At some point or another, most people face a crisis in life. It might be financial, emotional, psychological, or physical. And when that person has a plan for how to manage a crisis, there is often less stress and anxiety while it’s happening. And the same is true with recovery. If from the beginning you have a plan for facing crisis while you’re recovering from addiction, you’re more likely to get through it with a greater sense of ease.

For a person in recovery, they may face any one of the following crisis situations:

  • –relationship breakup which makes a person vulnerable to relapse
  • –medical issues or experiencing pain
  • –legal crisis
  • –domestic violence or physical abuse
  • –factors that contribute to a potential relapse
  • –self-harming behavior such as cutting
  • –suicidal thoughts
  • –manic behavior
  • –isolation and withdrawal from friends and family
  • –experiencing hallucinations or delusions
  • –relapse


What can make matters worse if the person themselves does not realize that there is a problem or that they’re putting their life at risk. For instance, a person might begin to isolate due to an experience of depression. And because they are alone they may give in to their cravings and thoughts of suicide. The combination of suicidal thoughts and substance use can be a dangerous situation, like many well known celebrities have shown.

If you’re someone who is prone to crises, then it’s important to develop a crisis plan. You can do this with a counselor or with a loved one. It’s essentially a step by step outline of what you would do in the event of an emergency. And in the case of recovery from addiction, you don’t have to wait until crisis happens, you can utilize the plan when you see that you’re moving toward crisis.

For instance, you might include the following in your crisis plan:

  • –warning signs and triggers that can lead up to a crisis that you can identify in yourself
  • –warning signs and triggers that can lead up to a crisis that others can identify
  • –who to call when you notice those warning signs
  • –which coping tools to use when you are approaching crisis
  • –identify those instances when others might need to take over responsibility for your care and decision making
  • –identify who that person is in your life, and provide him or her with necessary health care information
  • –any other action steps you can do to help yourself
  • –a list of people who can help and their contact information, such as your drug counselor, therapist, psychiatrist, close friend, spouse, etc.
  • –what you will need to recover from a crisis, such as time off work, time with friends or family, and rest.


Because life comes with challenge from time to time, we are all vulnerable to crisis. However, those who are in recovery, and especially those in their early recovery, may face a crisis that puts their life in danger. If you’d like to develop a crisis plan for yourself or for a loved one, contact a mental health provider who can help you with developing one.

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