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How to Build a Crisis Plan for Sustained Recovery

According to Addiction Relapse Prevention by Nicholas Guenzel and Dennis McChargue, approximately 50% of people relapse within the first 12 weeks after treatment. The high prevalence of addiction relapse following treatment highlights the importance of support in early recovery. Early recovery is a vulnerable time when your ability to maintain recovery is tested. Therefore, access to support tools like a crisis plan can be invaluable to sustained recovery.

At Driftwood Recovery, we know how important community integration and support are to recovery. With a person-centered model of community integration, you can reconnect and use tools like a crisis plan to execute life goals. Through community integration, you can find support and accountability to live a life committed to healing the whole self. Thus, learning how to build a crisis plan can help you overcome challenges in early recovery and thrive.

Yet, you may still question what a crisis plan means in addiction recovery. You may be aware of or familiar with a crisis plan in the context of suicide prevention. Similarly, an addiction crisis plan is designed to support you in those moments when you are your most vulnerable.

What Is a Crisis Plan?

As noted in “Crisis Plans in Mental Health” by Christine Cassivi et al., although there is no single definition of a crisis, it can typically be tied to psychological distress. Thus, a crisis is a subjective event in which you feel like you are not in control. A crisis also highlights that you lack the necessary resources or coping skills to deal with the crisis. As a result, a crisis plan is built in collaboration with your clinician to prevent or resolve future crises.

There are several different types of crisis plans, such as the joint crisis plan and safety plan. Each type of crisis plan focuses on different psychopathological crises like bipolar disorder and suicide prevention. Despite the specific pathology that different types of crisis plans follow, each crisis plan has the same general objective.

A crisis plan helps you identify triggers and find interventions to prevent or manage a crisis. Understanding your triggers and ways to prevent or manage them can support your mental well-being. Thus, the importance of mental well-being in a crisis plan speaks to the value of whole-person healing beyond treatment.

The Value of a Crisis Plan After Treatment

It is not that difficult to feel untouchable or invulnerable to relapse, especially in early recovery. The haze of early recovery can make you feel like you can conquer anything. Feeling confident in your sobriety can be a powerful and beautiful thing in recovery. However, assuming you no longer need to consider relapse is a disservice to all the work you have done.

The stresses and other types of crises that can contribute to a relapse crisis are often unexpected. Thus, having a crisis plan can give you a roadmap that helps you figure out how to get your life back on track. Moreover, having a crisis plan can help you feel more relaxed and prepared for any crisis. Further, one of the objectives of a crisis plan is to understand your triggers.

Deeper awareness of triggers can help you identify the root stressors that contribute to your symptoms. With more insight into yourself, you can utilize all your resources to move forward in recovery. Now you can learn how to build a proper crisis plan to help you sustain recovery throughout your life.

Ways to Build a Crisis Plan

A crisis plan is not a one-size-fits-all plan but rather a dynamic map to support your psychological well-being. As a result, your crisis plan will always be unique to you and your specific needs to work through a crisis. Your crisis plan will be built on finding and understanding what types of support would be helpful for you to prevent and or manage a crisis. Listed below are some of the important elements found in building a recovery crisis plan:

  • Building a healthy support network
    • Who do you want to share your crisis plan with
    • What do you need from your trusted friends, family, and peers
      • This can include your typical responsibilities like childcare and housework
  • Understanding what it looks like when you are feeling well
  • Knowing how you feel when you are in crisis
  • Clear communication about your needs
    • What coping tools do you want to use or not use

With a crisis plan in place, you cannot only work through a crisis but also learn how to live beyond it. Your crisis plan can help you better understand the support tools you need to build and achieve goals to lead a fulfilling life in long-term recovery.

Planning for Your Future: Learning to Thrive Beyond Crisis

As stated in “My Wellbeing Plan" from the National Health Service (NHS), a crisis can make it difficult to think about the future. Yet, building a plan to address challenges in recovery can support recovery by taking small steps every day. Even when you think it feels pointless or small, making a plan supports finding meaning and purpose in your recovery life. Recovery is a multifaceted process in which a crisis plan supports the deepening of self-awareness and understanding of yourself through your connections.

Building a Healing Foundation at Driftwood Recovery

Here at Driftwood Recovery, we believe an alumni program is vital to reintegration into everyday life. Through alumni, you have access to resources and peer support to build an independent life in sustained recovery. With a crisis plan, you can expand your understanding and your trusted loved ones' understanding of your needs. Thus, at Driftwood Recovery, we are committed to providing an alumni program built on the value of community integration. With community integration, you can foster the connection and accountability you need to thrive.

The excitement in early recovery can cloud your alertness to the dangers of relapse. In your new independence, it is easier to convince yourself that you are not at risk for relapse. While confidence in your recovery is wonderful, relapse is still possible if you stop doing the work. Therefore, building a crisis plan is an important tool in your recovery toolbox. With a crisis plan, you can understand your triggers and build a roadmap that helps you prevent and manage the life stressors that contribute to crisis situations. At Driftwood Recovery, we are committed to community integration and providing countless resources through alumni to support connection and accountability for sustained recovery. Call us at (512) 759-8330 today.