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The 3 Stages Of Addiction Recovery


One way to think about drug and alcohol addiction recovery is to picture a time line with 3 phases marked out on it – early recovery, middle recovery, and late recovery. Each of the stages comes with certain lessons to be learned, opportunities for growth, and tasks that need to be completed inside of that stage, before moving on to the next one. Many people choose to turn to the principles of AA to help them with this, and we learn from The Addiction Recovery Guide that,

Developed over 65 years ago by a small group of alcoholics, the AA program provides simple tools for living based on a set of spiritual principles and a reliance on the fellowship of men and women who share their experience and offer support as part of a lifelong process of recovery.

One of the main factors of addiction is that people who have the addiction lose all control in their lives and succumbs to their use of drugs and alcohol. This usually causes negative consequences with their relationships and lives, and does psychological, spiritual, and physical damage. A large part of recovery is taking back the control in each area of their lives, step by step.

Early Recovery

The most basic of lessons to be learned in early recovery is that in order to be successful, you must abstain from all mood altering drugs, including alcohol. It’s only by removing the substance from the body completely, and giving the brain time to heal, that a person will ever regain the chance of having normalcy in his or her life. In early recovery, a person has to learn about addiction, and build a support network where he or she can work on a plan to prevent relapse with the help of group therapy. WebMD tells us,

Experts believe group therapy is superior to individual therapy for people recovering from prescription drug abuse. The group setting allows peers to both support and challenge each other, and creates a sense of shared community.

Middle Recovery

The middle stage of recovery is where people with the addiction will continue to hone their skills that are necessary to maintaining abstinence, and the focus must be on determination and how to avoid sliding into complacency. It is during this phase that they need to re-learn lessons that may have forgotten, lost, or never learned to begin with, and where they need to take the steps to examine, identify, and repair damages done during addiction in an attempt toward moving forward with a more balanced lifestyle. If there are any issues that should be addressed, they need to admit them, and take the necessary steps to make them right. This is the time to begin healing relationships with self, family, Higher Power or God, and the community as a whole, and one way to make sure you are on the right track is if you start to feel more balanced deep inside, and become more at peace with the world around you.

Late Stage Recovery

Once stability and security has been achieved during recovery, it is then time to tackle the underlying issues that are deeply ingrained, and may have been deep inside since childhood. The plan is for a person to work on and process any and all issues that have caused unease or turbulence in one’s life, and it will help to undermine the feeling he or she has to seek relief from problems with the use of drugs or alcohol. Issues such as feeling neglected or abused as a child are core issues that should be dealt with, but they should only be reopened if the person is very stable in recovery, and under the guidance of professional support.


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