The Stages of Change Model of Overcoming Addiction

Your Care Team wants you to succeed, and is dedicated to supporting you in making the best decisions for yourself. As human beings, we are constantly undergoing changes, so our goals and alcohol recovery timeline will too. As time goes on, you and your therapist may decide to meet every other week instead of weekly. You and your physician may meet less frequently about your medication. Working with your Care Team will ensure your decisions are personalized and informed, and that you have resources at your fingertips whenever you need them. Many in the addiction arena, however, argue that alcohol addiction is a chronic disease that never completely goes away.

It is important to manage your expectations about the speed at which recovery will occur, giving yourself or your loved one the time they need to fully integrate into each stage. Accepting this and developing a community of support to encourage and guide recovery are key elements of making it ultimately successful and sustainable. It’s easier to walk down a difficult path eco sober house if you know where it leads. The recovery process takes time, effort, willpower and support, but the sober life at the end is worth it. However, it can be easy to get discouraged along the way, which is why addiction experts have created a model that can help you visualize a path to recovery. Alcoholism robs people of the most important relationships in their lives.

A person in the contemplation stage wants to get help, but has not made a concrete decision to do so. Recovery from alcohol addiction is a decision that requires deep commitment. Themodel of changedeveloped by psychologists James Prochaska and Carlo eco sober house complaints DiClemente breaks it down into six stages. Relationships with family and friends begin to deteriorate as the person’s focus shifts more toward drinking. The person then deals with the stress of these alcohol-induced problems by drinking more.

  • Some people linger in the pre-alcoholic stage for years and build their tolerance very slowly, and others may develop a noticeable jump in their tolerance within just a few months of taking up symptomatic drinking.
  • People in the throes of addiction are not capable of the best form of friendship.
  • Over time, however, the body builds a tolerance to alcohol, and a person may have to drink more and more to get the same feeling.
  • Helping a person recovering from an addiction can come down to helping them connect to treatment—if they’re not already doing so—and encouraging support groups like AA.

Relapse is a common feature of substance use disorders, and it is more the rule than the exception. In fact, 40 to 60 percent of people recovering from substance addiction relapse at some point according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse — but this doesn’t mean their treatment has failed. Engaging in subtle and sympathetic conversations and getting alcoholics to explore the pros and cons of their own behavior, for example, can help to lay the groundwork for the second stage of recovery. Treatment for addiction takes many forms and depends on the needs of the individual. In accordance with the American Society of Addiction Medicine, we offer information on outcome-oriented treatment that adheres to an established continuum of care. In this section, you will find information and resources related to evidence-based treatment models, counseling and therapy and payment and insurance options.

Rehab Programs

Data show that the programs are helpful for some but not for everyone. Everyone is different, and your history with alcohol, previous withdrawals, alcohol use disorder, or co-occurring mental or physical conditions will impact your plan. They may refer you to a substance use counselor or support group, prescribe certain medications to ease withdrawal, or offer community resources. In reality, the outcome of the process of change is highly individual. Some people are able to adjust to controlled drinking, drug use, or addictive behaviors without becoming addicted.

stages of alcohol recovery

Once people in the contemplation stage shift away from just thinking about their alcohol problem and begin focusing on a solution, they’ll move toward stage three of recovery. Contemplation can be an uncomfortable process, and feelings of guilt, shame, hopelessness and desperation are common as people reach this crossroads in their addiction journey. For example, they may say they are drinking a lot because they are stressed because of work. Or they could claim that it’s common to drink to relax and say that it’s no big deal. Our facilities across the U.S. offer a full continuum of care, custom treatment plans, and comprehensive discharge plans to aid in the success of your recovery.


Perhaps an unclear idea of recovery may come up, or thoughts about future sobriety, but nothing concrete. Committing to alcohol abstinence and recovery is a process, and it requires dedication. Damage and disease due to alcohol abuse become apparent during this stage as well. These attempts to control drinking may work at first, like drinking beer again instead of wine.

Cori’s key responsibilities include supervising financial operations, and daily financial reporting and account management. Cori’s goal is to ensure all patient’s needs are met in an accurate and timely manner. She is a Certified Recovery Residence Administrator with The Florida Certification Board and licensed Notary Public in the state of Florida. Acupuncture, yoga and a healthy diet are just a few things that can help you to create a lifelong habit of health and wellness that doesn’t cause you to reach for the bottle when things go awry. In order to do this, it is important to have a commitment to oneself. While a lot of people will try to get sober for family members, to keep their job or other external motivators, that doesn’t work in the long run.

You may even think you can control your addiction on your own without the help of an addiction treatment center. However, it’s important to remember why you entered treatment, as denial is the worst enemy of your recovery. When you’re dealing with drug or alcohol addiction, it’s easy to feel alone. However, there are approximately 23.5 million Americans addicted to drug or alcohol, while only 11% of those people attend treatment facilities. The largest percentage of those seekingtreatment– approximately 30% – are adults ages 24 to 29.

stages of alcohol recovery

It takes time to get used to life without an addiction, even if your support and alternative ways of coping are good. For many people, the action stage starts in a detox or treatment center. Here, trained professionals provide support through the early phases of discontinuing an addiction. Approximately 15 percent of those who relapse regress to the precontemplation stage, and approximately 85 percent return to the contemplation stage before progressing to the preparation and action stages. Most people recovering from addiction will cycle through the stages of change three or four times before completing the cycle without a slip. For many, the action stage is both physically and mentally taxing — and individuals at this stage face a risk of alcohol relapse.

Month 2-3: Positive Effects Are A Sign To Keep Going

We are dedicated to transforming the despair of addiction into a purposeful life of confidence, self-respect and happiness. We want to give recovering addicts the tools to return to the outside world completely substance-free and successful. The best way to handle a relapse is to take quick action to seek help, whether it’s intensifying support from family, friends, and peers or entering a treatment program.

Instead, you can clean your body, mind and soul from the toxic binds that keep you intoxicated even when you want to be sober. With substance addictions, thorough and thought-out preparation can be important to success. Contemplators typically benefit from non-judgmental information-giving and motivational approaches to encouraging change . And if today is as far ahead as you’re ready to look, that’s okay too.

The new coping mechanisms that they have learned about in the action phase will be practised regularly here as a person settles into a sober lifestyle. Though there still may be an urge to drink, generally people during this stage are able to manage it, and this urge is likely balanced by a newfound feeling of freedom. To the person struggling with alcohol addiction, it is no longer enough to consider treatment. The potential for attending a substance abuse treatment program is a true option. Alcoholics Anonymous or AA is the original recovery program that brought the world the 12 steps of recovery. It is recommended that alcohol abuse recovery take place at an inpatient facility in more serious cases.


The 12 steps are challenging for every anyone struggling with a substance use problem, no matter what their addiction. Going through the ways your addiction has taken away from your life and how it has impacted others may be painful. While working with a sponsor is expected during the steps, the best chance of recovery comes from a combination of efforts. Bear in mind that recovery is a lifelong process (but it does get easier!). Helping a person recovering from an addiction can come down to helping them connect to treatment—if they’re not already doing so—and encouraging support groups like AA.

Research and clinical experience have identified a number of factors that promote recovery. Another is reorienting the brain circuitry of desire—finding or rediscovering a passion or pursuit that gives meaning to life and furnishes personal goals that are capable of supplanting the desire for drugs. A third is establishing and maintaining a strong sense of connection to others; support helps people stay on track, and it helps retune the neural circuits of desire and goal-pursuit. Learning new coping skills for dealing with unpleasant feelings is another pillar of recovery. You may have heard before that “the first 30 days can be the hardest,” and experts tend to agree. During this time, the body and mind go through a substantial process of recovery.

Though it may seem counterintuitive, positive effects are signals to stay with treatment, and continue to utilize your tools. If medication is part of your treatment plan, reduced alcohol cravings and a greater sense of control are signs that it is working. In therapy, feeling better equipped in your daily life shows that your new skills are developing.

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