The recovery journey doesn’t end when rehab ends. In fact, many believe this is when the journey truly begins. After completing drug or alcohol addiction treatment, a person returns to their daily life of working, going to school, seeing friends and family, and fulfilling other responsibilities.
While getting sober is a major achievement, this transition from rehab back to daily life can be challenging. To help our clients cope with relapse triggers, stressors, and daily temptations, our Massachusetts treatment center offers groups to help clients develop life skills for addiction recovery.
What Are Life Skills?
Life skills are the tools that a person needs to navigate daily life challenges. While some people may think these skills come naturally, they actually need to be built through education and practice.
Not only do life skills help individuals succeed in daily life, but they’re necessary for living an independent life. While we encourage our clients to lean on their loved ones and our team for support, we also want them to feel capable and independent enough to manage themselves, as well.
Life skills for addiction recovery cover a broad area, and these skills are important for performing nearly every task in one’s day-to-day routine. They can be as mundane as learning how to tie a shoelace to as essential as proper communication with partners and loved ones.
Life skills are defined by six key areas:
- Assertiveness and self-control
- Communication and interpersonal skills
- Creative and critical thinking
- Problem-solving and effective decision making
- Resilience and the ability to cope
While this list isn’t extensive, they’re all important for living independently and being successful in recovery. It’s important to take all of these addiction recovery life skills into account and reflect on one’s strengths and challenges to avoid relapse.
Why Are Life Skills in Addiction Recovery Important?
Although abstaining from drugs and alcohol is the most obvious tip for staying sober, there are several other steps that a person will have to take to avoid relapse and move forward in recovery. To fully recover from addiction, a person must reflect on past issues or challenges that contributed to their drug use in the first place.
Once these potential issues have been identified, the individual can attend therapy to develop the skills they need to remain sober. Life skills in recovery are important for many reasons:
- Improved communication: After inpatient drug treatment, individuals must learn to develop personal life skills like communication, empathy, and interpersonal skills to rebuild relationships that were impacted by their drug use and build new relationships that are conducive to their sobriety.
- Self-care: Self-care is one of the most important activities you can implement into your life after addiction treatment. Easy ways to add self-care to your routine include reading your favorite book, watching your favorite movie, and yoga.
- Developing daily routines: Daily routines can help maintain life skills and develop structure. Planning and having schedules in place can help people in addiction recovery as they transition to a lifestyle that doesn’t involve drug or alcohol use. Schedules can also offer an active way where the individual’s loved ones can be involved in the recovery process.
- Stress management: Because stress is one of the leading causes of relapse, clients need to develop appropriate stress coping methods. Developing these life skills is a significant aspect of residential substance abuse treatment. Additionally, the individual needs to be able to practice emotional intelligence and understand when they’re likely to relapse so they can take preventative measures.
- Emotional control: Speaking of emotions, emotional control is important to maintaining relations as well as sobriety. Substance abuse harms executive functioning, including a person’s impulse control and rationale, which is why emotional control is crucial.
Important Life Tips for Staying Sober
Research shows that most relapses occur within the first six months of recovery.1 However, relapse doesn’t have to be part of your journey. With the right form of care and the right life skills to support your recovery, you can sustain sobriety long after rehab.
With that said, here are some of the best life skills for addiction recovery you can use:
- Self-care: Incorporating daily things that you like to do – like reading a favorite book or watching a movie – can give you the daily boost of relaxation and joy you need to keep you motivated.
- Daily exercise/movement: Exercise releases endorphins, boosting your mood all while supporting heart health. Incorporate some form of movement or exercise in your daily routine.
- Time management: Stress is a major relapse trigger, and one thing that could lead to stress is poor time management. Use agendas, phone apps, dry erase boards, or any other tools to keep yourself organized and minimize stress.
- Socializing with friends and loved ones: Will all of the other things you might try to do for yourself after rehab, don’t neglect your loved ones. Isolation can encourage loneliness and lack of accountability, which can result in relapse. Make sure you set aside time to spend with your loved ones.
- Financial responsibility: Finances can be very stressful, especially for someone who’s probably struggled with maintaining a job and managing their finances through addiction. For this reason, try to keep an account with someone you trust to keep you accountable and help you manage your finances.
- Home maintenance: Maintain a clean home! Make your home a place where you want to spend more time than possibly in other places where you’re likely to use or drink. Make it the go-to hang-out spot for loved ones, so you have control over the environment.
- Develop a routine: Maintaining a routine is one of the most important tips to adopt for staying sober. Routines provide structure and prevent boredom and empty gaps in the day from creeping in. Stick to a routine you can maintain every day.
- Avoid risky situations: If you have a buddy who always has beer in his fridge, invite him over to your place instead of going to his. Avoiding even these small situations can help you stay clean.
Get Help Today at Clearbrook
Our Clearbrook Massachusetts inpatient drug rehab utilizes various treatment methods to help clients develop healthy routines and skills they can use in recovery. We understand that addiction is a multi-faceted disease that requires a multi-faceted approach, which is why we offer groundbreaking levels of care.