The Addiction Finish Line Fallacy

Mar 28, 2024

We, as a people, love a finish line. We set goals; we work through the individual actions to accomplish those goals until we finish and our work is done. We’re focused on the end product, the moment when we can relax and enjoy the fruits of our success.

Addiction doesn’t work that way. The minute you relax your guard is when life gets busy or painful or sad, and you turn to old, unhealthy coping mechanisms.

The Addiction Finish Line Fallacy


When you enter an addiction recovery center, they aren’t curing your addiction. They have a short window to help you get sober and teach you the tools to manage your addiction for the rest of your life. That’s why an alum program is so important.

What Is An Alum Program?

Say you attended one of our women’s residential treatment programs in Idaho. Graduates of the program get together regularly to support one another. They help each other follow the 12-Step Program, share resources, provide sober companions for fun activities outside of the group, and rally around one another when someone feels weak and unable to face temptation alone.


Encouragement: So often, we beat ourselves up for not having the strength to end our addictions alone. Your sisters in the alum group help you maintain perspective. None of them could beat addiction alone, either. It shows strength when you ask for help. It takes courage to expose our brokenness to others. You know you can be vulnerable in an alum group because you’re in a safe place. No one is judging you because they’ve all been where you are.

Turning your life over to anyone else is scary. Learning to trust your Higher Power and hand over your worries and fears can prove challenging. Surrendering your will is near impossible unless you’ve seen that doing so makes a difference for the better. As you struggle in the aftermath of addiction, it’s encouraging to see others who have moved on with their lives, secured steady jobs, fixed relationships, and are learning to have joy again.

Courage: Standing together can also give you the courage to examine your belief systems, coping mechanisms, and character flaws. Your sisters in the Alumni group understand that where you are now doesn’t have to be where you are a year from now. They see your potential rather than your past.

Your alum group can help you through the toughest aspects of recovery. Admitting your wrongs to those you’ve hurt doesn’t mean instant forgiveness. Some people will see you’re trying and let the past go. Others will hold a grudge. You have no control over that. You can draw comfort and encouragement from your group as you work to make things right. Your sisters can help hold you accountable without judging you as a person.

Service: Serving one another strengthens every person involved in fighting their addiction. Learning to focus on other people’s problems makes our own burdens lighter. It also builds lasting relationships with people you trust with your vulnerabilities. You can help each other find resources, such as second-chance job opportunities.

You can mentor new people joining the group to help them through the jarring experience of returning to their home environments. You can pray together for people who are having a tough time. Sometimes, our prayers aren’t enough, and we need to enlist the prayers of others. There is power in a group calling on God for someone they love. You are not alone in your struggles.

Sober Activities: If your previous social circle still indulges in the substances you’re addicted to, hanging out with them will be detrimental to your recovery. On the other hand, it can be difficult and lonely when you walk away from your old life.

Your alum group can schedule activities where people can have fun without substance abuse. It’s a safer environment if you bring your kids to family events, as well. Most importantly, you can build lasting friendships with people who will support your sobriety and self-worth.

To Wrap Up

Women’s substance abuse treatment programs give you an essential foundation for recovery. They give you a safe place to withdraw from the world while you get sober. They offer mental health programs so you can address past traumas that may be driving your addiction. They have group and private sessions with counselors to help you learn safer and healthier coping skills. They give people hope that full recovery is possible, but they aren’t a magic pill.

They give you a map for long-term wellness and set you on the path, but it takes work to stay on that path through the setbacks and problems of daily life.

Find an alum group where you feel comfortable. Participate fully, especially when you don’t feel like it. Support others and accept that support when you need it. Together, you are stronger than any one member on her own.