Understanding the Five Stages of Addiction Recovery

Addiction Recovery

Alcohol and drug abuse are devastating because they not only affect the individual but also the people around them. The good news is that anyone can overcome addiction if they receive the right help and guidance. Those on this path typically undergo the five stages of recovery. Knowing what they are is important for the individual so they know where they are on their journey, and the people around them know when to step in.


People in this stage are not ready for any treatments and are often in denial of and defensive about their behaviors. They may also not be aware of the negative effects of their alcohol or drug abuse, instead choosing to focus on the positive effects of using them.

Many people who remain at the precontemplation stage for prolonged periods do so due to a lack of information. They may also get stuck due to multiple failed attempts at recovery and with different treatment options.


At the contemplation stage, the individual knows they should change their life, habits, and behaviors, but they are not ready to do so immediately. They are also often aware of the positive effects of being alcohol and drug-free but do not feel they need to take any action yet.

It is easier for family members to talk to their loved ones about their addiction and treatment programs at this stage. Because they understand the pros and cons of alcohol and drug abuse, they are more likely to be convinced to start recovery.


In the preparation stage, an individual will likely have taken steps to change their lives but will have not yet invested completely in their recovery. They may join a gym, see a counselor, or attempt recovery by themselves. They can also go a few days without consuming alcohol or using drugs but can go back to the previous two stages if they experience difficulty or encounter a trigger.

Taking Action

During this stage, the person makes significant changes to their lives. They are also committed to taking whatever action is required to beat their addiction. It becomes much easier to convince a loved one to join a 90 day rehab treatment program because they understand the dangers of not continuing on this recovery journey.

The individual can also undergo prolonged periods of sobriety and abstinence, with treatment centers being particularly helpful with this. They are also likely to be self-aware enough to seek the help they need before or after a relapse.

It is also common to see changes in multiple areas of a person’s life. However, regular counseling and support are often required to keep them on the right path.


Addiction recovery does not end with completing a treatment program; it is a lifetime journey. The most important thing is to avoid relapses. Individuals typically make significant changes to their lives and circumstances, engage in self-care, seek regular support, and generally try to live full, sober lives.

The maintenance stage can last anywhere from six months to five years, so it is best to be prepared to commit at least two years before the urge to relapse and go back to addictive behaviors reduces significantly.

Understanding addiction, the road to recovery, and the different stages of recovery is important for individuals, their loved ones, and the professionals helping with their recovery. Even though these stages are not rigid and can change depending on the individual, they can be great indicators of what they need and how those around them can help.

Sanket Goyal

Sanket has been in digital marketing for 8 years. He has worked with various MNCs and brands, helping them grow their online presence.

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