Alumni & Relapse Programs
The start of treatment is also the first day of recovery. At Sunshine Coast Health Centre, we immediately engage men in preparing for the ‘real world’ where purpose for recovery and thinking for yourself will be most tested. We are committed to being an ongoing part of your recovery and offer programs and services that let you stay easily connected to us.
Why This is Important For You:
Prior to 2008, Sunshine Coast Health Centre followed a traditional 12-step approach. During this approach, our counsellors would design aftercare plans for clients before they left. The client’s aftercare plan would have recommendations such as going to meetings, working out, spending time with family, meeting with a counsellor in his home community, etc. Once a client got home, however, the aftercare plan would usually end up ignored on a shelf collecting dust. Why?
Our Program Director, Geoff Thompson, explains why we, like so many traditional approaches to treatment, failed at providing effective aftercare:
Since 2008, as part of our new approach, we treat clients with unconditional, positive regard and that means partnering with clients to design their own plan for life after treatment.
Recovery from drug and alcohol addiction takes courage and patience – two virtues not required during active addiction. While we recognize that treatment is a crucial first step, your life after treatment is, ultimately, what matters most. For this reason, aftercare begins the moment you arrive. Confused? Think of it this way: the purpose of addiction treatment is to prepare you for life after treatment. That means preparing you to live and flourish outside of the protective ‘bubble’ of staff supervision, therapeutic setting, peer group, and full schedule of activities that treatment provides.
While other treatment facilities treat aftercare as a separate stage, we believe residential treatment, in order to be effective, must promote three key life skills, which, if not in place, become predictors of relapse:
Clients who come to see the importance of giving to others and opening themselves up to others (to be vulnerable) have far better outcomes than clients who focus exclusively on themselves and isolate from others. For example, men who spend time every day to meaningfully* engage with staff and their peers while in treatment often do the same with friends, family, co-workers, and others in their home community.
*The term ‘meaningful’ refers to talk at a level of intimacy where both people in the conversation feel like understood, respected, and appreciated without being judged or evaluated.
We have found that men who have a personal reason to remain sober and abstinent do much better than those who stay sober in order to please others. Men who are also motivated to look beyond their own needs and wants and make a difference with others, do better than those who are only motivated by the need to impress other people.
Self-Definition (Autonomy and Competence)
Self-definition is the ability to see yourself in all of your complexity. It means seeing yourself from many perspectives: as a father, as a son, as a parent, as an employee or employer, as a member of the community, as a human being, etc. With true self-definition comes a sense of wholeness or being complete, not lacking.
Autonomy and competency are part of self-definition. Autonomy is the ongoing practice of taking personal responsibility rather than playing victim or blaming others when things don’t go as planned. Competency is the natural outcome of taking personal responsibility and ongoing practice. We have found that men who truly embrace the idea of being the ‘author of your life’ understand that they can, with persistence, overcome the inevitable ups and downs of recovery (and life).
We recognize that developing interpersonal relatedness, self-definition, and intrinsic motivation doesn’t happen overnight. That is why we provide ongoing support until men no longer need us. Alumni of our Primary Program have several support options:
While our primary drug rehab and alcohol treatment programs lay a foundation for recovery, the Alumni Program offers alumni the opportunity to focus on their unique circumstances that have led to relapse. The Alumni Program can help you shift the view of relapse as a failure to a teachable moment. When swift, decisive action is taken, relapse can be an opportunity to strengthen your recovery plan.
- Successful completion of any of SCHC’s primary programs
- Satisfactory funding plan prior to admission
Clients will need to re-apply for admission to the Alumni Program even if they have completed treatment at Sunshine Coast Health Centre.
Medical detox charges will be applied if client is not medically stable upon admission. For more information, contact admissions toll-free at 1.866.487.9010.
Varying lengths of stay are available for alumni programs and will be determined by clinical staff on an individual basis. Please call Admissions toll-free at 1-866-487-9010 or complete our Register Now Form for more information.
Exclusive to Sunshine Coast Health Centre, alumni are welcome to take advantage of free refresher stays to reconnect, regroup and reground with staff and peers. Refresher weekend program participants are encouraged to attend large group activities and share their stories as a way of giving back.
Men requiring a stay longer than 90 days can access our sober living program. Sober living can be an ideal option for those with a high risk of returning to substance/alcohol use, a lack of treatment options in their home community, and who are considering starting a new life in Powell River. While in sober living, many of our clients work, attend college/university, or volunteer.
For more information on our Sober Living Program, contact our Admissions Line toll-free at 1-866-487-9010.
Once a client leaves us, he will receive a weekly email connecting him to our online program. Hosted by Program Director, Geoff Thompson, Ph.D., each week’s video lesson provides fresh new content that focuses on the practical aspects of addiction recovery. Clients are also able to reflect on their recovery each week and request staff support. Responses are reviewed daily by client services, who connect the clinical team with any alumni requesting support.
This service is available for as long as an alumnus maintains a valid email address with us. For more information, refer to our Online Support Quick Facts.
Returning home after treatment is often the hardest part for our clients and people in recovery. In response to this challenge, we offer recovery coaches to help alumni stay active and engaged in their personal recovery. Clients are able to choose their recovery coach based on the coach’s specializations (e.g. career or relationship coaching). Coaches are available for in-person (if you choose a coach in your home community), phone, and Skype (online) appointments.
Our alumni coordinators are accessible 24/7 via phone calls, texting, and email for long-term support and care and in times of crisis. They will connect you with local recovery services in your area, update you on SCHC support meetings and dinners in your area, and support you in overcoming any challenges your experiencing. These services allow us to offer our alumni a lifeline that lets them stay in constant contact with us. Photos and special events are just some of things regularly shared between alumni and our Alumni Program. Clients receive the alumni phone number and our secondary client services line before they leave SCHC.
Throughout the year, our Alumni Manager travels to major cities in Canada to host complimentary dinners for our alumni in that area. Currently, alumni dinners are offered 3-4 times a year in Vancouver, Victoria, Kelowna, Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatoon, Regina, Winnipeg, Ottawa, and Toronto.
Weekly and bi-weekly alumni support meetings are available across Canada as a way to connect alumni with one another and let them re-experience the power of a peer group. These meetings are facilitated by counsellors and recovery coaches.
Sunshine Coast Health Centre sponsors the non-profit, Sober Sports, which offers sports for individuals recovery in select cities. These activities, such as floor hockey, are designed so that men can reconnect with other Sunshine Coast Health Centre alumni, be physically active, and have fun all at the same time! For more information, visit Sober Sports.
Vist our Self-Help section has for resources devoted to life after treatment.
Thank you very much for sending me these emails. I really appreciate them. They help me in my everyday life by keeping me on track with what I need to do to live a fulfilling life.
One year ago today I made the willing decision to stop using drugs. It was the biggest and best decision of my life. For 365 days since then I have made the same decision every morning and I have to say “Damn I feel good.”
I haven't seen sober living at other treatment centers. This was a new option, which I thought was great. It gave me the opportunity to test the waters, but still be accountable at the same time. Everyone in Sober Living is trying to do the same thing, which helps me.
Yes, it's a great place. I enjoy it. While you're sober living, you have the opportunity to attend some of the big groups and, if you wanted, go out on the outing with the other guys. You still have a nice support group around here, which is great. The staff is amazing: always wanting to help. It's a good way to start your sobriety. Those first six months are the most important so having that extra time whether it be a month or two months is very beneficial.