7 steps to prepare for a recovery crisis.


By David Joel Miller.

Recovery Emergency Plan.

We all know about the importance of preparing for a physical disaster, some of us make these disaster preparations. People in recovery are likely to experience recovery crises. Are you prepared for a recovery crisis?

Just because someone enters recovery does not guarantee a perfect life. This is a real life, sometimes good things happen; sometimes things are not so good. Having a recovery preparedness plan is not just for those in substance abuse recovery. If you are in recovery from mental health or another life problem you need to make these preparations also.

Here are ways to prepare for those not so good times.

1. Enlarge your support system

When things are going well a few people in your support system is fine, but when challenges arise those few people may not be enough. Get phone numbers you can call from more people. What if your first three people are not home or unavailable? Having as at least 20 phone numbers on your support system list is recommended.

A list of numbers for organizations and national support lines is helpful when traveling. Keep your doctor or counselor’s number handy. Many fellowships have websites and there are on-line meetings. Add these contacts to your phone support list.

Attend support groups other than your regular meeting. Having a number of places you can go means you will not be alone in the crisis.

2.  Recharge your mind.

Practice positive affirmations. Allow yourself to spend quiet recovery time every day. Continue with your prayer and meditation. Read positive books and listen to positive programs.  Exercising your happiness keeps your mind in top shape for those attacks of negative emotions.

3. Recharge your body.

Your body can’t carry you through tough times if you neglect it in the good times. Recovering people know that hunger, thirst, and lack of sleep are all relapse triggers. Eat regular meals. Drink plenty of water and avoid high sugar drinks. Allow plenty of time for sleep.

The body needs a balance of exercise and rest to function at its best.

4. Don’t let you mind overload the rest of you.

In early recovery, people want to make up for lost time. One week out of the hospital or treatment facility and they are looking for a job, signing up for school, in a program of aftercare and seeing a therapist.

Someone who has never cooked anything that does not go in a microwave may take up cooking healthy meals while joining the gym and embarking on a weight loss program.

Overloading yourself by trying to make too many huge changes too fast increases the risk of relapse. Take small steps. Working on goals a little each day over a long period produces results. Your goal should not be a sudden transformation; it should be to make changes in your lifestyle that you can maintain.

Trying to start out on massive change projects can be a way of setting yourself up for failure and sabotaging your recovery.

Do what you can today and a little more tomorrow.

5. Be kind to yourself – give yourself credit – reward yourself.

People who only hear about their mistakes lose confidence, learn to be helpless and may stop trying. Don’t be your own worst critic. Take credit for the things you are doing right. Say positive affirmations. Give yourself small positive rewards for your efforts.

Avoid negative rewards like drugs or alcohol. Have healthy little treats. Take time to go places you enjoy being. Spend time with positive friends. Spending time in meetings and with good friends is not an interruption to your recovery – it is a part of that recovery.

Recovery should be fun. Let yourself enjoy your new and improved life.

6. Keep a book handy.

Keep recovery materials handy. When adversity comes, remember to read uplifting materials. That one recovery book may be just the thing to keep your recovery on track when the problems come.

7. Practice your maintenance steps.

Whatever program you worked to get recovery, do not stop working it. If you worked a twelve-step program, keep in touch with that fellowship. If you have a spiritual connection stay connected. Read your recovery materials. Maintain and enlarge your support system. Continue to practice the skills your counselor taught you.

Putting it all together

What is your plan to keep your recovery strong? Every person in recovery needs an emergency plan to prevent relapse.

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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books

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