For an addict, drinking or using drugs becomes an easy escape allowing them to avoid facing conflict, painful emotions or harsh realities of life. Most people who have had addictions for years lose many of their problem solving skills or might have had limited skills to begin with. Addicts don’t have a habit of solving problems head on but instead use drugs to numb themselves whenever they get into an argument, make mistakes at school or work, or have relationship issues.
Although problems seem to go away temporarily while escaping through drug use, nothing truly gets resolved and issues begin to worsen in the end. When an addict makes the decision to go into recovery, they will need to build and strengthen their problem solving skills which may have been neglected throughout their years of addiction. Eventually they will learn how to face problems without seeking an escape from self-medication.
Working on Communication
One of the biggest reasons that addicts in recovery need to improve their problem solving skills is the ever-present danger of relapse. Without the skills to handle life’s difficulties even a minor setback could lead an addict to turn to substance abuse even if they have been successful in their sobriety up to that point. A person in recovery needs to be able to hold their ground regardless of want unexpected problems might come up after they become sober. A major part of learning to solve problems is to work hard on communication while in rehab and throughout the rest of recovery.
Communication skills can be a key element in problem solving because many issues can arise due to poor communication. Relationships with others can benefit tremendously when an addict learns to communicate well with the people in their lives. Addicts often lose crucial communication skills because they become so accustomed to lying, hiding and manipulating others that they neglect any honest interaction with loved ones. In recovery they can begin to restore their ability to communicate by being vulnerable and opening up in their support groups.
A Shift in Perspective
Aside from improved communication, many addicts can benefit from a shift in perspective about the things that happen in their life. While dealing with addiction, many people begin to develop a negative view of the world or of themselves creating beliefs that are not based in reality. They might be defensive around people, and see animosity or conflict where there is none.
In recovery, especially through the help of counseling, addicts can start to change their mentality about things and realize that their view is subjective and they can choose how to interpret events. Framing things in a more positive light is a hard-earned skill that addicts can really focus on in recovery and talk about with their therapist. Letting go of a negative perspective can prevent conflict before it starts and ease a lot of unnecessary stress in life that would lead to self-medication in the past. Improving self-esteem, developing gratitude and working on mindfulness can all help people in recovery gain a more positive perspective that will carry them through any potential problems.
In addition to these skills, addicts in recovery need to create a plan of action for any serious problems that arise so that they can deal with them head on. While some problems could be avoided through a more accepting attitude, others are undeniable issues that one must take action to resolve. Individual and group therapists can provide recovering addicts with strategies that help them take steps to solving serious issues. The important thing is that they avoid their usual habit of avoiding the situation and begin to learn how to actively take on problems with the skills and tools they develop in rehab.