The American Association of Addiction Medicine describes addiction as “a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory, and related circuitry. Dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristic biological, psychological, social, and spiritual manifestations. This is reflected in an individual pathologically pursuing reward and/or relief by substance use and other behaviors.”
That dysfunction typically includes neglecting a wide range of important life skills. Since the addicted person is caught in a cycle of using, going into withdrawal, craving, and using again, normal responsibilities of daily life are largely ignored, if not completely forgotten.

Going to school, showing up for work, paying the bills, interpersonal relationships, even taking care of children fall by the wayside because in active addiction drugs and alcohol are the only things that really matter. Hallmarks of addiction in this regard are impairment of behavioral control, diminished recognition of significant problems, and a dysfunctional emotional response.

All of that needs to be changed but learning how to operate in the world without drugs and alcohol often represents a serious challenge for people in recovery. Rebuilding a normal life after addiction involves obtaining and employing tools that create a “new normal” that is far removed from what the person with addiction used to do.

The life strategies and coping skills they learn during treatment are an essential part of their recovery journey. Life Skills training at our Virginia drug rehab, Encore includes financial literacy, academic advising, and career counseling—all areas of great importance in a recalibrated life of sobriety. Mastering life skills is important because successfully managing your finances and building a new career are crucial aspects of life after addiction.