There has long since been an argument over the factors that lead someone to become an alcoholic or a drug addict. Some believe that these illnesses are entirely genetic, meaning that if one is genetically predisposed to becoming an alcoholic or drug addict, they will inevitably become one. Others believe that there is an environmental component to these illnesses, meaning that someone could have the genetic predisposition but without the correlating environmental factors, their alcoholism or drug addiction will never manifest itself. Under the former belief nothing can be done to prevent the drug addict or alcoholic from experiencing the pangs of addiction and their only hope is to ride out the storm until they hit bottom and seek help. Under the latter belief intervention is possible and if intervened upon early enough the potential addict or alcoholic will never have to experience the misery and loneliness that is alcoholism and drug addiction. This intervention process is the basis of Life Skills Training.
What is Life Skills Training?
The United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund or UNICEF describes Life Skills Training as a holistic approach to the development of values, skills, and knowledge, which assists young people in protecting themselves and others in a range of risk situations. In this particular case, the risk situations that they are discussing are drug addiction and alcohol abuse and the most interesting thing about this type of training intervention is that they are rooted in the cultural, political, economic, and public health issues of the surrounding community. This means that the training does not take place in a vacuum but is rather based on the realities that the children engaged are facing. This not only allows for the building of the skills necessary to navigate many of life’s circumstances, but it also allows these skills to be instantly applicable to the children, many of whom are mere millimeters from falling through the cracks of the system and into an endless cycle of drug addiction and imprisonment.
Life Skills Training in a Drug Rehabilitation Setting
Though initially developed in order to intervene before the onset of drug addiction and alcoholism, Life Skills Training has been appropriated by Drug Rehabilitation Centers in order to employ the same level of education, only after substance abuse has already begun. Though the timelines are different the application is the same because it is no secret that most drug addicts and alcoholics lack the basic coping mechanisms necessary to live successful and productive lives. Many have spent years numbing themselves in order to not have to feel and they are prone to feeling overwhelmed by events or situations that many people without alcoholism or drug addiction would handle easily. So once the alcohol or drug problem has been addressed it is simply common sense that the underlying social issues will need to be addressed as well, in order for the person afflicted to be able to overcome their addiction. As UNICEF states Life Skills-based drug education must balance the provision of information with the opportunity to develop values and skills, so to enable healthy development, an ability to cope with problems, and resist the influence to use drugs. This is done through building skills in the following areas:
- Setting realistic goals
- Coping with anxiety
- Resisting pressures
- Communicating effectively
- Decision making
- Managing conflict
- Dealing assertively in negative social situations
Components of Life Skills Training
The components of Life Skills Training can be broken down into a number of different categories. They are:
Personal Life Skills
This aspect of Life Skills Training focuses on the person’s relationship with self, on an internal and external level. This may sound strange but many drug addicts and alcoholics, especially once they get sober, do not have an accurate view of themselves in relation to the world. This part of Life Skills Training helps to develop this. It also focuses on external skills, such as hygiene of both the body and personal space, which many drug addicts and alcoholics lack. Below is a list of some of the skills taught in this component of Life Skills Training.
- Self-assessment skills
- Identification of personal strengths & weaknesses
- Positive thinking skills
- Skills for building self image and body image
- Skills of developing values, attitudes, and behaviors
- Personal hygiene
Interpersonal Life Skills
As important as developing a sense of self, and a self-esteem in regards to that self is the development of an ability to create and maintain relationships with other people. This aspect of Life Skills Training focuses on fostering this in the recovering drug addict or alcoholic. Addiction in any form is an illness that affects relationships, and an active addict can be a master manipulator, seeing people only for what they can get out of them. In this state of mind, it is exceedingly difficult to create meaningful relationships and so many newly sober people find this to be a problematic task. With the help of the skills learned in this component of Life Skills Training creating meaningful relationships will no longer be such an insurmountable task. Some of the skills taught in this component of Life Skills Training are:
- Empathy building
- Active Listening
- Giving and receiving feedback
- Negotiation and conflict management
- Relationship and community building skills
- Problem Solving
- Stress Management
Education Assistance and Career Training
Many drug addicts and alcoholics have little to no employment history and many failed out of high school or college, not because of a lack of intelligence, but because they were in the grips of addiction. This aspect of Life Skills Training seeks to help the newly sober person with their adjustment back into society, whether that means going back to school and furthering their education, or training to become a productive member of the work force. This is an extremely important and often overlooked aspect of Life Skills Training because many drug addicts and alcoholics who have done great work on developing their intra and interpersonal skills are left floundering once they get out of treatment because they cannot find work.
Start Your Road to Recovery the Right Way with Help from Broadway Treatment Center
If you think that you may have a problem with drug or alcohol abuse then contact the professionals at Broadway Treatment Center at 714-443-8218. Broadway Treatment Center offers not only a safe environment in which to get sober but can give you the life skills necessary to maintain a successful and productive drug free life. Call today and start your road to recovery the right way.