovery. You may have started out your recovery with detox and have been through the outpatient program as well as possibly the inpatient program.
What are the alumni program resources and paths to help you maintain your recovery and continue with a life that is sober and positive?
Leaving the serenity and security of the treatment environment can be difficult as one heads towards the outside world and its challenges. There are tools, however, that can help you navigate the new waters of recovery in a changing world. These include:
- AA and NA meetings
- Sober living facilities
- Continued care
- Recovery coaches
- Alumni programs and check-ins
- Social media alumni groups
After treatment, you may want to stay in touch by becoming part of an alumni program, which might have a newsletter, group activities and monthly check-ins. Your circle of peers can include new friends who have been through the same kind of treatment for addiction to drugs or alcohol and are dedicated to a sober life. The alumni group may have a social media presence, where you can connect online 24/7. Having much in common makes new friendships available and sobriety easier for the long-term. They may share the goals of hope and knowledge through the life-changing experience of recovery.
After treatment, you will face responsibilities and challenges. Surrounding yourself with supportive people and a positive community is important in preventing relapse into old ways, that have been put aside through addiction treatment. Being active in the recovery process allows you to continue to hold yourself accountable as you connect with a network of recovering people, like yourself. An organized alumni program can contain such group activities as:
- Holistic retreats
- Wellness events and speakers
- Outdoor adventures
- Volunteer opportunities
- Holiday parties (that are sober)
Socializing in a sober environment brings growth as well as fun and aids in your continued recovery. Laughter and good times become the glue that helps you stick to sobriety for the long term. Building relationships is part of your emotional intelligence, the need to face the world with positive results.
If you are recovering from alcohol addiction, AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) provides a space to share feelings in a safe environment. You can gain a better perspective on your own life challenges and learn that you are never alone. NA (Narcotics Anonymous) offers the same type of program to those recovering from drug addiction. Other groups include those that are for people with addiction and mental health challenges, women’s sobriety groups and science-based alternatives to 12-step programs.
Recovery does not end with a “thank you” and “goodbye;” an alumni program can be an extension of what you have learned in therapy and in treatment. It is the place to begin to put into practice a life of self-knowledge and the growth of mind, body and spirit as your life becomes happier and more empowered.
After treatment, an alumni program can be a lifeline to new friends and a future filled with fun and positive alternatives to addiction. With the support of peers who have faced the same challenges, the road to enduring sobriety is made easier to travel.