• Nicole Arzt

Life Skills In Recovery: What All Recovering Individuals Need To Learn

The recovery journey can be challenging and complicated. In recovery, your entire life changes. You must learn how to deal with problems and cope with stress differently. You may need to reestablish your relationships. Moreover, you may need to redefine your identity completely.


Obtaining life skills in recovery is an essential part of your growth process. These skills increase your independence. They cultivate more confidence. Finally, they help you become a more productive and proud member of society.


You won’t learn these life skills overnight. They take time, effort, and repeated practice. But the better you become at implementing them, the more secure your recovery will feel.


Relationship Skills


People struggling with addiction often suffer greatly in their interpersonal relationships. Maybe you withdrew and isolated yourself from people who cared about you. Perhaps you lied, stole, or otherwise manipulated people to meet your own needs.


As social creatures, our relationships are paramount to our well-being. We need support to feel connected and accepted in the world around us. We must learn how to take and give and be compassionate and generous to the people we love.


Of all the life skills in recovery, taking care of your relationships may be one of the most important. Value the people you have in your life. Honor and respect their boundaries. Check-in on them. Acknowledge what they mean to you regularly. And most of all, be there when they need you.


Finally, don’t discredit the need for building new support. If your friends still actively engage in drug or alcohol use, you may need new friends. That’s okay. Relationships are fluid- you’re allowed to have different priorities at different times in your life.


Physical Health


Most people recovering from addiction have limited experience in taking care of their physical health. When, for example, was the last time you went to the dentist? Or ate a salad? Or drank enough water?


These priorities often fall to the wayside when struggling with addiction. That said, you must hold personal accountability for taking care of your health. If you neglect this responsibility, your body can and will eventually suffer the consequences.


Honor yourself by eating a well-rounded diet. Get plenty of movement. Consider your posture. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep. If you take medication, take it as prescribed and consult with your doctor if you believe you need adjustments.


Occupational Skills


Whether you’re unemployed or feel stuck in a dead-end job, acquiring occupational life skills in recovery are crucial in building a solid foundation for your future. Occupational skills may vary based on your particular industry, but they may include:

  • Securing the basic essentials for getting a job (professional clothes, reliable transportation, documents like a social security card)

  • Obtaining appropriate education, training, or apprenticing opportunities in your field

  • Practicing answers for interviews

  • Getting help with writing resumes and cover letters

  • Learning how to network with other professionals


Finally, remember that keeping your job is more important than simply getting a job. Keeping a job requires reliability, strong performance, good teamwork, and a positive personality. Employers are often quick to replace employees who lack those traits.


Financial Skills


Successful adults proactively manage their money. They understand both their income and expenses, and they do not regularly spend more than they earn.


Financial stress can create tremendous strain on your mental well-being. Unfortunately, many people enter recovery saddled with various debts, legal issues, poor credit, bankruptcies, or other extraneous financial problems.


Focus on taking baby steps to get your financial house in order. Start tracking your daily purchases. Cut back on discretionary spending. Work to pay off high-interest debts. Exercise caution with credit cards.


Mental Health Coping Skills


How well do you tolerate stress? What do you do when you feel depressed or anxious? Even if you no longer use drugs or alcohol, do you cope adaptively- or do you tend to lash out, freak out, or withdraw altogether?


Life isn’t just a sum of what happens to you. It’s a sum of how you manage and perceive what happens to you. All successful recoveries require integrating new coping skills into your daily routine. These coping skills will vary based on the situation and your personal preferences, but they may include:

  • Relaxation techniques (yoga, meditation, being in nature)

  • Creative expression (music, writing, art)

  • Reaching out to your support system

  • Pursuing personal hobbies

  • Engaging in religious or spiritual connection

  • Challenging negative thoughts

Mastering New Life Skills In Recovery


When you enter recovery, you move into a new way of living. This adjustment may be harder for some people than ever. With the right mindset, you can bounce back from the transition with more resilience and awareness than you’ve ever had.


We’re here to support you in your journey towards growth and wellness. We understand how difficult change can be. That’s why our program offers unique education, counseling, and coaching options. You’re not alone! Contact us today to get started.


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