Today we’re continuing our 12-part series Reclaim Your Life. The road to recovery is
difficult for any addict, and it doesn’t stop when treatment ends as I found out when I
visited Transformations Drug and Alcohol Treatment Center in Delray Beach, Florida and met the
people behind their Alumni Program. When somebody comes to Transformations Treatment
Center, they have hit rock bottom, whatever that means to them. Some people live on the
street. Some people may have lost their children, and they come here to get help. And 30 days
is just the start of their new life. This is kind of an artificial world to them. When
they get out in the real world, they’re going to have to use the tools that they learned
here out there. You know, they’re going to have to use coping skills. We have a holistic
program. When they leave here, we give them each discharge pins for their individual treatment,
and if we can continue to guide them and encourage them to stay on that track, they’ll be able
to continue their sobriety. Whatever encouragement they need to stay away from a drug or a drink,
we’re going to do that. Helana Cabral is no stranger to the lives of those entering and
leaving treatment for drug and alcohol addiction. As the Alumni Director for Transformations
Drug and Alcohol Treatment Center in Delray Beach, Florida, she oversees a staff of workers
who are all former patients themselves. And that’s what makes the Alumni Program here
so successful. Not a lot of people understand addiction,
so having somebody as close to us as the Alumni Department is great. They understand, you
know, what we go through, the loss of not being able to get high, the loss of family,
all the emotions that come back with not getting high anymore. And they’re just always there
to listen. Helana, why is it so important that people
who work here in the Alumni Department were once patients themselves?
Everybody in my department is an alumni of Transformations. We all have over a year sobriety,
and we not just are able to tell them what they need to do, we can talk the talk because
we walk the walk. We encourage them to continue in their sobriety. We can guide them. We can
give them suggestions to be able to tell them other people have done it. You can, too.
So, how do you stay in contact with someone who leaves Transformations Treatment Center?
I’m sure many of them leave the state or maybe just go back home.
We follow up with them just like if they stayed local. We call them, email them, stay in contact
constantly. And then we also have social media websites, Facebook is very big as being able
to stay in contact with people. I’m very open with them about my own recovery. So, I’m posting
pictures of what’s going on in my personal life, showing them that you can have fun in
sobriety because that’s one of the number one things that you hear from the alumni that
they’re afraid that they’re not going to have fun because they don’t know what to do next.
So, we’re there to help them and show them that you can have fun. There is things to
do without being messed up. Besides offering a lifeline of support to
anyone who has graduated from treatment, the Alumni Department has created an active and
fun program for alumni to stay connected and focused on their road to recovery, including
backyard BBQs, movies, team events, and sports outings, as well as an Alumni Meeting every
Wednesday night in which awards are handed out for sobriety.
And we have a friend of theirs give it to them because each month that they get in sobriety
in their first year is a huge accomplishment, and we want to make sure that they know that.
Just doing things that are fun and getting them to laugh and enjoy life because they’re
not going to continue on the path if they don’t enjoy life.
Now, Helana, a lot of the clients here after they leave, they leave with the best intentions
to stay sober and to not fall again into that addiction. But let’s be honest, there is a
lot of relapse. What do you do to make sure your client stays on that road to recovery?
I want to make sure that every client knows that we’re there for them and that we are
also in recovery. So, we can help them. We can give them suggestions, and we’re going
to do whatever we need to to make sure that they stay on the right path.
Helana, you’ve seen so many people leave here and move on with their life, and obviously
your wish is that they stay sober and that they never become an addict again. When that
happens, how does it make you feel? It is very rewarding. It’s fulfilling, and
it just continues to give me hope and encouragement to keep growing the Alumni Department at Transformations
so I can change more people’s lives. For me, it’s just a reminder that this program
does work if you put in the foot work. I carry it with me everywhere. I have a better understanding
of what life is today, and it’s one of the greatest feelings ever.
It’s a lifelong journey of recovery even after the treatment ends, but the alumni of Transformations
is there to help every step of the way. We hope you’ll join us again in our Reclaim
Your Life series as we show you how Transformations Drug and Alcohol Treatment Center continues
to help those in addiction on the road to recovery. Next time, we’re going to see how
their housing program helps teach patients the life skills needed in recovery. Remember,
for more information, you can go to TransformationsTreatment.Center or our website, TheBalancingAct.com.