The development of a substance abuse habit is like a slow burn. Initially, the deterioration an individual experiences is subtle, but over time one’s health deteriorates and the addict’s lifestyle results in the loss of financial independence, one’s career, and oftentimes even important relationships. In fact, the transformation that occurs as a result of addiction is so profound that addicts will often forget many of the crucial skills that are central to being a self-sufficient, productive adult.
Fortunately, recovery via addiction treatment programs give those who have been living in the throes of active addiction another chance at life. These programs allow addicts to overcome their addictions by targeting the many varied effects of the disease with specific treatments, making each individual treatment much like a piece in a larger recovery puzzle. Most of the time when someone thinks of addiction treatment, they think of individual psychotherapy; however, there are many different types of treatments utilized in addiction treatment programming, including life skills therapy. The following will be a brief overview of life skills therapy, defining it as a form of addiction treatment and explaining how it can help an individual strengthen his or her recovery.
What Exactly is Life Skills Therapy?
In short, life skills therapy is an educational form of treatment that teaches individuals the skills they need to be independent adults. This can include technical skills like cooking and grocery shopping, more generalized knowledge such as nutrition, or even something like managing one’s finances and paying the bills. Life skills therapy encompasses many different aspects of adulthood, but also puts an emphasis on instilling a sense of motivation and pride in patients. In other words, life skills therapy is intended to inspire individuals to take pride in maintaining themselves and their living spaces, which is an important precursor to respective communication and relationship-building with others.
Life Skills Therapy for Substance Abuse: How Does it Work?
Since addicts often lose the ability to maintain their independence and become increasingly irresponsible and irrational over the course of active addiction, life skills therapy helps to re-teach and reacquaint recovering addicts with the concept of living as independent and productive members of society. When an individual is participating in a life skills therapy session, oftentimes he or she will be joined by other participants as this particular type of treatment lends itself well to the group therapy format. These sessions could be compared to vocational workshops, but instead of learning trade skills patients are regaining the skills required to support themselves and maintain a healthy lifestyle. One of the most essential teachings of life skills therapy is the rather broad concept of nutrition. In learning a person’s nutritional needs, patients in life skills therapy must also learn how to apply that knowledge to meal planning and grocery shopping, ensuring that they’re able to address their nutritional needs on a regular basis in order to achieve optimal health and wellness.
In addition to nutrition, finance is another important component of life skills therapy. Addicts often spend the majority of the money they earn or acquire on alcohol or drugs, leaving their bills and other essential expenses to fall by the wayside. Therefore, most individuals in recovery must re-learn how to be responsible with their money, or if a patient become addicted before adulthood he or she might be learning financial skills for the first time. Additionally, life skills therapy often helps individuals to assess their own strengths and weaknesses, using that information to identify viable career and employment prospects. Similarly, many patients benefit from learning how to effectively market their skills during job interviews as well as how to make an effective résumé. Life skills therapy also teaches individuals how to meet their particular health needs, making it an effective companion treatment to dual-diagnosis support for individuals who suffer from a comorbid, or co-occurring, mental illness.
Why Life Skills Therapy is an Important Part of Recovery
While it may sound like life skills therapy teaches a lot of superfluous skills, the reason that life skills therapy is such an integral part of recovery is because it helps individuals to be successful as adults, minimizing the amount of stress they might experience if they are unprepared to sustain themselves when they return to the community after treatment. In fact, stress due to hardship is one of the most common relapse triggers, indicating that addiction treatment programs need to include a focus on stress management, coping skills, and teaching patients how to be more independent. If you or someone you love is suffering from chemical dependency and would benefit from learning more about life skills therapy or another form of treatment, call Recovery Hub 1-888-220-4352 today. We have a team of recovery specialists waiting to take your call. With a free consultation and assessment, you or your loved one could begin the journey toward a life of health, happiness, and sobriety.