Bringing Social and Emotional Learning to School After Treatment
Boys who develop an addiction to drugs and alcohol at an early age suffer in their ability to make healthy social connections or operate from a place of emotional regulation. Drugs and alcohol are chemical substances which affect the brain. All of our daily functions, from our thoughts to our movements, are chemical reactions. Introducing high volumes of chemical substances which affect those chemical reactions causes deficits in the ways those functions operate. Social functions and emotional functions help our boys in recovery have healthy relationships with themselves, their feelings, others, and others’ feelings.
Thankfully, boys learn social and emotional learning (SEL) in treatment as part of their therapeutic process. Children in school aren’t normally taught how to handle their emotions. Emotional outbursts and social problems in school are met with quick fix remedies or punishment. While kids learn math, English, and history, they aren’t given necessary life tools for discovering who they are, how they function, and how to handle that.
In Colorado, the Boulder Valley School District is implementing a study to gauge the effects of an active social and emotional learning component in classroom curriculum. The Star reports on two studies which found school-based social and emotional learning positively influences academic performance in addition to “higher graduation rates and safer sexual behaviors”.
What are SEL skills?
Emotional regulation and empathy are two of the main focuses in social and emotional learning, both of which are critical life skills for boys in recovery from addiction. Emotions can be stressful triggers for boys when they do not have the skills for emotional regulation. For boys in recovery, emotional regulation can be the difference between sustained sobriety and a relapse. In a moment of emotional distress, SEL skills help boys pause, take a deep breath, recognize the situation, then make a better choice. Without these skills, it is easy for boys to fall back into the destructive patterns they created through their addiction, which could include anger, rage, and violence.
Empathy helps boys connect with others, take others into consideration, and evaluate the effect of personal actions on other people. Addiction is often called a selfish disease because it creates a loop cycle of selfish, self-centered thinking which focuses on feeding the addiction. Drugs and alcohol actually damage the part of the brain which contributes to weighing negative consequences, making moral choices, and other parts of decision making.
Social and emotional learning can help boys reprogram their brains and create healthier patterns of thoughts as well as behaviors.
Stonewater Adolescent Recovery Center utilizes proven treatment methods for effectively healing the brain, the body, and the spirit. Our foundation cleansing program is designed to help boys build a positive lifestyle for success through treatment and academic progress. Call us today for information: 1-662-598-4214