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Alumni Programs a Critical Factor in the Success of Drug and Alcohol Recovery

Christine O'Kelly
Oct 11, 2007
When families are looking for a drug rehab or alcohol rehab program for their loved one, they are often focused on the program itself, not the support programs and systems that follow the residential care. However, a recovery program that offers regular, scheduled events for alumni can be just as important in helping recovering addicts live a life of permanent sobriety as the program itself.

Why Alumni Programs are So Important

An addict is never "cured" from addiction. Life in recovery is not always easy and there are certain to be dark and weak moments along the way when the recovering addict struggles not to take that drink or call an old contact for a fix. These are the moments when a strong support group becomes invaluable in the recovery process.

Though family members and friends who have not dealt with addiction may be more than happy to provide support, it is the people that have shared similar experiences with addiction and recovery that the addict often needs most for support.

It is not only during times of crisis that the recovering addict needs a support system, it's important to have regular contact with others in recovery to stay focused and to get recharged.

Residents of drug and alcohol recovery programs often form very close friendships and connections with other residents and staff during their stay. Having planned activities for this group to continuously meet up in a safe environment can be one of the keys to a healthy, happy, life of recovery.

Types of Alumni Program Activities

Each drug and alcohol recovery center offers its own alumni program activities. No one type of alumni program is better than another is; what is important is that there is some sort of regular, on-going group meeting or activity that past residents are welcome to attend.

For example, the Mark Houston Recovery Center holds a one hour aftercare group each Thursday and a barbeque each Saturday with a different motivational house speaker each week. Other centers offer a recharge weekend where residents can regain focus when they feel like a slip may be near. Still others may offer a program where graduates can sponsor a new resident and learn about recovery through the eyes of the teacher.

Choosing a Drug Rehab Center

It can seem overwhelming to choose a drug and alcohol rehab center for your loved one. Quite understandably, you may feel as if you've got one chance to save this person from his or her own life and want to make the right choice. Seeking out recovery programs that offer alumni groups and activities after completion is one piece of the puzzle.

Other factors to consider are the length of time of the program. A 30 day program may be fine to start with but you may find that your loved one requires a longer continuum of care after the 30 day period. Look for programs that offer longer programs or that will allow the resident to extend their stay if needed.

Recovery from Drugs and Alcohol is Possible

Many addicts are resistant to go to treatment but so thankful once they emerge on the other end. The best thing that family members and loved ones can do for the addict is to stop enabling their addiction, find a program that offers a well balanced recovery plan and organized alumni activities, and get that person to speak with an intake counselor.

Though it may not seem possible during the height of a person's addiction, drug and alcohol recovery can be a reality. There are tens of thousands of success stories of people who have reclaimed their lives and gone on to live lives with more happiness and purpose than before the addiction.
About the Author
Christine OKelly is an author for The Mark Houston Recovery Center, an Austin Texas drug and alcohol recovery center that offers a 90-day program for males designed around the principals of the traditional 12 steps to recovery. The team is passionate about its mission to help men free themselves from alcohol and drug addiction and recreate and reclaim their lives.
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