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Problem-Solving Skills

Problem-Solving Skills

We’ve all heard the famous quote “you only fail when you quit trying.”  This catchphrase can apply to any situation in life, including addiction recovery.  Look at it this way.   Most successful people got where they are by never giving up.  If they failed at something, they tried again with a different approach.  And, they kept trying until they got the desired results.  So, how can a recovering addict adapt this attitude and apply it in their situation to help them remain drug-free?  They can begin by learning more effective problem-solving skills.  This skill is essential for a recovering addict because they will face many challenges on their way to sober living.  The ability to resolve daily issues is vital for relapse prevention.

Addicts are more likely to get high and ignore a problem before ever putting forth any effort toward resolving the issue.  But, they often find that the problem is still there when they sober up and find that they’re right back to square one.  This is a vicious cycle that traps an addict in a never-ending loop of unresolved issues and lessons not learned.  Over time, their critical thinking skills and coping skills diminish even more.  With this in mind, most addiction treatment programs now offer a comprehensive program that includes problem-solving skills, coping strategies, communication, anger management and more.

According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), there are thirteen essential components of effective addiction treatment programs. Problem-solving skills is number six on their list.  Let’s take a look at how these life skills and problem-solving skills can help a recovering addict gain the confidence to make better choices and take ownership of their life.

Basic Steps for Effective Problem-Solving Skills

Learning to face and deal with problems helps recovering addicts reach a higher level of personal growth that will aid in relapse prevention.  With each accomplishment, self-esteem and self-confidence improve, leading to additional achievements.

It’s never easy to let go of old habits, especially when you’re a recovering addict who is trying hard every day just to stay sober.  You don’t think you can handle any more challenges. You must remember that everyone has problems.  You also feel anxious about your ability to handle the problem.  You aren’t alone.

But, where do you begin?  Are there some guidelines for tried and proven techniques?  The answer is yes.

To relieve some of your anxiety about problem-solving, here are a few tips that can make the process easier:

  • Determine the specific nature of the problem – If the problem seems too large, try breaking it down into smaller segments that you can tackle one at a time.
  • Come up with as many solutions as you can – ask for input from friends or family or other trusted individuals.
  • Narrow down your solutions – consider the possible negative or positive outcomes of each choice.  List the short or long-term consequences you might expect to encounter.
  • Make your decision – there is no right or wrong answer.  You won’t know what works if you don’t try.
  • Implement your plan – take note of the outcome and use that information as a learning tool for the next time around.

When trying to address a setback or a dilemma, don’t let stress or time constraints cause you to make an impulsive decision.  Impulsive decisions may have played a role in your drug abuse, so you don’t want to repeat that outcome.

If you fail to make the best decision and your problem is still there, keep trying.  That’s the key to becoming a person who is in control of the path their life takes.

What are Critical Thinking Skills?

Someone with critical thinking skills has the ability to reason. They ask questions rather than accepting things at face value.  They don’t act on intuition or instinct.  Instead, they have a system or plan for problem-solving that is based on the big picture.  It’s about using the information you have to make the best decision possible for a solution to the problem.

This does not mean that you must think critically all day about everything you do or say.  In fact, most of us allow grief, joy, or anger to keep us from thinking critically at times.  But, when you learn to make connections and recognize the impact of that type of thinking on situations, your critical thinking and problem-solving skills improve dramatically.

Critical thinking is the ability to decide what you want to achieve and make a decision after considering the range of possible outcomes.  This is why these skills are essential to effective problem-solving.  It also plays a role in improving self-discipline and taking responsibility for your life.  In fact, it requires you to make an honest and uncomfortable assessment of your strengths and weakness and determine the impact these will have on your future decisions.

Importance of Skills Training in Addiction Recovery Programs

Substance abuse causes damage to the brain with adverse effects on a person’s cognitive abilities.  Many addicts have been using drugs so long that they have forgotten most the life skills they once possessed.  Others began using drugs at such a young age that they never developed these skills and must be taught.  For these reasons, we recommend programs that include a variety of skills training components to help our clients succeed in rebuilding their lives.   The key to lasting recovery lies in a person’s ability to function in society.

Here are some of the options that will help our clients return to being contributing members of their communities and their families:

  • Counseling (group and one-on-one)
  • Life Skills Training
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Communication Skills
  • Problem-Solving Skills
  • Job Readiness
  • Responsibility
  • Music and Art Therapy
  • Nutritional Guidance

This a partial representation of the many classes and activities that help a person gain the confidence and skills needed for lasting recovery.  Each facility offers variations on these options, but they all adhere to the same underlying principles.

For most addictions, we recommend an inpatient treatment program.  These facilities provide a long-term plan in a secure, comfortable environment.  Recovering addicts are treated with respect and compassion at all times.  Also, the program can be adapted to address each client’s unique needs.  But, in some cases, an outpatient program can be suitable.  These minimally structured treatment programs allow addicts to continue working or attending school while in treatment.

Other options in rehab programs include Self-Help or 12-Step Programs, Faith-based, SMART Recovery, Non-Faith-based, Non-12 Step, and more.  No longer does an addict have to adhere to a treatment regimen they are uncomfortable with.  Today’s programs are designed to heal a person physically, mentally, and spiritually.  They are also dedicated to helping a person regain the self-esteem and confidence that was damaged during the addiction.

Let Us Help You Choose the Best Program that Includes Teaching Problem-Solving Skills

When you start researching and evaluating the many addiction treatment programs, you’ll feel a bit overwhelmed.  How do you narrow down the options and decide who to trust?  The best way to eliminate the confusion and indecision is to let us help you make the right choice.  The experts at New Beginnings know what addicts need to effectively conquer addiction.  We can assess your needs and recommend a program that is right for you.  Why don’t you give us a call now and let’s get started?

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