Common Life Skills Missing from Addiction Clients in Counseling
There are a variety of life skills that are of necessity required for combating addiction. Self-help, cognitive thinking, critical thinking, job preparedness, financial training, and relapse prevention are all of the equal weight in the addict’s road to recovery. Often more than not some or all of these necessary life skills are missing from the client and are required to move forward in a life of sobriety and functionality into society. When we look at self-help skills, a client may fail to possess these basic functional parts of their life. Self-help goes beyond the ability to complete essential hygiene and care. It also encompasses the ability to return to daily functions such as cooking, cleaning, budgeting, laundry, obtaining a driver’s license, or the instituted values and principles that will lead to proper attitudes towards earning an income and work-life settings. Self-care also embodies one’s ability to provide personal support when their support elements (groups) are unavailable. A client suffering from addiction will need to understand restraint, self-control, and anger management skills, each of these will better suit the client in controlling their desire to return to substance abuse. Through a combination of support elements and restraint, the client can achieve rehabilitation (“Life Skills Therapy – Overcoming Real-Life Barriers to Recovery – Unity Behavioral Health,” 2017). Cognitive thinking skills are also another realm in which a client suffering from addiction will fall short. A client suffering from prolonged addiction will have had the chemistry in their brain reconstructed around their addiction to the point where obtainment of the substance in which they are abusing will become their focal goal. Often drugs alter the brain’s ability to communicate with itself and the body. The nerves cells that send and receive information fail to processes the needed information. The brain communicates functions that are essential to life such as heart rate, breathing, and sleeping. In addition, the brain and limbic system are interconnected. Both work together to control pleasurable events that are occurring to the body as well as our perceptions of others’ emotions. Furthermore, the brain is interlinked with the cerebral cortex, which collects and interprets information gathered from our senses. Through each of these, the brain communicates with neurons, neurotransmitters, receptors, and transporters. These functions become interrupted by the use of/ or regular use of drugs. Drugs such as Marijuana and heroin mimics what a natural neurotransmitter will do, thus becoming an intact component of what used to be a natural order and function of the brain, leading to a reduction in brain function. Drugs such as cocaine and amphetamine aid in the overproduction of neurotransmitters that may prevent the regular recycling of these chemicals The long term effects of substance abuse upon the brain will result in the inevitable reduction in cognitive thinking due to the reduced functionality of the brain from long term exposure to substance abuse (“Drugs and The Brain – How drugs affect the cause in addictions addiction,” n.d.). Much like cognitive thinking critical thinking becomes reduced in the same way as the aforementioned. Due to long-term exposure to substance abuse, the brain continues to adapt to the consumed substance altering its makeup and chemistry into new proponent responses that the brain now craves. Within the addict’s mind, the long-term effects of their abuse cause a lack of foresight. With this said the ability to possess critical thinking skills is a needed aspect for the client to position themselves in the functioning world of sobriety.
Career skills are also an area of lackluster for the addict. An addict often succumbs to addiction and has lost any appropriate work ethics or principle that once stood within them. Since they have been overcome with addiction the client will need to work toward reinventing their principle of work practice. In addition, the client may never have possessed the necessary job skills needed to obtain a career in the first place and will need to take part in a work-study or vocational training event. Financial skills within the client will need to be established. Understanding proper budgeting in conjunction with a newfound income stream, the client may not have the necessary knowledge to manage their financial obligation nor financial obligation that involves contracts. Finally, the client may lack appropriate relapse prevention skills. A client will need to work on a technique or strategies in preventing relapse from occurring. The client is sure to experience cravings and desires that may sway them to return to substance abuse. Though relapse may be the inevitable event in the recovering client’s life it does not mean it’s a permanent stop nor a return to a once-held lifestyle. Through prevention, we can teach the tools needed to identify how to prevent relapse and what to do if it should occur to prevent further escalation of the potential return to substance abuse.
Common Coping Skills Missing from Addiction Clients
A client suffering from addiction will require numerous coping skills to advance their state of life in one of sustaining sobriety. A client will often lack the ability to exercise, avoidance to common triggers (HALT), attendance to a therapist, or possess healthy relationships. Exercise is all around a sound approach in any form of health treatment a body that is physically fit can more often than not successfully adjusts to illness or injury, but not only that, the body that has been physically condition can ward off or reduce the reach of stress on the body from the mind. Stress is a major factor in the reduced physical abilities of the body to properly function. Stress can make our hair change color (fall out), lead to anxiety (a false heart problem in particular), and weight gain or loss (“Aftercare: Coping Skills for Addiction Treatment – Recovery First Treatment Center,” n.d.). Exercise enables one to strengthen their cardio and circulatory system each of which a client suffering from addiction should strive to improve after the years of damage. Another area that a client may lack is their ability to avoid common triggers. The term HALT (Hungry, Anger, Loneliness, Tiredness) is an area the client will need to address and may have no pervy to. Hunger refers to physical or emotional needs that are desired by the client that may not be fulfilled. Anger refers to the client taking time to evaluate the current situation and discover what is making the client angry. Loneliness is the client’s isolation from each other in a group around us or from others in general. The goal is for the client to assess their loneliness and reach out to others for fulfillment. Tiredness is the natural result of the body and mind from events that have occurred whether a stressful situation or the end of the day. It is up to the client to obtain the needed rest in order to properly cope with their ongoing life (Bauman, 2018). Another coping skill that may be derived from an individual suffering from addiction is a proper therapist. The therapist provides coaching, mentoring, and interpersonal skills needed to guide a client through the addiction treatment process. A therapist has the ability to gauge and assess the client’s current position, provide motivation and positive implications of treatment to persuade a client to move forward in the process. Without a proper therapist or even a counselor, a client may not be able to move pass the addiction to a sustainable life. A healthy relationship with others is a coping skill that is paramount in the recovery of the client. A client requires a valid support group that can connect with them and provides understanding to their situation. Without proper relations with others, things such as understanding, compassion, mentoring, and coaching cannot take place. Relationships with others may be the key to how far recovery of a
Resiliency a Life and Coping Skill
There are numerous life and coping skills that are essential to a client in their recovery and sustainment of sobriety. A major factor that is both a life skill and a coping skill is one’s resilience. Resilience is the ability of the mind and body to react to negative aspects of one’s life. Physically, the resilience of the body is adapting and changing to new physical demands placed upon it, thus strengthening and hardening its physical attributes to meet the new challenges demanded upon the body. Mentally, however, is another story. Resilience can be seen in large and small events in our lives. An example of a major life event would be the death of a close family member. In this example, the mind recognizes the event, identifies what has happened, seeks internal coping skills, and moves past the event. Another way of placing resilience is how the mind moves past the stressor to the other side as intact as possible. Each of us has this ability. In some resilience has a higher resolution than others but is not unbreakable. All human minds have a breaking point in which our internal resilience can no longer stand up to the stressor at hand. A client suffering from addiction, would do well to develop and harden their resilience. In order for a client to build upon their resilience, they will need to learn to adapt to an ever-changing life. If one thing is consistent it will always be changed. Ensuring and understand the limits of their controls, seeking out the support of others, establishing goals whether personal or professional, build upon past success, develop patience and tolerance of negative effects, reestablish or commit to faith, and develop optimism. Each of these is a cornerstone in developing and hardening a client’s resilience (“Resilience Skills, Factors, and Strategies of the Resilient Person,” 2019).
Aftercare: Coping Skills for Addiction Treatment – Recovery First Treatment Center. (n.d.). Retrieved September 29, 2019, from Recovery First Treatment Center website: https://www.recoveryfirst.org/sober-living/coping-skills-aftercare/
Bauman, J. (2018, March 13). HALT: The Dangers of Hunger, Anger, Loneliness, and Tiredness – Bradford Health Services – Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Center. Retrieved September 29, 2019, from Bradford Health Services – Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Center website: https://bradfordhealth.com/halt-hunger-anger-loneliness-tiredness/
Life Skills Therapy – Overcoming Real-Life Barriers to Recovery – Unity Behavioral Health. (2017, March 24). Retrieved September 29, 2019, from Unity Behavioral Health website: https://www.unityrehab.com/best-addiction-treatment-programs/life-skills-therapy/
Resilience Skills, Factors and Strategies of the Resilient Person. (2019, January 20). Retrieved September 29, 2019, from PositivePsychology.com website: https://positivepsychology.com/resilience-skills/