It is never too early to work with a patient and establish an escape plan for various situations. When recovering from addiction, triggers hit quick and hard. They can be caused by any number of things from a physical location, to the people present, to the time of day. Establishing an escape plan for someone when their plans go awry is a critical aspect of recovery.
Having that plan available early in recovery can help reduce the chances of relapse during the challenging beginning stages. The creation of these contingencies is therapeutic and leads each patient to identify their support systems and how they can use them during their journey.
Having It Available Early
Establishing escape skills and plans is useful at all stages of recovery. There are many aspects of recovery that need attention and effort. Still, the creation of an escape plan and acknowledgment of a support system is paramount in maintaining forward progress. Relapses and urges set in early, especially during the detox phase and immediately after. If patients feel like they have a plan, they can experience clarity in immensely difficult situations.
Naming the Supports
Isolation and loneliness are all too common during recovery. While the reasons vary, the results are often the same – addicts put up walls to keep everyone out, in an attempt to address their addictions and troubles without outside interference. Asking your patients to name the supportive people in their lives is helpful for the professional but can be profound for the patient.
Being able to list the people in their lives whom they trust is a first step toward acknowledging their support system. Sometimes, people are unaware of how many people care about them. By verbally naming each member of their support system, they are exercising a degree of trust and love.
There is Both a Need and Danger
People in recovery will need to get out and experience the world around them. Still, recovering addicts can practice self-expression and experience new things while in residential treatment. For those in an outpatient program, merely staying at home to avoid triggers isn’t an option. In fact, this strategy can lead to its own dangers. Feelings of isolation become compounded when someone is also physically isolating themselves.
It is typically inadvisable to get out and experience the nightlife while in recovery, but going out to get groceries is still necessary. Having escape strategies or a list of people to call when things get difficult are powerful tools in creating a safe experience and mindset when going out.
Discussing the Results
Each time a recovering person goes out into the world, they have an experience worth processing. Consider the strategies and techniques that were successful. Discussing this success is just as important as addressing the difficulties. Merely having a proven support system can be reassuring when someone needs to believe that they will be okay. When things are difficult, and someone uses their support system, talk about that experience.
Examine how this has shaped the relationships in the recovering person’s life. Focus on the positives that come from using support and trusting others. There are many practical uses for establishing escape plans and support networks. Still, much of their power comes from acknowledging their presence and their effect on someone’s outlook.
The escape plan itself is just as important as the process of creating it, as it can develop a framework of people and possibilities. Networks of support, each with their own role, can give much-needed confidence and faith in someone’s ability to create long-lasting sobriety for themselves. As supports play different roles, and the patient utilizes each unique relationship, establishing further trust and a unified front for recovery becomes easier and more probable. While the plans themselves may look different, creating a strategy can lay the bedrock for other skills going forward.
If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction and are ready to take that first step, contact Alta Centers today. Specializing in the difficult detox phase of recovery and establishing the core coping and escape strategies needed for the foundation of lasting sobriety, Alta Centers is ready to help. Championing a modern take on sobriety and making community, fun, and inclusiveness part of the process, Alta Centers creates an atmosphere where taking the first steps to sobriety doesn’t have to come at the cost of someone’s identity. For more information on how Alta Centers can help you call today at (888) 202-2583.
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