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What are the 5 Stages of Addiction Recovery?

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Addiction is a debilitating disease that affects millions of Americans each and every year, and overcoming this illness is much more complex than many people recognize. Each individual suffering from a form of substance abuse has unique needs. Thus, therefore, they require unique treatment as they go through the recovery process. Yet, most addicts are hesitant to begin treatment for fear of the unknown. They may wonder, what are the 5 stages of addiction recovery? Although addiction recovery can be a complex and unpredictable process for many recovering addicts, substance abuse experts have taken notice of trends, or stages, most people experience on their path to sobriety.

Every stage requires different strategies in order to effectively treat each individual. This has caused these stages to gain recognition among therapists. While there are five stages (Pre-Contemplation, Contemplation, Preparation, Action, and Maintenance), they can also be divided into early, middle, and late stages of recovery.

A client in the stage of contemplation is considered to be in an early recovery phase, meaning that strategies focusing on their immediate concerns should hold high priority. Some of these immediate concerns include curbing cravings, abstaining from substance abuse, and preventing relapse. Whereas, the priorities addressed in the later phases of recovery may focus more on rebuilding damaged relationships. Regardless of the stage of addiction recovery in question, it is vital that therapists recognize what stage each client is in, in order to help them rebuild their life effectively.

Five Stages of Addiction Recovery

1. Pre-Contemplation

Oftentimes, those in the precontemplation stage have yet to admit to themselves that they have a problem. They may be going through the motions due to pressure from legal trouble, a loved one, or even an employer, but they are still unaware of the severity of the situation. During this phase, addicts will typically avoid conversations about addiction or avoid those who bring them up.

Staging an intervention during the Precontemplation stage will likely be met with intense denial. Addicts in this stage usually blame their substance use on outside factors. These factors include a stressful job or home life and even genetic predispositions. This phase is often recalled as a very hopeless period in an addict’s life when they reflect back on it during recovery, many even remember it as rock bottom. Fortunately, these feelings usually lead to the next stage of recovery.

Addicts are free to move on to the Contemplation phase once they have recognized that they have a problem.

2. Contemplation

At this point, the addict has accepted they need to make changes, but they are not only struggling to understand the root cause of their addiction, but they are also unsure how to move forward. Choosing to seek help is a huge step.

It is easy for addicts to remain in this stage for months, as they begin to think about potential courses of action. Addicts may continue to abuse drugs or alcohol during this stage, but many have reported enjoying it less, even if they are using more. Contemplators usually have increased feelings of hopelessness accompanied by uplifting feelings when thinking about the potential for change. It is important for addicts to shift their focus on a future free from substance abuse, rather than lingering on past mistakes.

Simultaneous anxiety and excitement often manifest by the end of the contemplation stage. Once they get to this point they are ready for the next stage in recovery.

3. Preparation

Those who have reached the preparation stage are fueled by excitement, as they have made concrete plans for their recovery. These plans may be taking a pledge of abstinence or admitting themselves into a rehabilitation facility. Regardless, these people are preparing for a life without drugs and alcohol and they have more than just a vague idea as to how they are going to accomplish this. Just choosing a day, month, or even a year to focus on recovery helps addicts in the preparation stage move on to the next phase.

It is common for some to have to overcome feelings of ambivalence before progressing to the action stage. However, once they have committed to a plan of action, they are likely to move on smoothly. The experienced staff Restore Health and Wellness Center can guide addicts when they are looking to take the next step.

4. Action

This stage of addiction recovery is relatively self-explanatory. During the action phase, addicts begin the physical process of recovery, whether that be changing one’s surroundings or changing their behavior. In most cases, this involves beginning addiction recovery at an accredited rehabilitation facility. Finally making these necessary changes towards sobriety often builds an addict’s confidence, as they will feel a sense of accomplishment. This stage usually requires the most effort, but it is also one of the most important. The action stage is the foundation for long-term sobriety. Vulnerability is something common that most will experience during this phase. It is typically the first time addicts experience outsiders looking in. Fortunately, the feelings of satisfaction associated with the action stage prove that their efforts, and vulnerability, are more than worthwhile.

5. Maintenance

One of the most overlooked phases of recovery may be the maintenance stage. Recovery takes a great amount of time, inner strength, and dedication- it is a process, not a single event. At the close of the action phase, an addict must immediately move into maintenance. Once a recovering addict’s time in treatment ends they may return home. After the maintenance stage, they can now face situations that previously acted as triggers. Therefore, it is vital that they remain engaged in the sober community. Attending Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings, or residing in a sober living home are just some ways in which addicts can consistently maintain their sober status long term.

Restore Health and Wellness Center Can Help

A successful recovery from substance use and abuse takes a great deal of commitment and support. At Restore Health and Wellness Center, we dedicate ourselves to help people suffering from heavy substance use like drug abuse and alcohol abuse to transition through the stages of addiction recovery as smooth as possible. From taking your initial phone call to developing and implementing your individualized drug treatment regimen, we want to see you succeed through this recovery process.

Contact the professionals at Restore Health and Wellness Center today at (888) 979-4570 and finally take that next step and go through these stages of recovery. It may not be easy to purge yourself from substance use, but the rewards are infinite. Visit our addiction treatment center in Calabasas at 6918 Owensmouth Ave Canoga Park, CA 91303. 24/7 Admissions (818) 722-9019. On-Site Contact (818) 806-3914.


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