Social skills training can be a very valuable tool for anyone in addiction recovery. This type of behavioral therapy is done under the guidance of a trained therapist who helps their client learn basic social skills that help them better manage their emotions, cope with difficult feelings, encourage healthy relationships with the people in their life, and function better in their workplace.
Social skills are something that a person isn’t born with the knowledge and capability of. Parents, teachers, peers, and others are all instrumental in helping a child develop social skills that they will need for the future. Having good social skills is important not only for a fulfilling life as an adult, but for positive and balanced relationships with others.
Good social skills will encourage positive reinforcement from others, and contribute to a greater sense of happiness and well being. When a person has this kind of positive experience during their social interactions, they will also be less likely to abuse drugs or alcohol.
Acquiring social skills means being able to pick up on nonverbal and verbal social cues and responding appropriately. An individual who wasn’t taught to do so during childhood will have difficulty navigating social interactions and relationships later in life.
Many alcoholics and addicts also have difficulty with basic social skills that make it possible for them to get along with others. Feelings of frustration, anxiety, confusion, and loneliness are all very common. To cope with these feelings, a person is likely to turn to drugs or alcohol. They may feel that being drunk or high relaxes them in social situations or makes them feel less anxious. As they begin to rely on these substances more and more, they develop a dependence and eventually become addicted.
How social skills training is used in recovery.
In addition to teaching recovering addicts and alcoholics how to better manage their emotions, social skills training is also valuable because it can teach a person how to turn down a drink or an offer of drugs. Because relapsing is one of the biggest concerns during recovery, learning how to effectively say no to alcohol or drugs is an important tool.
Social skills training teaches someone in recovery how to function in situations where drugs or alcohol are present. It is very difficult to completely avoid these situations for the rest of one’s life, so knowing how to navigate them is essential. Social skills training is also very effective at reducing stress, combating feelings of anxiety and depression, and improving relations with others, all of which are factors that also contribute to a higher risk of a relapse.
What does social skills training involve?
Some methods that a therapist will use during training include:
-One on one instruction on the different types of social interactions, common scenarios, and social behaviors.
-Modeling behavior after another individual.
-Role playing to practice new social skills in a safe, non judgemental environment.
-Receiving constructive feedback from the therapist on performance and areas that could be improved, as well as a person’s strengths.
Social skills training has been proven to be highly effective at improving the quality of life for many in recovery, as well as encouraging lifelong recovery and lowering the risk of a relapse. Many rehab centers offer the training in addition to regular treatment programs for drug and alcohol abuse. These programs demonstrate the importance of solid social skills in recovery, and in life.