20 May The Role of Alumni Groups in Addiction Recovery
Addiction is not simply a physical or mental condition. It affects every part of a person’s life, from the health of their body to their social and financial health. One of the goals of addiction treatment is to give people the skills they need to live life without returning to substance use. During treatment, people have access to a support network of peers and staff who all support their goal of lifelong sobriety.
And then, the program ends. People return to their real lives. The transition from rehab to home can feel daunting. Recovery is never final. Instead, it is a lifelong process. It is crucial that people find a new, ongoing source of support and education. This is where alumni groups can be helpful in addiction recovery.
Alumni groups are groups of people who have completed addiction treatment and are navigating the world in recovery. Alumni groups welcome people at every stage of their recovery. People who have been clean and sober for years can offer valuable insight and support to people who are new to recovery. The members of the group offer honest, sympathetic support to each other and can be a safe haven for people at every stage of addiction recovery.
For many people, alumni groups in addiction recovery offer the support they need as they learn how to manage sobriety in the real world. If you or someone you love have completed a substance abuse treatment program and are in need of ongoing support, your local alumni group can be an important resource.
Understanding the Risk of Relapse After Substance Abuse Treatment
Detox and substance abuse treatment are only the first steps in addiction recovery. Learning how to live life without substances and finding meaning in sobriety are lifelong processes. In treatment, you spend a lot of time learning about yourself, envisioning life in recovery, and planning for the sober life you want to live. For many people, the transition from the structured, supportive environment of treatment into the real world can be very difficult.
No matter how much you plan or dream or understand, there will be obstacles and events that challenge your commitment to recovery. Some of the most common triggers include:
- Stress: Challenges, disappointments, the hassles of daily life–all of these can cause stress. You may have learned stress management tools during treatment, but using them in the real world can be more difficult than you anticipated.
- Environment: Certain situations or people can be triggering–especially if you associate them with substance use. While you may be able to avoid many people or places that are triggering, it’s unlikely that you can avoid all of them.
- Mental and physical health issues: Managing the stress or discomfort that comes along with health challenges can be difficult after treatment.
- Isolation: It can be hard to transition from the ongoing communal support of treatment to being on your own at home. For many people, loneliness and isolation are major triggers for relapse.
Finding a new, supportive community is an important part of addressing these common challenges. Alumni groups can be an important source of education and community for those in recovery from addiction.
The Role of Alumni Groups in Addiction Treatment
Recovery is not a destination, it is a lifelong journey. After treatment, it is important to have an aftercare plan that includes ongoing therapy and support. You may also need to develop an entirely new social life and form new relationships. This can feel overwhelming. Joining an alumni group allows you to form new relationships with people who are also navigating recovery. The benefits of having a peer support group also include:
- Support during the transition between treatment and home
- A chance to practice the life skills you learned in a safe environment
- Connection with resources from people who have been where you are
- An opportunity to volunteer and offer support, which can give new meaning and purpose to your life in recovery
- Friendships that are meaningful and mutually supportive of recovery
- Flexible, constant support you can access in person, over the phone, or online
When you join an alumni group, you get to choose how involved you are and how you will access it. Some people attend weekly meetings and help plan events, while some people want to check in with the group during especially challenging times.
Ways to Use Alumni Groups in Addiction Recovery
Whether you check in with your alumni group from time to time or become actively involved with weekly meetings and events, the support and availability of the community will benefit your recovery. You may choose to utilize the support of an alumni group in several ways, including:
- 12-step meetings
- Sober living programs
- Social media–Facebook groups or meetups
- Annual reunions
- Sober events like festivals, outings, concerts, etc.
- Addiction workshops or other educational events
Once you are connected with your local alumni group, use it to stay committed to sobriety, when you are facing triggers, or whenever you feel the need for some extra support or education. Over time, you may find that your journey and support are helpful to people who are new to recovery, too.
Find an Alumni Group to Support Your Recovery at Florida Recovery Group
If you or someone you love needs support at any stage of addiction recovery, please reach out to the Florida Recovery Group. We offer programs to empower people to overcome their addiction and give them the skills to live a healthy, sober life. And, our alumni program allows patients to stay connected with their peers after treatment. It’s the perfect way to get sober and stay sober. Call us today to get started.