PurposeAftercare is an important predictor of outcomes following treatment for substance abuse. Despite this, there is evidence that the great majority of substance abusing clients choose not to participate in aftercare. Aftercare programs that are tied to specific residential treatment facilities, sometimes known as alumni groups or alumni clubs, might increase participation by offering former residents the opportunity to maintain treatment oriented social networks. Therapeutic communities (TCs), which emphasize mutual aid between residents, are ideal candidates for such programs. The paper aims to discuss these issues.Design/methodology/approachIn total, 100 randomly chosen former TC residents were randomly surveyed regarding their contact with fellow alumni and their exchange of recovery oriented helping behaviors. A thirty day timeline follow-back methodology was used.FindingsContact was primarily through electronic means, particularly phone calls, texts and the alumni club Facebook page. Participants who reported more electronic contact also reported more days in which they offered and received recovery oriented help. Participants who were African American or had spent more time in TC treatment offered and received recovery oriented help on more days.Research limitations/implicationsWhile this is an exploratory study limited to one TC, this alumni club allows for the maintenance of a mutual aid network after termination. That network primarily consists of electronic forms of contact. A longer time spent in TC treatment may allow for the internalization of the practice of mutual aid. Further research on alumni clubs is warranted.Originality/valueThis is the first survey of TC alumni club members.
Therapeutic Communities: The International Journal of Therapeutic Communities – Emerald Publishing
Published: May 7, 2019
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