Creating a Crisis Plan After Leaving Residential Treatment?

While in early recovery, a crisis plan might be the farthest thing from your mind. This is because you may be in the “pink cloud” phase. The pink cloud effect is somewhat of a honeymoon stage that occurs in early recovery. This is when everything feels great, you are newly sober, you have a clear mind, free of substances, and you are having the thoughts that you will feel this way forever.

Unfortunately, at some point, life will present challenges that will affect your overall well-being and sobriety. Therefore, it is crucial that you make a crisis plan to maintain a successful recovery. How does one go about creating a crisis plan?

Crisis Planning

The first step to creating a crisis plan takes preparing your mind. You want to be in a healthy state of mental health where you can think clearly and make rational decisions. Keep in mind that you are not only making this plan for yourself but for someone else to read. This way, they can hold you accountable and help guide you if situations escalate to a point where you cannot make clear choices.

Identify Your Triggers

Understanding your triggers is essential in creating a good crisis plan. When you understand your triggers, you can identify the symptoms that result from certain stressors. Knowing the root of your symptoms will help keep situations from being a crisis. Different things that trigger you could include:

  • Certain people
  • Certain places
  • A specific song
  • A specific scent
  • Work environment

Once you identify these triggers, you can then prepare ways to navigate situations when these triggers arise.

Build a Healthy Support Network

It is important to make a list of people that support you. Those in your support network should be people who you can communicate effectively with and put your recovery first. Such people can include trusted friends, family, and peers. Peers can be especially supportive because they can identify and relate to what you are experiencing. Therefore, they can provide helpful feedback on your plan.

When you establish a list of trusted friends, family, and peers, you will want to establish what you need from them in your crisis plan. These could include things like encouragement, being held accountable, and listening without giving advice.

You could also include tasks that need to be done if you have to go away. Examples include:  

  • Looking after children
  • Feeding/housing pets
  • Taking out the trash
  • Mowing the lawn

You also want to provide your friends, family, and peers with information about your health care provider and any medications you are taking. You might include why you need certain medications and what medications need to be avoided. You should also list treatment centers you would like to go to if things get too bad, and you need to go somewhere to have this crisis managed by professionals.

Be Clear About What You Need

The clearer you are with what you need, the stronger your support system will be. Having solid support will help you during a crisis and lend peace of mind knowing that you have such support.

Remember, no matter how challenging situations become, you are not alone. There is plenty of support to help you succeed. Friends, family, peers, and professionals will help you navigate trying times and be there to help you celebrate success.  

Establish What It Looks Like When You Feel Good

A crisis plan should also list some behaviors and affirmations that show you are in good standing with recovery. Though, you will want to be honest about them. You might list things like:

  • I am doing well when I play music
  • I am getting good sleep
  • I like seeing family and friends  

While these things may be difficult to write down, such statements show that people who care about you are okay and no longer in crisis because they provide insight into how you feel when you are happy.

You Can Do This

Crisis planning can seem daunting and overwhelming, but it is important in helping you sustain recovery. Remember, when you focus on what you can control and have help from others, you put yourself in place to avoid a crisis. Still, the road to recovery is long, and challenges are inevitable; therefore, crisis planning is just one more tool to help you combat substance use.

Most importantly, remind yourself that you can do this. You can maintain sobriety. You also deserve a life of happiness and opportunity. You have the ability to do incredible things and overcoming your addictions is just one of them.

While recovery is not always easy, the benefits greatly outweigh the challenges. Therefore, crisis planning is essential for sustaining recovery, and NorthStar Transitions can help. Our qualified staff of professionals will help you establish the resources necessary to embark on the path to recovery. Such treatment options include rebuilding relationships with yourself and others and partaking in activities that will help you manage your triggers. The ultimate goal is to provide you with the necessary tools to continue building upon the skills you learn with us. We also provide guidance with aftercare support, including helping you create a crisis plan before leaving treatment. Of course, we remain a pillar of support should you need additional help during recovery. If you or someone you know is in need of help, don't wait; reach out today. To learn more about our programs and begin treatment, call us today at (303) 558-6400.

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