The Five Stages of Addiction Recovery

Addiction affects millions of Americans every year and finding strength while under the grips of this illness is more challenging than many realize. Recovery is not just a slight adjustment, but a total change of your life. It takes strength, patience, and perseverance, but there are so many positives that come along with the path to recovery or sobriety! There are five stages of addiction recovery: awareness, consideration, exploring recovery, active recovery, maintenance!

1. Awareness

Often in this stage, addicts deny their substance addiction or abuse. Generally, they are completely unapproachable at this stage and unwilling to believe that they might have a substance abuse problem. Through rationalization, addicted people at this stage find no issue with their behaviors or dependency. Additionally, they will often become defensive when they are approached about getting help.

2. Consideration

During this stage, addicted people will become aware of the consequences that come along with recurrent substance abuse. They will spend time actively thinking about addiction and begin to recognize some of the symptoms in themselves. At this stage, introspection begins and more than likely, the addicted person is more willing to discuss seeking help. Because the addicted person is still weighing their options, research is key at this stage.

3. Exploring Recovery

Change begins at this stage. Addicted people go from the contemplation of pros and cons to making a decision to seek help. People make the choice to stop using their substance of choice and are willing to begin planning their next steps. At this stage, someone will begin compiling information about recovery programs, detoxing, and rehabilitation! Denial is officially over, but there is some residual anxiety that comes along with the excitement of making plans. Often, here, addicts make the choice to enter addiction treatment.

4. Active Recovery

Early recovery is a time that’s very important to the overall process. Addicted people learn to remain substance-free long term at this stage, but are quite vulnerable. Activities, people, and habits that were once important to them must be left in the past and often this proves it’s own challenge. In this stage, relapse is often common and particularly dangerous, because those in this stage lack the skills to prevent themselves from slipping back to their old ways completely.

5. Maintenance

Recovery takes strength, time, and dedication. Recovering addicts must take time to stay engaged in a positive community. They also must avoid all of the triggers that may send them into relapse. This support can be found in a group or individual therapy sessions. Here, those in recovery can have someone actively monitor their thoughts and behaviors, offer a support system, and stay aware of triggers and temptations.

In honor of #NationalRecoveryMonth, we honor those who are in the midst of their recovery process. No matter where you are along the road, there is strength in seeking treatment or getting on the road to recovery. Recovery, progress, and healing are not linear! Things happen; we have good days and bad days, so it’s important to remember not to let a misstep or momentary relapse keep you from seeking treatment. There is hope, there can be change. At Tigger House, we want to help you face all five stages of recovery and offer guidance and assistance every step of the way.