Stages of Addiction Recovery

Addiction recovery guide in Columbus, Ohio.

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Many people develop addictions for countless reasons. However, some of the most common reasons include mental health issues or even peer pressure. As a result, no two addiction recovery journeys are the same.

While many people simply ignore the initial signs of addiction and file it away as a ‘phase of life,’ others recognize a problem and are quick to take action with professional help. It goes without saying that seeking help is often better than letting addiction negatively impact you or your loved one’s life. Unfortunately, an addiction to toxic substances such as drugs or alcohol, won’t release its hold so easily. So, it’s best to understand what the affected individual is going through, and the stages of addiction recovery they will experience when they begin their journey.

What is Addiction?

Substance use disorder, or SUD, is a complex condition in which an individual has uncontrolled use of a harmful substance without consequence. Those with SUD have developed a strong focus on using a specific substance such as alcohol, or illicit drugs. This habit can grow overwhelmingly strong and impair an individual’s ability to function in daily life. The most severe substance use disorders are called addictions.

Addiction usually begins with gateway drugs, i.e., introductory habit-building substances that can lead to drug dependency later in life. These substances are easily accessible and somewhat accepted by society, such as alcohol and marijuana. However, excessive use of gateway drugs is the first step towards substance addiction.

If you sense that someone close to you is on the path to addiction, it’s best to communicate your concern and initiate a conversation with that person. If they do not see the same signs you are, this communication could help to heighten their self-awareness. Early signs of addiction can be easily treatable, but if an addiction continues without being acknowledged, it can have a severe and negative effect on one’s life.

A girl thinking about rehabilitation while giving in to her addiction

5 Stages of Addiction Recovery

Addiction recovery is a complex and highly sensitive process. For an individual to have a successful recovery, they must be willing to put in the required effort, both mentally and physically. Forcing your loved one into an addiction recovery center often yields negative results. Moreover, the patient might be more likely to relapse after finishing their treatment if they had initially been forced into a recovery program by a friend or family member. According to American Addiction Centers, the relapse rate for substance use disorders is estimated to be between 40% and 60%. An excellent addiction recovery center creates a friendly environment and empathetically guides the patient throughout their recovery journey. Let’s delve deeper into the stages of drug addiction recovery to provide a better understanding of the rehabilitation process.

Drug Addiction Treatment Stage 1: Awareness

In the first stage of recovery, it’s likely that the individual does not realize they have an addiction. They may be in denial and highly resistant to any form of confrontation about it. Recovery from a substance addiction begins when the affected individual becomes aware that they have a problem.

In most cases, this self-awareness begins to take form after an individual has hit a very low point in their life. This moment is an impactful one where the addicted individual realizes that they need to end their substance dependency in order to live the life they desire.

Drug Addiction Treatment Stage 2: Consideration

In stage 2, the affected individual becomes aware of the severity of their addiction and starts to understand how it has affected his or her life. This consideration (or contemplative) stage occurs when the addicted individual begins making efforts to research and learn more about their situation.

By this point, he or she will begin seeing their addiction clearly and considering whether they are willing to change. By achieving the awareness stage and considering the necessary steps to sober living, the individual takes a small step towards addiction recovery.

Drug Addiction Treatment Stage 3: Exploring Recovery

Stage 3 includes making the decision to seek professional help and exploring addiction recovery treatment options. This decision prompts the necessary motivation within the patient to pull through and keep going, no matter how difficult the treatment may be.

This stage can also be referred to as the ‘preparation phase.’ Supporting your loved one during this stage strengthens their resolve and can help as they make their transition into an addiction recovery center such as an inpatient residential treatment program in Columbus.

Drug Addiction Treatment Stage 4: Early Recovery

Before addiction recovery can begin, patients must first stop using and start detoxing. During detox, patients release their bodies from the physical and psychological dependence on drugs and alcohol before the rehabilitation process begins. Unfortunately, physical and mental withdrawal can be the most challenging barrier to staying clean.

Here at Recovery Institute of Ohio in Columbus, we provide several levels of care through customized treatment programs dedicated to helping addicted individuals live a sober life on their terms. Each of our addiction treatment plans in Columbus, Ohio reduces the number of outside distractions and triggers so that individuals can focus on their sobriety and develop the tools they need to live a happy, healthy, substance-free life.

Drug Addiction Treatment Stage 5: Active Recovery and Maintenance

After the initial steps have been taken, actively maintaining sobriety and the journey through recovery is the last and final stage. This stage will help the patient create long-term goals. It will include building healthy relationships with people who do not drink or use drugs and participating in hobbies and activities that do not trigger a relapse. Overall, this stage in the addiction recovery process is about finding and strengthening areas of life that bring fulfillment.

A man smoking while sitting on a chair as he decides to attend addiction recovery treatment

Dealing With Early Stages of Recovery from Addiction – The First 90 Days

Relapse can occur anytime and anywhere. The first 90 days after recovery from addiction are typically the most challenging. During this period, the patient returns to their everyday life and are faced with their previous responsibilities, emotions, and fears that were muted by the substance addiction. Below are a few tips for creating a healthy life after addiction recovery treatment.
  1. Create a Structured Schedule for Sober Living

    At our addiction treatment center in Columbus and many other rehabilitation centers throughout the U.S., each day is structured into an organized routine for each patient. Maintaining a similar schedule for day-to-day activities and responsibilities after treatment can help significantly in preventing a relapse.
  2. Build Healthy Relationships

    Maintaining unhealthy or toxic relationships can be a huge factor when it comes to relapse while surrounding oneself with healthy-minded, down-to-earth people can provide a beneficial support system for long-term addiction recovery. If the individual finds it difficult to make new, sober friends, encourage your loved one to join a support group. Spending more time with a supportive community can also help them develop a more healthy lifestyle and avoid situations in which they would typically drink or abuse drugs.
  3. Learn the Triggers

    During the addiction recovery process, it’s important to know what factors may trigger a relapse and create healthy coping mechanisms to deal with them. Unfortunately, this can be very difficult as recovery begins when the affected individual has not yet developed methods to fend off urges and cravings. Simply put, the patient must find ways to avoid the people, places, and things that he or she associates with using. While it may be impossible to avoid all triggers entirely, the affected individual must recognize what those triggers are so that they know how to react and cope in a healthy way.
  4. Look for Relapse Warning Signs

    Relapses can be sneaky and can seem sudden when the warning signs aren’t recognized. Much like the addiction recovery process, relapse also has stages: emotional relapse, mental relapse, and physical relapse, and can start long before the actual substance is consumed. Some warning signs of relapse include:
    • – Irresponsible or compulsive behavior
    • – Falling back into addictive thinking patterns
    • – Seeking out unhealthy environments
    • – Overwhelming stress
    • – Reactivation of denial
  5. Understand PAWS

    Based on the type of addiction, post-acute withdrawal syndrome, or PAWS, can linger anywhere from 6 months to 2 years after detox. Some PAWS symptoms include anxiety, depression, irritability, and trouble sleeping. These symptoms can create a roadblock in long-term recovery if the affected individual doesn’t recognize them. If PAWS symptoms are severe, our team of licensed professionals is well-equipped to help the patient work through them and remain in addiction recovery without relapse.
  6. Practice Self-Care

    During the first 90 days after addiction recovery, patients may stray away from a healthy lifestyle, dedicating all of their thoughts and energy to maintaining sobriety instead. Keeping time with responsibilities and attending support group meetings takes effort and focus, but self-care is also essential in the healing process. By supporting one’s own emotional and spiritual needs without resorting to substance abuse, independence and a strong sense of self-love can blossom.

Stages of Addiction Recovery in Columbus, Ohio

Addiction recovery is a lifelong journey that is different for each individual, but with the right information, strong motivation, and a healthy environment, addiction recovery is far from impossible.

At Recovery Institute of Ohio, in Columbus Ohio, it is our mission to provide a safe, therapeutic environment for our clients and their families, emphasizing the utilization of the Twelve-Step program.

Our goal is to ensure that our clients have the highest quality of substance abuse treatment services while providing a safe surrounding.

Are You Ready to Start a Better Way of Life?

Reviewed by Jessica Kitchen

Jessica Kitchin is the Clinical Program Manager/Primary Therapist at Recovery Institute of Ohio. She received her Master’s Degree in Addiction Counseling from Grand Canyon University. Jessica believes that the best part of her job is knowing that she is apart of creating a safe, healthy, nonjudgmental environment where people can come and better their lives. "There is nothing more satisfying than helping others learn to live again and piece their lives back together as they become strong, productive members of society. Together, we can bring families back together and promote healing and wellbeing.

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