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Alumni & Aftercare

Alumni & Aftercare

Welcome to Harmony Place

Our Drug and Alcohol Addiction Aftercare Program

The work of recovery and our connection to our clients continues long after they complete treatment at Harmony Place.

Graduates of both our residential or outpatient programs are invited to remain a part of the Harmony Place family through participation in our Alumni Program.

The Harmony Place Alumni Program offers weekly alumni meetings, an online support group, social events and the opportunity to grow as a leader by becoming a Harmony Place Mentor. The alumni program and alumni meetings are directed and supervised by a licensed therapist. Participation in the alumni program is offered at no cost.

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Alumni Program

Alumni Group Events

Alumni Group Gatherings

Our Alumni Group convenes every week at our residential facility in Woodland Hills, California. Alumni are invited to join our current residents for a light snack followed by a group meeting or alumni activity.

Past events include:
  • Checkers Tournaments
  • Wiffle Ball Games
  • Soccer Tournaments
  • Karaoke
  • Carnivals
  • Basketball Tournaments
  • Ice Cream Socials
  • Halloween Pumpkin Carvings
  • Badminton Challenges
  • Gardening Events
  • Ultimate Frisbee Games
Harmony Mentors

Mentor Group Sessions

The Harmony Place Mentor Group convenes weekly at our residential facility. Current residents, outpatient clients and alumni are invited to join us for a light snack followed by a speaker meeting.

The speaker meeting is led by either:
  • An alumnus who has recently completed their formalized treatment and is using their new coping strategies in their independent life
  • A sober member of the community who can share inspirational experience, strength and hope with those new to recovery
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Alumni Online Support Groups

Harmony Place offers two ways online to connect with other alumni and our staff members from the comfort of your own home.

We offer a closed group page on Facebook strictly for Harmony Place alumni to share stories, encouragement and affirmations. Only other alumni and our staff can see it, so you can be as open, honest and candid as you’re comfortable with.

Join This Group

We also offer a closed online group that meets via teleconference (usually on Mondays at 6 p.m. PST). This group is only for Harmony Place alumni, giving all attendees a level of comfort to speak freely and honestly without the wider public being able to look in.

Join This Group

Frequently Asked Questions

Aftercare and Alumni Program FAQs

Have any additional questions about our drug and alcohol addiction aftercare program? Browse through our frequently asked questions below and see if we have your answer.

What changes when I get sober?

Everything about recovery has to do with change. When you have developed a life-threatening addiction to drugs or alcohol that you cannot control, you need change.

Mistakenly, many people assume that drinking and drug use are the only things that need to change in their lives. “The only thing you have to change,” as is popularly said in recovery, “is everything.”

If you honestly look back on the last few months of your drinking or drug use, you might have a difficult time identifying a single area of your life where the substance was not involved. Perhaps you weren’t using them: You might have been thinking about them, wishing you were using them or devising a way to obtain and use them later.
When the disease of addiction progresses, it permeates every area of life. It has an effect on the way we think and do everything. For that reason, everything has to change.

Taking Recovery One Day at a Time

Changing everything sounds like a tall order because it is. Thankfully, changing everything doesn’t have to happen in a day. People take recovery one day at a time for a scientific reason; you simply can’t change everything in a day.

From the very moment you choose to put down drugs and alcohol and dedicate yourself to a lifestyle of recovery, you’ve changed everything. Learning new behaviors, ways of thinking and coping mechanisms is just a matter of filling in the details.

Here is a list of all the changes that are coming your way when you decide to get sober:

  • You’ll save a lot of money.
  • You’ll be able to think more clearly.
  • You’ll identify your feelings.
  • You’ll be able to feel your feelings without fearing them.
  • You’ll build closer relationships with friends and family members.
  • You’ll have less stress and better tools for managing stress.
  • You’ll know how to handle life.
  • You’ll have ways of reaching out for help to get through a difficult situation, rather than turning to drugs and alcohol.
  • You won’t wake up hungover.
  • You won’t wake up not knowing where you are, such as after a blackout.
  • You won’t experience withdrawal ever again.

How do I participate in the alumni program if I don't live in California?

If you’ve graduated from Harmony Place and have moved out of the area, you can still interact with other alumni through one or both of the online support groups mentioned above. We can also help you connect with other Harmony Place alumni who now live near you – someone who may become a sober companion.

And if you’re ever back in our neck of the woods, you’re welcome to stop by our residential facility for either an Alumni Group activity or a Mentor Group meeting, or just to say hi to your treatment team.

Why do I need an addiction aftercare program?

Addiction aftercare is different to every facility and treatment program. Generally, aftercare is a specific kind of programming meant to help a client transition from higher levels of care to sober living without care.

For example, some treatment centers might provide only inpatient residential programming, and then aftercare programming. Others may include a more intensive step-down process, from inpatient to partial hospitalization to intensive outpatient and then aftercare.

For programs like the one here at Harmony Place, aftercare is an overarching program that includes our partial hospitalization program and our intensive outpatient program prior to post-treatment and alumni services.

Addiction Aftercare Program Accommodations

Aftercare residents move from our residential treatment home to our transitional living home, which is another luxury residence.

By the time a client reaches aftercare, they are on a different level of recovery than their inpatient peers. Living in separated housing is important to help clients who have progressed farther than while those who are in the initial treatment phase.

Most aftercare programs provide transportation to and from the day treatment facilities. Some aftercare programs that are only intensive outpatient based might offer their services in the evenings. Aftercare can also include once- or twice-weekly group processing sessions. Typically in aftercare, the facility reduces the number of individual therapy sessions, putting the responsibility upon the client.

Harmony Place stands out from other treatment facilities in that we maximize individual therapy. Our heavy focus on individual therapy helps clients build a relationship focused on healing.

Continuing parts of the program like exercise, yoga or other components varies from one facility to the next. Typically, day programming and intensive outpatient do not include these treatment components as part of aftercare. On their own, they often do. Harmony Place continues to offer a continuum of care based on total healing of mind, body and spirit.

Why Aftercare Is Right for You

Treatment is not meant to last only 30 days or fewer. Effective treatment with long-lasting results, namely lifetime recovery, is best in intervals of three months or more.
Thirty days is just enough time for stabilization and to start learning some tools for recovery. Aftercare provides an extended opportunity for healing.

Does the addiction aftercare program include services other than alumni events, support groups and mentor groups?

Certainly. In addition to providing the support necessary to facilitate your continued recovery from addiction and mental health issues, the Harmony Place Addiction Aftercare Program offers vocational counseling and guidance to assist you on your journey toward a meaningful and productive life.

Through career testing and counseling, our vocational rehab counselor will work with you to identify your skills and goals. You will have assistance in creating a resume and filling out job applications, or we can help you look into educational opportunities.

How can I have fun and party sober?

Summertime is full of music festivals, get-togethers and fun outdoor activities. Sometimes, recovery from drug and alcohol addiction can feel like an obstacle to having fun rather than a bonus.

Here are a few pointers on how to have fun while sober during the summer, or really any time of the year:

Go to Festivals with Sober Friends

Music festivals are usually fraught with drugs and alcohol; there is no way around it. Recovery is not meant to be a shield from drugs and alcohol in the world. Instead, recovery is your sword to brandish, warding off temptation.

One of the best ways to do this is in numbers. Together with other sober peers, you will be able to support one another, stay focused on recovery and have fun. Being in the present moment and living life for all that it is worth is part of what recovery is all about.

Here are a few suggestions for bringing your recovery to music festivals:

  • Find meetings: There are many others like you who want to continue going to festivals and having a good time while staying sober. Many of them have started meetings and communities at these festivals where sober people can gather for support, encouragement and fellowship.
  • Start meetings: If you can’t find a meeting, start one! Festivals receive a lot of criticism for drug and alcohol abuse, as well as overdoses on club drugs. Try contacting various organizers to see about starting a meeting on site and how you can help promote sobriety.
  • Look for communities online: Some major festivals and events have online communities that thrive all year. Chances are there are digital clusters of sober people giving information about where to find them and what support they are offering during the festival.

Host Sober Parties

Going to festivals isn’t the only way to show you’re sober and that you like to have fun. Host a sober party and change it up every time you host one. Have a themed party, serve virgin mixed drinks, make juices and smoothies and then turn on the music.

Game nights, movie nights, cooking nights and more can all be done sober while having an amazing time. House parties don’t have to be a thing of the past during recovery.

Hit the Club

Live music, live DJs and going dancing don’t need to be experienced intoxicated. For many people, discovering they can have fun dancing and meeting new people without being drunk or high is a revelation.

Going out to clubs can be triggering, so make sure to bring sober friends with you and drink water or soda together. You’ll be amazed to find you have more energy than other people, and that you can dance longer and have little inhibition.

Are any of my addictive personality traits good for sobriety?

Recovering from drug and alcohol addiction or a mental health disorder is a lifelong process. Though it comes in ebbs and flows, the work is never entirely done. Little do we realize upon getting sober that our addiction had found a way to affect every part of our lives.

Cleaning out and reorganizing every single drawer in a household takes time. It cannot be done in a day, or else something important might be missed. Similarly, addiction cannot be overcome in a night. Not indulging in drinks or drugs is a daily task, and never a permanently completed one. Changing everything is a tall order, but not an impossible one.

Not absolutely everything changes in its entirety. Instead, there are many parts of your life that become repurposed.

For example, some of your thought processes and beliefs can be used to enhance your recovery rather than damage it. Here are a few examples:

Go Big or Go Home

The disease of addiction is always demanding more. We have to try harder, go bigger and get more drugs and alcohol. Risk taking, thrill seeking and trying to meet the every whim of addiction creates a reckless lifestyle where life is lived on the edge.

You can take all of that motivation and determination away from addiction and put it right into recovery. There’s no real way to only sort of do recovery. You’re either sober or you’re not. Give it everything you’ve got and you’ll be amazed by the results.

Feeling Connected to Your Body

Hallucinogens, getting drunk, using drugs, abusing substances, harming ourselves through self-mutilation – all of these things can contribute to a skewed relationship with the body. Some people abuse substances to feel more connected to themselves in what they believe is an authentic way.

Others would rather use substance abuse as a way to escape their bodies instead. Whatever your connection is, put that into learning how to take care of your body in addition to your mind.

Raising the Bar (Without Sitting at One)
When you become tolerant of and chemically dependent on drugs and alcohol, you are reliant upon a lot of substances. Compared to your friends, you’re probably using more than anyone. You lead by example, even though you might not be setting the best one.

In recovery, you have a chance to set an example for others just by staying sober one day at a time. When others feel like they can’t make it and don’t know how, you’ll be able to tell them, and more importantly show them, that it is possible.

Do I transition from rehab to aftercare with a structured plan?

Yes. We don’t throw you to the wolves as soon as you’ve completed outpatient treatment here. Even while you’re in residential treatment with us, we’re already starting to map out your addiction aftercare treatment plan that will carry you through your first days after rehab through several years down the road.

As you progress through residential and then outpatient treatment, your aftercare picture will become clearer and clearer. Before you leave Harmony Place, we’ll help connect you to health care providers, support groups and other resources that are available in your hometown. This support network should help you maintain sobriety for years to come.

What is telemedicine and will it work for addiction treatment?

Many in our field hail telemedicine as the next frontier in addiction treatment. Phone therapy, texting therapy and online immersive therapeutic experiences are coming next for the treatment of addicts and alcoholics seeking recovery. Telemedicine can also help those looking to find structure for living with mental illness.

Telemedicine refers to any kind of treatment delivered over the airwaves instead of in person.

Why Telemedicine

Two main reasons contribute to the demand of remote treatment services: The first has to do with the changes in health care. Though the Affordable Care Act, aka “Obamacare,” made sure everyone could and would get health insurance, and that health insurance would cover behavioral health or mental health, many thousands of people are still without health insurance and covered access to care.

As the administrations in the White House have shifted, the health care coverage subject is shifting with it. For those who do have affordable health care, they might not be able to keep it for very much longer.

Second, not everyone is able to go to treatment. There is a damaging philosophy regarding willingness when it comes to treatment. Someone has to be absolutely willing to go to any length to get help and get sober.

Unfortunately, there are some people who simply do not have enough options to support them during a difficult time. Children, family members and life responsibilities prevent these individuals from taking hours or weeks off at a time to get treatment. They’ve learned to live with their diseases and make it work for them.

Insurance Coverage for Telemedicine

Currently, a little more than half of the states in the U.S. have enforced laws that require private insurance companies to pay for telemedicine services. Almost every single state offers reimbursement for telemedicine, specifically services delivered over live video.

There are no major federal laws regarding insurance and telemedicine yet. Insurance companies want to make sure that the use of telemedicine is effective and helps treat people in the same way in-person treatment would.

Taking Treatment Online

One research experiment titled “Rat Park” found that even when rats were given the option of unending supplies of cocaine-laced water, they did not choose them when their environment was not isolated. Having other mice to play with and mate with, as well as a big cage, plenty of activities and sunshine encouraged rats not to continue using cocaine, even though it was available.

Problematically, telemedicine could encourage isolation and prevent people from engaging in the solidarity and peer support they can only get when they go to treatment with other people. This is one of the major obstacles to telemedicine for addiction treatment at the moment – in addition to functional and user-friendly technology.

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