Staying Sober: Alumni and Aftercare Services
Relapse is a common occurrence after a drug or alcohol treatment program is completed. To prevent relapse, alumni and aftercare services from your rehab center help you or a loved one to stay sober. Long-term continuing care is the most effective and safest way to avoid returning to substance abuse.1
Alumni Support Network
Once you graduate from a treatment program and live independently, you’re considered part of the alumni group of the rehab center. As more people become alumni, the growing group serves as a network of individuals you can turn to for support in preventing relapse. You may simply need to hear a positive, empathetic voice during a stressful day, and alumni are there to lend understanding ears.
Rehab centers with comprehensive programs hold alumni events. It’s an excellent way to meet your fellow alumni and establish new relationships. Families are encouraged to join in some of these events as well.
These events and similar meetings are opportunities to stay connected with peers and gather support from one another while traveling the journey of recovery.
Family-oriented alumni events bring alumni and their families together, and everyone receives peer support. Treatment centers also often sponsor educational sessions regarding the disease of addiction.
Fun events with a focus on recreation and the outdoors are a large part of alumni gatherings. Softball games and family picnics are enjoyable ways to spend some time with like-minded people who understand each other’s journeys.
Once individuals complete partial hopsitalization or intensive outpatient rehab, where much of their time is spent in treatment, it’s time to transition to independent living. Aftercare services play a large role in the success of making the transition go smoothly.
It might be stressful to some to work, go to school and live with family again after the protective environment of rehab. Aftercare is there, lending support to keep alumni on the sober path during these times of adjustment.
Aftercare services include outpatient treatment meetings like 12-step groups, individual counseling sessions and maintenance medication programs. Group and individual counseling supports the psychosocial aspects of living sober. Medications help with the physical aspects of cravings and compulsions to use substances. A comprehensive aftercare program to prevent relapse using all these components increases the odds individuals stay sober for longer periods of time.
Alumni and 12-Step Meetings: The Most Effective Method in Aftercare
One study found that by combining alumni activities with 12-step participation made for the most effective method of supporting drug and alcohol abstinence.2 When you or a loved one are looking for a rehab that will give the best results, be sure to see if alumni and aftercare programs are included. Lifetime alumni activities and 12-step participation give a person in recovery the best chance of maintaining a successful and substance-free life.