The 5 Stages of Recovering From Addiction

Stages of Recovering from addiction

The 5 Stages of Recovering From Addiction-

It is not easy for everyone to admit that they might need help, especially for people struggling with addiction. Understanding the warning signs and knowing when it is time to take steps towards recovery can be far more challenging than we would like it to be.

Addiction recovery is never a straightforward process. Successful rehabilitation is a long and tenuous journey that results in a person freeing themselves from their addiction problems. While the destination for everyone who traverses the journey may be the same, the journey itself can be different for every individual.

Addiction recovery never happens overnight. It is a long and deliberate process involving several stages that an addict must pass to become addiction-free.

Some people find it easier than others to transition through the different stages of recovering from addiction. Others have a more challenging time because their motivation to seek the necessary help can vary based on their particular situation.

Many people who know and understand that they are suffering and causing others difficulties because of their addiction can still find it difficult to garner the motivation and self-restraint necessary to take action. Occasionally, a person might be able to identify the need to make a drastic change – but that motivation can be fickle without the right support.

Understanding the stages of recovery can help you figure out how to adopt the right mindset to break free from addiction if you are struggling from addiction. If you have a loved one struggling with addiction, learning this information can be critical in giving you the tools you need to support them on their journey.

This post will encapsulate the five stages of recovering from addiction to help you understand what the process entails.

Understanding the Five Stages of Recovering From Addiction

Each stage of the recovery process describes the different aspects of recognizing the problem for what it is, admitting to the problem, preparing for treatment, and dealing with life beyond successful recovery.


The pre-contemplation stage is when a person with a substance abuse disorder does not yet recognize that there is a need for making a change in their life. During pre-contemplation, they might not even have the interest to seek help for their addiction. Many addicts in this addiction recovery stage rationalize their substance abuse and become defensive about it.

Some people in this stage might have an idea that there could be a problem, but they cannot identify its severity. They may continue to live in denial until the point that they cannot deny their addiction any more. Eventually, people in the pre-contemplation hit their lowest point and realize that they have a problem. Once that realization hits, they can move to the next stage.

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The contemplation stage comes right after a struggling addict hits rock bottom and is becoming aware of the consequences of their addiction problem. Unlike in the pre-contemplation stage, they may be more willing to discuss their addiction. That does not mean they will be too eager to take steps to make the change, but that is not a problem at this point.

An addict at this stage needs the motivation necessary to understand why it would benefit them to take appropriate actions to recover. They may be finding it hard to understand the root causes of the addiction and questioning how to move forward. This stage can take months for the person to figure out what actions they can take.

Some people continue their substance abuse during this stage but find little joy in it. Finding the motivation to make a change can help them feel more hopeful, and they might begin thinking more about sobriety. When the excitement and anxiety start becoming a norm, they are ready for the next stage of addiction recovery.


The preparation stage is when the struggling addict makes a firm decision that they need to make a change in their life. It is a critical stage in addiction recovery, and it may involve them promising to take the steps and making a plan to accomplish the change.

Many people trying to recover from addiction tend to attempt skipping the preparation stage and jumping directly into the action stage. Attempting to take action without the necessary preparation can set the person up for failure. It is necessary to explore options that they can consider to make the change and seek recovery methods that can suit their interests.

Once they give themselves time to think about how to approach the recovery, the next transition can be more streamlined, and they can move towards the action stage.


The action stage is where a person takes the physical steps towards their addiction recovery. This stage can involve a person changing their environment or certain behaviors to take concrete steps that begin their addiction recovery journey. All the hard work they put in during the preparation stage starts to come into play here, and it can often overlap with the preparation stage.

There are several methods that can help a person recover from their addiction. Many people choose to go to rehabilitation centers to seek inpatient care. This is often considered to be the most effective approach because a recovering addict has all the necessary help they need to detoxify from their substance and receive the medical care they might need to ease the process.

The withdrawal symptoms can have adverse effects on an individual suffering from substance abuse. It is critical that they can go through detox in a controlled setting where they can get medical attention if it is needed. In case of severe withdrawal symptoms, like with opioid addiction, treatment professionals at the inpatient care facility might use medication to reduce the symptoms and streamline the process to make it easier on the recovering addict.

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Maintaining Recovery

Successful addiction recovery is not a milestone that you reach and no longer need to worry about the past. Addiction is, unfortunately, a chronic illness. The most that an individual can do is overcome their substance abuse and equip themselves with the necessary tools to stay away from the addiction.

A person who reaches the maintenance stage has already made substantial efforts to recover from their addiction. They have the information and awareness they need to recover successfully, but they need to understand that recovery is an active and ongoing process that goes on for the rest of their life.

Having an adequate support system can make it seem less daunting. A proper aftercare plan for patients who are leaving an inpatient care facility for rehabilitation can increase their chances of successfully staying sober and enjoying a wholesome and happier life.

Seeking Professional Help

There is no doubt that the five stages of addiction recovery can seem complex and overwhelming, even after understanding them for what they are. Still, the good news is that they can work. If you are a recovering addict or know someone struggling to incorporate some or all of the steps, know that there is no shame in it.

The stages of recovery can simplify how to go about the process, but they do not necessarily simplify the journey itself. Many people stumble and relapse while they are on their journey to become addiction-free. Again, that is not something to be ashamed of and happens more often than you might think.

Fortunately, numerous programs are available to help people achieve their goal of living a sober and healthy life. Beat Addiction is a leading provider of specialized and medically-assisted treatment programs designed to help make the road to recovery a little easier. Consider contacting them and exploring the treatments they can offer to ensure that you or your loved one struggling from addiction does not relapse again and can enjoy a fuller and healthier life.

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