Wondering what alcohol recovery entails? Although everyone’s journey is different and some recovery stages may overlap, most people will go through five stages in the same rough order. Read on to learn more about each of these stages.
1. Awareness and Acknowledgment
This may sound cliche, but recognizing one has a problem is always the first step to recovery. Difficulties with relationships, problems at work, and possibly legal issues can be catalysts that lead to this realization.
During the awareness stage, the person isn’t quite ready to quit and reluctant to admit to others that they have a problem, yet they now understand that their drinking is excessive. They also may still be making excuses as to why they drink. If they are ready to talk about it at all, they will respond best to tactful and sympathetic conversations during this early stage of acknowledgment.
During the contemplation stage, an alcoholic could be exploring treatment options but is probably still sitting on the fence as to whether they need professional help. Researching the signs and symptoms of alcohol abuse or mentioning quitting are indicators that someone has entered the contemplation stage.
Instead of continuing to make excuses, they are now seeking a solution. It’s common to attempt to cut back on alcohol use during this stage, and the person may be more open to discussing their problem with close friends or loved ones.
Once the shift happens from contemplation to seeking a solution, the person is ready for the preparation stage. Although still drinking, they’ve committed to making a change. Where before they may have felt pressured by family or perhaps required by law to get help, they now want to change.
Unfortunately, some people never make it to this pivotal point. Setting goals and researching treatment centers are signs that a person is preparing for recovery. Once he or she has determined a course of action, they’re ready for the next step.
4. Taking Action
Alcoholism treatment begins with detox, and going through detox without medical help is not recommended. Withdrawal symptoms can range from mild to severe but can lead to death in extreme situations, which is why detox is best accomplished in a treatment facility. Once detox is complete, the process of learning coping techniques and transitioning to a healthier lifestyle begins.
Although this treatment stage is a very positive one, it comes with significant challenges. Relapse is common during the early days of treatment. It does get easier, though, as the distance grows between one’s drinking days and the present time. The first few weeks are usually the hardest, which is why so many people need intensive therapy to help them stay sober after detox.
5. Maintenance and Relapse Prevention
After a person has achieved sobriety, the maintenance stage can last at least six months or more. This stage is all about continuing the positive behaviors and the coping techniques learned during the action stage. Avoiding certain situations and learning to have fun without drinking are essential elements of relapse prevention. With their drinking days weeks behind them, people start to feel good, but they must still remain vigilant as the temptation to drink may always be there to some extent.
America’s Rehab Campuses offers various treatment programs, including medical detox and inpatient and outpatient options that use a range of therapies customized for each patient.