Everyone has their own story involving addiction — this means that not everyone’s path to recovery will be straightforward, and many may involve ups and downs.

When discussing the stages someone goes through during their addiction, no two people will have the same experiences.

Some people may find themselves struggling through the stages, scared to take the next step. Others might feel very confident going through the process.

In order to recover, you need to be prepared to change your life completely. From the lifestyle choices you make to the people you surround yourself with to how you show up for yourself, recovery is not always easy.

Changing your mindset about your addiction is one of the most complex parts of recovery, but if you are dedicated to improving your life and gaining back your freedom from addiction, how you get to recovery doesn’t matter. What matters is your sense of perseverance.

If you struggle with addiction and are reading this, Soba Recovery is here to help you enter the next stage of recovery.

What Is Addiction?

Addiction, or substance use disorder, is a very complex condition that impacts your ability to control usage around substances. Your daily functioning is impaired due to your substance use, and relationships, work, and your health can begin to falter as a result.

You might continue to use the substance regardless of how it has impacted your health and social life because the feelings you get while under the influence are addicting.

When you begin choosing your substances over people you care about, skipping school or work, and dedicating all of your income to your drug of choice, it might be time to make a change. These sorts of behaviors never have positive lasting effects.

1. Precontemplation

Before you even start your journey into addiction recovery, you will likely experience the precontemplation phase.

At this point in time, you might not recognize that your behaviors are an issue, and you might even feel good about them. You might not have had any bad experiences with your substance of choice, and you haven’t had to deal with any truly negative consequences.

People around you might recognize your behaviors as troublesome, but if they talk to you, you might shut them down.

Maybe you don’t see the need for help, or maybe you don’t understand why people are concerned. A person in this stage might show it in four different ways:

  • Reluctance: These people don’t want to consider changing their ways and often lack the knowledge of the harm they’re doing to themself.
  • Rebellion: These people are resistant to being told what to do, and they like to make their own choices.
  • Resignation: These people are often overwhelmed by their addiction and don’t see any way out of it.
  • Rationalization: These people have many reasons why substance use is not a problem for them.

2. Contemplation

Something might happen that shakes you, which then leads you to the contemplation stage. In this stage, you have realized that there is a problem and it is impacting you.

Contemplators generally want to change but are still unsure how they can succeed. They are still experiencing their addiction and have yet to try to make any changes.

You can’t expect someone who only just opened up to the idea of getting help to get help immediately. Likely, someone in the contemplation stage will be unsure that they will see change but might begin doing some research on substance use or learning about treatment options that align with their needs.

This stage doesn’t come and go overnight. It could be months or years before someone moves out of the contemplation stage into the preparation stage because it’s very difficult to tear yourself away from a substance you have been using daily.

It takes more than just determination to move on to the next stage.

3. Preparation

When you enter the preparation stage, you begin to look at ways you can take action to improve your situation. You might begin reaching out to addiction recovery centers, therapists, friends, and family and letting them know that you are ready to take the next step.

Your preparation time will focus on figuring out the best treatment plan for your needs, so you must be honest.

It can feel scary to leave behind a life you have been comfortable living, but this step brings you that much closer to a truly better life. This is why it’s important to find a recovery center focused on improving all aspects of your life and guiding you through recovery. It makes following through with your plans an easier reality.

4. Action

Up until this point, most of the work you have done has been mental. You have spent a lot of time in your head, outweighing the pros and cons, struggling to make a decision, and fearing the worst.

Showing action in your recovery process would involve going to AA meetings, contributing to group therapy sessions, and finding new hobbies to take your mind off of substance use.

One of the first steps you can take is to go through a detoxification process and maybe spend some time at an inpatient facility. Both of these options allow for medical and professional staff to monitor your well-being.

Detoxing from any substance can cause serious withdrawals that can sometimes be fatal, but under the care and supervision of trained staff, your safety is better ensured.

After detoxification, you might begin one-on-one therapy sessions where you get to the root cause of your addiction and talk about some of your struggles aside from substance use.

In this stage, you should learn healthy ways to cope with your addiction, identify your triggers, and create plans for success.

5. Maintenance

Once you have created a plan and attended recovery meetings, you have to find a way to maintain your new lifestyle. Changing how you go about your day-to-day can be challenging.

You have to find ways to fill the gaps in which your substance use used to exist because when you stop using, you free up a lot of time. With all this new free time, you can determine how best to maintain your sobriety.

This stage helps establish a substance-free lifestyle, and it can take years to fully accomplish. Even though you have begun to build momentum, you might find that the idea of relapsing is always on your mind.

Sometimes, a relapse happens.

What you can do is create a relapse plan and set yourself up for success after the fact.

6. Relapse

If you relapse, know that you have not failed. It is extremely difficult to get past the precontemplation stage when you suffer from addiction.

If you do relapse, your therapy sessions and networking will likely serve as a support system that helps you recover from your relapse. You can make sure that your relapse is nothing more than a momentary blip.

You can correct your behavior, refocus on what’s important, maybe join a few extra AA meetings, and communicate what is going on with your support system.

After a relapse, use that disappointment you feel to fuel your determination to stay sober. Don’t be afraid to reach out and get more help. Your recovery is worth it.

7. Termination

Although recovery is technically an ongoing process because you will always have to wake up and choose to stay abstinent from substances, the goal of addiction recovery is termination.

Termination is described as the stage in which a person does not feel threatened by their substance of choice. Usually, you feel confident enough to not live in fear over your substance and the fear of relapsing.

You feel in control of your addiction and no longer have to live according to it.

For some, this may not be exactly how you feel, but if you are able to find ways to actively stay sober, you are showcasing all the determination you endured. There are no worries if you aren’t here yet because the entire recovery process takes as long as you need it to.

Getting Help With Soba

If you are ready to take the next step in your recovery process, consider getting help with Soba Recovery Centers.

With locations in Mesa, Arizona, and San Antonio, Texas, you can join us in inpatient or outpatient care, depending on your needs.

We help to locate the root causes of your addiction and treat all aspects of your health so that when you leave, you are equipped with knowledge of yourself that you never thought possible.

You can reach out to a Soba representative today to learn more about how we can help you in your path to addiction recovery.


What Is a Substance Use Disorder? | American Psychiatric Association

The Stages of Change | SMART Recovery

Drug & Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms & Treatment | Drug Abuse

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