5 Stages of Recovery from Addiction

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5 Stages of Recovery from Addiction

Recovering from substance abuse can be a complex process.  Each person has different issues and unique needs that need to be addressed.  For that reason, trying to apply a one-size-fits all approach to treating addiction may be ineffective for many individuals.

To ensure lasting recovery, rehabilitation programs must be flexible enough to adapt to the five stages of recovery with an individualized program.

What are the 5 Stages of Recovery?

Each of the stages of recovery requires a different strategy in order to treat each person effectively.  The stages of recovery are as follows:

  1. Pre-contemplation
  2. Contemplation
  3. Preparation
  4. Action
  5. Maintenance

Now, let’s expand on these a little more to better understand why it’s imperative that treatment providers recognize which stage a person is in when entering the facility for treatment.

Stage 1:  Pre-Contemplation

Individuals in this stage have yet to admit that they have a problem and need help.  The person may not be aware of the severity of their addiction.  Some will avoid conversations about the drug use and will avoid anyone who they feel would bring up the subject.

This stage is also referred to as “denial.”  For instance, the individual often blames outside sources for their drug use such as stressful jobs, home life or genetics.  Rarely do they accept full responsibility for their behavior.  Once the person recognizes and admits he or she has a problem, they may move to the next stage.

Stage 2:  Contemplation

When a person accepts they need to make changes, they are often unsure about how to move forward.  They often remain in this stage for months while contemplating different courses of action.  In most cases, they continue using their drug of choice during this stage.  It’s not unusual for the individual to develop feelings of helplessness while also looking forward to the changes.

Stage 3: Preparation

People in this stage often feel excited about the plans they’ve made for their recovery.  They feel a sense of accomplishment about having made a decision that will improve their lives.  This commitment will help them overcome feelings of ambivalence before moving toward the next stage.

Stage #4: Action

This is the time when the individual begins the physical aspect of recovery.  They make changes such as finding a better environment or changing some of their behaviors.  It can also include beginning treatment at a professional treatment facility.

During this stage, the individual is establishing a foundation for long-term sobriety.  However, the person may feel vulnerable and have trouble adjusting to having others know about their problem.

Stage #5:  Maintenance

This stage may be one of the most difficult stages of recovery.  At the end of the treatment program, the individual must go out into the world and try to apply what they learned during rehab.  They will face triggers and difficult situations that can lead to relapse.  However, with determination, dedication, and support, they can succeed in remaining sober.

During the maintenance stage, it’s important that a person become involved with an aftercare program or support group where they can interact and gain strength from others who are going through the same things.

Let A Forever Recovery Help You Overcome Addiction

If you are struggling in one of early stages of recovery, contact us at A Forever Recovery.  One of our experts will be happy to conduct a confidential evaluation and help you create a recovery plan that is right for your individual needs.

We offer a comprehensive, evidence-based approach to treatment that will help you enjoy long-term addiction recovery.

Call now at our toll-free number to get started on your new life.



ncbi.nlm.nih.gov – The Stages of Treatment

dualdiagnosis.org – The 5 Stages of Addiction Recovery and Why They are Important

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