The Stages of Recovery and What to Expect

Stages of Recovery

If you decide that your drug or alcohol abuse issue needs help, take a moment to celebrate because you’re on your way to the first few steps to recovery. When it comes to drug or alcohol abuse, the road to recovery is a long and hard process. This entails a level of dedication to the process.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse cited 4 stages of treatment for addiction. Whether it’s drugs or alcohol, the treatment process works the same. Since then, recovery systems evolved further.

Understanding the stages of recovery is crucial. When it comes to the first year of sobriety, what to expect is a test of determination.

In this guide, we’ll talk about the stages of addiction recovery. What should you see in yourself as a behavior recovering addict? Do these apply as alcoholic recovery stages as well?

Let’s find out:

Understanding The 4 Stages of Addiction Treatment

Let’s set things straight first. Rehab for the first time gives you insight. It lets you peek into what you can expect about your stages of addiction therapy.

Every clinic has a multi-step program. They take advantage of the prescribed basics for a behavior recovering addict. Even then, recovery from either drug addiction or alcoholism is different for everyone.

On the first year of sobriety, what to expect changes from person to person. Getting a treatment tailored to your needs is one thing, but there are other factors to consider for your stages of addiction recovery.

We need to first understand the 4 stages of addiction treatment. This is regardless of whether it’s alcoholic recovery stages or substance abuse recovery. They are:

  • Treatment initiation
  • Early abstinence
  • Maintaining abstinence
  • Advanced recovery

Every one of these stages needs a certain degree of commitment from your side. Whether it’s a support network, psychological, physical or emotional, you need something that can help you function.

You would need to understand that functioning in many areas is not abstinence. With that said, here’s what you can expect at the stages of addiction recovery.

1. Treatment Initiation

Treatment initiation denotes that you know you have a problem. You know that you need help. Reaching out for the help you need is vital to your recovery.

A recovering addict would first feel conflicting feelings about their choices. The earliest alcoholic recovery stages and drug treatments are about knowing your issues. Whatever substance you’re an addict of, you’ll likely have denial and second thoughts.

If you’re going to a professional to work on your stages of addiction, here’s what needs to happen. The job of the counselor is to find out if you have any doubts or denials about your problem.

Doubts and Second Thoughts

When it comes to doubts, many alcoholics and even drug addicts will have second thoughts. They won’t give up their substance of choice.

In your first year of sobriety, what to expect is a vehement refusal. You might be unable to see a life without your alcohol or drugs.

Are you experiencing any repercussions from your drug or alcohol abuse? Many people who push for rehab and professional guidance may experience ill effects. The bad side of their addiction will be painful before deciding to seek help.

Addicts tend to be that way because:

  • It’s a coping mechanism for a major stressor
  • Addiction gives them a source of joy
  • They’re unhappy and need escapism
  • People keep telling them

At the end of the day, it’s crucial for your medical professional to find what doubts you may have. Figuring out the reasons why you have them, your goals and your support system will help. Your goal is to gear your stages of addiction recovery towards positivity in your life.

Acknowledging Denial

With doubts come denial. Not acknowledging you have a problem or the full extent of your problem is harmful. People in the early alcoholic recovery stages tend to deny a few aspects of their addiction. Many of these include:

  • That you have an addiction
  • That you’re unlike other addicts
  • That moving to another substance is harmful
  • That support systems don’t work
  • That enablers in your life are not harmful

When in denial, a behavior recovering addict should talk to a certified professional. Try to get a positive confrontation.

A therapist should provide you a challenge. It should question your motivations, enough to change your mind.

In your first year of sobriety, what to expect is counsel. You need it to remind you of the consequence of your addiction. They need to help provide the truth, no matter how cold it can be.

2. Early Abstinence

Many people have the worst problems with their stages of addiction therapy during early abstinence from alcohol and drugs. It’s tough to leave a life that you lived for a while. Even then, staying clean and living a sober life is a struggle you must endure.

In early abstinence, it’s best to work with medical professionals. They are the ones who will help you with your drug abuse and alcoholic recovery stages. From counselors to physicians to social workers, these people can help.

Professionals will help deal with the medical and psychological aspects of addiction. During the first year of sobriety, what to expect is the identification of many of your problems.

Doctors can help you curb triggers, cravings, and help prevent possible relapses.

Your Behaviors With Temptations

In the first stages of addiction recovery, positive behaviors are crucial. Being an addict means you have chemical dependence on the substance. They will find ways to identify other underlying issues.

Your counselor will help educate you with risks, dangers and more healthy choices you can do. They will also inform you of possible triggers that may put you into relapse. To a behavior recovering addict, these might be people, things, places or enablers.

Medical professionals and your caseworker will help you develop ways to deal with risky situations, especially when someone offers you your substance of choice.

Keeping A Full Schedule

Many people in the early stages of addiction rehab would need to find ways to fill their time. As drugs or alcohol took most of your time, other activities are crucial to keeping your sobriety. The void in your time needs to have a structured schedule to prevent you from a possible relapse.

As with the order and structure of managing your time, it’s also vital to control your cravings. While not everyone craves on your first year of sobriety, what to expect is a bad idea every now and then. Craving is a strong urge that can be painful on the physical and psychological state of things.

Working with your counselor to understand your cravings can also prevent a relapse. They will teach you how to deal with the craving. You’ll learn what choices you have and how to stop yourself from self-destructing.

The longer you stay abstinent, the less your cravings are. The fewer cravings, the better you become in your drug and alcohol recovery stages.

There’s also dealing with social pressures. In the early stages of addiction recovery, counselors will ask you to avoid your friends. In particular, those who have the same addictions and enabling behaviors.

If you can, participate in support groups and find new friends who will not enable you at all.

3. Maintenance of Abstinence

Once you’ve been clean for 90 days or more, you enter the third stage for a behavior recovering addict. The third stage is the maintenance of abstinence, and it’s pretty self-explanatory. The work that you’ve put in early abstinence will get its biggest test during this period.

During this time, you’re likely out of the treatment facility and in the real world. Maintaining your recovery is 100% up to you. Your counselor and support group may help, but your choices are yours alone.

You need to understand that keeping sober now will be a big hurdle. Furnishing all the support you can get from counselors is valuable. Also, support groups can help you push through the temptations.

Protecting Yourself From Relapse

The first thing you should remember is to be active against a possible relapse. Many people in these middle stages of addiction treatment let their guard down. They do their original habits, only to find temptations everywhere.

Continue your counseling sessions to prevent the chances of a relapse. Keep participating in support groups as well. Keeping a positive attitude on your progress is essential in the prevention of a relapse.

If you’re starting to pick up a drink or a drug here and there, that is not a relapse per se. A relapse is a process, pushing you down with a negative attitude towards how you deal with life. If you start picking up on old habits, talk to your counselor as soon as possible.

You would want help in developing a plan to curb a possible relapse. They will help you understand the intricacies of your life. In the first year of sobriety, what to expect are challenges that can push your recovery back.

Where you can, develop a healthy lifestyle. It will help cope with relapses in your drug and alcohol recovery stages.

Ask for help from your medical professionals. Ask them to set you up with behavioral changes that can combat relapses.

4. Advanced Recovery

The last of the stages of addiction recovery, which we call Advanced Recovery.

This signifies that you’re giving the right level of commitment to your treatment. This is leading to a healthier, more sober lifestyle. Often, this is achievable only years after long-term maintenance of abstinence.

Professional detox programs tend to help you during this phase. They give you emotional and behavioral support essential for a good life. Having healthier, more productive decisions in life leads towards sustained sobriety and self-control.

Recovery is a lifestyle of self-control, sobriety, good physical and mental health and socialization. Further recovery means giving back to your community. This works together with the pursuance of social and family roles as well.

Independence and Agency

When you’re in the advanced stages of addiction recovery, the goal is independence. You want to be accountable for who you are and your personal responsibilities. At this point, you might want to end your counseling or cut it down to a visit or two a year.

Your counselor should be preparing to terminate your treatment sessions to give you a complete agency. You can work with them to create steps that will help you have better goals. If you’ve come this far, this means you’re doing great.

If you want to keep abreast with your mental health, follow-up booster sessions are also available. These sessions are there to improve your support system further and provide good feedback if you’re unsure of your decisions.

Remember that even if you are sober for a long time, chances are you’re a slip away from a relapse. Support groups can be essential at this point in time.

Value of Support Groups

Unless you are doing well on socialization, you’re likely in a support group. Support group members can help you steer straight into the right direction as a behavior recovering addict. If you’re having a hard time keeping up the discipline, a support group can help.

Support groups need your accountability. It needs you to be consistent on showing up every session, telling them you are not taking alcohol or drugs. They will keep your sobriety in check, as much as you support theirs.

Staying clean and sober does not have to happen when you’re alone. With the right people, you can keep sober while being accountable for other people as well. A support group is the best way to do so.

Your Stages of Recovery From Addiction Mean Everything

Addiction and alcohol treatment is a long way. It needs utter discipline, self-respect and much attention from medical professionals. Understanding the different stages of recovery can help keep you on track to a better, more sober future.

If you’re looking for alcoholic or drug treatment support or professionals for you or your loved one, you need a name you can trust. You need Coastal Detox.

We are Florida’s most comfortable drug and alcohol detox center. Boasting holistic therapy, mental health support, and counseling, you can take the pain away from your withdrawal.

Get a better life now. Talk to us at Coastal Detox and live a new life of sobriety and good health.

References

Article Reviewed by Jacklyn Steward

Jacklyn StewardJacklyn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) and an EMDR trained trauma therapy specialist with over 6 years of experience in the field of addiction. She has a Masters Degree in Mental Health and Substance Abuse Counseling from Nova Southeastern University.