A group of people acting as a backbone for their recovery alumni.

How Alumni Programs Are the Backbone of Rehab Aftercare

Last Updated: Mon, April 8, 2024

Many people only focus on their main addiction treatment instead of what comes after, but the reality is that aftercare is just as important. In fact, some could argue that aftercare is even more critical since it helps to sustain what patients learn during treatment.

If you want to increase the success rate of your rehab center, this is something you have to start providing for your patients. It isn't enough to simply provide them with the best programs; you have to go a step further to make sure they continue down the road of recovery successfully.

Keep reading to find out how alumni programs help with aftercare and why they are so beneficial.

What Is the Goal of Alumni Programs?

Even though alumni programs are so beneficial, plenty of outpatient rehab centers still don't have this option. An alumni program provides many benefits for rehab centers in terms of marketing, referrals, and positive feedback. But these programs are really designed for the patient's well-being and help them continue on their recovery journey.

Every alumni program should have certain goals in place that direct how it is run and what resources it provides. Having goals will ensure you are getting the desired results without getting distracted by the other features these programs could provide.

Relapse Prevention

The core goal of any alumni program is to prevent relapsing. In fact, this is the primary goal of any kind of aftercare rehab center since they are there to help patients continue with their recovery milestones.

The alumni managers are often the people who are most involved in this aspect of the program, working directly with each patient. They can help by providing a support system and holding the patient accountable when they come into contact with triggers and challenging situations.

Sustained Recovery

Another goal of an alumni program is to not just prevent relapsing but to help with sustained recovery. Sustained recovery helps patients by making this journey a bit smoother by providing them with the resources and support they need. This is very important since not every patient is going to have the life experience or the emotional support they need.

A big part of sustained recovery includes keeping in contact with each patient with regular check-ins, phone calls, meetings, and events. The alumni manager will also provide them with resources that they may find helpful for the addiction they are recovering from.

Positive Lifestyle Changes

One of the most significant steps for a patient in recovery is having to completely change their lifestyle. After all, they do not want to continue doing what they are doing, which eventually leads to addiction. This is another area where the alumni manager will work one-on-one with each patient to help them make more positive lifestyle changes.

The manager can help them find suitable employment that is flexible enough for them to continue their treatment and avoid triggers. The alumni manager will also discuss their goals with them to help find lifestyle additions that are enriching and beneficial. This could include things like hobbies, dietary changes, seeking therapy, or getting active in the community.

Recovery Education

Alumni programs have a strong focus on providing patients with the resources they need to aid in their recovery. Examples of this include e-books, monthly newsletters, recovery guides, and online forums where patients can access free information to help with their recovery journey. This is very important for patients since many may not know what to expect after they have completed their treatment program.

Having available educational resources is also empowering for patients, giving them the confidence to continue their recovery.

Why Is Aftercare Important For Those In Recovery?

After a patient has gone through their treatment program, the next step is to enter aftercare. It is easy to overlook how important this is, but it is essential for helping patients to feel supported and accountable.

They may not have the support of friends and family, or they may not know where to start when it comes to rebuilding their lives. If they continue this journey alone, there is a much higher chance of relapsing since they won't have the tools they need to avoid triggers or cope with bad habits.

Aftercare, like an alumni program, also helps rehab centers better understand how beneficial their programs are. Knowing you have a high success rate is a clear sign that the program provides patients with what they need to stay clean. If you don't keep up with patients after their treatment and provide them with aftercare, you won't know whether they have relapsed or if the program was beneficial.

You also have to keep in mind that recovery is a lifetime journey for most patients, so they will always require some kind of support.

How to Get More Patients Interested in an Alumni Program

The alumni manager is responsible for increasing how many people are participating in the alumni program. They often do this by introducing the program to patients while they are still in their treatment program. Alumni managers also keep a database of past patients and keep in contact with them on a regular basis. All these things ensure no patients fall between the cracks and aren't at least given the opportunity to join the alumni program. 

Another way to make this program more tempting is to showcase the different events members can go to and the type of resources they will have access to. You can also feature the alumni program on your website and social media platforms to spread more awareness.


Any outpatient rehab center that wants to improve its success rate among its patients has to have an aftercare plan. One of the best aftercare plans is to establish an alumni program that provides patients with the support and community that they need for their recovery.

This can be easier said than done, especially if you don't know where to start when creating an alumni program. If that is the case, try out our tools and get started now!

I Am Sober provides alumni tools to help you do your job more efficiently.

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