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What to Expect Through the Stages of Addiction Recovery?

Addiction recovery is not a linear process. Since addiction is a chronic condition, addiction recovery follows several stages. The first is pre-contemplation, where the person does not recognize a problem with their substance use disorder. Through contemplation and preparation, the person grows closer to realizing that they have a problem. Then, after gathering information and support from others, they begin their journey through action and maintenance.

One thing to remember is anyone can recover.

The Importance of Knowing the 5 Stages of Addiction Recovery

When entering recovery, a teen may have to deal with cravings, irritability, and other uncomfortable symptoms. It makes it difficult to see the value of treatment or imagine a life free from drugs and alcohol. By understanding the five stages of addiction recovery, your teen can help empower themselves to get through the early stages of sobriety. Ultimately, knowledge about the five stages of addiction recovery can help you intervene at the right time to help a loved one who is abusing substances.

Addiction affects brain chemistry and wreaks havoc on the body, but your teen and family can recover with treatment.

The 5 Stages of Addiction Recovery

The five stages of addiction recovery are pre-contemplation, contemplation, action, maintenance, and relapse. An individual recovering from SUD  may not necessarily go through all the stages in order. They also may need to go through the same stage again.

Stage 1: Pre-Contemplation

People in this stage of addiction recovery do not see a problem with their use of drugs or alcohol. They do not intend to stop using and may become defensive if confronted about their behavior. They may say, “I’m not addicted” or “I can quit whenever I want.” People will seek out “normal” experiences while they continue to use alcohol or drugs in this stage. Though their life may lack any balance, they can’t see what their drinking is doing to them or the people around them.

A person in this stage might think someone else, like their boss or spouse, is to blame for reminding them about their drinking. They usually need external pressure from family and friends to get them to consider quitting.

Stage 2: Contemplation

In the contemplation stage of recovery, people struggle with ambivalence about making a change in their lives; people may feel torn between the desire to move toward recovery and continue using drugs or alcohol. People contemplating constructing a change often ask themselves, “Am I an addict? Do I have a problem? Is it worth it to quit? Essentially, they begin to realize the negative impact of substances in their lives like:

  • Missing out on important social events.
  • Unable to achieve their life or academic goals.
  • May have lost interest in recreational activities.

Despite seeing the consequences of SUD, they still hold some ambivalence over sobriety and seeking treatment. In this stage, teens battling SUD try to find ways to use drugs and alcohol that allow them to function well enough to avoid any potential problems. Unfortunately, someone with a SUD can’t continue functioning well enough without treatment.

Stage 3: Preparation

In this stage, the teen starts working with their family on a plan to overcome their SUD. People in this stage will often make lists and set goals to prepare themselves for SUD treatment and recovery. With their family, they research their treatment options. At this stage, parents and family members must encourage the teen. Parents can do this by gently pressing them as they consider their options and decide whether or not to go to treatment.

Stage 4: Action Stage

The teen commits to remaining sober. This is when healthy behaviors begin to replace unhealthy ones. The teen with the SUD starts to make changes in their life and actively engages in recovery tasks like :

  • Avoid peers, situations, or locations associated with substance use.
  • Building a strong recovery network.
  • Going to therapy or support groups.
  • Attending 12-step meetings.
  • Learning new coping strategies for dealing with stress or cravings for drugs or alcohol.

An addict may make many attempts at staying sober before they manage long-term abstinence. Relapse is common during this stage, but it can also be a learning experience. Keep encouraging your teen as they work through this stage.

Stage 5: Maintenance Stage

Once someone has successfully graduated from a treatment program like a residential or outpatient program, they enter maintenance. This step involves your teen taking active responsibility for their sobriety by continuously using the coping skills and techniques learned during treatment.

Teens will have to maintain a healthy lifestyle, both mentally and physically, while avoiding triggers and stressors that could lead to relapse. To support your teen’s recovery, you will encourage him to continue his counseling, attend 12-step meetings, and avoid situations that could lead to relapse. While there is always a risk of relapse, a relapse-prevention plan will serve them well.

Are you tired of watching your child suffer through addiction? Knowing where your teen is in the process of addiction recovery enables you to talk to them at the right time. If they are in the pre-contemplation stage, a nudge in the right direction may be all that is necessary to help guide them toward seeking treatment. Whatever your situation, education can always give you an added advantage when dealing with adolescents suffering from substance abuse issues, and Clearfork Academy can help. Based in the mountains of Texas, our accredited treatment offers a transformational experience that helps teenagers struggling with addiction, anxiety, depression, and other emotional difficulties to grow and thrive. Our addiction recovery plan focuses on holistic, evidence-based treatments with personalized aftercare plans that guarantee long-lasting results. If your teen is currently struggling to manage their SUD, then the time to get help is now. To learn more about our programs, contact us today at (817) 259-2597.   

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