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Relapse Prevention Plan

     No matter how hard you work a program of dual recovery, like PTSD & Substance Abuse there's always a chance that you will face unexpected cravings, a relapse of your chemical dependency, or a flare-up of psychiatric symptoms. Having a plan of action thought out and written down ahead of time to help cope with these situations can be extremely beneficial. Below are several example forms that may help you identify resources and create your own action plans. It's good to be prepared for emergencies ahead of time.

     Unexpected cravings happen to just about every person recovering from chemical dependency. They can be triggered by something seen on TV or in a magazine, a smell or sound that you might associate with drinking or using, a particular feeling or mood, and sometimes they just seem to come out of nowhere. Sometimes they can be so powerful that you almost feel the taste in your mouth or swear you are smelling marijuana. Nine times out of ten these sudden urges hit when we 'are' in a position to act on them. No one is around--no one is watching. It is very important to have a plan for these times.

     In the first months of recovery our most natural inclination will probably be to satisfy our cravings--that is a symptom of the disease of chemical dependency. Will-power and good intentions are not enough. We need to take an alternative course of action. To sit and wrestle with the cravings is an unbearable situation for an addict or alcoholic. Instead, we have learned that immediately calling another recovering person is very helpful.

     Getting yourself to a VA or AA meeting or recovery club can be a life-saver. Other times going for a walk or vigorous exercise does the trick. We can reach out to our higher power for assistance and strength. Over time these cravings diminish in intensity, however, people who have achieved long-term abstinence have learned to always take them seriously.

Action Plan

 When Cravings To Drink or Use Strike

Five people I can call the minute I get a craving or urge to drink:

  • __________________________________________
  • __________________________________________
  • __________________________________________
  • __________________________________________
  • __________________________________________

Five things I can do to get my mind off of using or drinking.

  • __________________________________________
  • __________________________________________
  • __________________________________________
  • __________________________________________
  • __________________________________________

Link to Printable Page

Though lapses in our recovery aren't desired, all is not lost if and when they occur.

This Is Not the End of the World!!!

Rember we have been building the small steps to balance out our lives......

 

      Though painful we can learn from our relapses and get right back  to our plan. It is best to get right back into recovery and regain our recovery as soon as possible. The disease of chemical dependency is cunning, baffling, and powerful. If we are prepared for the possibility of a lapse ahead of time it is more likely that we can keep it from becoming a full blown relapse.

Action Plan if I Relapse

These are some warning signs and relapse factors to watch out for.

  • __________________________________________
  • __________________________________________
  • __________________________________________
  • __________________________________________
  • __________________________________________

If I should lapse I need to tell these people:

  • __________________________________________
  • __________________________________________
  • __________________________________________
  • __________________________________________
  • __________________________________________

I need to do these things to make sure it doesn't happen again.

  • __________________________________________
  • __________________________________________
  • __________________________________________
  • __________________________________________
  • __________________________________________

Link to Printable Page

     At times, a flare-up of symptoms can render us incapable of making sound choices for recovery. This can happen in spite of our best efforts and all the progress we’ve made in dual recovery. Sometimes our job is just to weather the storm in the most constructive way we can and keep in mind that these are no-fault illnesses. Some members have found that having a plan of action in place before such a flare-up happens can be a great comfort and powerful recovery tool. They discuss a plan of action ahead of time with professional helpers, their sponsor, family, and friends. Such a plan may make the difference between a mild flare-up of symptoms and a full-blown relapse of our addiction and psychiatric illness.

If My Psychiatric Symptoms Return or Worsen

These are some warning signs that may precede a flare-up of symptoms.

  • __________________________________________
  • __________________________________________
  • __________________________________________
  • __________________________________________
  • __________________________________________

If I should experience a flare-up I need to tell these people.

  • __________________________________________
  • __________________________________________
  • __________________________________________
  • __________________________________________
  • __________________________________________

I need to do these things to cope in a positive way:

  • __________________________________________
  • __________________________________________
  • __________________________________________
  • __________________________________________
  • __________________________________________

If I have a psychiatric emergency:

I would like to see Doctor __________________
I authorize ____________________ to take care of _____________________________________ and ________________________________________

Link to Printable Page

     At times certain psychiatric problems and serious relapses can cause affected individuals to deny the problem and refuse help. These situations can lead to emergency or involuntary hospitalization. It helps to discuss these possibilities ahead of time with our sponsors, supportive friends, concerned family members, and our helping professionals. By sharing your concerns you can let your support network know how they might best help you if ever the need arises.

 

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