Those starting the addiction recovery process need to have basic foundational skills in order to be successful. There are a number of specific skills that come in handy when beginning the recovery journey, and these skills are upgraded and built upon as time goes on. If you think about it, recovering isn’t simply about stopping the use of substances; it is much more complex than that. It is also about building a brand new life for yourself–one that is healthy, exciting, and one that will give you hope to continue free from substances. Creating a new pathway for your life is going to be like building a new house; you will need certain materials, supports, and skills in order to do so.
Whether you have already begun treatment or are thinking about starting, self-reflect and identify what qualities or traits you possess and what skills you have that will help you to be successful in recovery. Let’s take a look at both beneficial traits and foundational skills that will get you to where you want to be.
Helpful Traits for Those in Early Recovery
When interviewing and hiring, employers look for certain traits in those who apply for their job. For a teacher, a principal may be looking for someone who is organized, can multi-task, is creative, can utilize technology, and has a knack for analyzing data. All of these qualities or traits are what is needed in a classroom setting, and hiring someone without those could be a bad idea for the students and other faculty.
Similarly, individuals who are committed to beginning the recovery process and are “in it to win it” more than likely share closely-related traits. They are going to possess traits that show motivation and foster change.
Here are some examples:
If you’re reading this, you probably either are in recovery or are about to be, or you know someone who is. A good guess is that you or the person you know in treatment possesses some of these important character traits that will be advantageous to them throughout recovery and will help them to get to the finish line.
Which of these traits do you think describes yourself?
Beneficial Foundational Skills
Those in treatment also need basic foundational skills that will benefit them throughout the recovery process. Going back to the previous example: the organized, technologically-savvy educator also needs certain skills in their teacher toolbox in order to teach effectively. These can include knowing how to use Google Classroom, understanding how to use a SMART board, and being proficient in the academic content area they are teaching. These are all skills that can be improved upon, but they are also basic things they should probably already know how to do as a teacher.
Specific foundational skills are needed in early recovery. They will set the individual with substance abuse problems up for success and make the transition into treatment easier.
Keep reading to learn about the types of important foundational skills needed.
Taking Care of Your Body
Taking care of your body during recovery is of utmost importance. If you have started treatment, then you are already doing that. Prioritizing your physical health is a major first step and shows you care about your well-being and life. Some other ways you should be taking care of your body during early recovery are:
- Refraining from any substances
- Eating healthy
- Taking care of your basic needs
Taking Care of Your Mind
The recovery process is even more mental than it is physical. People in treatment for addiction are going to go through a wide array of emotions, thoughts, and will have cravings, triggers, and desires. It is imperative that at this vulnerable time, these individuals take wonderful care of their mental health…by doing things they probably already know how to do. The point is that during this difficult time, these things need to be done regularly and with purpose. Some examples include:
- Practicing self-care
- Engaging in yoga, mindfulness, meditation, or prayer
- Taking time for yourself
- Talking to a counselor
- Getting out in natural and/or enjoying time with animals
- Combating negative thoughts with positive ones
- Setting up short and long-term goals
- Cleaning your space to declutter
- Getting enough sleep
Taking Care of Your Relationships
Lastly, it is a good idea to continue working on relationship skills while beginning the recovery process. Of course, you do not want to invite or keep people in your life that are of a negative influence or have played a big part of your addiction in the past. Keep yourself surrounded by a positive, supportive group of people (family, friends, mentors), that will provide encouragement and assistance. Ways in which you can continue to take care of important relationships are:
- Working on healthy and effective communication skills
- Building and maintaining trust
- Searching for a mentor who can help guide you through this process
- Finding new healthy activities to do together
- Searching for an accountability partner
- Mending past issues
- Going to counseling together to improve your relationships
Remember that certain family members and friends won’t be the best to have around during this challenging time. That’s okay. You need to do what is best for you, especially during the early moments of recovery when you may be especially sensitive, emotional, and vulnerable. Take a stance and respectfully tell those that need to hear it that you need to take a step back from the relationship with them in order for you to focus on your recovery.
Possessing the traits listed above and having or acquiring these skills while in early recovery is crucial to your success in treatment. If you are having a difficult time with any of these skills or want to know how to build upon them so that you can be even stronger physically and mentally, speak with your counselor or mentor.
If you haven’t decided on a treatment program just yet but are looking around for one, contact Continuum Recovery Center of Colorado, where they know exactly what you need to recover successfully.
Our highly-trained and compassionate treatment team of licensed therapists, doctors, nurses, and counselors take a 365-degree approach to treating your illness. With medical and clinical support, education, and life-balance skills, we’ll help you understand the root causes of your substance abuse progression, empower your recovery and well-being, and help you reclaim a life you love.