The Importance of Life Skills Training in Addiction Treatment

learn written on chalkboard

Often beginning as experimentation with recreational substance abuse, addiction involves substance abuse taking an increasingly central place in an individual’s life, which makes the seeking and consumption of one’s substance of choice a primary concern at all times. As a result, many aspects of one’s life fall by the wayside after becoming addicted, including relationships, one’s health and basic needs, financial independence, job security, and so on. In short, the disease of addiction affects virtually every aspect of one’s life and sees individuals adopting an entirely new, destructive way of life. Befitting of a disease that causes so many different and profound symptoms, the process of recovering from alcohol and drug addiction is complicated and requires individuals to utilize a variety of different therapies, treatments, and support groups. Counseling and psychotherapy remain central to most addiction treatment programs, which often offer any number of complementary, supplemental, and even holistic treatments.

Each individual who begins a treatment program customizes the program by picking and choosing which of a facility’s available treatments best address his or her recovery needs. There are some offerings that work for only some while not working for others—such as the faith-based treatments or holistic therapies like acupuncture and meditation—but there are also those that tend to yield optimal results for most. A treatment that has shown to be highly beneficial for virtually anyone suffering from chemical dependency, life skills training has become an important part of rehabilitative programs. The following will define life skills training and explain what makes it such an important part of addiction treatment.

What Exactly is Life Skills Training?

With the passage of time, the treatment programs offered by alcohol and drug rehabs have become increasingly effective, offering more evidence-based treatments and therapies that have shown to target some of the specific problems faced by those suffering from addiction. Studies have found that only small numbers of addicts are receiving the help they need to recover while roughly half of those individuals relapse shortly after treatment. As such, it seems that the major issues that surround recovery can be divided into two approaches or objectives: learning to become sober and sustaining sobriety. Life skills training is a major part of both achieving and sustaining sobriety as it helps individuals to overcome many of the thoughts and feelings that make them want to relapse back to substance abuse.

More specifically, life skills training is a form of treatment that teaches individuals how to be functional, independent, productive members of society with an improved quality of life. As part of life skills training, individuals learn about such things as forming and maintaining healthy relationships, how to address mental and physical health needs, creating a safe and stable living environment, finding and maintaining employment, learning or improving decision-making skills, and a variety of other basic life skills. The underlying objective of life skills therapy is to help individuals achieve a better quality of life so that they can avoid certain hardships and adversity, which are situations that often lead to relapse.

Why Life Skills Training is a Necessary Part of Recovery

Those individuals who have never suffered from a form of addiction or dependency often find it difficult to understand how one might lack life skills. However, over the course of active addiction, individuals essentially forget how to be sober, which entails a disregard for many of the essential skills that are an important part of adulthood. In particular, this can refer to setting and striving for goals, managing time, organizing one’s living environment, being aware of one’s thought processes and attitudes, and developing a healthy daily routine. Moreover, life skills training helps to prepare individuals for their return to the community, which will mean having much less daily structure and supervision; in other words, individuals must take it upon themselves to care for themselves and ensure that their needs are met.

Another important component of life skills training is that it helps individuals in recovery to identify and utilize helpful resources to which they might not have known they had access. For individuals who are creatively inclined, this might mean learning to channel one’s stress or anxiety into creative or artistic forms of expression, or perhaps finding ways to monetize one’s skills in order to become more financially independent and stable. Individuals who suffer from a dual diagnosis will find life skills training to be especially beneficial since it helps them to learn how to incorporate consideration for their particular needs into one’s daily routine, which can include management of medications and ensuring that each individual is able to attend their therapy sessions or other treatments.

money savings jar

Life Skills Training as a Crucial Relapse Prevention Tool

While participating in life skills training, individuals are essentially fortifying their sobriety by learning a variety of tools that will improve the quality of life and, therefore, minimize their chances of relapse. Additionally, life skills training is a helpful tool for building confidence, allowing individuals to reaffirm their conviction in the path of continued sobriety. And since stress and emotion are two of the most common reasons why people relapse, life skills training arms individuals will ways in which to avert the potential threat of stressful or emotional experiences by teaching recovering addicts ways to cope without resorting to substance abuse. In other words, life skills training prepares individuals for those instances that may put their sobriety in jeopardy.

Find Your Way Back to Sobriety Today

There’s no singular way of recovering from addiction that’s “right” or the best choice for anyone suffering from chemical dependency. Much like the many ways that individuals can become addicted, there are many ways of overcoming addiction. However, important therapies like life skills training serve to reinforce one’s sobriety by arming them with tools for resisting temptation and cravings. If you or someone you love is suffering from alcohol or drug addiction and would like to learn more about life skills training and other treatments, call Recovery Hub at 888-220-1352 today. We have recovery specialists available to help those in need find the programming that will return them to lives of health, sobriety, and fulfillment.

Leave a Reply