Accountability court graduations might more appropriately be termed “commencements.” For as much as these ceremonies mark the successful completion of a rigorous treatment program, they also signal a beginning for the graduates they honor: new lives as sober, crime-free members of society. Recovery is a lifelong condition, one that can only be maintained — especially in its early stages — with a great deal of support.
In recognition of this fact, many drug courts have formed alumni groups and many other drug courts have expressed an interest in doing so. Alumni groups can provide accountability court graduates an opportunity to obtain support for sober living, a chance to do the service work that can be a key to ongoing recovery, and a way to stay connected to the organization that helped them get their start on the road to sobriety.
There is no “right” way to operate an accountability court alumni group; a group’s particular characteristics will potentially depend upon the size, location, and resources of the drug court itself. Each Alumni Group of an accountability court is tailored to meet the needs and demands of past participants, the community, and economy. Not only is support offered to the graduates, but meetings are held to share information about jobs, education, and other important factors to assist most graduates with their new lives.
The Cherokee DUI/Drug Court recognizes the importance of on-going support with addiction. Those with co-occurring disorders frequently face difficulties that last well beyond initial stabilization and recovery. Substance abuse and mental health disorders are often long-term conditions. Therefore, they can be optimally treated with support groups such as an alumni group when care and interventions are considered over an extended period. In general, research has shown that relapse rates are significantly higher during the first year of sobriety. The highest success rates have been observed in those who adhere to thoughtfully planned treatment recommendations that consider long-term continuity of care.
If you would like more information about the Friends of Recovery Alumni Group, please call 678-493-6450 or Christy Cushing at 770-479-5501, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org