Perhaps the most crucial moment of one’s residential treatment stay in a drug and alcohol treatment facility is the moment of graduation. Although usually regarded as an isolated event – or as end in itself – graduation is in fact but a phase; a transitional phase that will test and bring to bear everything the addict leaving treatment has thus far achieved. Graduation is not an ending, but rather the transition from structured, in-house treatment, into a larger world of greater challenges and growing autonomy. As such, ARC’s alumni program has three primary functions, two of which are technically clinical, one of which addresses significant therapeutic concerns.
ARC Alumni Community is Strong and Active In Los Angeles
Unique to ARC’s treatment strategies is utilizing the social aspects of the aftercare setting, in addition to the socialization process that occurs while in our residential program. Addiction is in part a disease of isolation. The addict isolates themselves, and also ends up isolating loved ones, friends, and family. The social component of addiction treatment is vitally important, without which treatment cannot occur. The group must be used to organically create an environment in which a chemically dependent person learns to express feelings, process emotions, successfully resolve conflicts, and essentially learn to develop and maintain healthy relationships that will be crucial to their long-term recovery. If successful, the social element of ARC’s addiction treatment will act as a map or blue-print that the addict will unconsciously carry over into other aspects of their life.
The first function is simply to act as a comprehensive tool for Relapse Prevention; to provide a safety net for alumni embarking on their first, post-residential projects and fulfilling emerging ambitions.
The second function is social, and addresses issues of isolation, accountability, and increasing stability with regards to long-term sobriety (issues which must be addressed to foster ongoing growth, continued awareness), and abstinence. The social, therapeutic features of ARC’s alumni program provide for our graduating residents a social milieu in which they can further deepen the bonds of friendship they created while in residential treatment, in addition to providing them with a safe, secure environment in which to continue practicing problem solving, conflict resolution, as well as providing a safe forum in which they can process events and feelings that often leave the newly graduated addict befuddled. These social, therapeutic features of ARC’s alumni program are absolutely indispensable to fostering the changes our residents explored during their residential stay. And the sense of belonging and community that accompanies participation in our alumni program is often the very services required to help new graduates remain abstinent. Indeed, this aspect of ARC’s after care services in an integral component of our guiding principles.
From this vantage point, ARC’s alumni program is an invaluable tool that utilizes the power of the group to normalize the unique experiences that are generated by the transition out of primary care back into civilian life. Ultimately, ongoing clinical treatment at this stage advances at the pace of the participants, meaning that the issues discussed among our alumni are based primarily on the person’s individual level of insight in addition to the new responsibilities they have acquired. Most people at this stage have gained significant insights about the areas they need to work on. The clinical treatment is targeted to meet people where they are currently at regarding their level of awareness about these issues.
The third function of ARC’s alumni program is to provide a flexible array of clinical modalities of treatment that meet the ever-shifting priorities, issues, and concerns our alumni contend with. One of the unique tools ARC utilizes for our alumni is our 24/7 crisis counseling hotline. This allows each Alumnus to have telephone sessions with a licensed therapist as necessary to process situations that might compromise their ability to stay clean and sober. In addition to crisis counseling, the alumni program serves as a buffer between graduates and the inevitable situations that will arise and potentially become stressful or even derail them. An example of this is providing a safe environment that helps addicts get through the holidays, which can be especially trying for people who are newly sober or recently graduated. Negative feelings and feelings of isolation tend to be exacerbated during the holiday season based on each individual’s association with that specific occasion. A unique component of ARC’s after care services includes the opportunity for our Alumni to participate in group activities during all major holidays.
Alumni Communities Are a Lifestyle
It should be stated that, although ARC’s alumni program services are not employed using a phase system, they are nonetheless broken down into categories, with each category representing some configuration of traits or issues that require ongoing attention. As stated previously, some of these services are clinical and involve implementing some therapeutic modality of treatment, while other services are oriented to the social aspect of treatment just cited.