Many people worry that going through treatment for a substance use disorder will not really work for them. Sure, they might get sober and stay sober for the duration of residential treatment. But then they have to head back out into the regular, everyday world—the place they were when they were abusing drugs or alcohol. To quote an old song, they find themselves wondering “what’s the use of getting sober when you’re gonna get drunk again?”
Essential Skills for Recovery
It is an understandable concern, but it is grounded in a misconception—the idea that you’ll leave treatment without any more tools for fending off addiction than you had before you went through detox and rehab. Nothing could be further from the truth.
An essential part of the treatment process—which includes both individual and group therapy—is learning recovery skills that will serve you well once treatment has ended. Ensuring you are ready to start recovery on the right foot is one of the primary goals of the treatment process.
And what skills are you likely to learn? Let’s look at several of them.
Skill One: Noticing and Identifying Triggers
Oftentimes, the use of drugs or alcohol is associated with one or more triggers in our lives. Those triggers can be external (maybe you get in the habit of drinking to excess every payday to reward yourself for your hard work) or internal (maybe you get in the habit of turning to drugs anytime you feel an unpleasant emotion like sadness or anger).
In treatment, you will learn to identify the triggers in your own life—and you’ll learn ways to avoid or mitigate those triggers so that you are less likely to relapse.
Skill Two: Learning and Practicing Coping Skills
A substance use disorder often develops when a person is using drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism for difficulties in their life. In treatment, you will have the opportunity to learn new coping skills that can help you face challenges in positive rather than negative ways.
For example, cognitive behavioral therapy helps you learn about the relationship between thoughts, feelings, and actions. With an understanding of how those things are connected, you will be better able to find solutions to problems as they arise.
Additionally, you will learn about ways to cope with stress and anxiety—including, for example, mindfulness meditation—that can help you become calmer without resorting to drugs or alcohol.
Skill Three: Strengthening Positive Self-Talk
You know that voice in your head that narrates your day? Is that voice constantly criticizing you, or is it cheering you on? Another skill you will develop in treatment is that of reshaping the way you talk to yourself about yourself.
If you are constantly down on yourself, you are much more likely to relapse. But if you can get your inner voice firmly on your side, you have a much better chance of maintaining your recovery. In treatment, you will learn strategies for changing the attitude of your inner critic.
Skill Four: Using the Power of Choice
It is important to remember that a substance use disorder is a brain disease. That means that if you are struggling with a substance use disorder, you may feel as though you have lost the ability to make choices. You simply must continue to use drugs or alcohol.
But it is simply not that case that you cannot make any choices at all. After all, entering treatment is a choice you can make. And once you are in treatment, you will be reminded of how important your everyday choices can be to maintaining your sobriety. Reclaiming your ability—and responsibility—to make good choices is empowering.
Skill Five: Rebuilding Community and Relationships
Among the many ways a substance use disorder upends a person’s life, perhaps none is more painful than the damaged relationships that tend to be left in the wake of an addiction. Restoring those relationships can be an extremely important part of recovery because a strong support system is essential to staying sober.
In treatment, you will learn how to approach mending broken relationships and how to contribute to your larger communities in ways that will support your recovery.
Skill Six: Celebrating Achievement and Accomplishment
Odds are you haven’t had much to celebrate during the time you have been using drugs or alcohol. But celebrating milestones is an important part of recovery because it motivates you to stay on the right track so that you can reach the next milestone.
In the past, celebrations may have been fueled by drugs or alcohol. Obviously, that will not do in recovery. During treatment, you will be encouraged to think about ways to celebrate success that will be meaningful to you—and not threaten your sobriety.
We Are Skilled in Helping You Overcome a Substance Use Disorder
When it comes to getting help for a substance use disorder, choose a treatment center that will not only get you through detox and rehab, but will also equip you with the skills you need for success in recovery. Bel Aire Recovery Center will do exactly that. We are experts in our field and committed to evidence-based approaches to treating those struggling with drugs and alcohol. We are also committed to treating you with respect and to helping you learn a full array of skills that will keep headed in the right direction on your recovery journey.