Stages of Recovery from Addiction

STAGE O. Active Uncontrolled Addiction

STAGE 1. Transition: Understanding and overcoming the ambivalence of recognizing and personally accepting addiction;

STAGE 2. Stabilization: Regaining the biopsychosocial balance required to maintain abstinence, manage craving, and self-regulate thoughts and feelings;

STAGE 3. Early Recovery: developing the skills to identify and manage addictive and irresponsible behaviors that can cause unnecessary pain and problems in recovery;

STAGE 4. Middle Recovery: Developing the relationships and lifestyle skills needed to support a meaningful, sober, and responsible way of life.

STAGE 5. Late Recovery: Learning to identify and manage core mistaken beliefs about self, others, and the world that interfere with developing and maintaining a sober and responsible way of life.

STAGE 6. Maintenance: Learning the skills necessary for recognizing and managing trigger events, early relapse warning signs, high risk situations, craving, and addiction seeking behavior.

Treatment Process


  • individual undergoes drug testing.
  • treatment providers learn about the circumstances of substance use.
  • treatment providers develop a plan for the full rehabilitation process for that individual.

Medical Detox:

  • process is a few days to two weeks or more, most detox periods are 5-7 days.


  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: aimed at recognizing and managing triggers and cravings.
  • Contingency Management: directly rewards abstinence and relapse preventive behaviors.
  • Community Reinforcement Approach: provides incentives and positive behaviors that make substance use less desirable.
  • Motivational Enhancement Therapy: resolves ambivalence and increases desire for recovery.

Peer Group Work:

  • individual works the 12-Step model.
  • individual connects with others who are also struggling with addiction for support, education, and accountability.

Other Options in Rehab:

  • exercise and nutrition programs.
  • meditation and yoga.
  • animal-assisted therapy.
  • art or music therapy.
  • journaling or writing.


  • individual returns to daily life while still engaging in regular therapy, 12-Step meetings, etc.
  • recovery house living minimizes access to substances while providing continuing education and therapy opportunities.

Long-term Sobriety:

  • continued care continuity is an important element of long-term recovery.