Human contact and connection are vital, especially in recovery. Staying connected to people leads to greater progress in one’s healing journey. Having a sound support system comprised of loved ones, friends, and newfound friends from treatment reinforces progress and inspires hope for the future. Admittedly, though, staying connected to others from treatment can be challenging. With First Steps Recovery, however, staying connected is made easier through an alumni program. This program enables clients to participate with others in events, group therapy sessions, and a variety of healing get-togethers.
After treatment ends, clients can have a variety of experiences as they transition into daily life. Dealing with stress and other overwhelming feelings can be triggering and cause relapse. Having a support system through something like an alumni program helps normalize people’s experiences and encourages them to continue making progress.
The Importance of Alumni Programs and Staying Connected
Alumni programs offer a sense of belonging. When someone is in recovery, the people around them sometimes do not fully understand addiction and the recovery process. This is often true even if those people are trying to support their loved one. Sometimes others do not know how to help or support the person in the way they need, and that is both okay and normal. Fortunately, alumni programs bring together clients who understand each other’s challenges, sacrifices, and experiences.
This built-in source of peer support can feel empowering. Alumni programs are made up of all sorts of people at different stages of their post-treatment recovery. When a new alumni can witness an experienced alumni who is in a more comfortable stage of their recovery, this can be inspiring. Witnessing others is especially useful when someone is just beginning their transition into post-treatment life and is feeling shaky. Staying connected to the facility’s staff and members reminds clients that there is a tangible sober future available for them. Rather than feel stuck in a loop, daunted by the risk of relapse, clients can visualize their health and happiness. Likewise, clients do not need to feel like they must embark on post-treatment life alone. Instead, staying connected through the alumni program allows them to share their challenges.
For instance, post-treatment life can bring on anxiety as one considers entering certain social situations. Navigating the newly sober life may initially make clients feel like they have to pull back from people and lose connections with others. Alumni programs remind clients that these challenges are normal and that engaging with others through sober activities is possible. This continual reminder brings clients back to their recovery goals.
First Steps Recovery’s Alumni Program
The alumni program at First Steps Recovery is also known as extended care or aftercare. This version of extended support helps clients use the skills they learned during treatment in their regular lives. Because the transition from treatment to regular life can be challenging in many ways, the alumni program is there to help ease that stress. The purpose of extended care is to help clients cope with the triggers and temptations they may face in their lives. This program is ongoing and clients can participate at any time post-treatment.
Numerous therapies are offered in the alumni program, ranging from fun events to individual therapy. Services offered include:
- Alumni appreciation day
- Community support groups
- Peer-support meetings
- Psychiatric support
- Couples therapy
- Family support therapy
- Individual counseling
- Group therapy
- Transcranial magnetic stimulation (offered at the psychiatry institute)
Through this program, First Steps Recovery prioritizes community and connection. The alumni program allows clients to continue building their connections with others. Building this support system through the alumni program helps clients stay connected to their recovery roots and foster a healthy, happy life surrounded by others.
The Benefits of Staying Connected During Times of Stress
Staying connected during times of stress is crucial for clients in post-treatment recovery. As seasons change and holidays are just over the horizon, autumn and winter can be overwhelming times. However, it is important to continue coming back to one’s recovery goals and lifestyle. Armed with a supportive group of individuals who understand the struggles and triumphs of post-treatment recovery, navigating the stressful holiday season can be easier.
Group therapy through the alumni program is critical for staying connected. In these groups, clients can share their thoughts, feelings, and experiences with post-treatment life. Together, clients can learn and provide different perspectives or advice on situations. Learning how to integrate healthy, sober choices into one’s life makes post-treatment life less daunting. Doing so with a group of others makes clients realize that they are not alone and that progress is possible.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), community is one of the four major dimensions of recovery. While it is important for clients to have their own external group made up of family members and friends, having friendships with others in recovery is equally crucial. Support, love, and hope are necessary elements for long-lasting and sustainable sobriety.
Here at First Steps Recovery, we understand that navigating post-treatment life is difficult. Many clients find it challenging to integrate a healthy, sober lifestyle into their regular routines outside of the facility. That’s where our alumni program comes in. The alumni program allows clients to come together and participate in group therapy, outings, and other services and events to build community. Staying connected during stressful times helps clients resist isolation and move forward in recovery. Group services offered through the ongoing alumni program help clients express their concerns and gain new skills and insights. The program prioritizes sustainable long-term sobriety as well as overall health and happiness. Call us at (844) 489-0836 to learn more.