Sober living

What Are The Stages Of Addiction Recovery?

They have begun to understand the reasons for their drug abuse, as well as how to overcome any negative influences in the future. While a very positive stage of addiction recovery, this period is also one of great risk. For those not yet in rehab, relapse is not uncommon during this stage. These individuals have not yet developed the skills needed to cope with negative emotions, pressures, and drug cravings. The first step is finding a reputable alcohol or other drug addiction treatment provider. You’ll want to find a rehab center that has medically-supervised detox capabilities so that you can comfortably and safely detox from alcohol. There are inpatient and outpatient options, but an addiction specialist should determine the best level of care for you based on your individual needs.

She is a Certified Recovery Residence Administrator with The Florida Certification Board and licensed Notary Public in the state of Florida. Whether you have been in treatment, attending outpatient services or white-knuckling it on your own, it is important to remain steadfast during this time. You can even find rehabilitation centers that have an organic and/or vegan menu to help their patients heal better. It mimics certain chemicals, GABA and glutamate, that the brain naturally produces and are required for proper functioning. The former causes people to relax while the latter is excitatory and makes them more active.

It attends less to the symptoms of drug and alcohol abuse and more to the psychology of relational interaction. As the recovering client’s mental, physical, and emotional capacities grow stronger, anger, sadness, terror, and grief may be expressed more appropriately. Clients need to use the group as a means of exploring their emotional and interpersonal world. They learn to differentiate, identify, name, tolerate, and communicate feelings. Cognitive—behavioral interventions can provide clients with specific tools to help modulate feelings and to become more confident in expressing and exploring them. Interpersonal process groups are particularly helpful in the middle stage of treatment, because the authentic relationships within the group enable clients to experience and integrate a wide range of emotions in a safe environment.

Adding movement as part of a daily routine can significantly improve a long-term recovery outlook. Whether it is walking, hiking, doing yoga, or lifting weights, exercise can help a person feel good about his or her body. Exercise also reduces boredom, which is a common trigger for a relapse. A controversial approach to promotion of behavioral change through love or affectionate concern expressed in a stern or unsentimental manner . A derisory term describing a member of a 12-step program who makes romantic advances toward new, or newer, members of those organizations, who typically have less than one year of recovery. A term used synonymously with “addiction” but sometimes also used to distinguish physiological dependence from the syndrome of addiction/substance use disorder.

At the preparation stage, alcoholics have decided to make a change, and they are planning to take meaningful steps toward recovery in the near future. It’s a disease that typically develops gradually over time as a person drinks more and more regularly, which causes chemical changes to occur in the brain. It stands to reason that alcohol recovery is also a gradual process with no set timeline. 95,000 people die a year of Alcohol related deaths in the United States. This statistic underscores the reality that our drinking habits should be of concern to all of us. It is important that we take an honest and unbiased look at our behaviors and symptoms so that we can assess our need for assistance as we seek to live healthy and meaningful lives. Those who are physically dependent on alcohol experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop drinking.

Finding Treatment

However, the most common attempts to alter drinking patterns involve things like switching brands or trying to scale back from liquor to beer or wine. This means the person is ready to bring about change in the future, but not immediately. Unlike the previous stage, they’re aware of the pros of becoming drug-free. Continuing therapy in both a group and individual setting strengthens life improvements, and the recovering alcoholic recognizes a new, enlightened way of living. In the action stage, people have chosen an approach to sobriety and they’re executing it. While it may be tempting to rush into recovery at this point, experts actually caution against this sort of sudden action. In their book “Changing for Good,” psychologists James Prochaska, John Norcross and Carlo DiClemente warn that those who “cut short the preparation stage” are more likely to fail.

Dependency, addiction, insomnia, nightmares, liver damage, and seizures. A substance that activates a receptor to produce a biological response.

  • There are several “disease models,” but addiction is widely considered a complex disease with biological, neurobiological, genetic, and environmental influences among clinical scientists.
  • We take a comforting approach to healing those who are struggling with addiction.
  • Some common signs and symptoms of cirrhosis include fatigue, itchy skin, weight loss, nausea, yellow eyes and skin, abdominal pain and swelling or bruising.
  • You will also find information on spotting the signs and symptoms of substance use and hotlines for immediate assistance.
  • Encephalopathy typically precedes Korsakoff’s Psychosis and can be prevented via administration of vitamin B-1 ; if missed, onset results in permanent neurological damage.

If you have ever known someone who is drinking while they are at work, they were in the middle stage of Alcohol Use Disorder. The middle stage is characterized by alcohol use that starts to seriously affect a person’s daily life. Someone in this early stage has discovered that they enjoy the feeling of becoming intoxicated as quickly as possible. It is usually during early abstinence that you are taught by a trained addiction counselor about the coping skills that you will need in order to start leading a sober lifestyle.

Leadership In Middle

Establishing a support system while also supporting and believing in oneself is crucial to this stage of recovery. This stage is about catching up with recovery and a healthy lifestyle. Physical cravings can last up to a few weeks, depending on the drug used. Poor self-care, wanting to use one last time, and struggling with accepting there is an addiction are all risks to recovery from SUD. Significant changes, such as quitting a job or ending a relationship, should be avoided for the first year until one gains a better perspective and obtains a clearer picture of oneself.

Our liver filters out harmful substances, cleans our blood, stores energy and aids in digestion. Too much alcohol can be toxic to liver cells, causing dehydration and permanent scarring—which ultimately affects the blood flow. With excessive alcohol consumption, this important organ can’t metabolize Vitamin D, which could develop into a deficiency. Some common signs and symptoms of cirrhosis include fatigue, itchy skin, weight loss, nausea, yellow eyes and skin, abdominal pain and swelling or bruising. This model was developed in 1977 by James Prochaska and Carlo DiClemente. It lays out a multi-step plan to change general human behavior and has been applied to fields of substance abuse, alcohol addiction, weight loss, and general lifestyle habits. People in the action stage are motivated to succeed and have found the support they need to do so.

Visiting a therapist at least once a month, for example, will help keep a person stable in sobriety. In theory, it’s the point at which the person can confidently say they have conquered their addiction. They are fully sober, have no cravings for alcohol and do not have a significant risk of relapse. Failed attempts to rein in drinking deepen the shame spiral, and cause people to begin interacting with alcohol in ways anyone could recognize as unhealthy.


It’s more common for people to move back and forth through the stages of change as they tackle addiction. Some people who achieve long-term sobriety continue to display the same impulsive and dysfunctional behaviors that they did when they were drinking. Because dry drunks have a high risk of relapse, they are not in the termination phase. A better bet is to use this time to develop a detailed action plan and identify strategies that will help them conquer their alcohol addiction. This might include examining the sort of lifestyle changes they’ll need to make or researching types of treatment and treatment facilities. This is a good time for setting goals — an activity that helps to strengthen their commitment to change.

They don’t feel the urge to relapse as frequently as people in the action stage, so their confidence grows and they truly believe in their ability to maintain sobriety long term. People who are in the first stage of addiction recovery aren’t yet ready for any addiction treatment program.

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Immediate, short-term medically managed or monitored care, lasting up to 31 days in length. Most addiction treatment programs (e.g., “rehab”) follow an acute care model. Understanding substance use disorder to be a chronic illness, recovery may require ongoing continuing care beyond acute treatment episodes. As in the early and middle stages, the leader helps group members sustain abstinence and makes sure the group provides enough support and gratification to prevent acting out and premature termination. While early- and middle-stage interventions strive to reduce or modulate affect, late-stage interventions permit more intense exchanges. Thus, in late treatment, clients no longer are cautioned against feeling too much. The leader allows clients to experience enough anxiety and frustration to bring out destructive and maladaptive characterological patterns and coping styles.

alcoholic recovery stages

While recovery from alcoholism can take weeks, months or even years, most people progress through six stages of change as they overcome an alcohol addiction. Understanding these stages, first described in the 1970s by psychologists James Prochaska and Carlo DiClemente, can help you better understand where you or someone you know is at in the recovery journey and what alcoholic recovery stages might be standing in the way. The first stage is called the pre alcoholic stage and this is a stage where a person starts or expands the amount that they drink. It is important to remember that people at this stage are not drinking with the goal of developing Alcohol Use Disorder. Likely they are in search of some relief from one of the many stressors of life.

Stages Of Alcohol Recovery

Alcohol use disorder is a common medical problem affecting over 250 million people worldwide. Acupuncture has risen as a popular alternative therapy and effective treatment for AUD. Studies suggest acupuncture can effectively reduce alcohol intake, reduce…

We take a comforting approach to healing those who are struggling with addiction. Treating our patients like people has made us the best place to get the right treatment. The pre alcoholic stage, early alcoholic stage, and middle alcoholic stage could be considered steps on the path to Alcohol Use Disorder. During these stages many people are able to attend to their relationships and responsibilities, but those who are on this path will become increasingly unable to live happy and fulfilling lives.

  • This chapter describes the characteristics of the early, middle, and late stages of treatment.
  • Individuals with a psychological dependence to alcohol will continue to drink even though they may see the damage that alcohol is having on their body, relationships, job, etc.
  • In the maintenance stage, the client learns to successfully avoid triggers and other temptations that would lead back to active addiction.
  • A person in the contemplation stage wants to get help, but has not made a concrete decision to do so.
  • Businesses that help solve social problems, improve communities, people’s life chances, or environment.

A potent opioid synthetically produced in laboratories, that activates the reward centers of the brain to produce sensations of euphoria and provide pain relief. Fentanyl is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine, and is available in legal prescription form, and increasingly, in illegal illicit forms. A mutual-help organization or peer support group for people who have been affected by a loved one’s alcohol use disorder.

However, it is likely that you will still have some emotional issues to deal with. Now that you have a month under your belt, the next two will be a bit easier.

Middle Alcoholic Phase

The alcoholic is sober and has no cravings for alcohol, and there is no threat of relapse. For many alcoholics, the first step of this stage involves going through a detoxification, or alcohol detox, process. Because alcohol withdrawal can be life-threatening, detoxing in a medically managed environment is advisable. End-Stage Alcoholism is characterized by a person putting alcohol consumption above all else.

Continuing to drink even if it is causing depression or anxiety, adding to another health problem, or after blacking out. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

At this point in your recovery, you will use all the skills you have learned during the treatment program so that you can lead sober, satisfying and fulfilling life. In fact, studies have shown that the post-acute withdrawal symptoms from some drugs and alcohol abuse can last for months or years. This is one reason why long-term support is crucial to long-term recovery. When a person has started to overcome their addiction and regain their health, they enter a state of remission. Recovery begins when a person voluntarily incorporates the positive behavior they learned during their treatment program into their lives.

The preparation stage takes a person from “I should” to “I will.” Loose timelines tighten up, and the prospect of entering treatment becomes real. People in this stage benefit from opening up to friends and family about their decision to seek treatment, as it fosters accountability and helps with follow-through. People in the preparation stage are usually still drinking, but actively planning to stop with treatment. They should prepare a detailed plan of action to improve the chances of successfully entering treatment.