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The 5 Stages of Recovery: Everything You Need to Know

When you are struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, recovery can seem like an impossible task. However, the substance abuse recovery process is actually something that you can achieve once you know about the five stages of recovery. Through the stages of recovery, you will learn where to start with your recovery treatment options, and you will see just how far you can go.

1. Precontemplation

stages of alcohol recovery

Precontemplation is the earliest of all the stages of recovery. In this stage, you might begin to worry about your relationship with drugs and alcohol. You might find yourself wondering, “Do I have a problem using drugs? Am I drinking too much?” Ultimately, this is when your gut begins to tell you that something isn’t quite right.

However, in the precontemplation stage, most people aren’t ready to face the truth just yet. You might find yourself rationalizing drug or alcohol use in this stage by saying that you’re just having a drink to unwind after a stressful day, or that you feel you could stop using drugs at any point. You might even rationalize abusing prescription drugs because they were prescribed by a doctor, saying that you have a valid prescription, even if you’re going above the prescribed dosage.

Though this stage might be frustrating to you or to your loved ones who want you to get help right away, it’s important to go through precontemplation. Having a beginning awareness that you might need addiction help will take you to the next stage: contemplation.

2. Contemplation

In the contemplation stage, you have probably started to face some consequences as a result of your addiction. Addiction can have a ripple effect on your life and negatively impact anything from your physical wellbeing to your mental health and even to your personal relationships. Addiction can also harm your ability to make well-informed decisions, leaving you with financial hardship and potentially trouble with the law.


Contact us today to take your first step towards recovery.

This contemplation stage of recovery is challenging because you are starting to see that you seriously need help, but you might not have hit rock bottom yet. Rock bottom is something that many people who struggle with addiction describe as a necessary experience. For some people, rock bottom is losing their job or a cherished relationship. For others, there are more serious side effects. This is when you will begin to truly contemplate changing your life around through addiction recovery services.

3. Preparation

When you know that you need addiction help and that you can no longer go on living with the ups and downs of substance abuse, you begin to prepare for the next steps. To prepare, you might look at addiction centers near you. You might attend addiction meetings or drug and alcohol support groups. Alternatively, you might try to get sober by quitting cold turkey. However, this can be dangerous when your body is dependent on drugs or alcohol. Withdrawal symptoms are serious and often include:

  • Body aches
  • Hallucinations
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Vomiting
  • Dehydration

So, when you are preparing your first steps toward recovery, be sure to detox safely and with the right medical and mental health support behind you. Often, the best way to prepare for the stages of sobriety is to join a recovery program for drug or alcohol addiction. There, you will have the necessary treatment options to keep yourself safe as you go through the substance abuse recovery process.

4. Action

addiction meetings

Taking action involves participating in the programs and services that are essential to your recovery journey. During your time in a residential treatment program, for example, you would take action by going through the 12 step process in addition to attending individual and group therapies. Furthermore, inpatient and outpatient treatment programs will give you the opportunity to grow with unique services such as recreational therapy. The action stage of recovery might also involve addressing your mental health with dual diagnosis treatment.

One of the surprising elements of this stage, though, is that the actions you take aren’t always the best. In fact, it is during this stage of recovery that many people experience their first relapse by turning to drugs and alcohol once again. Relapse can feel discouraging, especially after the work you’ve put in to reach this point of recovery. But keep in mind that mistakes are part of the journey.

Relapsing is not the end of recovery. In reality, it’s often the beginning of a stronger, more dedicated march ahead. If you do experience relapse, you will have a better understanding of the challenges of recovery. From there, you will be more prepared to practice the next and final stage of recovery as you maintain sobriety through all of life’s challenges.

5. Maintenance

Maintenance of recovery is a life-long practice and something you will have to do no matter how long you’ve been sober. Through maintenance, you will be able to manage triggers, urges to use, and any other surprises that come your way. In this stage of recovery, you will be proactive rather than reactive. This means that you will work to make sure you remain healthy and practice recovery skills in order to prevent future relapses from occurring.

Something that can really help with this stage of recovery would be learning valuable life skills such as:

  • How to balance your budget
  • Keep a healthy lifestyle
  • Build a safe and supportive environment for yourself
  • How to best manage your time

All of these factors contribute to your ability to get and stay sober. This is why reaching this last stage of recovery is hard work but worth all of the effort.

Addiction Recovery Starts Now

No matter which stage of recovery you are in currently, you can continue to further your goals by getting addiction treatment at The Woods at Parkside in Ohio. For more information about the stages of recovery as well as your personalized recovery process, give us a call at 614-471-2552 or get answers to your questions by filling out a confidential form today.

It can be challenging to pinpoint exactly when substance use turns into an addiction. In many cases, addiction begins even before the mind and body become dependent on drugs or alcohol. Turning to these substances in times of emotional distress, thinking constantly about drugs and alcohol, and feeling withdrawal symptoms are all signs of addiction.

Category: Stages of Recovery

Substance abuse requires professional treatment that usually involves a safe detoxification process followed by other healing therapies. Most importantly, successful substance abuse treatment prepares you to deal with life after rehab by helping you build important skills that will keep you on the path toward recovery.

Category: Stages of Recovery

Though it might not seem true, relapse is part of the recovery process. For many people who go to rehab, relapsing into using drugs or alcohol is an experience that solidifies their desires to get sober. Of course, getting back on your feet after a relapse and preventing future relapses are also essential to the stages of recovery.

Category: Stages of Recovery
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Please note: For medical emergencies, please call 911. For other urgent matters, please call our admissions line (614) 471-2552. Submissions after-hours, weekends, or holidays may experience a longer response time.

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