Utilizing Life Skills Classes in Long-Term Addiction Recovery

Many of us take the routines and responsibilities of daily life for granted. We learn from our parents, teachers and other role models how to succeed at school, find a job and pay our bills. But for those who are battling addiction and mental illness, these basic tasks can seem overwhelming. After you finish a drug or alcohol rehab program, you’ll be faced with the practicalities of leading a sober, healthy life. How do you handle these realities while trying to continue through the phases of rehab?

Life skill training meets a critical need for those in long-term addiction recovery. When you enroll in an outpatient treatment program, you’ll have the opportunity to participate in group classes where you acquire the practical tools you’ll need to build the life you want.

What Are Life Skills Classes?

Happy woman in group therapyAddiction recovery is an ongoing process that will continue long after you finish detox and rehab. As part of your aftercare, you can participate in a variety of important activities that will hone your coping strategies and increase your self-esteem. In addition to peer support groups, family therapy and 12-Step meetings, you can attend classes where you can learn skills like the following:

  • Job-hunting skills – Finding employment options, writing a resume, going to an interview
  • Succeeding in the workplace – Learning about the importance of work, improving job performance, developing a work ethic
  • Finding a place to live – Searching for an apartment, finding references, saving for a deposit, paying your rent and associated bills
  • Managing money – Making a household budget, balancing a checkbook, saving for emergencies, handling credit, avoiding rent-to-own scams and payday loans
  • Owning a vehicle – Buying a car, getting insurance, making payments, saving money on maintenance and repairs
  • Building relationships– Making friends in sobriety, planning drug-free activities, dating without drugs or alcohol

Taught by licensed therapists, social workers or counselors, these courses are held in outpatient treatment centers, inpatient rehab programs and community mental health programs. Life skills training (LST) is especially popular in rehab programs for teens and young adults. Young people who’ve grown up in dysfunctional households or who’ve spent a lot of time on the streets may feel lost and scared when they’re faced with the demands of the adult world.

According to the International Journal of Emergency Mental Health, life skills training is one of the most effective ways to enhance self-esteem and prevent relapse in teens who use drugs and alcohol.1 Teens who participate in LST have had fewer drug-related problems and longer periods of abstinence than those who don’t take these classes.

While life skills training has produced powerful effects in adolescents, adults of all ages can increase their sense of competence and improve their chances of staying sober through LST.

Finding the Classes You Need

When you’re searching for a comprehensive rehab program, look for an outpatient treatment facility that offers life skills classes. Ask an admission coordinator whether the program you’re considering includes a life skills course, and if so, what subject mattersit covers. The training you acquire in rehab could help you graduate from school, raise healthy children, learn to communicate effectively with others or how to reach your full potential at your job.

Located in Tennessee, The Oaks at La Paloma provides comprehensive recovery services for its patients, including life skills classes. Our intensive outpatient treatment program is less formal and structured than residential rehab, yet you’ll acquire the tools you need to create a successful, sober life.

When you’re ready to reach out for help, we’re here to give you the skills and knowledge that really matter to your recovery. Please call our 24 hour, toll-free helpline today.


By Krystan Anderson, LPC-MHSP
Director, The Oaks at Foundation Memphis

1 GJ Botvin and KW Griffin. “Life skills training as a primary prevention approach for adolescent drug abuse and other problem behaviors” NCBI. 2002. Accessed 11 June 2017.