Recovery day, which is celebrated every year on September 30, helps raise awareness about the complexity of addiction while also sending an important message: you can overcome addiction. People from all over the world talk about their journey, their challenges and their victories, providing hope and inspiration to those still battling addiction. This article details the key stages of the recovery process in order to guide and inform individuals who follow the path to an addiction-free life.
The 5 Stages of Recovery
Overcoming a dependency is definitely challenging, but it is absolutely doable. A struggle that becomes overwhelming or a desire to use that becomes overpowering are both signs that you must seek help and think about making a change in your life.
It is important to determine which stage of the change process you identify with so that you can get the support you need to work towards the next phase of recovery and, ultimately, towards a sober life.
- Precontemplation Stage
This is the initial stage, in which individuals are not ready to acknowledge their addiction. Very often at this stage, any approach that touches on recovery is met with resistance or denial, so that the emphasis should be placed instead on education and the benefits of an addiction-free life. Sometimes, previous, unsuccessful attempts at recovery result in even greater resistance.
- Contemplation Stage
This is the stage where individuals start recognizing the harmful effects of their dependency and thinking about making a change. They start to weigh the advantages and the inconveniences of a recovery process and to ask themselves the right questions (Why did I start using this substance? Am I ready to ask for help? What are the long-term advantages of putting an end to my substance use? Etc.)
- Preparation Stage
At this stage, individuals acknowledge their dependency and express a genuine willingness to change. They take certain steps, including attempting to reduce or stop their substance use on their own and seeking professional support. It is common at this stage to see people going back to previous stages, especially in response to certain triggers (stress, negative emotions, influence exerted by individuals who are using, etc.).
- Action Stage
This is one of the key phases of the recovery process. During this stage, individuals who have acknowledged their dependency take active steps to end their substance use. They no longer just acknowledge their substance use problem, but indeed take concrete steps to put an end to it. This commitment generally leads to seeking professional support. At this stage, they become proactive and their decision to seek out professional help reflects a firm commitment to make a change and choose a sober life.
- Maintenance Stage
This is the stage when individuals make a conscious choice to stay sober and apply what they learned during therapy.
After completing their therapy at Portage, residents have access to an aftercare program that includes group meetings as well as individualized follow-ups with a social reintegration counsellor during an average timeframe of 18 months. There are two objectives to the aftercare program: to reintegrate into society and manage the ensuing challenges, and to consolidate the new, healthy lifestyle habits acquired during therapy.
If you’re in one of these stages and need help, contact us right away.