People stand in a circle with their arms around each other's shoulders - How Alumni Programs Can Help You Stay Sober

After you complete an addiction treatment program, you must work hard to reduce your risk of relapse. To support your efforts, many treatment centers offer rehab alumni programs.

Rehab facilities create alumni programs to help former patients maintain healthy, drug-free lives. These programs can lower your risk of relapse by providing a sense of community, reinforcing your relapse prevention skills, reducing boredom, and increasing your sense of purpose.

A Sense Of Community

During recovery, you need a strong support network. Along with family, friends, and medical professionals, your support system should include other people in recovery. An alumni group is the perfect place to connect with people on similar journeys.

Your alumni community will remind you that you’re not alone as you navigate the challenges of recovery. They can also share important coping tips and help you celebrate your successes. With this type of ongoing support, you face a much lower risk of relapse.

Social Outings & Events

To help you form strong connections, alumni groups schedule regular social events and outings, such as:

  • cookouts
  • bowling
  • golf
  • volleyball
  • hikes
  • holiday events

Along with these social events, most alumni groups offer aftercare services such as peer support groups and group therapy.

Healthy Friendships

Aftercare services make it easy to build healthy, sober friendships. They also help you maintain any friendships you made during your rehab stay. No matter how you meet, you and your sober friends can regularly check in with each other and offer encouragement.

Your sober friends may also agree to accompany you to potentially triggering events, such as weddings or parties. In these situations, your friends can keep you grounded and focused on recovery. They can also help you quickly and safely exit an event if you start feeling triggered.

Greater Relapse Prevention Skills

In an alumni group, you get the chance to strengthen the relapse prevention skills you learned in rehab. Depending on the program and your needs, these skills may include:

  • self-care
  • mindfulness meditation
  • grounding
  • deep breathing
  • reaching out to your support system

Your alumni group can also help you identify your triggers.

Identifying Triggers

Triggers are people, places, or other things that make you crave drugs. While you can avoid some triggers, you must learn to cope with others. Many alumni meetings, therapy sessions, and support groups focus on identifying triggers and ways to manage them.

The more you understand your triggers, the lower your risk of relapse.

Sober-Living Homes

Some people find it difficult to practice their relapse prevention skills because they live in unstable or unsupportive homes. That’s why many alumni programs will connect you with sober living homes.

Sober living homes are safe, supervised housing facilities designed for people in recovery. They allow you to strengthen your relapse prevention skills before you return to your normal life.

Job Coaching

Many alumni programs also offer job coaching to help you find a suitable career and cope with work stress. When left unmanaged, work stress often leads to relapse. That’s why job coaching can play an important role in your long-term recovery.

Less Boredom

When you battle addiction, your daily life may have revolved around getting and using drugs. Once you start your recovery journey, you might find yourself feeling bored.

Unfortunately, boredom is among the most common causes of relapse. When you don’t have anything to do, your mind may wander to drugs. You can keep yourself busy by attending cookouts, hikes, and other events scheduled by your alumni groups.

These events help show your brain that you don’t need drugs to have fun or stave off boredom.

Regular Get-Togethers

Along with attending group events, you can also schedule regular get-togethers with any close friends you make in your alumni program. These friendships will help you stay focused on your addiction recovery goals.

Without sober events and friendships, you’re much more likely to try and escape boredom by connecting with unhealthy people from your past.

Increased Sense Of Purpose

During recovery, many people have trouble finding a sense of purpose. A sense of purpose boosts your self-esteem and makes life feel more meaningful and fulfilling.

Alumni programs offer multiple opportunities to strengthen your sense of purpose.

Sharing Story

For instance, you can return to your rehab center and share your story with people new to recovery. Your words, experiences, and coping tips could play an essential role in another person’s recovery journey. They may even save someone’s life.


Your alumni program may also organize volunteer efforts in your community. Like mentoring other people in recovery, volunteering makes life feel more meaningful.

It also brings important health benefits, including less depression and improved functional ability. In general, the healthier you feel, the lower your risk of relapse.

Practicing Gratitude

Activities that boost your sense of purpose can also make you feel more grateful for what you have.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), practicing gratitude improves your sense of well-being by helping you manage stress. Recovery can bring a lot of stress, especially in the early days. By managing it, you greatly improve your chances of long-term sobriety.

If you or someone you love struggles with substance abuse, please reach out to Northeast Addictions Treatment Center. Our board-certified healthcare providers offer medical detox, mental health counseling, and other evidence-based treatments to help you or your loved one stay drug-free.


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Written by
Northeast Addition Editorial Team

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This page does not provide medical advice.