Graduating from a recovery program and continuing to move forward through one’s new, sober life is a powerful thing. Throughout recovery, an individual is constantly developing new coping strategies and refining them to fit one’s personal needs and identity throughout their journey. Alumni in recovery exist as a testament to this possibility of success, and their presence can instill hope in those just beginning their own recovery journeys facing similar hurdles.
However, alumni have even more unique opportunities by acting as the bridge between the recovery sphere, where they tackled addiction head-on, and the “real world” that they have adjusted to in their sobriety. Being this bridge brings with it the power to extend awareness and understanding. While nobody is required to take on this role, it can be a profound tool for those looking to continue to focus on their recovery and give back to both communities that have supported them in their recovery.
There Are Still Misconceptions
Despite much of the work by alumni, professionals, and the support systems of those who have suffered from addiction, there are still many misconceptions about addiction and those who suffer from it. Some individuals are unaware that addiction is a disease that can fundamentally alter one’s brain chemistry. Certain images may come to mind when words like “addiction” are brought up that are not truly reflective of the people who suffer from the disease. While these misconceptions are unfortunate, alumni can be some of the people best equipped to present a new level of understanding.
Having these conversations with everyone isn’t necessary and may even lead to uncomfortable situations if an individual isn’t willing to listen to a new perspective on the topic, so they don’t have to be carried out with every single person. Rather, being selective about these conversations can allow an individual to reach out to those most needing the new image of “recovery” or new definitions of words like “addiction.”
The Power to Reach Out
The power to reach out doesn’t mean that an individual needs to become a public speaker on the topic of addiction or have to delve into great details about their life before attaining their sobriety. Rather, the power to reach out is the ability to put a human face on the idea of addiction recovery to those who may need it.
Many of the misconceptions and images that come to mind with the idea of addiction can be major barriers to recovery in the first place and can hinder a person’s ability or willingness to reach out for help regarding their own substance use. Reaching out and deconstructing the idea that addiction is only reserved for a certain class of weak-willed people and putting a human element to the idea of recovery can be the reinforcement that someone needs to take the first step into the recovery sphere for themselves.
An element of understanding is also paramount in reaching out because it can provide a unique perspective that showcases how it isn’t any individual’s fault for developing an addiction — rather that they are suffering from a disease that needs to be addressed. Hearing that someone isn’t alone in their journey and having someone who has lived through and understands the unique situation can be two entirely different things, with the ladder holding much more weight and a greater potential for change.
Joining an Alumni Program
Joining alumni programs can continue to help individuals develop their sober identity and learn communication strategies essential for helping others better understand and address misconceptions about addiction. This ability and perspective can continuously reinforce one’s own recovery strategies while learning to reach out to others or even learn to become a sponsor to give back to others in their recovery community.
The power to bring understanding and awareness to the idea of recovery is a great boon for alumni as well. While it is by no means a requirement for any individual, the ability to give back to a recovery community, reach out to someone in need, and continue to destigmatize the idea of recovery little by little are all-powerful practices that can reinforce one’s own sober choices.
Sobriety, even as alumni, can still be a battle. Involving oneself in a recovery community as a beacon of understanding and hope can be an inspirational force for others, as well as an internal motivational force for oneself, all working to help maintain and share the goal of sustained sobriety, community, and change.
Graduating from a recovery program is a huge accomplishment, but it doesn’t indicate that one’s journey with recovery is over. Rather, it can simply indicate the ushering in of a new identity, skillset, and perspective on one’s life and goals, and Everlast Recovery champion this transformative idea. Our programs are designed to meet you wherever you are in recovery. We are prepared to design a program based on you and your unique needs. Our comfortable atmosphere is curated to help you make the most of your time between individual and group therapy, as well as personalized therapeutic strategies catered to your own interests, all while creating a safe and constructive environment. We are prepared to help you address the unique ways in which addiction, mental health, or trauma has affected your life and help you better understand and communicate these unique perspectives and create a cycle of understanding and support along the way. For more information on how we can help you, call us today at (866) 338-6925.