Perhaps my greatest joy as Alumni Coordinator is having our successful alumni come back and share their stories of experience, strength, and hope with our current clients. Having gone through the program themselves, alumni are able to connect with clients in an immediate and powerful manner.
Who better to communicate our message of the possibility of addiction recovery than those who have applied the principles learned at the Avenues drug rehab program and gone on to lead happy, productive lives?
It was with eager anticipation and great pleasure that I recently hosted a panel of three women who not only have maintained the sobriety they first achieved with Avenues, but were actually Avenues clients with me just last year!
Inspiration from those succeeding!
The plan to have alumni speak to clients in a recovery meeting format was something that I implemented within days of assuming the coordinator role. Initially, we scheduled alumni speakers to address our IOP clients. They are closest to completing the Extended Care program and understandably nervous about reentering society and returning to normal life. Hearing a firsthand perspective about how real people were able to use the tools and skills learned at the very same program our clients are now completing gives such strong encouragement. Each of the half dozen alumni who have graciously offered their time have moved our audiences and made a tangible real time impact.
They talked about what worked well for them, what they wish they could have approached differently, and what they’ve learned from those experiences. Many clients have shared that the question and answer sessions following the talk was a highlight for them. Just the chance to express the things that worry them, and create self doubt was significant. The validation and understanding that they got back from people who really understand them and not too long ago were in exactly in the same position they are standing in now, served as a source of real positive energy.
A truly powerful experience!
The power of the experience is hard to fully capture in words. And it was not limited to just the clients but for myself as well. I would go so far as to call it my favorite sobriety experience so far. On a personal level, I owe a debt of sincere gratitude to Avenues for giving me the opportunity to give something back to this program which has meant so much to me.
Having known each of them and where they were when they got to Avenues, I took an immense amount of pride in hearing their stories and learning of the success they’ve found post-treatment. A year ago, we were sitting in that same room where those clients were last Sunday morning, and a year later, we were back, carrying the message of recovery,
Passing on the chain- Paying hope forward
It was a true honor introduce the speakers as true members of the Avenues family. ,Each of them so eloquently shared where they were, what happened, and where they are now, with a genuinely honest attitude about what they took away from their time at Avenues, as well as what opportunities they felt that they missed as clients.
There is a piece of their hearts in the halls of Avenues Recovery, and that day they passed on those pieces to the next group of recovery heroes.
And the day will come when those listeners will become the speakers too. I’ve seen it and I will always believe it.
Recovery is a chain of miracles, passed on from hopeful heart to another. It is the secret of the Avenues Community and I will forever be grateful to be part of it.
That connection of recovery runs deep among those who found recovery with each other.
The energy that was created by the positivity in that room last Sunday was special.
That feeling of seeing the faces of our clients brighten up when told that within a year, the people in front of them went from the same chairs they were sitting in to forge careers in nursing, medical technology, hospitality.
And yes, even Intake & Alumni Coordinator of the very addiction rehab program in which I was a client.
It was meaningful.
It was powerful.
And it was a better feeling than anything I’ve ever gotten out of a bottle.
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