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What are the Stages of Addiction Recovery?

Addiction has a devastating impact on the lives of individuals and families. Treatment options offer hope for those with a substance use disorder. Addiction is a meaningful, life-changing process. Taking on addiction in stage, the stages of addiction recovery, can help rebuild a solid foundation for a sober lifestyle.

What are the Stages of Addiction Recovery?

Five stages of addiction recovery can lead people with a substance abuse disorder to a sober and healthy life. Individual treatment plans can combine evidence-based therapies with new holistic therapies that are successfully integrated. Addiction recovery demands the decision to get treatment, strong willpower, and support from family, friends, and group therapy. The five stages of addiction recovery are:

  1. The decision to stop using drugs or alcohol and accept treatment. (Some people consider this the “pre-contemplative” stage.)
  2. Initiating treatment through a professional alcohol and drug program (also considered the contemplative stage).
  3. Early abstinence through detoxification (also considered the preparation stage).
  4. Learning to maintain abstinence with treatment through the experience of the action stage completes treatment.
  5. Advanced recovery to prevent relapse and live a sober lifestyle

The First Stage

Contemplating a life that does not include using a substance begins the stages of addiction recovery. Initially, people stuck in addiction are defensive and continually justify their use of drugs or alcohol. This problematic stage involves conflicting emotions, feelings, and thoughts. Lacking the ability to have a clear view of their existence in addiction, they may have tried to quit before and failed.

The person stuck in this stage can not understand that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Still absorbed in physical and mental tug-of-war, the person longs for normality and sobriety. The stages of addiction recovery are implemented to address these fears and complex emotions. The critical concept to grasp in this stage is a seed has been planted, and there is hope.

The Second Stage

The decision to change is the key characteristic of this crucial stage of the recovery process. The stages of addiction recovery are laid out to take advantage of this decision immediately and move forward. Support from family and friends and solid advice from a professional treatment counselor guide their thinking into hoping for a positive outcome.  Somehow the person with a substance use disorder can put aside blame, judgments and accusations and listen to reason.

The stages of addiction recovery begin with complex conflicting thoughts, emotions, and feelings about the addictive substance. Ambivalence and denial are constantly fought in the first hours of rehab, with the help of professional therapists who can ease confusion. During this initial stage, the treatment plan is to keep the goal of sobriety at the forefront and encourage continual participation in recovery.

Assessment is initiated, an addiction history is taken, and the treatment plans are introduced to the patient. Exploration of the stages of addiction recovery includes pointing out the severe effects of addiction. Next, engaging the patient to embrace their decision to change can include looking at their feelings of denial. Finally, one can implement the plan, and treatment proceeds to the third stage.

The Third Stage

This complex and challenging stepping stone of sobriety includes detoxification from the substance and difficult withdrawal symptoms. This stage points to the importance of professional addiction treatment programs. Perhaps the turning point towards sobriety is the most intense of all the stages of addiction recovery; detox or early abstinence is the turning point toward sobriety. The following factors outline the challenges presented in the third stage of addiction recovery.

  • Identifying triggers and how to handle cravings
  • Withdrawal symptoms
  • Physicality of cravings
  • Psychological dependence

Acquiring coping skills during this phase is imperative. The positive and healthy coping skills learned during this challenging stage will carry the patient through recovery. Encouragement from the treatment team is paramount. Strategies learned in the stages of addiction recovery will be used throughout the first ninety days of recovery treatment.

  • Participating in healthy activities
  • Self-help group participation
  • Learning to recognize triggers as they occur
  • Healthy and positive behavior changes to turn to

The Fourth Stage

Moving out of treatment after ninety days is the action stage of maintaining abstinence. Some patients may have begun treatment involving detox and inpatient treatment during the first ninety days of sobriety. Others may have participated in an outpatient treatment program. The stages of addiction recovery have built the foundation for the newly sober patient to learn how to rely upon their freshly learned skills.

The coping skills learned in treatment help with the following lifestyle factors and avoiding relapse:

  • Avoiding substituting addictions
  • Building positive and healthy relationships
  • Living a drug-free lifestyle
  • Understanding and implementing occupational skills and money management
  • Processing emotions and feelings in a healthy manner
  • A healthy lifestyle, including nutrition and exercise

The Final Stage

Advanced recovery after five years sober includes living a satisfying and fulfilling life as a sober person. People in this stage can develop long-term goals. Therapies may subside, although it is always essential to consider continuation with group therapy. Successful integration of a happy and healthy life incorporates the stages of addiction recovery.

Find Help with the Stages of Addiction Recovery in Tennessee

Finding yourself in that initial stage of addiction recovery can be confusing and complicated. Freeman Recovery Center in Tennessee can guide those with substance use disorders in the initial stages of recovery. We understand how complex feelings and emotions can be during this process. Deciding to become sober is life-changing. We can help with the process. Contact us today.

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