Life Skills For Long Term Recovery

8 Essential Life Skills for Adults in Recovery


Life Forward Counseling provides individuals in recovery with countless learning experiences and opportunities to develop important life skills that will make the transition back into society much easier. Although the recovery process is extremely personal and can occur in many different ways, it will provide recovery life skills and time to practice new healthy habits before re-entering society as an independent, sober individual.

1. Self-Care

A common denominator of emotional relapse is poor self-care. A high-quality outpatient recovery program will help clients recognize the importance of self-care as well as what it looks like on a daily basis. Individuals will learn and practice the basics of self-care practices within the boundaries of their sober living program. This includes getting adequate sleep, eating nutritious foods, and using coping strategies to combat depression, anxiety, and other negative emotions and thoughts.

2. Cooking meals

Just as making healthy food choices is important, individuals in recovery also need to learn how to create a meal plan, shop for groceries, and prepare their own meals. Living with other men or women in recovery also provides an opportunity to make a meal plan, shop, and cook with a friend instead of facing it all on your own for the first time.

3. Setting and achieving personal goals

One of the top life skills in recovery should also include making goals. Years of continued substance abuse may have left some people feeling hopeless, without any life goals or aspirations. Goals keep life moving forward and prevent old habits from seeping back in. Others may have never had goals in the first place. Fortunately, recovery is the perfect time to start defining and pursuing personal goals. Some examples of positive goals might be:

  • Going for a run three times a week.

  • Opening a savings account.

  • Volunteering for a community organization.

  • Submitting three job applications each week until employment is secured.

Whatever a person’s goals are in recovery, they should be rewarding and keep them away from drug and alcohol use.

4. Maintaining a clean living space

Learning how to maintain a clean living space is not just good practice in discipline, but it will also make returning home a whole lot easier, especially for those who have family members. Living with other individuals (whether in a sober living home or in a more traditional home environment) presents its own challenges and obstacles. As individuals in recovery learn to keep their living environment clean and tidy, they also learn the importance of respecting others and considering others’ wants and needs when making decisions.

5. Managing finances

Another primary recovery life skill is managing finances. Financial planning and management may be difficult for a person in recovery, as they may be used to allocating all their money to acquiring drugs and/or alcohol.

6. Building healthy relationships

Building healthy relationships is one of the most important and challenging new life skills for addicts in recovery. While the person in recovery is adjusting to their new life of sobriety, their family and friends will also be adjusting to the change. Regardless of how family and friends respond to an individual’s newfound sobriety, it is vital that people in recovery focus on the following things:

  • Communicating clearly

  • Expressing emotions in a healthy way

  • Listening

  • Identifying and coping with triggers in social situations

These skills can be gained by interacting with others by attending Life Forward Counseling, outpatient support groups, and by building new relationships with other individuals in recovery.

7. Managing time

In the past, people who were addicted most likely spent the majority of their time and energy using or obtaining drugs and/or alcohol. In recovery, these individuals must learn to fill their time with goals, activities, and recovery-oriented work. One of the best ways to practice time management  is to invest in a daily planner. Using a planner to schedule out free time is a great way to avoid boredom and wasted time, which put a person at higher risk for relapse.

8. Finding and maintaining employment

Maintaining a good job is one of the many things that makes life more meaningful, especially for those in recovery. Life Forward Counseling assists people in recovery find and obtain employment. This program also helps individuals learn how to search for employment using various methods, fill out applications, create or update a resume, and how to properly present themselves in a job interview.

1. How do you manage your time productively?

2. List the healthy relationships you have in your life, and why those relationships are healthy.

3. Have you ever spent to much money on drugs/alcohol? Think of how much money you could have saved. What could you spend your money on that would better benefit you or someone else.

(501) 747-2300

1100 North University Ave. STE 108 Little Rock, AR 72207

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©2019 by Christopher Thompson.