It’s no secret that overcoming addiction is difficult. It’s often said that the hardest part of recovery is simply taking that first step. However, what comes after that? What does the journey to recovery look like? Take a look at the five stages of addiction recovery.

1. The Pre-contemplation Stage

The first stage of addiction recovery is known as pre-contemplation. A person has not yet admitted to themselves that they have a problem with substance abuse. They may be in denial or simply unable to see the reality of their situation. In some cases, individuals may only enter this stage after facing pressure from a loved one, a friend, or even an employer. 

Individuals in pre-contemplation often blame their substance use on outside factors instead of taking responsibility for their actions. At this point, they may become defensive and try to justify their behavior with excuses. Often, their underlying belief is that recovery is not possible. As a result, most people go through multiple failed attempts at different treatment options.

2. The Contemplation Stage

The contemplation stage is when an individual starts to accept that they might have a problem with substance abuse and need to change their life. The idea of leading a life without drugs or alcohol becomes appealing, and they may start to see the negative consequences of their addiction. 

However, they may still be undecided about seeking help and may not be ready to commit to recovery. They may still experiment with substances or continue old patterns of abuse. Contemplators may feel hopeless but still look forward to the potential for change. They may feel anxious about taking the next step once they are ready to change.

3. The Preparation Stage

The preparation stage of addiction recovery is when an individual strongly desires to change their behavior and commit to recovery. They may be excited about taking this big step and looking forward to the positive changes that sobriety will bring.

Individuals in this stage may try to recover independently without professional help but quickly realize that they need additional support to achieve their goals. They may also relapse into pre-contemplation and contemplation before returning to the preparation stage.

4. The Action Stage

The action stage of addiction recovery is when the individual is finally committed to making positive changes in their life. They follow prolonged periods of abstinence, during which they have had time to reflect on the damage their addiction has caused. In the action stage, real change will appear in multiple aspects of the individual’s lifestyle. 

Most people focus on self-care and self-understanding and often admit themselves to a rehab facility to detox and begin the process of recovery. The action stage also provides practical strategies for coping with triggers and stress. These coping mechanisms can help to prevent relapse and allow the individual to continue on the path to recovery.

5. The Maintenance Stage

The maintenance stage is when a person has completed the first four addiction recovery stages and several made lifestyle changes. In the Maintenance stage, they don’t feel the urge to relapse as frequently and have developed tools to deal with triggers and cravings. They attend therapy sessions and 12-step meetings, eat a healthy diet, and get regular exercise.

Although they are in a better place, continued healing must be a priority, and they should participate in aftercare programs. Aftercare programs help to keep addicts accountable and provide a support system. Relapse prevention is also key in the Maintenance stage.

If you or your loved one is going through the stages of addiction recovery, it’s important to have a support system. We offer faith-based recovery programs that can help you through this difficult time. Contact Adult & Teen Challenge Ohio today to learn more about our program and how we can help you or your loved one recover from addiction.