While treatment for addiction largely revolves around helping a person achieve sobriety, it requires more than just abstaining from use to be successful. Treatment is focused on helping a person get better, but what happens once treatment is over and they return to their everyday lives? Once out in the real world, a person will be subjected to triggers, temptation, and stressors that threaten sobriety every day. Being equipped with the tools to protect sobriety is vital to preventing relapse.
In order to minimize the risk of relapse, it is important to focus on developing life skills to support sobriety throughout recovery. Emphasizing life skill development not only enhances the recovery experience, but also equips a person with the tools needed to support sobriety after treatment is completed. A focus on life skills is vital to success because it not only helps a person manage their own needs, but it helps them prioritize obligations and responsibilities in order to have a productive life. It strengthens relationships and improves confidence, all of which contributes to successful sobriety.
Life Skills Training for Sobriety
- Improving communication skills: One of the most important aspects of sobriety is building healthy relationships. Whether that means mending relationships damaged by substance abuse or ensuring future relationships are healthy, communication is important to having a successful support system. By learning to communicate effectively, you are able to advocate for your own needs, understand the position of others, and work on regaining the trust of loved ones. When you are able to adequately express yourself, you can work through troubling emotions and experiences in a productive way.
- Employment opportunities: Upon completing addiction treatment, securing employment is one of your top priorities. Finding a job can be difficult at times, especially if you have long gaps in your employment history. Working with a life skills coach, you can develop a new resume, practice interview questions, and find employment that suits your needs. By developing these skills, you can confidently move forward with obtaining a job and finding new ones in the future.
- Developing a budget: Creating a budget is critical to success. When you are no longer spending your money on drugs and alcohol, it may feel like you have an abundance of money, but it is easy to overspend that money elsewhere. Learning how to save and spend your money wisely can help you live comfortably. Developing a budget can help you prioritize your expenses, see where your money is going, and plan. Budgeting allows you to create financial stability for your future.
- Finding new interests: With the loss of substance abuse, it can feel like there is a void. Using drugs and alcohol can take up a great deal of time and you often give up the things you once loved in favor of it. Throughout treatment, you are encouraged to reconnect with the activities you love most and explore new ones. Finding healthy hobbies to keep you engaged and happy can minimize the risk of relapse due to boredom. When you are energized by hobbies that bring you joy, you are less likely to look for an escape through drugs and alcohol.
- Create a healthy schedule: Planning your day and staying productive can help keep you on track. Recovery is not just about abstaining from substance abuse; it is about building healthy lifestyle behaviors to support sobriety. Getting adequate sleep, eating a balanced diet, and exercising regularly can keep you from slipping back into substance abuse. Spending time with friends and family, volunteering, and staying engaged minimizes the amount of time you may feel bored and idle. Those times can be dangerous to someone trying to manage sobriety. Remaining productive can boost confidence, self-image, and motivation.
- Making new friends: In order to protect your sobriety, it is important to cut ties with anyone you used to abuse drugs or alcohol with. This can be difficult and may make some feel lonely as these people tend to be some of the only relationships a person has. It can be tempting to fall back into the wrong crowd because it’s easy. Developing a new sober social circle is critical to successful recovery. You can develop new friendships in recovery and network with others who share similar experiences. It is important to cultivate relationships with people who support your sobriety and remove anyone who may secretly wish for relapse.
- Healthy coping mechanisms: When facing difficulties, it is easy to use drugs and alcohol to try and escape. This method of coping with stressors only worsens your experience. Instead, finding healthy ways to deal with triggers and stress can help you effectively manage sobriety. Whether that entail cooling off through extracurricular activities or spending time alone reflecting on situations, it is important to find healthy outlets in order to avoid falling back into old behaviors. This will help you manage relationships and your experiences moving forward.
- Letting go of guilt: Part of recovery is letting go of the past. It is easy to hold onto guilt for things you may have said or done in the past, but it does not help you heal moving forward. You may have hurt yourself and those around you, but you can learn how to recover from it by making amends with others and forgiving yourself.
If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, we are here to help. Give us a call at 888.855.6877 or send us a message below and one of our admissions counselors will do their best to get you the help you need.