Essential Life Skills You Need for Relapse Prevention


What works for relapse prevention? There is no magic pill, but there are important and basic skills that help you function well to prevent relapses. At Laguna Shores Recovery Center, we like to use “adulting” when referring to these life skills. Adults have to shoulder certain responsibilities that may involve work and other chores in life, such as cooking a meal, paying bills on time, or fixing the car. 

Yes, some of these are mundane, domestic skills. But if you think these are not relevant to relapse prevention, you are wrong. When someone is in recovery and mundane things go wrong, they can create a lot of stress and tip them off. Or you may think: Who doesn’t know how to do these? If you are supporting a loved one through recovery, these might be the exact areas he or she needs support.

The Loss of Essential Life Skills Due to Addiction

People with substance addiction tend to lose their ability in managing the most mundane chores in life. They may be too preoccupied with securing and using substances that nothing else matters. Even personal hygiene is no longer important anymore. Substance use also undermines their ability to carry out the simplest domestic chores. 

Adulting life skills are particularly important for young people who just moved away from home. They lack basic life skills in the first place. From managing personal finances to doing their laundry, they may find basic chores exhausting and time-consuming. When some young people get into addiction, their ability to take care of these chores will further deteriorate. 

Why Life Skills Are Essential During Recovery

When people are in residential treatment, they are not expected to handle daily tasks because active engagement in treatment is the priority. But once they have completed rehab and achieved early sobriety, the transition to a home environment may include domestic chores, such as grocery shopping and preparing meals. Parents also face the weighty responsibilities of caring for their children. 

These domestic responsibilities may seem mundane, but they can become time-consuming and additional sources of stress. If a person has not been prepared to perform these tasks in residential rehab, the transition may be too demanding. They need to relearn a lot of things around the home. Missing important deadlines or messing up a check can cause stress on family members. Friction and conflicts can trigger a relapse.

Essential Life Skills

What qualifies as an essential life skill for relapse prevention? Even addiction recovery experts do not all agree on this. But according to the World Health Organization, there are six categories of key life skills for people to function in life, including self-awareness, self-control, communication, interpersonal skills, and problem-solving. 

Take self-awareness for example. Many people with addiction display selfish behaviors because they have been obsessed with substances. They may ignore the needs of family members. If they are unable to perform domestic chores, the burden will be on other people at home. This is why self-awareness is an essential skill even before any other ability. One needs to understand the consequences of his or her own behaviors. 

Problem-solving is another essential life skill because every family faces problems daily. Big or small, these problems need to be addressed. Recovering individuals need to relearn how to not avoid the problem. They also need to learn how not to make impulsive decisions. Overcoming the fear of failure is a big part of problem-solving. 

Essential Life Skills That Matter to Working Professionals

People who try to keep a job during addiction recovery need essential skills to perform well at work. Two essential life skills that matter to them include time management and good communication. Take time management for example. It is important to establish structure and routine for work days so that tasks can be accomplished and deadlines are met. Failure in this respect may lead to poor performance and stress that are not conducive to relapse prevention.

Many recovering individuals need to relearn the important concept that time is an invaluable asset. Related to time management is the ability to set goals at work. Whether it is work, family life, and a person’s recovery progress, setting realistic goals gives purpose and keeps people on track. It is a way to hold oneself accountable. 

Good communication skills are another area where recovering individuals need to grow in. Through individual and group therapies, addiction recovery experts strive for strengthening a person’s communication skills. For example, many people need to relearn how to express one’s thoughts or ask for help. 

Essential Relationship Skills

Some essential life skills are important for building meaningful relationships. Recovering individuals also need to learn how to accept personal responsibility. This is also a part of gaining self-awareness. Being able to reflect on one’s behaviors and own one’s mistakes is a sign of progress and personal growth. 

Good relationship skills require a higher level of emotional intelligence that may need more coaching and guidance. To rebuild a good social life, you need to learn how to connect with people, have meaningful conversations, build trust, and resolve conflicts. All these may seem daunting at first, but they are achievable long-term goals in recovery. Laguna Shores Recovery Center is ready to help you on your journey.

Do you long for achieving self-sufficiency and independence in life? Are you worried about lacking certain life skills? Laguna Shores Recovery can help you learn some essential life skills that will help prevent relapses from happening. Our experienced mental health professionals and compassionate staff understand the importance of life skills during recovery. We have designed every program to foster sober independence. Additionally, our facility offers one-on-one and group therapy to give recovering individuals the best chance of success. Call us today to discover how we can help you recover and discover self-care strategies for relapse prevention. For more information on our programs, call Laguna Shores Recovery at (866) 774-1532. Change happens here.