When you are stuck in the cycle of active addiction, it is difficult to ever imagine a life of normalcy. When someone finds themselves in this position, it can be frightening and stressful when they are spiraling without the ability to stop. During this time, desperation mixed with fear of withdrawal make most drug users feel that their drug-seeking behavior is a necessary and life-sustaining process. Throughout several years, or even decades of using, individuals acclimate to this style of living and forget that it doesn’t have to be this way. In some cases, drug users feel that overcoming their addiction would only lead to greater hardship than they currently face while addicted to drugs.
In most situations, it takes hitting rock bottom or a low point in one’s life that occurs directly as a result of addiction before a drug user will consider treatment. During their stint in either residential treatment or an outpatient program, the client will participate in counseling and a variety of other treatment sessions. It will help them overcome physical and psychological dependence on drugs and alcohol. There are common misconceptions that at the end of residential or outpatient addiction treatment programs, people have reached the end of their recovery process, but that is not true. Recovery is an ongoing process that in many ways becomes a lifestyle or state of mind.
An alumni program is an ongoing resource for those who have graduated from a treatment program. There are many benefits to being an active member, and this will allow the client to abstain from alcohol while continuing to build confidence in themselves, and get further into the recovery process. Alumni programs can provide a smooth transition between treatment and everyday life. The person may not be entirely ready to jump back into the stresses of daily life, and alumni programs offer ways to ease this transition with structured activities and events. Alumni programs may help to connect alumni with transitional living arrangements before returning home.
Addiction is a disease with no cure, and recovery is an ongoing process that will only begin in a residential or outpatient program. It’s essential for those who complete the program to have the resources necessary to ensure long-term success. Once treatment concludes, the client must consider these programs, as they will serve as a vital recovery tool.
Reasons to Participate in an Alumni Program
Alumni programs allow an individual to connect to the recovery community, which is essential because of how large it is. The primary purpose is to let a former user know they are not alone. Surveys show that around 10 percent of adults in the United States reported being in recovery from substance abuse or addiction. The nationally representative findings indicate there are 23.5 million American adults who are overcoming an involvement with drugs or alcohol that they once considered to be problematic. People will then have access to treatment resources as well as peer support.
Alumni programs provide ongoing support from personal treatment providers. These are typically delivered directly through addiction treatment programs usually as a part of the offered aftercare services. Due to this, participants can maintain a connection with the treatment providers who helped them throughout their stay. Having a personal relationship is a bonus, and trained professionals can notice signs of a relapse and act accordingly.
Having access to addiction education, relapse prevention programs, guided group sessions, and workshops are all part of this. The programs often offer weekly meetings, monthly sober activities with others who are part of the recovery community, educational opportunities that give insight into many different parts of addiction, and group sessions that are led by professionals or those who have been sober for an extended period. Alumni programs send out regular newsletters and event calendars that offer several options so that everyone has a choice.
During this time, the person will receive encouragement, support, and hope from those who understand and empathize. There are many goals, but the primary goal is to strengthen their recovery and keep them on the sobriety path. People in the alumni program have a desire to remain sober and create a network of peers who can relate and understand what an individual may be going through and provide ongoing encouragement and guidance.
When connected to others in various stages of recovery, hope can be gained, and a person can find their will to remain drug and alcohol-free. Alumni program participants can give one another not only moral support but a forum to share ups and downs with those who truly understand.
Alumni programs provide many tools for preventing relapse. They usually have 24-hour hotlines, social media presence, email connections, and several other resources that someone in recovery can reach out to and receive help in a time of crisis. Relapse rates vary between 40 and 60 percent, which is identical to other chronic diseases such as asthma, diabetes, and hypertension. Relapse prevention programs provide people with the tools to recognize and deal with triggers during recovery. The program also includes the ability to reach out to other alumni or trained addiction providers so that members have immediate and instant access to help.
Services for Alumni Programs
Throughout active addiction, many people will lose their job and spend long periods in which they can’t find meaningful employment. It’s common for drug users to lack recent employment, and many will have never learned to write a professional resume or how to perform in an interview. Alumni programs will help clients with skills for both of these areas.
Many users fall into a specific lifestyle and surround themselves with other drug users and will emotionally detach themselves from family, friends, and other people they care about. Recovery will allow them to purge those toxic influences from their lives that embrace support and encouragement. Assistance programs will enable them to integrate back into society much more naturally.
The best part of an alumni program is that individuals can choose any level of involvement they prefer while making the programs flexible and suited for anyone’s needs. Treatment is not a one-size-fits-all solution and allowing people options will encourage them to come back. Some may require being fully immersed in a peer support group while others will need only weekly meetings. Service is a big part of recovery, and when individuals give back to the community, they are also helping themselves to remain sober.There are many opportunities to get involved in most alumni programs. If you have completed treatment, it will be in your best interest to choose something that works for you. Addiction is a progressive disease, and without proper maintenance it’s more likely to return to old patterns of unhealthy behavior and thinking. There is always help available if you need it. If you are struggling with an addiction, it’s time to get help for it today. You shouldn’t wait another day.