Sober College Alumni Association
Building a community of support is a key component to maintaining sobriety, especially for young adults in early recovery. Not only does Sober College embrace its student body while they’re in treatment, but also after they’ve graduated from the program, which is why the Sober College Alumni Association is of great importance to its young adult community.
Alumni have always been a huge part of the Sober College experience. Here in the Los Angeles area, we have an enormous web of about 150 alumni ages 18-28 who keep in touch. It isn’t unusual to drop by Radford Hall – a popular local AA meeting hall – at any point in a day and see one or two Sober College alumni enthusiastically participating in their recovery.
“I saw a graduate who was immediately swept up in this group of young sober people, and others who were friends of Sober College. They would hang out on the weekends, and go to meetings together …and then all of the sudden he’s got two years sober!”
Alumni are an integral part of a resident’s stay at Sober College. On any given day, residents are given the opportunity to interact with alumni who frequent the learning center, either to see therapists, work their aftercare program or just say hi. We, at Sober College, don’t believe in forcing ideologies on our residents’, so sobriety is best maintained when a resident decides for him or herself that he or she wants it. We prefer to lead by example, which is where the value of a strong alumni program comes into play. Having strong role models is extremely important to staying sober, and our alumni serve as shining examples of what Sober College can produce.
According to Patronete there are challenges to coordinating an Alumni Association, she says, “Sometimes our past students are not always sober; the goal is to protect those you have at our events, but also support those who struggle.” She wants those who may not be sober to know Sober College is there for them. That’s why a network of sober individuals is crucial to those in early recovery.
The Sober College Alumni Association seeks to sponsor four events a year, “We want to have legitimate activities for alumni to participate in—that way they can stay connected to each other and we can stay connected to them,” says Patronete. There’s nothing more fun than spending time in a sober environment with people who support you no matter what—this is what Sober College seeks to do, be it in treatment or after graduation.