Life Skills to Learn in Addiction Recovery

Updated on 2/6/2023

Recovery is not just about learning how to heal from your addiction, although that is a significant and crucial part of the process. It is also about learning how to live your life in a way that is beneficial for you, your wellbeing and your future goals. This part of recovery is where learning life skills come in. In many addiction treatment facilities, life skills are taught to help individuals navigate the challenges that may come their way in the future once they return home. These can be practical skills such as cooking and finance, as well as be specific to addiction recovery, such as developing coping mechanisms and learning how to manage your stress. Learning the necessary life skills for a complete recovery is what will help you maintain your sobriety for the long haul. 

Money Management

Many people may associate addiction recovery with the process of learning about interpersonal relationships, self-love and coping mechanisms. While these things are essential to recovery, practical skills such as money management need to be addressed as well. While amidst active addiction, you may not have been the best at managing your money. Struggling with money management may be due to allocating your money directly to drugs or alcohol, even when more pressing responsibilities such as rent, groceries and monthly bills were present. Understanding how to manage money will help you get a new start on life as you learn how to budget, save and plan for future expenses. 

Cooking and Meal Prep

Those struggling with addiction often do not make nutritious food choices or may not eat enough. Once you begin your recovery process, you may believe that learning how to cook is merely heating something up. However, knowing how to meal prep, grocery shop and make nutritious recipes is a skill that must be learned over time. During treatment, many facilities offer cooking classes and give you the responsibility of learning how to budget, buy, meal prep, cook and store food. Over time, it will become easier to eat healthier food that you enjoy. 

Self-Care Strategies

Self-care is crucial to maintaining your recovery, even after treatment ends. Self-care will look different for everyone, so it is up to you to find the best strategies for you and your overall recovery. These can include learning how to stick to a consistent sleep schedule, eating enough nutritious food, exercising, meditating and more. There is no one way to practice self-care, so you can try out various methods while in treatment. You can also discuss ideas with your sober friends and learn new ones to try. 

Building a Routine

Treatment facilities typically have their patients on a structured daily routine. While this may seem like a normal thing everyone does, there is a reason behind it. Routines help individuals in recovery fill their time with activities that support their sobriety. This way, there are no blocks of free time that could potentially be used for ruminating or relapsing. It also helps people avoid triggers because they go to the same places every day. Learning how to manage your time and build a routine conducive to your recovery will help you maintain your sobriety for years to come. This skill is often taught in treatment, but you must continue it even when you begin living on your own.

Maintaining a Clean Environment

Most likely, active addiction did not leave much time or energy for you to keep a clean and tidy living space. Not only does having a clean space help with your mental health and make it easier to return home, but it also shows the ones you live with that you care about them and respect their space. If you live in a sober living home, you will most likely participate in chores that work to keep the area clean for everyone living there. Translate these skills into real life outside of the treatment facility to enhance your recovery. 

Finding and Keeping a Job After Addiction Treatment

Knowing how to find and keep a job is another necessary life skill for those in addiction recovery. This skill involves creating a resume, learning how to network and fill out applications and then knowing how to keep a job once you have gotten it. The facility you are at may have resources available to help you through this process that will set you up for success.

Learning the necessary life skills to make a complete recovery from addiction is no easy feat, but it is possible. Life skills are like forming habits; you need to do them repeatedly until they become second nature. Then, you will be able to practice and enhance them to fit your recovery needs and overall wellbeing. If you need help overcoming addiction – and in turn, building important life skills – contact Casa Palmera today. Located in Los Angeles, California, we offer an interdisciplinary therapeutic drug and alcohol rehab with the highest level of care possible. Contact us today.


This blog is for informational purposes only and should not be a substitute for medical advice. We understand that everyone’s situation is unique, and this content is to provide an overall understanding of substance use disorders. These disorders are very complex, and this post does not take into account the unique circumstances for every individual. For specific questions about your health needs or that of a loved one, seek the help of a healthcare professional.