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.