When most people think about getting sober, they picture a person in need of help who participates in a stay at a treatment center. Thirty, 60 or 90 days later that person emerges and is transformed, the popular narrative goes.
The truth, of course, is much more complex. Addiction doesn’t occur in a vacuum, and recovery doesn’t happen in a straight line. That’s why it’s so important that recovery centers offer support beyond just the treatment center. Programs like alumni services and family service can help people navigate the transition to life in recovery and improve outcomes along the way.
“Outreach to persons who have completed our program as well as their friends and family is a key part of our program,” said Casey Jordan, Chief Marketing Officer at Sunshine Coast Health Centre in British Columbia.
Here’s what you should know about alumni and family support, and why treatment centers are taking a more expansive approach to helping people get and stay sober.
What Are Alumni Services?
Having a sober community is critical for many people in recovery. Some people get that from 12-step programs, but Sunshine Coast Health Centre, a non 12-step drug and alcohol rehabilitation center, wanted to be sure that clients who were not interested in a 12-step approach still got the support that they needed.
In order to do that, Sunshine Coast began offering alumni service to anyone who has been through their treatment center. The services are meant to help people stay sober, with no additional cost. When people leave treatment at Sunshine Coast, they know that they are not alone; instead, they have access to a network of alumni support programs, including:
- 24/7 support: The transition back home is when most challenges arise. To help people stay on track, Sunshine Coast’s 24/7 talk or text program lets alumni reach out when they have a question, are feeling vulnerable, or just need someone who understands what they are going through.
- Recovery coaching: Recovery coaches are people who are familiar with recovery. They understand how daunting leaving treatment can be. For that reason, recovery coaching is included in the treatment cost at Sunshine Coast. That way, people leave treatment knowing that they have a supportive and knowledgeable coach who is able to meet in person or online.
- Alumni support meetings: Even if you weren’t interested in 12-step recovery, you may still benefit from attending a support group of people who are also in recovery. Sunshine Coast offers support groups that are run by counselors and recovery coaches, who are able to provide ongoing education about life in recovery.
- Alumni dinners and sober sports: Being in recovery is hard work — but there’s also room for fun. Recovery dinners, hosted twice a year in cities throughout Canada — allow alumni to meet people local to them who are in recovery and who have taken a similar approach to getting sober. Sober sports have the same idea, with the added benefit of giving you a dose of exercise as well. (These events have been impacted by the pandemic, but will be back on track soon).
In addition to the supports above, people who have gone through treatment at Sunshine Coast can return to campus for a “refresher weekend” at any point. This gives you the chance to rejuvenate your recovery and delve into any pain points before they lead to relapse.
What Are Family Services?
The goal of family services is to help families learn about addiction, and foster healthier family relationships in the future. The family weekend allows people to better understand what their family members are going through — on both sides of the addiction equation. This service isn’t meant to be a replacement for family therapy, but is a way of setting the foundation for future work that can help the whole family emerge healthier.
Challenges in early recovery aren’t an exception — they’re the norm. That’s why you want to know that any treatment center you choose has supports in place to help clients through early recovery and to keep their families involved.
Sunshine Coast Health Centre is a non 12-step drug and alcohol rehabilitation center in British Columbia. Learn more here.
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