When a person become addicted to alcohol or drugs, it’s not just his or her physical health that suffers, but virtually all aspects of life. It’s true that the disease of addiction is a detriment to physical health, but it also causes the deterioration of one’s mental and emotional wellbeing, social life and relationships, and even prevents individuals from feeling fulfilled in life. Additionally, having an addiction can cause people to lose their independence, making them unable to maintain employment, responsibly manage their finances, and even making it almost impossible for addicts to keep roofs over their heads.
However, life skills therapy is an important treatment for individuals who suffer from alcoholism and drug addiction because it helps them to begin living normal lives again by teaching them a variety of skills that are essential in order to be a productive, independent member of society. In particular, the following are seven of the most important behavioral changes that result from life skills therapy for substance abuse and addiction.
Getting Better & More Restful Sleep
Virtually any substance an individual could abuse will have a major effect on one’s sleeping habits. It’s common knowledge that stimulants like cocaine and crystal meth make falling asleep all but impossible. On the other hand, depressants like alcohol and opioids tend to make individuals feel drowsy and more readily able to fall asleep, but the quality of sleep one gets while under the influence of chemical substances is very poor, causing individuals to still feel exhausted when they wake up the next day. As such, life skills therapy helps individuals in recovery to understand their sleep needs and learn how they can ensure that their bodies and minds get adequate sleep regularly.
Learning Adequate Nutrition & Eating Habits
Similar to the effect that substance abuse has on one’s ability to sleep, substance abuse often has a major effect on an addict’s nutrition. Whether a drug causes an individual to overeat or malnourishment by eliminating any semblance of appetite, addicts tend to have very poor eating habits, which is learning proper nutrition and eating habits is an important part of life skills therapy. It’s essential for individuals to give their bodies much-needed nutrition from quality food. While proper nutrition has been shown to improve mental functioning, healthy eating habits can significantly reduce risk of numerous health conditions as well.
Responsible Money Management
Most addicts either forget how to manage their money or never learned this crucial life skill before developing an addiction. For a period of years or even decades while in active addiction, the majority of every addict’s income is spent on alcohol or drugs. As a result, bills and other essential expenses begin to go unpaid while it becomes a month-to-month struggle just to keep a roof over one’s head. In life skills therapy for substance abuse and addiction, many addicts will benefit from learning the basics of responsible money management, which will help them to learn how to budget their money in order to support themselves and ensure their independence.
Finding & Maintaining Employment
The majority of addicts become unable to maintain employment after developing addictions and, therefore, must often resort to taking low-paying, entry-level positions that don’t require drug screens or background checks. However, with unreliable attendance and their job performance tainted by intoxication, addicts frequently spend only short periods of time in each position before the job search begins again. An important behavioral change that addicts make while in life skills therapy is in learning how to find and maintain employment. This includes learning how to determine what vocational skills they have to offer and using those skills to find gainful employment in today’s job market for which they could qualify. In short, individuals will learn how to find and apply for jobs as well as how to be a responsible, reliable employee.
Ensuring That Basic Health Needs are Met
As human beings, we each have a number of needs that must be met. While the most obvious include maintaining a healthy diet and getting adequate sleep, many of us also have specific health needs that must be addressed. In life skills therapy, individuals are discouraged from ignoring health problems or other bodily needs as they would while in active addiction. Especially for those with co-occurring, or comorbid, conditions like diabetes or a mental health affliction, individuals must learn the importance of receiving regular care and, when necessary, taking medications to maintain one’s health.
Learning to Maintain Healthy Relationships
Addicts tend to surround themselves with other addicts, resulting in oftentimes very unhealthy socialization and communication skills. Individuals will often learn how to communicate effectively, respectfully, and em-pathetically in life skills therapy, which will allow them to develop and maintain positive relationships with others. This is especially important as it will allow individuals to develop their support networks as they progress in recovery.
Developing a Productive Daily Routine
People tend to adopt a daily routine that they use as a blueprint for their daily happenings. For addicts, seeking and consuming one’s substance of choice is the driving force of each day. However, life skills therapy helps individuals learn about the benefits of developing a daily routine that allows them to be productive and ensures that all needs are met by employing many of the skills listed above. In essence, developing a daily routine is about putting many of the individual life skills acquired in life skills therapy into daily practice.
Free Yourself from the Chains of Addiction with Recovery Hub
There are many skills learned in life skills therapy that will be essentially to lasting success in recovery. If you or someone you know is suffering from chemical dependency and would benefit from learning more about the treatments available, call Recovery Hub today at 1-888-220-4352 for a free consultation and assessment.