Graduations are well-known as a rite of passage: from kindergarten, from grade school, from high school and from college. In each of these situations, you are given a set of tools and sent off into the next stage of life with a way to use them, often secure in the knowledge that you are simply “graduating” to the next step in your personal evolution.
Why, then, do we consider the time after we complete an addiction treatment a “graduation”? Does this leave people with the false sense that they magically return to their lives as soon as they graduate from a specific program?
From One Phase to Another
The term graduation really is a misnomer in this type of situation. It addresses addiction as an “acute care” or short-term rehab fix that has been completed, giving the impression that individuals who have graduated are “fixed” and that’s the end of it. In reality, the graduation is simply a new beginning, the ability to re-start their journey toward recovery in a more positive direction while continuing their rituals and focus on self-care and self-actualization.
A Caring Send Off
Even though graduation may not be the most accurate term, it’s hard to dispute the rush of warm feelings that seeing someone start a new chapter of their life brings. This is true for the individual who is ready to take that step as well as for the caregivers and others who are new to the path of health and recovery.
Specifically for newer travelers, a ceremony where graduates are celebrated allows the hope that they can continue and ultimately graduate to the next stage of their journey to recovery as well. Some of the time-tested ways that individuals are celebrated are through reciting the Serenity Prayer in unison, ringing a bell or singing together while forming a physical bond.
When someone has taken the huge step of taking back their life, there are many ways that you can provide them with a tangible token of hope and healing, such as sacred jewelry that will have a special meaning to you both. Whether you call it a graduation, a celebration of life, or simply goodbye for now, the bond that is created in rehab is one that can help support both individuals during a difficult time.