In the counseling that I provide as a Psychologist at the AToN Center I am often looking for the connections between the skills that are being learned and how these will be applied in the real world.
It is much easier to avoid drinking and using while you are staying at a residential treatment facility where there is a supportive staff and counselors around to provide structure. When teaching skills or techniques though I am looking for how these apply to the real world.
Assertiveness skills may in abstract sound like a good idea but residents here are presented with role plays where can practice saying no to a drink at a party. Journaling and thought records sound like good ideas but while in treatment I strongly encourage people to think about how they would use these tools at home. In practicing making time for self-care in treatment, it is more likely this will generalize to the outside world. In the long run, developing a plan for how the lifestyle is going to change after recovery is what is important. The lessons learned and insights gained will eventually need to be applied in specific situations so a person can feel a mastery over their temptations and recovery.
Dr. Chad K. Cox