group of alumni in addiction treatment center learning togetherIf you’ve graduated from a rehab program, you’re likely still being asked to take part in alumni events and even to visit the clinic on an ongoing basis. A lot of that is for you, with programs and events intended to help you stay inspired, accountable, and in recovery. But, some of that is also for new attendees for programs. And, that’s sometimes because the simple act of inspiring and helping others to meet their recovery goals can help you stick to yours as well.

Inspiring and helping other people can be a powerful motivator to your own recovery – and that’s one of the reasons why so many people in addiction recovery end up working as coaches, counselors, and therapists for future generations of people trying to get clean. While it’s important that you don’t get involved with people struggling with addiction too soon after your own recovery, there are plenty of ways you can inspire new members to get and stay clean.

Showing that Progress is Possible

People are often told that addiction is about nature. “Once an addict, always an addict”, it’s not what you were exposed to, it’s who you are. In the middle of social media stigma and sharing about “Addictive personalities”, it’s important that people get to learn about how people can actually change. Today, we know addiction is a complex and multifaceted thing and that genetics can increase your risks of it, upbringing can increase your risks of it, but you can always change your behavior and your coping mechanisms and learn to live without drugs and alcohol.

As an alumnus of a recovery program, you’ve also shown that’s true. You’re living proof that people can change. And you can inspire new people to believe in themselves. If someone else went from a similar situation to one in recovery, they can too.

Sharing that can be difficult. Often that will mean taking part in events, sharing about your past, and sharing your circumstances leading up to treatment. Showing that you’re relatable and no different than they are is important. Simply showing up and sharing how you made the same journey they are making is enough to be impactful. And, that means you can inspire others by keeping up with your own journey and sharing it on occasion.

Sharing Experiences and Hangups

group of alumni in addiction treatment centerSharing your progress, experiences, and hangups can be difficult. Often, we only ever want to talk about our successes. And, it may be true that you sailed through recovery. However, chances are you were met with hangups, you relapsed, you needed additional treatment, that you struggled with some elements of therapy or others – and eventually, if you’re part of the alumni now, you moved on and you kept learning and growing. That journey is much more important than the idea that you somehow moved from A to B without any difficulty. In fact, sharing your hangups and slips can show others that they too can recover after failing. Some things that may be valuable to share include:

  • How you didn’t want to get treatment but changed your mind
  • Resistance to therapy and treatment methods (e.g., a lot of people go into group meetings with a sense of resistance or hostility) and what changed your mind or opened you up to it
  • Breakthrough moments in therapy or treatment
  • Relapse or slips and how you recovered from them
  • What ongoing therapy or treatment you needed
  • Your challenges leaving rehab and how you faced them

Essentially, your success isn’t just about everything going well. It’s also about showing new members that things won’t always go smoothly and that rehab and recovery keeps going. If you did it, they can too.

Author: piyush