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Addiction is a chronic condition which requires multiple levels of treatment to promote recovery and prevent relapse. When an individual graduates from an addiction program, the aftercare phase begins. A part of aftercare is alumni programs. 

Alumni programs provide ongoing positive reinforcement and motivation towards long-term abstinence. 

The Role of Alumni Groups

Addiction alumni groups are one form of alumni programs. The main role or purpose of these groups is to help individuals remain addiction-free by:  

  • Providing a positive support network.

  • Strengthening and building upon existing relapse prevention knowledge by offering education and life skills training.  

What are the Risks for Addiction Relapse?

Stress – How an individual responds to or copes with stress can threaten their recovery. For instance, stressors associated with work or relationships can be a challenge.

Psychiatric Conditions – Depression and anxiety are examples of common problems that occur along with addiction.  Any psychiatric condition can make maintaining recovery difficult.

Environmental and Social Factors – Being around people with whom you previously gambled can pose a risk as well as environmental factors such as walking by a place where you used to gamble, seeing a casino ad, or exposure to any gambling.

Examples of Alumni Programs

Alumni activities are designed to exemplify that fun can be had without gambling or substances like drugs and alcohol. The events are typically held off of the treatment center grounds. 

Participants in alumni programs consist of new graduates, graduates who have considerable time in recovery, and treatment center staff. Connecting with other people in recovery or staying in touch with people whom you have developed relationships during treatment is a motivating benefit of an alumni program. The agenda depends on the program, but there are common activities offered by alumni programs.

Examples include:

  • National meetings
  • Local weekly meetings
  • 24-hour hotlines
  • Online social network groups such as Facebook and Meetup.com
  • Addiction education workshops
  • Periodic sober activities ranging from playing sports to picnicking in a park
  • Annual reunions

How You Can Benefit from a Rehab Alumni Group

You can attain long-term recovery with the assistance of any combination of the addiction alumni networks listed above. It is challenging to sustain a new life free of addiction. Recovery is a learning process fraught with hurdles. If you utilize an alumni program(s), it can help you navigate your new lifestyle which can open new doors for you.

6 Benefits of Alumni Groups

  1. Provides a smooth transition between a treatment program and everyday life.  When the treatment ends, graduates often feel anxious about the next steps. Alumni programs provide a bridge to help you adjust to the real world where your new life is beginning.

  2. Access to addiction education, other relapse prevention programs (such as 12-step meetings or transitional/sober living homes), guided group sessions, and workshops.

  3. Offers opportunities to practice the new life skills and tools learned in treatment.  It takes time for a new habit, thought processes, and behaviors to take hold. Group sessions, meetings, and workshops can provide individuals with places to practice these new methods in a nonjudgmental atmosphere.

  4. Provides fellowship with others who share experiences and goals.  There are also different groups consisting of specific demographics within an alumni group, providing for an even higher level of camaraderie.

  5. Offers opportunities to participate in volunteer service to give back to the community.  Community service is a major aspect of recovery. Participants who have been recovered for a long time can mentor others, lead meetings, plan outings, connect with those still in treatment, and share personal stories of positive change and hope for the future.

  6. Offers flexible options to suit participants’ needs.  

Participants can choose any level of involvement they prefer within an alumni group. While some people may want to be fully immersed in a peer support group by attending weekly meetings and all associated events, others may only desire to pop in when they feel the need to reconnect with other alumni to support their recovery. In most cases, these programs are highly flexible, allowing individuals to attend events at different times free of charge whenever they please.

At Algamus Gambling Treatment Services, we understand the need for our clients to have extra support even after they graduate from our program. That’s why we pride ourselves on our network of support professionals who are highly educated on problem gambling and have experience working with individuals and families as they transition back into their environment.  

We recognize that treatment is just the first step on the long journey of recovery, and we are committed to seeing our clients through.

If you or someone you know may be struggling with gambling addiction, call us at 888-527-2814 or contact us online 24/7 and our addiction professionals will advise you about the treatment options available.

Topics: Gambling Addiction, Treatment, Recovery

Rick Benson

Written by Rick Benson

Rick founded Algamus Recovery Centers in 1992. A Cornell University graduate, Rick is an Internationally Certified Gambling Counselor (ICGC-II) and a Canadian Problem Gambling Counselor (CPGC). Algamus and Rick were featured on the very first episode of Intervention on the A&E channel.