Substance abuse addiction is a condition that thrives in secrecy. The first crucial step toward recovery is letting other people know about your struggle, which involves reaching out for help. For many people, this is the hardest step. It’s not always easy, but when the right people know and can help, the recovery process becomes less daunting. The temporary embarrassment that may come with asking for help pales in comparison to the support of mentors and other alumni in the recovery journey.
Communal support in recovery is so vital that alumni programs for sobriety have sprung up around the country. If you’ve ever wondered how other people achieved sobriety and wanted to get their advice, this is the place to learn from them. They not only offer the encouragement to keep going when it’s hard but can also help you find healthier coping mechanisms for life’s challenges.
Alumni programs are made up of people who have overcome their addiction struggles and wish to give back by helping others do the same thing. While people who are struggling may have friends and family who want to help, there’s something unique about people who know firsthand what addiction is really like. They know just what you’re going through and are well-equipped to offer advice during this time of healing. They can answer some of your most challenging questions and serve as a source of inspiration when you feel like you’re stuck in a rut.
Alumni members aren’t superhuman or extraordinary; they got well with the help of others, too. And if they can do it, so can you.
Here are a few of the specific ways that alumni programs can help your recovery process:
When life falls apart because of addiction, it’s hard to know where to start rebuilding. You may need new housing, a job, and treatment but don’t know where or how to get it. Alumni programs have knowledge and access to these resources for people who are ready to get their lives back on track. These resources can include safe housing, job training programs, 12-Step programs, and more.
The support and encouragement found in an alumni program aren’t just to make you feel good (although that is a benefit). That support can help carry you through the hard times when your own strength doesn’t feel like enough. Anyone who has experienced addiction knows how hard recovery is. The desire to get better is often at odds with the brain’s desire to use substances; that’s exactly what prolonged drug use has trained it to do.
No matter where you are in your journey, an alumni program contains someone who has been exactly where you are. They can tell you what worked for them and what didn’t. They can remind you that the hard times don’t last forever and the struggle for sobriety is always worth it.
Completing a treatment program and being released back into the “real world” can be disorienting. The tools for staying sober acquired in a rehab facility may be hard to use when no longer in that safe, secure environment. Alumni programs serve as a bridge from rehab back into daily life, so you don’t have to feel like you’re being tossed into the deep end of the pool and expected to remember how to swim. Alumni programs can connect you with transitional living options, such as sober living homes, which can provide a provisional step between treatment and the daily grind.
The temptation to relapse is expected in recovery; it doesn’t make you a failure. While treatment programs address the physical repercussions of substance abuse, alumni programs can help provide tools for coping with the emotional side effects. In the past, you may have gotten drunk or high to escape depression or trauma.
While not necessarily composed of therapists, alumni programs can help you develop healthier strategies for dealing with difficult emotions or circumstances. Some tools may include calling a sponsor when you’re struggling or having someone you check in with weekly to establish accountability.
There are physical and emotional components to addiction recovery. The physical treatment may be more immediate, but treating the body doesn’t necessarily treat the addicted mind. Many people who drop out of treatment programs report that they would have been more inclined to complete it if only they had more assistance and support. Alumni programs should not be overlooked as merely “social clubs” but as vital tools for recovery.
Many people achieve sobriety with the help of 12-Step programs in their communities. Alumni programs have similarly structured meetings with built-in support and encouragement from other participants. They can be led by clinical professionals or therapists and may include workshops or organized talks from other alumni. They can also be more laid back and casual, allowing members to share their struggles and triumphs. However they are structured, one thing remains true: Alumni programs work to help people get and stay sober.
Recovery is challenging, but you don’t have to go it alone. At Enlightened Solutions, we implement only the highest standards of both medical and emotional care, utilizing holistic and evidence-based methods that include balanced nutrition, music and art therapy, and individualized care. We recognize that every person who walks through our doors has unique needs. While we prioritize social and psychological needs, we recognize that not every client needs all those things in exactly the same way. No matter what treatment methods are used, we recognize that a supportive community is vital to recovery. That is why we connect our clients with ongoing alumni support. To learn more about our recovery programs, call us at (833) 801-LIVE.
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