HOM Life Skills Program

What Are Life Skills?

Life Skills

Life skills are the tools that a person needs to navigate through the challenges of everyday life. While some people may think these skills come naturally, the opposite is often true. These life skills can be built through education and practice.

Another way to think of life skills is like learning a hobby. Similar to picking up an instrument, in order to learn life skills, a person has to learn it and practice it regularly. When effort is put into it, improve occurs. Recovering from substance use disorder in an addiction treatment facility is often the time people are taught vital life skills.

"God changes caterpillars into Butterflies, Sand into Pearls, and coal into Diamonds using time & pressure. He's working on you too."   - Rick Warren


Communication skills include things that are both spoken and unspoken. Examples of communication skills include:1

  • Ability to express Feelings

  • Assertiveness

  • Conflict Management and Resolution

  • Listening  carefully to others

  • Negotiation skills

  • The Ability To refuse

Problem Solving

Critical thinking and careful decision-making skills are important in helping a person guide their life. Problem-solving skills can help a person think about how their actions affect their future as well as how their actions affect others.  Sometimes, a person who lacks problem solving skills can only see one option when it comes to making a decision. Someone who has problem solving skills can usually identify at least two or more solutions. This helps a person to choose what will ideally work best for them and their loved ones.

Creative Thinking

Creative thinking allows a person to see beyond the possibilities of their world as they know it. It gives them goals and ambition. You don’t necessarily have to be artistic to build creative thinking life skills. Many people use creativity in all different professional fields because there is often more than one way to accomplish a goal. Through creative thinking, a person can find new paths as to how to accomplish this.


Self-awareness falls under the “self-management” skill set where a person learns how to better handle stress and manage their time. Part of this involves learning how to recognize negative thoughts and turn them into positive ones. Learning ways to achieve calm, such as through relaxation techniques, can also help significantly.


Assertiveness means that a person knows how to stand up for themselves, their thoughts, and their opinions, when the right moment presents itself.1 A person who has the inability to be assertive may have difficulty refusing things that aren’t good for them or succumb to peer pressure. Learning how to be assertive, yet caring for others, is a delicate balance that takes practice and effort.


Resilience is the ability to rebound after disappointment and loss. A person must feel and recognize negative emotions such as anger, grief, or anxiety and learn how to deal with them in positive ways whenever possible. Ultimately, a person must accept that they have faced hurdles in their life, but they have the power and promise to overcome them.

Avoiding Risky Situations

Good decision making involves trying to remove as much temptation to return to substance abuse whenever possible. This includes avoiding risky situations, such as going to a bar or party where drug use or drinking used to occur.

Developing Coping Mechanisms

Often, a substances are abused as a way to deal with stress. But this is not a healthy way to cope with stress. Learning coping mechanisms can help a person find healthier ways to deal with their anxiety. Examples include meditation, deep breathing, and other stress-relieving measures.

Managing Stress and Emotions

Learning to recognize emotions and how to interpret these emotions can help a person move forward with life while in recovery from substance abuse. To think that a person won’t have struggles after achieving sobriety is unrealistic. However, learning how to better cope with these emotions is a step forward.

Developing a Routine

Routine can be very helpful in recovery. Establishing healthy behaviors, such as getting enough sleep at night, eating a healthy diet, exercising, and more can help reduce the likelihood of relapse.

Finding a Job

Some of the life skills that can help a person find a job post-rehabilitation include how to create a resume, finding jobs that fit a person’s skills, and applying for the jobs. Some treatment programs may offer help with job placement or in finding programs that have additional training opportunities, such as vocational programs.

Managing Finances

Financial management is important to help a person achieve their independence and learn how to achieve a stable financial lifestyle. Some of the important aspects of financial life skills training include:3

Home Maintenance

Learning the care and upkeep of an apartment or house can help a person learn to care for something other than themselves. Maintaining and showing pride in a home can help a person feel accomplished and can save money.


Nutrition can play a key role in a person’s recovery. Good, healthy foods can help a person feel more energetic and gain an overall improved sense of health. Cooking classes can enhance the number of dishes or ways a person can prepare certain food types.

Being Able to Ask for Help

Identifying people to reach out to when a person is struggling or concerned about relapse can help them feel stronger and supported in their sobriety. No one should feel afraid to ask for help if they need it, especially when they have people around them who care for them.

Accepting Personal Responsibility

Accepting personal responsibility is a life skill that falls under the category of self-awareness. It’s important to understand how some decisions ultimately led to substance abuse and continued substance abuse. When a person accepts responsibility for their actions, they can also accept that what happens to them next is up to them.

Substance Abuse Groups

Some substance abuse groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous or SMART recovery may incorporate life skills in their group. There are also other support groups designed to help a person enhance their marketability for jobs.