The Archstone Behavioral Health Sober Alumni Group in Lantana Beach, Florida recently participated in their annual beach cleanup day, which included participation from Mayor David Stewart and Commissioner Nadine Shawah. The cleanup day participants made sure they were properly prepared for the day with their buckets, trash grabbers, and face masks.
A Sober Alumni Group consists of people who went through treatment for substance abuse disorder together and are now sober and active in their recovery. They show not only how they have created a better life for themselves through recovery, but also become an inspiration to others who are still struggling with addiction. Additionally, engaging in healthy activities such as community service, sober alumni members show others what they can also be doing to help stay active in their recovery. Jen Carvalho, CEO of Casa Palmera, a treatment facility located in Southern California says, “A robust Alumni Program can be the difference between a treatment “episode” and a lifelong recovery journey. The connections made in an alumni community are enduring, supportive and invaluable. There is magic afoot when a long time alumni can talk to a newcomer about their experience – walking a mile in their shoes, paving the way, and shining a light. I am a huge advocate of alumni programs at all levels of care in SUD Treatment.”
After a few hours, the alumni group had successfully cleaned up a specific area on the beach which had been polluted with debris. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, a high volume of carry out containers, face masks, and even rubber gloves had been left behind on the beach and therefore cleaned up by the beach day cleanup participants.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic has been going on, many people have found it very difficult to stay active in their recovery for many reasons. For example, being stuck at home, or a lack of resources are just some of the ways people can relapse or forgo getting help. In the report, The Disease of Addiction Thrives on Isolation, CCAPP issued to Governor Gavin Newsom and the California Legislature, it stated, “Mounting economic pressures and health concerns, coupled with social isolation during the COVID-19 public health emergency, have led to a rise in individuals self-medicating with drugs and alcohol and increases in persons seeking assistance for addiction.” However, when we look at how the sober alumni group from Archstone takes on post treatment recovery during this pandemic, it demonstrates how community involvement, and specifically a day spent cleaning up the community with others in the same position, is a great way to stay productive and on course in recovery.
Treatment at Archstone specifically, consists of believing highly in the positive impact community service can have on people who suffer from the effects of substance abuse disorder, especially those who may feel forgotten by their communities. Community service is just one way Archstone gives back to the community of Lantana, and Mayor David Stewart, “expressed his appreciation for the life-affirming, often life-saving recovery programs offered at Archstone.”
Furthermore, the beach cleanup day had a positive influence on the alumni group as they were able to come together for a common goal and even celebrate with a BBQ grill cookout at lunch. As one participant reflects, “Cookouts are an important part of life at Archstone, whether next to the pool or listening to the waves.” The group had fun in a safe way and worked hard to complete their goal for the day. The beach cleanup day is a great example of how important post treatment work is in recovery from substance abuse disorder and how bringing people together in the community can make anything seem more manageable.
Archstone Behavioral Health. “Archstone Behavioral Health Annual Lantana Beach Cleanup From a Remarkable Sober Alumni Group.” Archstone Behavioral Health. press release, November 30, 2020
California Consortium of Addiction Programs and Professionals. The Disease of Addiction Thrives on Isolation. May 12, 2020. http://www.ccapp.us/application/files/9715/8932/2072/Addiction_Thrives_On_Isolation.pdf, accessed November 30, 2020.
Casa Palmera. “Alcohol Treatment & Drug Rehab Center San Diego, CA.” Casa Palmera. Accessed December 2, 2020. http://www.casapalmera.com