Recovering from addiction requires a combination of techniques that allow a person to navigate life’s daily challenges without the need for drugs or alcohol as a coping tool.  For that reason, most addiction treatment programs include life skills training as a vital part of the curriculum.

What is Life Skills Training?

One important aspect of life skills therapy is that it helps a person regain their sense of dignity.  With this improved self-image, the person in recovery is more likely to uphold that image by changing some of their old behaviors.

Rather than reach for their preferred substance during stressful situations, a person in recovery can apply coping mechanisms that they learned in rehab to resist that powerful temptation.

Life skills training helps people in recovery relearn their day-to-day functioning abilities.  The goal is to help these individuals gain the confidence they need for independent, sober living.  It can include effective communication, creative thinking, decision-making, and more.

Components of Life Skills Training in Rehab

Today’s rehabilitation programs seek to do more than get a person sober.  Their goal is to strengthen a patient’s ability to resume normal functioning in the outside world.  Some of the skills that are vital to their success can include:

  • Managing finances – Most people in recovery have not handled household finances in a long time.  So, they must relearn how to manage a checkbook, pay bills on time, and set up a budget.
  • Communication skills – It’s important for people in recovery to be able to express their feelings.  They must overcome their desire to keep things locked inside.  This involves learning to trust others.  Communication skills also contribute to creating lasting relationships, repairing damaged ones, or forming new ones.
  • Problem-solving – Learning how to determine whether another solution to a problem is possible and what the outcome might be.
  • Finding new interests – It’s important to avoid the influences that contributed to substance abuse in the past.  Patients learn ways to find healthy hobbies and other activities that make them feel energized and encouraged to reconnect with life.
  • Critical thinking – The ability to evaluate the future consequences of their present actions or the actions of others.
  • Self-management – The ability to cope with trauma or loss, to make a schedule and stick to it, and effectively deal with anxiety or anger.  Planning a schedule is a great way to stay on track as it minimizes the amount of time a person has to feel bored or sad or lonely.
  • Obtaining employment – Patients learn to create a resume and how to conduct themselves in an interview.  Some rehabs offer GED preparation classes to help patients obtain their diplomas which will aid in securing employment.

Generally, these skills are taught through instruction, workshops, and other activities that allow participants to observe and practice the techniques.

How Do These Skills Help Prevent Relapse?

Experts agree that life skills training helps people avoid relapse because they now have a desire to succeed in life.  They’ve learned that they have something to contribute to society.  Also, the training gives them a sense of empowerment and confidence that are vital to surviving the everyday challenges of our modern world.

Life skills training also aids in relapse prevention by helping patients learn how to let go of guilt.  During their addiction, they may have done or said things that hurt their loved ones.  Unless they let go of the guilt, it can manifest in many ways, including relapse.

If you know someone who needs treatment for addiction, contact us at New Beginnings Rehab today.  We will be happy to tell you about our life skills training options and other aspects of our program.