When it comes to addiction recovery, it’s never too late. Looking for your guide to the five stages of recovery? Click here now!
In 2018, there were over 67,000 overdose deaths from both illicit drugs and prescription opioids in the United States.
The number of Americans who have died from overdoses steadily increased between 1999 and 2017 when it topped 70,000.
It’s reassuring to see that statistic drop even somewhat between 2017 and 2018, but that’s still far too many lives snuffed out because of drug use.
Are you struggling with addiction, or do you love someone whose life is spinning out of control thanks to substance abuse?
It’s important to educate yourself about the stages of recovery so that you don’t become a statistic. Read on to learn more.
The Five Stages of Recovery
Addiction is an intensely personal issue. As such, it’s difficult to predict the path a particular person will take as they pursue sobriety. However, many people’s journeys follow these five stages, at least roughly.
1. Awareness and Acknowledgement
It’s a cliché that no one can help an addict until they want that help. That’s what this stage is all about. During this stage, the individual begins to realize that they have a problem with drugs and/or alcohol.
The acknowledgment may come on the heels of serious consequences of substance abuse. These could be losing a job, experiencing a breakup, or being arrested. A health crisis or non-fatal overdose might be another wake-up call.
During this phase, the individual might begin to learn more about recovery, with an eye toward understanding addiction and quitting their drug of choice.
In this important stage, the person starts to think about how their addiction is affecting not just their own life but that of their family members and friends. They begin to think of the future beyond their next fix.
Now, a shift begins to occur. The addict may move from thinking about “what will happen if I continue using?” to “what could my life like if I were sober?”
Maybe they try, therefore, to cut back or impose limits on their drug use. There’s still an element of denial here — the addict will tell themselves they don’t have to stop using altogether. But they are moving in the right direction.
At some point during the exploration stage, they might begin looking into rehab and other routes to active recovery.
4. Early Recovery
In early recovery, addicts take a huge step. That’s when they take their last dose or drink. Some of them make a clean break by entering detox or rehab; others go cold turkey.
This phase is also characterized by huge risk and vulnerability. Many people relapse during the early days of sobriety. The process of recovery is painful and difficult, while the old life of using seems easy and pleasant in comparison.
5. Ongoing Recovery and Maintenance
Once the individual reaches this fifth and final stage, they have put in a tremendous amount of work on the issues that first led them to seek escape through substance abuse. They have also made enormous strides toward rebuilding their lives and repairing relationships with friends and family.
There is no such thing as a “recovered” addict, as recovery is a lifelong process. By now, however, it is often a lot easier to envision the remainder of one’s days without drugs or alcohol.
Are You Ready To Learn More?
Did you recognize yourself, or your loved one, in any of these stages of recovery? If you’re still in the earlier stages, that’s OK! Help is available when you’re ready to learn more or take that first step toward sobriety.
In the meantime, why not learn more by browsing the articles in our Health section?