Every holiday season, the EAI Alumni Association hosts a variety of events to support men who have graduated the residential treatment program, their friends and families, and current EAI clients during one of the more trying times in sobriety. For many addicts and alcoholics, holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve can be triggers for relapse. We think about our family who we miss and can not be with for whatever reason. We think about all the past parties and celebrations, most of which involve our addiction in some form or fashion. These thoughts can be dangerous if left to grow and fester in our minds.
Extended Aftercare’s Alumni Association makes it a priority to allow men in and around the EAI treatment program to make new, healthy, sober memories through the holiday events we host every year.
On Thanksgiving Day, the EAI Alumni Association partners with the EAI House Managers to throw a huge football party and feast. The EAI family includes clients, family members, friends, alumni and staff all gathered together for this celebration of gratitude. It is imperative to the EAI Alumni Association to provide the fellowship, support, and comradery that all recovering addicts and alcoholics require to lead healthy lives. The Thanksgiving Day Feast helps support that mission.
On December 10 the EAI Alumni Association threw a recovery based party, including BBQ, a speaker meeting, dance, and talent show. With nearly 200 people in attendance, the event brought together many different treatment centers, 12-step groups, alumni, clients, friends, and families for the festivities. The Talent Show portion of the event was great and featured a gaggle of different acts including a couple comedians, some singers, poets and even a magician.
December 17 was the date for one of the Alumni Associations smaller and more service oriented projects. Every year, a group of Alumni bring clients to several local hospices and assisted living centers to spread holiday cheer through song. Granted, some of us are not the best singers, but we still make quite an impact on the residents of these sad places. Some of the people we visit there may never see another holiday season and it makes our service that much more meaningful to bring a smile to there faces. It also has served as a enlightening experience for our clients to see exactly what 100% selfless service is really about.
Gift to A Stranger:
The day after Caroling, the EAI Alumni Association host a Celebration of Christmas for alumni, clients, friends, families and some very special guests. With the assistance of Intergroup Houston, the Alumni Association finds one family in recovery who can not afford to buy gifts for their children. We collect donations and purchase items for the children and family and have Santa (our professionally trained Santa Claus and EAI Alumnus, Patrick A.) surprise them when they come by our campus on the day of the event. This year was wonderful, as we were able to support a young couple and their 3 children through the holiday season. Everyone walked away full of food, love, candy, joy and gratitude!
Arguably the largest event EAI’s Alumni Association puts on every year, the Christmas Feast for Houston’s Homeless has been a heartfelt tradition for our Alumni for 19 years. Between collecting food to cook turkey dinners for 600 men, women and children, getting all the correct health and service permits and organizing hundreds of volunteers, it is sometimes a little difficult to “get in the spirit” but that all changes on Christmas Day. We had an outstanding turnout of volunteers at the location we used near downtown Houston. We served hot turkey, stuffing, gravy, green beans, mashed potatoes, cornbread, cranberry sauce, desserts, water and coffee from 10am to 2 pm to hundreds of Houstonians in need. Members of our Alumni Association also provided gently used clothes, jackets, blankets and hygiene packs. Everyone who participated agrees it was the best way to spend Christmas morning and truly embraces the “Spirit of Christmas.”
New Year’s Eve can be a dangerous night for anyone in recovery. The classic New Year’s images of popping bottle of champagne and kissing those we love are the first things to come to mind. The EAI Alumni Association provides a fun and safe alternative to traditional parties with our New Year’s Eve Bowling Night. We rented an entire bowling alley that is closed to the public, allowing recovering individuals, their families and friends, treatment centers, sober living houses and other recovery based organizations the run of the entire alley to bowl, eat pizza and chilli dogs, win prizes, fellowship with new friends and enjoy the night. With over 250 people in attendance, it’s hard to deny the event’s success.
And finally we at Extended Aftercare would like to thank all of the Alumni Board members and volunteers for the hard work they put into providing these event to our clients and the Houston Recovery Community at large. The Extended Aftercare Alumni Association in a non profit group of men and women, who love Extended Aftercare and continue to help us, their peers and new clients long after they have left our 90 day residential treatment program. We respect and honor these men and women for their selfless service throughout the year.