The Lost Boys of Addiction: Learning to Live on Your Own

A unhappy man looking at his image in a mirror.

The Lost Boys of Addiction: Learning to Live on Your Own

Addiction can rob you of so many things, including the opportunities to grow and learn how to take care of yourself. Not unlike Peter Pan’s Lost Boys, you can be stuck without the skills you need to take care of yourself and establish more independence. In recovery, particularly in a sober living environment, you can learn the social, emotional, and life skills needed for you to be successful on your own.

Never Grow Up: Missing Skills Due to Addiction

During active addiction, many important aspects of your life can be ignored in favor of the pursuit of substances and the behaviors that go along with them. Chances are you may have missed out on learning the skills necessary to live on your own. Whether you realize it or not, you may be like Peter Pan’s Lost Boys. A more accurate name would be the Lost Boys of Addiction.

Finding treatment and beginning your recovery process can be challenging enough on their own. However, when you are also lacking the skills you need to live on your own, you have an even steeper hill to climb. Getting a crash course on life and learning those skills on top of learning how to live in recovery can be difficult on your own.

Leaving Neverland to Live on Your Own

One of the best ways to gain the skills you need to be independent involves finding a sober living environment after your initial residential treatment. Sober living environments are designed to help you transition from treatment for addiction back into the real world. As such, most sober living programs will offer various social, emotional, and life skills to promote a healthier transition.

For many people, a sober living environment is the perfect stepping stone from your personal Neverland of addiction back into the real world. Sober living environments can provide affordable living environments as well as offer continued addiction recovery support. Additionally, they can offer training in many other areas you may have missed out on during active addiction.

Finding Success on Your Own With Social Skills

Sober living environments provide a microcosm of the real world for you to practice and learn social skills. In this setting, you live in close proximity to other men who may be very different from you. Therefore, you learn to communicate better, set and respect boundaries, follow household rules, and work to improve relationships with others.

Furthermore, you will have the opportunity to engage in social activities with other people in the same sober living environment. You can learn how to cooperate with many different personalities and also learn more about yourself and what kind of person you are socially. More so, you can build lasting friendships with others by sharing the good and the difficult times of early recovery.

Learning the Ropes of Emotional Skills

In early recovery, you may still be learning how to manage your emotions. Having the support of a sober living environment allows you to continue to learn more emotional skills. For example, many people in addiction get anger management training to help them decrease angry outbursts and keep themselves and others safe.

Living on your own requires you to be able to manage your own emotions in regard to issues both big and small. Through continued therapy, support groups, and other forms of support, you can continue to progress in learning the ropes of keeping your emotions in check.

Life Skills for Learning to Survive on Your Own

Some of the most common deficits in recovery are in the area of life skills. There are the basic survival skills of decision-making, critical thinking, and stress management that have never been acquired. According to a study published in 2014, teaching these life skills can help reduce the risk of future substance use. It is never too late to learn these important life skills to be able to survive on your own.

There are other more basic skills that most people think of when hearing the term “life skills.” For instance, not everyone knows how to properly organize and manage their finances, use a bank account, or go on a job interview. Furthermore, household skills such as cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, basic maintenance, and more are needed to survive on your own. If you do not have a family to teach you these skills, then where else would you learn them? Sober living environments are often called upon to fill this void.

You can continue to try to be like one of Peter Pan’s Lost Boys who never grew up, but there is no Neverland in the real world. In real life, you will need to know how to stand on your own two feet, manage your household and budget, and how to utilize basic critical thinking. There is plenty for you to learn to be able to live on your own.