Crisis

A crisis is any situation that interrupts normal events of daily living. Ferguson’s Precept (a relative of Murphy’s Law) says a crisis is when you can’t say, “Let’s just forget the whole thing.”

Examples include deaths, jail, wrecks, bankruptcy, acute illness, and relapse.

“Chinese word for crisis” by Tomchen1989 - Own work. Licensed under CC0 via Creative Commons.svg.

Top is Traditional Chinese and bottom is Simplified Chinese.

We are told that in the Chinese language, there are two characters that together mean “crisis.” Individually those two characters mean “danger” and “opportunity.” Many people report that out of a crisis came a gift for learning or spiritual growth. If you focus on the negative, you will miss the blessings.

Whatever the crisis, your responsibility to recovery is to keep your abstinence from addictive substances or behaviors. This does not mean that your recovery plan can’t change temporarily, for good reason.

If you are in the hospital, do the best you can while still following sound medical advice. If you are taken hostage by a terrorist group, you don’t need to refuse wine or donuts if that is all they are willing to feed you. However, most crises are less extreme.

Addiction Can Make It Worse

No matter how bad a situation gets, retreating into addiction will make it worse. Remember that your addiction will probably try to make use of the crisis to give you an excuse to drink, use, binge, starve, or otherwise get into addictive behavior.

Not every problem is a crisis. Recognize when you have a tendency to be dramatic, making big deals out of less important problems. Recovery from histrionics might include learning that a flat tire on the road suggests a call to AAA, not to the suicide prevention hotline. Focusing on the negative and hopeless views of the problem can turn everything into a catastrophe. Histrionics and catastrophizing are related.

Getting Help

Ask for help. People are generally more willing to help during a crisis than under normal conditions.

It is very important to be careful of the let-down after the crisis is over. You might tend to relax, become complacent, and become vulnerable to relapse. More people report relapse after a crisis than during it.


Crisis, see also: Abstinence, Acceptance, Behavior, Bingeing, Codependency, Contacts, Control, Coping skills, Defenses, Feelings, Hitting bottom, Intervention, Judgment, Obsession, Powerlessness, Priorities, Relapse & prevention, Sponsorship, Step One, Steps of AA, Surrender, Survival roles, Therapy & treatment, Unmanageability, Withdrawal.

Updated 9 Sep 2015

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Addictionary 2 by Jan & Judy Wilson

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