Stages of Addiction Recovery

When it comes to coping with addiction, there is a misconception that recovery is unachievable. This is not the case.

A study in 2020 revealed that three out of four people coping with addiction will eventually recover. In order for that to happen though, the majority of people will require intervention and action.

Addiction recovery is a process. It doesn’t happen overnight. But with the right support and treatment, anyone is capable of overcoming their addiction.

By understanding the 5 stages of addiction recovery, you can better prepare yourself or a loved one for the difficult journey ahead.

Read on to hear more about the addiction recovery journey and what to expect at each stage of the process.

Stages of Addiction Recovery

The addiction recovery journey is different for everyone. It typically begins when a major moment in someone’s life leads them to face their addiction. But there are five stages to recovery and each stage presents unique challenges and developments.

While some people may be able to make changes to their life in under a year, the majority of people will require more time to work through the stages and regain control and confidence over their life.

Addiction is powerful. It presents negative consequences and it can tear lives apart. It impacts the lives of others, including family and friends.

Although the road to recovery may be painful, it is important for everyone involved to remain patient. Avoid casting judgment or placing blame on the person coping with addiction. Instead, it’s best for everyone to remain as supportive as possible.

Addiction Awareness

The first step to recovery is awareness. This is the stage where someone becomes aware of their addiction.

Awareness is usually triggered by a crisis event where the addiction seriously impacts their life. It may cause others in the individual’s life to confront them about their addiction. But the person struggling with addiction is not ready for treatment at this point.

Instead, individuals will often become defensive or attempt to justify their behavior when confronted by family or friends. They will remain focused on the positive aspects of their addiction, including the way it makes them feel. They will avoid considering the negative impact it’s having on their life.

At this stage, many individuals have a lack of understanding of their addiction or addictive behaviors. They simply may not realize they have a problem. Others may feel hopeless because their attempts to kick their addiction have failed and they don’t believe they can recover.

But awareness is the first step to recovery.


The next step towards recovery is the contemplation stage. This stage is often highly emotional for those involved, as individuals begin to recognize and understand their addiction.

During this stage, individuals begin to recognize the damage their addiction is causing and how it’s impacted their life, or the lives of those around them. Someone may become open-minded to seeking treatment in the future.

This stage is very important for family and friends. It is an opportunity for intervention. Individuals will begin to understand the positive aspects of a life of sobriety.

Friends and family should try to guide the process and help the individual seek treatment. But it is crucial to avoid judgment. Instead, loved ones should remain supportive and compassionate through this process.

Preparation Stage

Next, individuals may begin preparing themselves for treatment. At this stage, someone may exhibit more urgency in seeking help.

Often individuals will make attempts to change their life for the better. They may start exercising frequently or start seeing a therapist. They may also give up their addiction for long periods, but will often fall back.

This stage may take some time and that’s okay. The longer someone prepares for a life of sobriety, the more invested they will be in their treatment.

Early Recovery

The next stage of addiction recovery is the early recovery stage. This stage is about action, self-care, and self-reflection.

At this point, an individual will make major changes to their life. It often requires a treatment program or large commitments like abstinence.

Usually, counseling is required, and often, rehabilitation. If someone gives up their addiction their body will go through a process of detoxification, which can be painful and challenging. This process is best handled under professional supervision in a medical setting.

Experts in a treatment facility can monitor detoxification and make a recovery addict feel more comfortable. Treatment centers may offer holistic treatments like yoga, meditation, exercise, and therapy.

It is important to find a treatment center where the individual feels comfortable and safe. For example, if you search “where is Standing Rock now” you will find an inclusive treatment facility with culturally-based addiction recovery for Native Americans.

Maintenance Stage for a Recovery Addict

The final stage of the addiction journey is the maintenance stage.

Although an individual may have been successful in treatment, once they leave treatment they will need to master triggers and cravings in the real world. It is important at this stage to take the teachings from treatment and apply them in life.

Having a great support network is crucial, whether it is family, friends, alumni from the facility, or a sober living house. It is important to connect with individuals who support their need for sobriety.

Individuals should create healthy habits to prevent relapse. This may include:

  • Sleep
  • Exercise
  • Social Activities
  • Support Group
  • Therapy
  • A Healthy Diet

This stage is a long process. Many will take years to regain confidence that they will not relapse. Eventually, they will create a life of stability and may even be able to help others struggling with addiction.

Recovery Is Possible

Although addiction recovery feels overwhelming, the majority of people can overcome substance abuse.

By working through the five steps to recovery discussed here, individuals dealing with addiction can regain control over their life.

For more helpful tips like this, visit the health section of our website.

Leave a Comment