During outpatient or inpatient treatment for addiction, patients can and often do develop a whole new sense of self. They are able to be take control of their lives and learn be healthy, happy, and productive. However, being a part of a rehab and recovery program may give a client an inflated sense of confidence about transitioning back into the regular world. Giving patients training in practical life skills may be the best way to prepare them for what they are going to be facing; and ultimately avoid relapse.
While in a drug or alcohol recovery program, patients will have been working with a therapist or counselor to make a plan for dealing with triggers and stressful situations that arise without turning to the comfortable alternatives of drugs or alcohol. Life skills training can help to prepare patients to be able to be independent and avoid relapse. By training patients to be independent and giving them the skills they will need, these everyday situations become less stressful and require less therapeutic interference.
1. Money Management
Bank accounts and budgeting are likely to be skills that those in recovery programs either have never learned or have not had an understanding of for quite some time. Teaching clients how to make and stick to a budget, how to balance a checkbook, and how to economize should the need arise are some of the most basic skills that come with being an adult in the world. While this kind of education should be part of every school curriculum, money management is very rarely taught. So many people suffer from an inability to handle these tasks that teaching clients these skills will give them a leg up on many other adults.
2. Time management
When clients first reenter the regular world, it is going to seem overwhelming. They will have to learn to prioritize. Helping patients figure out which things are the most important and about how long they should plan into their schedules for things like grocery shopping, job interviews, and other daily activities gives them tools to eventually create new routines for themselves. It also gives them a new kind of control over their own lives. When they are able to make and keep these schedules on their own, they will feel more like a productive member of society.
3. Personal Health Care
People get sick. It is very possible that these people in recovery do not know how to appropriately handle regular illnesses such as the common cold or the flu. It is possible that they will need to know when to call a doctor and when to seek over the counter medication. Training them to tell the difference between an illness to treat at home and an illness to seek medical attention for, and giving them cursory information about both kinds of illnesses will give these people the tools they need to maintain their health with minimum supervision.
4. Practical Living
There are going to be patients who do not know how to do laundry. There are going to be patients who have never planned a menu for a week, gone grocery shopping for all of the necessary supplies, and cooked the meals for which they bought the ingredients. There are going to be clients who have never cleaned a bathroom, looked for an apartment and paid regular rent, or dealt with regular bills. These are skills that all adults should have. Clients will need to be taught the basics before they can go out on their own and develop their own ways of doing things.
5. Healthy Relationships
While working on life skills, it may be necessary to give clients a rundown on what makes a healthy relationship. This includes both romantic and platonic relationships. It is likely that clients have had few truly healthy relationships in recent years and may not be aware that it is okay to step away from a relationship that is unhealthy.
It is good to keep in mind that many patients who enter addiction treatment may have not been given the opportunity to have these basic life skills before. This may be brand new information for them. Give them time to adjust and time to let the information sink in. They will eventually come to understand the value of this training, and be better equipped to avoid relapse and reap the benefits of a clean and sober life.