Stay Connected Through Alumni
Completing your stay at a residential treatment center can be a rewarding experience. By the time you are ready to leave, you have achieved sobriety and worked through many of the issues that brought on your addiction in the first place.
But ending your time at a treatment center can also be a little bit frightening. What are you supposed to do without a daily schedule of therapy, support groups and activities? Who do you turn to if you start to feel overwhelmed by your return to your regular life?
Most residential treatment centers have alumni programs to keep you connected to the people who saw you through one of your roughest times. Alumni programs provide ongoing support so that you don’t feel like you were cut off from treatment and left to navigate the world on your own.
Before you enter a residential treatment center, check to see that there is a good alumni program in place. Most facilities with alumni programs offer several of the following:
- An alumni newsletter with information on alumni events, how to stay connected, tips for remaining in recovery and how to access continuing care
- Alumni events, such as reunions, workshops and weekly continuing care meetings
- Support groups throughout the country led by other alumni
- Connections to other alumni through message boards and social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace
Benefits of a Strong Alumni Network
The alumni of a residential treatment center, much like the alumni of your high school or college, have a shared experience. They know what you went through, they walked where you walked, they understand what your treatment experience (even though not identical to theirs) was like.
The connection you have with other alumni, whether or not you were acquainted in treatment, is one you won’t be able to find elsewhere. It is a support system you may need to call on at times when you are feeling particularly vulnerable and need support from someone who knows what you feel without you having to explain.
An alumni network can also motivate you in your continuing sobriety. When you feel frustrated or about to give up, you can turn to an alumni message board or newsletter for inspiring stories or tips. Or you can pick up the phone and call another alum or the center’s alumni coordinator. With a strong alumni network, you never have to feel alone.
Alumni-run support groups not only provide support from others who learned the same methods as you, but provide a continued connection to your residential treatment program in whatever town you attend the group. Residential treatment centers often have alumni-led support groups throughout the country, giving you a chance to keep in touch with alumni without having to go back to the center. Sometimes just being able to reconnect with alumni is supportive and motivating.
Be sure to make use of the alumni network of your residential treatment facility. The resources offered by your peers may be invaluable throughout your life.