An alumni group sitting and working together.

How Do Alumni Rehab Programs Work?

Last Updated: Thu, March 28, 2024

As important as alumni programs are, many outpatient rehab centers still don't have them in place. The reality is that this is a vital part of every patient's experience, especially once they have completed their main treatment program. It is a form of aftercare that provides patients with the community and resources they need to avoid relapsing.

If you are currently on the fence about whether or not you want to have an alumni program for your rehab center, you may want to know more. Keep reading to discover how this program works and what it offers.

Components of a Rehab Alumni Program

Unlike other treatment programs your rehab center has to offer, an alumni program is quite different in what it provides for patients. This is not a treatment program since it does not directly address a form of addiction. Here are the main components of an alumni program and why they benefit rehab patients.

Recovery Community

One of the biggest challenges rehab patients face is when they have to face the world after their addiction treatment. Many patients don't have the kind of support they need during their recovery, which can make them feel isolated. Isolation is a huge risk to patients since it increases their likelihood of relapsing.

The main goal of an alumni program is to provide rehab center patients with a community of people who understand what they are going through. This program is full of like-minded individuals who have similar life experiences. Being surrounded by a like-minded community helps patients feel heard and seen, even if they don't have much support from friends and family.

Shared experience is the backbone of recovery since this can start to feel like an isolating experience. Many of the people in this program have battled with the same addiction and understand how complex it can be. This also allows patients to connect with one another and provide encouragement, advice, and accountability.

Community Events

Every alumni program has an alumni coordinator who heads the program to ensure it runs smoothly. This coordinator is responsible for doing things like keeping in touch with patients and coordinating community events. One of the best aspects of an alumni program is that it gives patients events where they can socialize and enjoy each other's company without the risk of triggers.

Some examples of alumni events the coordinator may host include:

  • Cookouts

  • Sports activities

  • Weekend retreats

  • Workshops

  • Family events

  • Lunches and dinners

The event options are endless since they encompass anything that gets everyone involved and in one place. These events are a great way to replace other social events that may invoke feelings of loneliness or expose patients to stressors or triggers.

Alumni Support

Aside from the community aspect of an alumni program, patients will also benefit from the one one-on-one attention they get from the alumni coordinator. 

The coordinator may organize weekly or monthly check-ins where they call or text each patient to see how they are doing. They will also be responsible for creating milestones so each patient can celebrate each step throughout their recovery. The coordinator may also arrange weekly meetings for multiple patients who are recovering from the same addiction or have similar needs.

Another task the alumni coordinator has is communicating with a patient's friends and family. The coordinator can help loved ones better understand the recovery process and what their role is. This can help spread awareness and create more understanding so that patients have a sturdier support system. Friends and family can also enjoy the benefit of alumni events that allow them to better understand their loved ones.

Educational and Lifestyle Resources

Another goal of the alumni program is to supply patients with all the resources they need to help them on their recovery journey. These resources usually fall into one of two categories: either educational or lifestyle resources. Most of the time, the alumni coordinator will be the one creating these resources and making them available to patients who need them.

Educational resources include anything on addiction and recovery and how patients can deal with both issues. The coordinator can also provide resources such as therapists and volunteer opportunities that can help patients along the way.

Lifestyle resources often include information on how patients can develop healthier coping mechanisms after their treatment. This includes anxiety and stress reduction, as well as how to handle triggers and set healthy boundaries. An alumni coordinator can help patients find suitable employment, choose healthy hobbies, and develop a balanced routine.

How Do You Get Patients to Join the Alumni Program?

A question many rehab centers have is how they can encourage their patients to join the alumni program after completing their treatment. The good news is that this is quite simple since this job is left up to the alumni coordinator. The coordinator is responsible for contacting patients after their treatment and introducing them to the program. They may also present this option to patients while they are still in treatment so that they can get a head start.

An alumni program is also something you can advertise on your website as a program option for those in recovery. Some patients may prioritize recovery centers that offer this option since it provides them with many additional resources. You can also advertise this on your social media platforms to encourage people to join the community.


If you manage an outpatient rehab center, one program you should focus on developing is an alumni program. This is incredibly important for the success rate of your patients by helping them avoid relapsing with the help of a supportive community and open communication.

As far as recovery programs go, an alumni program is quite simple to initiate and run once you understand what the goal is. It's also beneficial for rehab centers as it can help with marketing, collecting feedback, and improving community awareness.

Are you looking for alumni tools to help you do your job more efficiently? 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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