Learning Life Skills in Recovery

Life Skills

Throughout life, skills can be developed to help get through difficult times and build self-esteem. When using and abusing substances, skill development and personal growth often is slowed down. Drugs and alcohol can get in the way of developing the ability to self-manage, adapt to change, and develop skills to get through challenging times. 

Our drug rehab in Oceanside, California, offers life skills programs during outpatient treatment. Life skills can be taught during group or individual therapy sessions. These skills can be utilized during treatment and throughout a lifetime.

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What Are Life Skills?

Life skills are broad and cover a wide range of skill sets. These are the skills needed to carry out tasks of daily living. Life skills can be as mundane as learning how to fasten a seatbelt to as proper as developing interpersonal and communication skills.

Independent living skills sometimes come naturally, but others must be taught these skills.  Learning and practicing skills over time can help life skills become habitual.  

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines ten core life skills:

1. Communication

Verbal and non-verbal ways of expression that are appropriate within the culture.

2. Coping with stress

Recognizing sources of stress, how stress can affect life, and how to control stress levels.

3. Coping with emotions

Recognizing emotions, how emotions influence behaviors, and responding appropriately.

4. Creative thinking

Ability to explore available alternatives and consequences of action or inaction/

5. Critical thinking

Ability to analyze information and experiences.

6. Decision-making

Dealing constructively with decisions throughout life.

7. Empathy

Imagining a different perspective even if the situation is not familiar.

8. Interpersonal relationships

Imagining a different perspective even if the situation is not familiar.

9. Problem-solving

Dealing with issues as they come throughout life.

10. Self-awareness

Recognition of self, character, strengths, weaknesses, desires, and dislikes.

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How Life Skills Can Benefit
Recovering Addicts

Although avoiding drug and alcohol use is the most obvious step in addiction recovery, individuals must take several other measures to prevent relapse. Reflecting on past issues that may have led to addiction can help with long-term recovery.

Life skills programs can help recovering addicts establish the root cause of addiction and develop strategies to improve mental health. Without essential life skills, the recovery journey can become more challenging than it needs to be.

Amid addiction, thinking about how life choices can affect life and others is not common. Developing essential life skills helps a recovering addict stop to think before irresponsible choices. Life skills can also help identify and avoid triggers to drink or use drugs. These kinds of skills can help with gaining more self-confidence and faith in the ability to overcome addiction. 

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Type Of Life Skills Offered

Pacific Palms Recovery offers a life skills training program for recovering addicts to develop essential life skills that make it easy to transition back into society. In the interest of maintaining long-term recovery and overall well-being, we prioritize teaching life skills at our intensive outpatient program in San Diego.

Setting & Achieving Personal Goals

Years of substance abuse can cause feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and purposelessness. Addiction can lead to a lack of life goals and aspirations. Goal setting is essential as it keeps life moving forward and prevents old toxic habits from creeping back.


Positive goals can include:

  • Volunteering for community work
  • Going for a run twice a week
  • Submitting three job applications each week


One of the most essential steps in the recovery journey is knowing the importance of self-care. Self-care involves taking care of mental and physical well-being. Continuing self-care can lead to better management of addiction, reduction in stress, and improved quality of life. 


Self-care can include:

  • Maintaining a clean living environment
  • Creating an exercise routine
  • Grooming oneself

Health Habits & Routines

Addicts need to develop healthy habits and routines during the recovery process. A simple routine can be helpful in creating a solid foundation for recovery. With a solid foundation, more healthy habits and support can be achieved. 


Healthy habits can include:

  • Embracing a nutritious diet
  • Getting six to eight hours of sleep
  • Attending 12 step meetings
  • Drinking eight glasses of water daily

Social Skills

A recovering addict’s social surroundings play a significant role in maintaining sobriety. Before starting rehab, social circles can often include individuals who like to use drugs and alcohol. To aid in the recovery process, changing friends and other addiction enablers can be beneficial.

Developing social skills, making new social connections, and overcoming social anxieties can occur over time.  Creating new social networks through support groups and other meetings can happen throughout treatment. Often, the introduction of a supportive environment is critical in finding success in recovery.

Financial Responsibility

Addiction can take a significant toll on the finances of the addict and the addict’s loved ones. Achieving a healthy financial life can be challenging. While attaining financial responsibility is not easy, it is a skill that can be learned with the right amount of dedication.

In treatment, staff members and the clinical team can help with resume building and applying for jobs. Tips and key points can be given for job interviews and what kinds of jobs may be the best fit. 

Stress Management

Negative emotions and stress are triggers of substance use and may even have led to the addiction in the first place. Different evidence-based theories can help with establishing different life skills. Drugs and alcohol can often be used to numb emotional pain and other life stressors. With this in mind, emotional and stress management is an essential skill during and after treatment.

Stress can be controlled through therapeutic and holistic methods. Evidence-based therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) can help with the reduction of stress by teaching additional skills. Holistic methods of treatment can include meditation, yoga, and breathing techniques. 

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Find out how Pacific Palms Recovery addiction treatment center in Oceanside, California can help you begin your journey to long-term success in recovery.

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Life Skills For Addiction Recovery In San Diego

Attaining and maintaining sobriety is a lifelong process that can be aided by learning life skills.  Life skills for adults such as financial responsibility, stress management, healthy relationships, goal setting, self-care, healthy habits, and social skills are just a few.

If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, reach out to Pacific Palms Recovery in Oceanside, California. Our team can answer any questions you may have and give you a better understanding of our outpatient drug rehab in San Diego. Pacific Palms recovery utilizes a life skills program to help with long-term recovery from addiction.