Life skills are what help us get through day-to-day life, and all of its stresses and obligations. They include such basic skills as maintaining a daily routine, keeping regular mealtimes, eating well and practicing good hygiene. Keeping a job and managing money are also life skills.
Recovering addicts may lack even these most basic life skills. Some addicts may have lost the habit of taking care of themselves, while others may never have ever learned. Life skills are invaluable for any addict to prevent relapse and ensure a successful life. A good rehab makes teaching life skills a fundamental part of treatment.
Why Do Recovering Addicts Need Life Skills?
Life skills are necessary to get through life. They’re what enable a person to keep him or herself clean, fed, healthy and independent. Building life skills is a crucial part of addiction recovery.
A majority of addicts enter recovery without life skills, either because they’ve forgotten how to use them or they never had any. An older addict may have had good life skills at one point, but fell out of the habit of taking care of him or herself due to long-term unemployment, homelessness or the enabling behaviors of loved ones. A younger addict, especially one whose addiction began in adolescence, may have never developed life skills.
How Do Life Skills Prevent Relapse?
When recovering addicts learn life skills, they learn to take care of themselves, look after their health and meet their responsibilities. Life skills like finding and keeping a job, managing money and maintaining healthy relationships can help recovering addicts find independence and manage financial stress and feelings of isolation while building self-worth. These skills give recovering addicts the means to defend themselves against the stress, hopelessness, loneliness and worthlessness that contributes to relapse.
How Does Addiction Treatment Build Life Skills?
Addiction treatment programs help recovering addicts build life skills with education programs on nutrition, hygiene and fitness. Programs may require recovering addicts to eat specific foods and attend fitness classes. In rehab, recovering addicts may be required to maintain certain hygienic standards and may even be made responsible for cleaning their rooms and doing other chores in the facility. Group and family therapies are used to help recovering addicts learn new ways of building and maintaining relationships.
One of the biggest challenges for recovering addicts is re-establishing a normal routine of waking, sleeping and taking meals. Inpatient rehabs address this by making recovering addicts adhere to a strict schedule. Recovering addicts should take care to maintain as normal a schedule as possible after leaving rehab.
Employment and financial skills are also difficult for many recovering addicts. Rehab programs can help addicts put together a resume and even find a job, though most recovering addicts are encouraged to stick with a low-paying but low-stress job when they first leave rehab so they can develop job skills in an environment where there is little stress. Money-management skills can also be taught in rehab and may become part of an aftercare program so the recovering person can have help as he or she puts his or her new skills into practice.
Life skills are a vital part of addiction recovery. A comprehensive inpatient rehab program makes life skills education a major focus. With appropriate life skills training, recovering addicts can become healthy, happy and financially independent in time.