The five stages of recovery are essential to understand to help you work through the recovery process. Think of these stages as your steps to success that will lead you to a substance-free life. Determine which stage you are currently in and plan how you can work your way up to the next step to further your recovery.

#1. Pre-contemplation

During this initial stage, individuals who engage in substance abuse often do not recognize that their behavior has become problematic. Even the individuals who do realize they have reached the point of addiction may not feel willing to change, to let go of old habits and create new ones to live a healthier life.     This phase can be one of the most difficult to overcome for some individuals, but it is essential to do so because admitting the problem is the first step of recovery.

The pre-contemplation stage can be frustrating for mental health professionals, especially if the client is not willing to accept the possibility of change. During this phase, treatment is focused on developing a level of trust and support. Most individuals are not ready to develop a treatment plan during this phase because they do not understand the severity of their addiction. Working to develop trust and learning about the signs of addiction can open an individual’s eyes to the possibility and necessity of recovery.

#2. Contemplation

During the contemplation stage, the individual who is struggling with substance abuse may not necessarily be ready to commit to recovery fully. However, they have a basic understanding of their involvement with substance abuse and the harm that it has caused. This stage can be easier to work from because an understanding is present.

Individuals in the contemplation stage are often fully aware of the potential consequences at hand but do not wish to fully contribute to the change. They may begin to contemplate recovering, but they do not believe in their ability, or they are unwilling to commit themselves to that process. The important work of this stage is to gain awareness of the consequences of their current habits and develop motivation for the recovery process.

#3. Preparation

The preparation stage begins once the individual moves past the fear restraining them from beginning treatment. This is when the preparation for treatment and full intention to recover come into play. During this phase, the individual may choose to attend meetings, increase their therapy, or work on ideas to implement into a recovery plan that they feel will benefit them.

This stage can make a huge difference in the potential success of your recovery. If you can develop a clear understanding of the effects the substance is taking on your lifestyle, you can work to create a plan that will equip and support you as you recover. While you may need to alter your plan a few times during the action stage, beginning the process with a specific plan can increase your chances of success.

#4. Action

The action stage begins when an individual begins working through their treatment plan, putting their motivation for recovery into practice. During this phase, you may implement new techniques as you discover what helps you the most as you actively work toward success. As you use different therapies, treatment approaches, and techniques, observe their effects on your addiction and recovery process so that you can move forward in the ways that work best for you.

This stage often has an increased likelihood of cravings and considerations of relapse. This is completely normal during this phase as your body begins to adjust to a sober lifestyle. Many individuals need extra support during this time to help them continue their success. Don’t be afraid to alter your plans during this phase or implement new techniques that you have not tried before. Experimenting with different recovery options can help you discover the most useful resources for your recovery.

#5. Maintenance

The maintenance stage is the most important for long-term recovery. This stage occurs as recovery habits begin to become a normal part of an individual’s lifestyle. Someone in the maintenance stage has incorporated practices that they will use throughout their life to continuously improve their lifestyle and ensure they remain sober long after treatment. One of the most critical things to address during this phase is the potential of relapses occurring. To combat this, individuals should develop the skills needed to resist relapsing if the opportunity presents itself. 

Individuals are usually fully engaged in the recovery process during this phase. This also can mean that an individual is recovered and is continuing to maintain their success. It is common for people in this stage to share their stories and positively influence others struggling in one of the prior stages of recovery.

Reaching the maintenance stage of the recovery process is considered to be a sign of success. Each stage is a stepping stone to recovery, but entering the maintenance phase is one of the main goals of the recovery process.

There are five common stages of recovery that most individuals go through to overcome an addiction. In the pre-contemplation stage, you may not understand the problems that are occurring due to the use of the problematic substance. The contemplation and preparation stages occur when you recognize the issue, consider the possibility of recovery, and then begin to develop a treatment plan. The action stage starts when you begin actively working toward lasting recovery. The maintenance stage is a huge point of recovery success and is anticipated to be the final stage if a relapse does not occur. Understanding these phases so that you can determine which one you are in can help you work through the process and reach the next step. To learn more about the five stages of addiction recovery and how they can help you, contact Dream Recovery today at (949) 732-1960.

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