Many individuals who have severe substance addictions have become so consumed by their addiction that they ignore the responsibilities of everyday life. Chronic substance abuse leads to chemical changes in the brain, the parts that are responsible for decision-making, social-emotional processing, and inhibition. These behavioral changes cause the individual to neglect proper self-care and care for those that depend on them. This is why re-learning life skills are so critical in addiction treatment.
Life Skills and Recovery
When a person enters inpatient addiction treatment, they are removed from the distractions, stressors, and contact from normal life. While this is ideal for substance abuse treatment, it also cuts off daily life responsibilities. There are numerous challenges in everyday life, which is why it is essential for treatment centers to work with clients and prepare them for a normal life after treatment.
What are Life Skills?
The term “life skills” refers to the skills necessary for managing and living a quality life. Any skill that is useful and beneficial to daily life can be considered a life skill. This includes any task from swimming, driving a car, and using a computer. Developing life skills in recovery helps individuals build a new lifestyle that focuses on their well-being. By learning life skills during treatment, individuals are better equipped to manage their recovery through the hurdles of daily life. Life after treatment will undoubtedly face triggers, distractions, and cravings, so it’s important for them to learn how to deal with these challenges before they arise.
Personal Life Skills
Personal life skills focus on skills that an individual can use to better themselves. These skills help maintain a healthy body and mind. Personal life skills are essential for a successful recovery because it centers on the individual themselves. Some examples of personal life skills include:
- Stress management. Learning to manage stress helps to reduce the effects that stressors have in everyday life. These stressors may trigger cravings for alcohol and drugs, which is why it’s so important to learn how to manage them.
- Adopting healthy habits. Clients in treatment must re-learn how to take care of themselves. Adopting healthy personal habits like doing laundry, grocery shopping, and proper nutrition and hygiene are all positive ways to maintain sobriety. Developing a personalized fitness routine and nutritional plan are critical healthy habits in recovery.
- Self-care. During active addiction, an individual has neglected caring for themselves. Recovery is a time to embrace a self-care routine. When a person completes a treatment program, they may dive right back into responsibilities such as school, work, and family life. This can be a challenging transition. While aftercare is an option, an individual should also focus on taking the time to care for themselves. Set time aside to meditate, listen to music, take a walk, or just sit outside and relax. This time is critical for maintaining a positive attitude in recovery.
- Developing routines. Coming up with a positive routine for morning, afternoon, evening, and bedtime helps the individual create a cycle of health and wellness. A healthy daily routine helps people maintain healthy habits and create a better lifestyle.
Interpersonal and Social Life Skills
Behavioral changes in individuals battling addiction damages can result in damaged interpersonal skills as the individual withdraws socially. Since drugs or alcohol has consumed their life for so long, they may feel unable to interact with other people. Interpersonal skills are the skills we use when interacting with others, both verbally and nonverbally. Well-developed social skills lead to distinct advantages, such as:
- Better communication. Communication skills are important for navigating through daily life. Being able to effectively convey one’s thoughts, feelings, and ideas is a critical life skill. Better communication skills are a tool that helps strengthen and rebuild strained family and friend relationships. By understanding and responding appropriately to social cues, we shape the interactions and improve the connection with others.
- Stronger relationships. By developing stronger social skills, individuals are able to develop stronger, more meaningful relationships with their peers, family, and the public.
- Negotiate effectively. Strong communication skills help individuals to be able to negotiate effectively without conflict. Negotiation is about being assertive without being argumentative. This aids towards an outcome that suits all parties involved.
Professional Life Skills
In some situations, individuals with addiction have lost their jobs and ability to find new employment. Professional life skills help clients in several aspects of the career world. In turn, professional life skills can make the individual become financially stable and independent. Some professional life skills developed in recovery include:
- Building winning resumes. Creating a winning resume helps to appeal to hiring personnel when applying to jobs. Displaying your job experience with a strong resume is a critical professional life skill.
- Computer skills. Developing basic computer skills. Most jobs in today’s market require basic computer skills because no matter what position it is, computers are almost always required. Many jobs will require specific programs, but once you have developed basic computer skills, learning different programs is much easier.
- Problem-solving. Problem-solving is a process in which you identify a problem, develop possible solutions, and determine the appropriate response. Employers will often identify effective problem-solving skills as a major component of their company’s success. Problem-solving skills are used to develop and create unique solutions that help an organization flourish.
How Can Life Skills Help?
Training and strengthening life skills are important to a comprehensive treatment program. Life skills aid in the physical and emotional healing of the mind and body after a period of self-destruction. These skills aren’t just necessary to addiction treatment, they also decrease the risk of relapse in the future.
If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, contact us to help you take the next step.