5 Key Ways to Stay Connected with Your Recovery Community\r\nBuilding peer to peer bonds can help those in recovery overcome the struggles outside of treatment.\r\n\r\nGetting out of treatment can be both an exciting and terrifying experience. One of the many fears associated with getting sober is that life will be less thrilling without drugs or alcohol. There is also the fear that social circles will change and friendships will end. This can leave anyone in recovery feeling overwhelmed. But that does not have to be the case. Research suggests that building a network of close friendships during recovery can be the key to maintaining life-long sobriety. We need people who can love us more than we love ourselves and who can show us that life is full of adventure. It is their support and persistence that helps those suffering feel less alone.\r\n\r\nSo, as someone in recovery, how can you find and build these important bonds?\r\nHere are 5 key ways to help you find and maintain important connections after treatment.\r\n1. Make a Plan\r\nYou just went through treatment. Depending on the quality of treatment and the circumstances surrounding it, there may already be a system in place for aftercare check-ins and alumni program meetings. If there isn\u2019t, ask your counselors, recovery advocates or peers. Many of the individuals working in addiction treatment centers have been or are currently in recovery themselves. They can help you get a plan together for when you discharge from treatment. And don\u2019t forget; make a plan to have fun and seek out sober social events. This can include outdoor activities such as hiking, camping and kayaking or something simple like trying a new restaurant or catching a movie.\r\n2. Attend Meetings\r\nRecovery meetings offer an incredible opportunity to meet new people going through similar circumstances. AA, NA, EDA, SAA, 12-step and other literature-based, peer meetings offer the environment of group treatment sessions and lead to building important bonds. If alumni meetings are available at your treatment center, these are also a great way to connect with individuals who have gone through the same programs as you and can share their story.\r\n3. Find a Sponsor\r\nMeetings also offer the opportunity to find a strong sponsor. Your sponsor should be someone who is further along in their recovery journey (2 years or more) and can offer support during times of struggle. This person will be a friend, confidant, mentor and accountability partner so take your time and choose someone you can trust.\r\n4. Volunteer and Advocate\r\nVolunteering with your alumni or recovery community is so important! Not only are you building important relationships with your community, but you are also helping others by sharing your time and your story. Volunteer at your local church, homeless shelter or center for at-risk youth. By advocating for recovery, you have the potential to save someone\u2019s life.\r\n5. Attend Local Recovery Events\r\nMany alumni programs offer monthly outings to help their clients stay sober while having fun. Events such as going to your local museum, sober sports outings, or joining a fundraising marathon all create memorable experiences without the influence of drugs or alcohol. Some treatment centers have even begun to offer annual \u201cHomecoming\u201d events for their alumni. In this way, you can reconnect with your fellow alumni members, share your progress in recovery and remember the good feelings that came from treatment. Events like these reiterate that it is possible to have fun in recovery!\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nBehavioral health organizations are beginning to understand the importance of alumni aftercare programs and how these programs can help their clients maintain long-term results. Promises Behavioral Health and their family of facilities are leading the way in mental health and substance abuse care by ensuring clients have the resources they need after treatment. The Promises\u2019 Rooted Alumni Program extends to all clients who have completed their treatment program at no extra cost.\r\n\r\nLife after treatment will be difficult but by creating a plan, staying involved and building strong relationships without drugs or alcohol you can rediscover all the excitement and joy that life has to offer. Seeking out others for support and ensuring that there are safe aftercare options in place will help you maintain a fulfilling life in recovery.