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Why Is Life Skills Training An Important Part Of Addiction Recovery?


therapist working on life skills with recovery group

Everyone deals with challenges throughout their lives. While many can overcome these obstacles and crises on their own, some turn to drugs or alcohol to cope during challenging times — or to deal with memories of past challenges — leading to addiction. While recovering from addiction, most end up being unable to cope with day-to-day living because they simply have forgotten how.

Addiction interferes with a person’s physical and mental health, relationships, and other critical life skills. Routine everyday tasks are much more difficult for someone battling addiction. Many do not realize how their day-to-day skills have deteriorated until they are free of their addictions and are often at a loss as to how to get them back. If someone in recovery is not re-taught basic life skills, the first time they encounter a stressful situation, they may retreat into the only coping mechanism they know and relapse.

Life skills training tailored to the individual can help a person in recovery rebuild the skills they may have lost, achieve control of their present life, and build a path to a secure future. There is no single solution or “best fit” as everyone’s circumstances and triggers are unique, so every program must be customized.

What are “Life Skills”?

Simply defined, life skills are the social and mental/psychological skills required to successfully navigate the highs and lows of everyday life. Sometimes called “coping skills,” they fall into three basic categories:

  • Cognitive Skills — analysis of everyday situations and events to assist in the decision-making process
  • Personal/Emotional Skills — the day-to-day ability to manage life and take care of one’s self
  • Interpersonal Skills — the tools needed to interact with others in a healthy fashion

Healthy and effective life skills help individuals deal with difficult situations without allowing stress, anxiety, depression, or sadness to become overwhelming. For individuals struggling with addiction, re-learning basic life skills is vital to recovering.

Some of the most useful life skills that should be a part of a recovery program are:

  • Communication skills – learning to better express feelings, learning to say no, improving listening skills and empathy, and developing conflict management skills
  • Self-awareness skills – helping a person to recognize and understand their own needs, recognizing negative thought patterns, learning relaxation skills, and coping with stress
  • Health and wellness skills – re-learning the basics of good nutrition, proper exercise, and solid sleep habits
  • Problem-solving skills – helping a person learn to identify and evaluate multiple solutions to help make better decisions, including goal setting, planning and organizing, time management, and task prioritization
  • Basic educational skills – math, reading and writing skills, job interviewing practice, and resume building
  • Money management skills – helping to ease the stress of “making ends meet” and building a stable financial foundation for the future

How Does Life Skills Training Help?

Life skills training provides the tools needed to make good decisions, solve problems, and communicate effectively, improving social life, work life, and overall mental health.

It teaches how to cope with stress and adversity in healthy, non-self-destructive ways.

It helps rebuild self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-awareness, allowing an individual to handle the duties and obligations of family, work, and school.

It helps develop healthy relationships. One of the biggest needs of anyone in recovery is having strong, supportive personal and professional relationships.

It teaches goal setting and the ability to stay focused and on target. This is important for those who feel overwhelmed after rehab. Even developing a daily schedule can provide a solid framework for staying healthy and productive, ensuring time for the activities that support recovery.

Re-learning how to deal with normal day-to-day living — and the larger challenges that life sometimes presents — without returning to drugs and alcohol is crucial for long-term recovery. A successful life skills training program boosts both confidence and feelings of control, allowing individuals to more successfully manage their lives.

Building on a belief that spiritual development and healthy recovery can bring inner peace to clients overcoming addiction and substance abuse, Into Action Recovery Centers takes a people-centered approach to addiction treatment. Our rehab centers and programs are led by experienced Master’s level counselors and medical professionals who specialize in personalized treatment for drug and alcohol abuse.

If you’re interested in learning how life and coping skills training can help you in your recovery, please reach out to the Into Action team. We are eager to help you move forward in your recovery journey and better prepare yourself for a sober, fulfilling life.

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