It used to be that addiction was seen as willful selfishness and weakness of character and will. In fact, this view of substance abuse and addiction is why addicts received mostly punitive treatment for their suffering, forcing them into abstinence and sobriety with prison sentences and other legal ramifications. Over time, we can to realize that alcohol and drug addiction was not indicative of an individual being a bad person, but rather addiction was a disease. In fact, addiction was found to be a chronic, progressive, relapsing disease of the brain, causing individuals to have altered brain structure and functioning that compelled them to seek and consume illicit substances such as alcohol and drugs. However, like diabetes, cancer, and other diseases there’s not a singular medication or treatment that can cure alcohol and drug addiction; rather, rehabilitating from chemical dependency requires a variety of treatments and therapies that address the many different symptoms and effects of addiction.
With the symptoms and effects of addiction being so numerous and diverse, each addict will manifest different symptoms to varying degrees of severity depending on factors such as length of time spent in active addiction, whether an individual was especially susceptible to chemical dependency, the drug or substance of choice, and so on. However, there are still a number of effects that result from addiction and seem to affect the majority of addicts. This includes the physical deterioration of health, damage to or loss of important personal relationships, resorting to criminal behavior—forgery, burglary, stealing, etc.—in order to sustain a substance abuse habit and the lack of emotional and/or spiritual fulfillment. What’s more, chemical dependency can arrest one’s psychological growth and maturation, or perhaps even cause regression. As a result, there are a number of addiction treatments and recovery therapies that are intended to address the way that addiction can stunt a person’s developmental and emotional growth.
What is Life Skills Therapy?
Over the course of active addiction, individuals tend to lose their independence. This takes the form of being unable or unwilling to maintain stable, gainful employment, which results in being unable to support oneself financially, the inability to maintain residency or even find a place to live long-term. However, the loss of independence can be much more profound and include being able to maintain a state of hygiene or cleanliness, being unable to cook or feed oneself, being incapable of maintaining an organized and sanitary living environment, being unable to provide for one’s own medical and health needs, and so on. When there are dependents involved, such as children or other family members under an individual’s care, the severity of the situation is compounded as these individuals are not only suffering themselves but also causing suffering or harm to others; this can lead to intervention from Child or Adult Protective Services and other government agencies that can remove dependents from an individual deemed unable to care for him or herself or others.
Life skills therapy is a form of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or counseling that’s intended to help individuals to progress to the level of independence and self-sufficiency to which they should be, but due to the intervention of a mental health condition or addiction have been unable to learn. Often intended for teens and young adults, life skills therapy can be modified to teach even adolescents or individuals of advanced age appropriate and adequate levels of self-care. In these types of therapy sessions, participants are instructed by a facilitator or leader in executing a number of skills essentially for being a productive, healthy, dividend individual.
The Benefits of Life Skills Substance Abuse Therapy
The things individuals learn as part of life skills therapy can be incredibly generalized and broad—how to be confident or how to respond to bullying—or more specific and involve developing certain skills—cooking a meal or dental hygiene. Especially in instances where addicts have not learned the necessary skills to be independent upon reintegration into the community, it’s important for those in recovery to learn basic and essential life skills, the absence of which could be a trigger for relapse. Some of the most common skills that are taught to those in recovery as part of life skills therapy include cooking and preparing meals, how to budget and spend money wisely, tips for saving money, strategies for maintaining physical health, how to maintain the different areas of the home, and other such necessities of independence. However, the skills afforded by life skills therapy can also include such things as learning to cope with stress and anxiety, coping with loss or losing, how to overcome shyness, how to respond to bullying, being able to take turns, building and maintaining friendships, how to participate in romantic relationships, how to make choices by weighing consequences and outcomes, finding time for relaxation and leisure, self-regulation and self-control, and so on.
Each individual participating in life skills therapy will be coming from a different, unique background, which means that they will each have different needs. The offerings of a life skills session tend to be based on an assessment of the participants so that the facilitator or instructor can teach the life skills that are most needed by the group’s participants. Additionally, since it’s a form of group counseling life skills therapy offers individuals a social component to the experience as well, which encourages them to socialize with one another and help one another to hone the skills they are learning. While the intent of life skills therapy is to teach individuals to be independent and self-sufficient, the ultimate goal is for individuals to become adept at self-care so that they will be better prepared to cope with adversity and stress while maintaining sobriety after treatment.
Learn More About Life Skills Therapy and Addiction Treatment Programs
If you or someone you love is suffering from alcohol or drug addiction and would like to learn more about addiction treatment programs, call Recovery Hub at 888-220-4352. We have a team of caring, knowledgeable recovery experts are available to help those in need make their way to a healthy, productive, fulfilling life in recovery.