Making and Maintaining Alumni Connections

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Recovery does not have to be a solo journey. During a recovery treatment program, you will be encouraged to identify and grow your support network. Your support network might include family members, close friends, mental health professionals, and other recovery alumni.

Cultivating a support network that can provide you with encouragement, comfort, and accountability can help you navigate distressing periods of your recovery. Creating community isn't just crucial in recovery but is a contributing factor to overall happiness. Specifically, having alumni connections as a part of your support group can provide solace because alumni can relate to your recovery journey. They understand because they have been there too.

The Importance of Maintaining Alumni Connections

Various types of connections will provide different benefits during your recovery. Your family members may have a different understanding of who you are than your friends. For instance, you might find that your family provides better advice for your career while your friends may provide better advice for your relationships, or vice versa.

Alumni connections can provide you with comforts that your friends and family can't. Their personal experiences with substance use disorder (SUD) and recovery make them more understanding of what you are going through. They can provide you with a unique perspective on your recovery journey. No one understands the difficulties that come with managing substance use symptoms like a person in recovery.

Relationship Maintenance Through Communication

The death of many relationships comes from a lack of communication. Therefore, the best way to mitigate this loss of friendship is by making an active effort to stay in touch.

Make a plan to habitually meet with your fellow alumni. This could mean texting once a week or meeting in person once a month. The frequency of communication will depend on what you and your fellow alumni feel would be sustainable. Relationship maintenance will look different for every relationship. Some alumni relationships may require more attention than others.

No matter how much time has passed since you last talked to somebody, it's never too late to reconnect. There is never harm in extending an olive branch. However, you must be prepared to respect any boundaries a person might put up in response. Of course, it is likely that the person you wish to connect with needs your support as much as you need theirs. Alumni connections can be mutually beneficial as long as you have a healthy line of communication to discuss your wants, needs, and boundaries.

Making New Alumni Connections

Aftercare programs such as sober living or recovery support groups are often essential for a successful recovery. They allow you to make new alumni connections by further involving yourself in the recovery community.

The more connections you make with alumni, the more recovery perspectives you'll be able to observe. Broadening your perspective can help you mitigate damaging self-doubting thoughts. With every alumni connection you make, you will feel less alone in your recovery journey. Friends who have been through recovery can also help you practice unconditional positive regard for yourself after treatment.

Sober Living

After the completion of a residential treatment program, you may want to stay in a supportive environment for the next step in your recovery. Sober living is a step offered between the completion of a residential treatment program and independent living. This gives people the opportunity to live in the recovery bubble for a little longer. These types of programs also make it easier to connect with alumni. After all, you'll be sleeping, eating, breathing, and doing household chores with them.

Sober living removes the temptation of using substances by creating a clean environment. This temptation is also mitigated by establishing friendships with your peers who are also committed to sobriety. Sober living communities can help you further develop the friendships and tools you need to navigate the non-recovery-friendly “real” world. When you are ready for that step, your alumni friends will be there for you, every step of the way.

Recovery Support Groups

Most recovery facilities encourage people to join recovery support groups post-treatment. This doesn't have to mean joining a twelve-step program, but it can be.

Some other recovery support groups include:

  • Self-management and recovery training (SMART)
  • Moderation management (MM)
  • Dual Recovery Anonymous 
  • Secular Organizations for Sobriety (SOS)
  • Women For Sobriety (WFS)

Finding a support group that fits your recovery needs may take trial and error. A recovery support group should provide you with a safe comfortable setting to share your thoughts and feelings. No two recovery groups will be the same even if they run on the same program. It's about finding the right group of people that make you feel like you belong.

Recovery groups provide a great opportunity for developing peer friendships. While the people you meet in a recovery group may not be alumni from the same facility as you, they are still peers going through a similar journey. The differences in your recovery backgrounds could even be beneficial to one another. We all grow when we can hear other perspectives.

Alumni connections are a unique part of your support network because alumni are people who can personally relate to your recovery struggles. While maintaining alumni relationships can seem daunting, it can be mutually beneficial for you and your fellow alumni. Pathways Recovery Center prides itself on fostering a safe, low-stress environment that makes it easier for authentic peer connection. We also provide alumni programs such as sober living to help you maintain alumni relationships post-treatment. If you or someone you know is struggling with substance use, call us at (888) 771-0966 to learn more about how we can help you have a successful recovery by meeting you where you're at. You are not alone.

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