The Five Stages of Addiction Recovery

Substance abuse or alcoholism can break families and make people who are successful and loving into miserable, lonely shells of their former selves. Despite the devastating effects, there is hope. A substance abuse treatment program can help anyone overcome addiction.

It is helpful for those suffering from addiction and their families to know the five stages. Each stage clearly explains the process of admitting to the problem, planning for addiction treatment, and dealing with everyday life after the treatment has ended. It’s a holistic theory that can be used with all evidence-based and holistic treatment options, such as the 12-step and behavior therapy.

The Five Stages to Change

Precontemplation to recovery from addiction is followed by contemplation, preparation, and action. Find out more about the different stages.

  1. Precontemplation Stage

People who are at the beginning stages of their addiction recovery are not yet ready for treatment. This stage is characterized by defensiveness and constant justification of their actions. The lack of insight into the adverse effects of excessive alcohol or drug consumption is evident. However, there’s a strong emphasis on the positive effects they have from using their drug choice.

Insufficient information about addictive behaviors could lead to someone remaining in this stage. One reason that people often remain in Precontemplation is that they are disappointed with their failed attempts at recovery. Most people who are in Precontemplation feel like they cannot recover. There are many stages that can be overcome.

  • Stage of Contemplation

The next phase consists of contemplative readiness. This means that they are ready to effect change in the near future, but not immediately. This stage is unlike the previous one. They are now aware of the benefits of becoming drug-free.

However, they are acutely aware that drug and alcohol addiction has many benefits. This is a crucial time for family members and treatment providers as it makes the person more likely to listen. It is possible to help them get to the next stage by avoiding judgment, blame, and accusations.

  • Preparation Stage

When it comes time to prepare, the individual is creating a sense of urgency about their desire for sobriety. They usually have taken actions to stop their addiction, such as joining a gym or seeing a counselor.

People going through this phase are expected to remain in their normal state for at least a day without resorting to drugs or alcohol abuse. However, it’s quite common to see them return to contemplation or even Precontemplation in the case of difficult emotions or triggers.

  • Action Stage

The action stage is when a person has made important changes in their life and is committed to making them better. This stage of the process is marked by prolonged periods of abstinence.

It won’t only be about stopping destructive behavior. The change will affect many aspects of their life. They will need counseling to maintain their self-understanding and self-care.

  • Maintenance Stage

The maintenance stage focuses on preventing addiction recovery relapse. They are continuing to implement the lifestyle changes they have made. These include regular exercise, recreational activity, staying sober, and paying attention to sleep hygiene.