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Creating A Personal Recovery Plan

recovery plan

Creating a personal, written recovery plan is important because it gives a detailed, structured plan to follow with good ideas to stay on track for recovery goals. It’s a chance to take control and recognize situations that might lead to relapse - with a plan of action already in place.

A personal recovery plan can also be called a relapse prevention plan - it’s a plan that takes everything an individual has learned throughout the six weeks of outpatient treatment and puts it down on paper into a plan of action.

For example, a personal recovery plan should include:

  • 5 major triggers

  • 5 warning signs of a relapse

  • Coping strategies

  • Self care hobbies

  • Support network

  • Mindfulness activities

  • Healthy routines

  • Plan for high-risk situations

  • Other skills and strategies that are unique to each individual that they have learned while in treatment.

Identify Triggers & Warning Signs

Triggers are temptations that spark a craving for substance use. According to National Institute on Drug Abuse, some of the most common triggers include people, places or things and can be physical, mental, or emotional.

At Care Addiction Center, we use the H.A.L.T acronym (Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired) as possible triggers, but triggers are unique to each individual and are uncovered through different therapeutic approaches while in addiction treatment.

When an individual encounters a trigger, there are behavioral warning signs that can be recognized. If recognized, they can be interrupted. Having a plan in place will help manage stress and cravings/urges when they arise. A few suggestions might be calling a trusted friend, family member, or sponsor, going to a meeting, or practicing mindfulness.

Develop Coping Strategies

Once triggers are identified, the next step is to create tailored coping strategies for each one. These can include:

  • Emotional management techniques, such as mindfulness activities, meditation, or deep breathing exercises to handle stress or anxiety.

  • Behavioral strategies, like removing oneself from a triggering environment or calling a supportive friend.

  • Engagement in healthy activities that provide fulfillment and distraction, such as hobbies, exercise, or volunteering.

Prioritize Self Care

Prioritizing physical and mental health is crucial. This includes regular check-ups with healthcare providers, participating in activities that reduce stress, and ensuring mental health is nurtured through therapy or medication if needed.

Having a healthy diet and exercising will help the body recover quicker from the negative impacts of substances. Getting some fresh air or taking a daily walk not only helps your body physically, but mentally as well. Yoga and meditation are also great ways to help improve and heal the mind and body.

Create A Support Network

Building a strong network of support is vital. Who should be included in your support network list? Anyone that is supportive of your recovery.

  • Family and friends who are supportive of recovery.

  • Sponsor or mentor from recovery groups who can provide guidance and encouragement.

  • Therapists or counselors who can offer professional support during difficult times.

  • Support groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA), to connect with others who are facing similar challenges.

Ideally, some family, friends, and sponsor or meeting peers. It needs to be a wide array of individuals involving as many people as possible. The more you stay connected, the more you can benefit from their support. 

Mindfulness Activities

Practicing mindfulness helps by teaching an individual to be intentional, accepting their experience as it is, and living in the moment. Mentally and physically practicing mindfulness daily can improve your overall health. Some helpful activities include:

  • Practicing yoga

  • Guided Imagery Meditation

  • Mindful Eating

  • Body Scan

  • Mindful Breathing

Establish Healthy Routines

Creating and maintaining healthy daily and weekly routines can help stabilize life and provide structure, which is beneficial for recovery. These routines can include regular meal times, exercise, time for hobbies, and sufficient sleep.

Plan for High-Risk Situations

Anticipate situations where exposure to triggers is likely and plan how to handle them. This could involve:

  • Having a sober friend available during social events.

  • Preparing responses for offers of substances.

  • Avoiding certain places and people that elevate the risk of relapse.

Developing a personal recovery plan, or a relapse prevention plan will help individuals in recovery manage their sobriety with sober support, people, and places. This plan lets individuals establish goals and enact processes that can make it easier to respond to challenges that arise and maintain sobriety.

Getting Help For Addiction

If you or somebody in your life seems to have an issue with alcohol or drugs, or is suffering from addiction, professional help may be the best option for recovery.

At Care Addiction Center, we offer treatment plans that address every facet of your addiction, serving individuals in Geneva, Batavia, Sycamore, St. Charles, and Kane County, with online addiction treatment available anywhere in Illinois. 

To get started on the road to recovery, or if you have questions about helping yourself or a loved one, call us today or schedule a confidential assessment online and begin treatment.


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