Why Alumni Programs Help Your Recovery
Few individuals understand the joys and challenges of recovery better than those who followed the same path. Try as you might to explain certain aspects of addiction to well-meaning family members and friends, if they’ve not dealt with it firsthand, they can’t help but filter it through their own perspective. Alumni programs help your recovery because each person in the group shares an inherent knowledge of your experiences.
Basically, It’s All About Community
Even someone with the most solitary personality thrives when they feel seen, heard, and valued. In an article for Psychology Today, psychologist Leon F. Seltzer noted that “without experiencing that others know us, or are able to, we’re left feeling alone—at times, despairingly so. It’s a bleak place to be and can lead to feelings of emptiness and despondency.” He believes there are 10 reasons why “feeling that others can grasp the meaning of your words and actions is critical to achieving an enduring sense of security and well-being.” Let’s take a closer look:
- You’re known. When people “get you,” Seltzer states, that’s the start of being understood.
- Your identity is confirmed. A healthy form of external validation, this creates a bridge to how you want and need others to see you for who you really are.
- You exist. Moving within social circles helps reinforce that you matter.
- You belong. “Feeling understood connects you to others, allowing you to feel welcome,” Seltzer says.
- You’re part of something larger than yourself. Being part of a community of relatable individuals contributes to our sense of purpose, which is essential to maintaining sobriety.
- You’re accepted. No one likes feeling alienated or alone, so feeling understood helps foster better connection.
- You’re empowered. “With others’ respectful willingness to recognize you and your intentions, you’re empowered to attempt, and accomplish, things that you otherwise might not be driven to do,” Seltzer says.
- You understand yourself better. A thoughtful exchange of ideas and emotions with someone who takes a genuine interest in you might also help refine your sense of self.
- You experience more relationship satisfaction. Seltzer also notes that “feeling understood prompts you to relate more fully to others, to show more willingness to be open and vulnerable with them.”
- You can reduce depression symptoms. Many people with this mood disorder feel disconnected from others. While a supportive recovery community can’t cure depression, it can help keep individuals from self-isolation and know who they can turn to for help.
Additional research also indicates that alumni recovery programs facilitate a person’s chances to sustain sobriety better than they could alone. One Norwegian study examined how more supportive municipal efforts to create unified, positive environments for people in recovery helped them avoid prior negative environments. A 2018 study also demonstrated a connection between community and improved hope for maintaining sobriety.
How Alumni Programs Help Your Recovery
Ultimately, when you leave an addiction rehab center, you shouldn’t feel as though you’re tossed back into the real world without a lifeline. An alumni program should foster lasting connections not only with outreach staff at the treatment center, but also with other people who once shared that space, even if not at the same time as you.
For example, the Seabrook Model includes various components for all our treatment graduates that include:
- Follow-up support. These regular phone calls to former clients and their family members within the first year help establish better grounding in recovery and give people a chance to talk about various experiences they have.
- The CaredFor App. This is a secure online platform that allows alumni to connect, engage, and support one another, while also staying in touch with Seabrook. Individuals use a personalized dashboard that tracks sobriety time and provides articles, resource material, and access to additional support from recovery experts, including those at Seabrook.
- Alumni Contacts. This initiative connects newly discharged clients with alumni who have sustained six months of sobriety and are actively participating in a 12-Step mutual aid support program. Connections are matched by region, allowing recent graduates to access local support and fellowship. The Alumni Contact Program is a valuable tool for transitioning from treatment to a sober support network.
Some treatment centers, like Seabrook, also host periodic events with guest speakers and special programming that encourage alumni to get together.
Find Quality Long-lasting Care at Seabrook
At each of Seabrook’s award-winning four New Jersey addiction rehabilitation centers, our clients can rely on our supportive alumni services to add to their wellness motivation. If this is the kind of hands-on, whole-person addiction recovery care you or a loved one needs, please call us and learn more.