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Why Do Life Skills Matter in Addiction Recovery?

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The goal of life skills training in addiction recovery is to assist recovering individuals in reaching their full potential. For most people in recovery, the early stages of the process are challenging and scary.  But, they are more likely to reach their recovery goals if they have the right skills.

Leaving the structured and secure rehab environment can be a source of anxiety or fear.  This is one of the reasons why a rehab program provides essential life skills training.  The classes and activities teach people how to make the transition from addiction to sobriety.

The Relationship Between Life Skills Training and Recovery

LIfe Skills TrainingStudies show that people with substance use disorders (SUDs) stop maturing at the age they were when their drug use began.  As a result, they may not learn the essential life skills that are necessary for a productive lifestyle.  

Life skills are any skill that is useful for helping a person make the most of their life.  Although everyone excels at different things, some basic life skills are generally considered beneficial for anyone.  

Defining the 5 Essential Life Skills Training Everyone Needs

When we consider the essential life skills for recovery, they aren’t unique.  In fact, these are basic skills everyone needs for reaching their goals in life.  

According to the World Health Organization, life skills are: 

Abilities for adaptive and positive behavior that enable individuals to deal effectively with the demands and challenges of everyday life.

Here are 5 key skills that are vital regardless of a person’s situation.  

1.  Self-Awareness and Empathy

Self-awareness is defined as “the conscious knowledge of one’s own character, feelings, motivations, and desires.”  It also involves understanding how your actions affect others.  On the other hand, empathy is defined as “the ability to feel like you understand and share another person’s emotions and feelings.”  Self-awareness and empathy are closely linked because they are vital to being a well-balanced individual.

2.  Creative and Critical Thinking

Creative thinking involves intentionally gaining different ways of thinking and examining issues from different viewpoints.  Critical thinking is defined as “the objective analysis and evaluation of an issue to form a judgment.”  Learning to think differently about problems and find solutions is vital for maintaining sobriety after rehab.

3.  Decision-Making and Problem-Solving

Decision-making and problem-solving go together.  Solving a problem depends on making a decision after evaluating solutions and choosing a course of action.  By developing or enhancing these skills, it will be easier for someone in addiction recovery to make the right choices and avoid relapse.  

4.  Communication and Interpersonal Skills

Good communication skills are vital to a person who is in recovery from addiction.  It’s important to be able to express your feelings or emotions rather than hold them inside.   Interpersonal skills include the ability to handle conflict, verbal and non-verbal communication, positive attitude, empathy, and the ability to listen to others.  

5.  Assertiveness and Self-Control

Assertiveness involves the ability to share healthy viewpoints constructively.  Setting clear boundaries without being rude or inconsiderate demonstrates self-control.  These life skills are valuable to anyone transitioning from addiction to sobriety.  By enhancing these skills, they can stand up for themselves while remaining calm in the face of adversity.

The importance of these 5 life skills in addiction recovery cannot be denied.  The transition from rehab to the outside world will be far more challenging and may result in relapse.

Other Skills That Are Beneficial During Early Recovery

With the five skills listed above, the chance for lasting recovery is increased.  But, other skills will prove helpful during the recovery journey such as:

  • Learn how to effectively manage time and maintain accountability.  For instance, make a schedule and stick to it.  
  • Learn how to manage money, pay bills on time, and open a checking or savings account.
  • Set boundaries when it comes to people or places that could be relapse triggers.  
  • Know how to resolve conflicts by focusing on an issue without taking things personally.
  • Learn how to write a resume so you’ll be prepared for seeking employment.

You can protect your sobriety by understanding how life skills and recovery are interconnected. It’s never easy to recover from addiction, but the more informed you are, the easier it will be.

At Design for Change, We Emphasize the Importance of Life Skills Training for Lasting Recovery

At Design for Change Recovery, we understand the value of life skills training in addiction recovery.  That’s why we offer a variety of activities and classes to help our clients acquire the skills they need to reach their recovery goals.  

In addition to life skills training, our clients benefit from a multifaceted program of cognitive-behavioral therapies, holistic therapy, family therapy, counseling, and more.  Our goal is to help clients heal the physical, mental, and spiritual aspects of addiction so they have the confidence and motivation to maintain a sober lifestyle.

Contact us at our Lancaster, CA facility today to learn more about our evidence-based, fully-accredited treatment programs.  One of our representatives will be available to perform a confidential assessment and recommend a treatment program that is right for your unique needs.  


Why Do Life Skills Matter in Addiction Recovery?