9.5 million Americans over the age of 18 are suffering from substance abuse disorder. Watching a loved one struggle through their addiction can be stressful, concerning, and sometimes an overwhelming experience. The journey towards them living their best life can be a long, hard road.
Not all loved ones or caregivers understand the key stages of recovery someone has to go through to overcome their addiction. If you want to support your loved one on their journey to recovery, it helps to know the basics of what they will be going through.
We will walk you through the six stages of addiction recovery so that you can better understand what your loved one needs to experience. Knowing what they are going through will make you more sympathetic and be a better support system in the long term.
1. Precontemplation Stage
This is the stage before your loved one enters a substance abuse treatment program. They are not ready to enter a program yet because they are struggling to admit that they have something that needs to be treated.
Your loved one might not be aware of the negative impact their substance use can have. Or, they might know but feel like it is worth the short-term positive effects they feel while using the substance.
This stage can be difficult to get out of. Many people don’t realize they have an addiction and therefore don’t seek treatment. Other people may have gone through multiple failed treatment programs and feel like it’s not worth it to try again.
Your loved one may also feel like recovery isn’t an option for them because of how deep in their substance abuse disorder they feel. It’s important to help them understand that anyone at any stage of addiction can recover.
2. Thorough Contemplation
At this stage, your loved one is ready to talk about potential treatment. But, they are not necessarily ready to commit to a treatment program.
In the previous stage, they may not have understood the reality of getting substance abuse treatment. Now, they understand the benefits that addiction recovery offers. What holds them back from entering a program is the benefits they get from their substance abuse still outways the downfalls.
Your loved one will still bring up excuses they have for their addiction. Your goal as a support system is to remind them of the benefits of recovery.
You never want to be judgmental or accusatory. The goal is to be calm, sympathetic, and understanding as you motivate them to get treatment. During this stage, your loved one may experience withdrawal, relapses, have severe triggers, and still cling to their substance dependence.
3. Getting Prepared
Once your loved one realizes that the benefits of recovery outway substance use and they choose to enter recovery, they have entered the preparation stage. Your loved one fully understands that a substance-dependent life is unhealthy and unsustainable.
The support system for the individual needs to offer even more encouragement, assistance, and love throughout this stage. Their proactivity for getting treatment should be celebrated.
It is possible for your loved one to move between stages two and three multiple times. They may try addiction recovery on their own without a treatment center. This can work, but not everyone is successful in doing it on their own.
Your loved one may also relapse during this stage. If this happens, you need to maintain your support and help motivate them towards recovery.
When your loved one decides to go to a treatment center, it’s important to notify people. Jobs will need to know they will be gone for a period of time. Animals, plants, apartments, and bills will also need to be managed so that when your loved one gets out of recovery they can easily transition into society.
4. Taking Action
This is one of the biggest stages in the transition to drug addiction recovery. Your loved one has made major changes to secure their recovery.
One of the biggest aspects of this stage is long periods without the substance. Your loved one will also feel motivated to ask for professional help if they feel a relapse is about to happen. They might join a 12-step program, therapy, and find addiction management methods that work for them.
Your loved one will also need to make lifestyle challenges. There will be a push for self-care and understanding. They will have a stable diet, exercise, and could potentially improve their education as they overcome their addiction.
5. Maintaining a Lifestyle
Addiction recovery is a lifelong journey. As a member of your loved one’s support system, you will need to help them maintain their recovery. Counseling will still be available during this stage, but it will be less frequent than in the recovery program.
It is possible for your loved one to relapse in this stage because they have to be proactive about getting treatment on their own. Many programs will have 24/7 care that they will be transitioning out of.
The longer they can maintain their sobriety, the more confident they will become. Helping this confidence thrive will reduce the urge to relapse.
Depending on the strength of their substance abuse disorder, this period can take anywhere from six months to six years. The longer they work to maintain their sobriety, the easier it can get over time.
They developed a great plan to maintain their wellbeing inside of a treatment program, and now they need to execute that plan outside of the program.
6. Final Termination
The stages of recovery are a long process that takes a lot of perseverance and patience. The termination stage happens after all the other stages have been successfully completed and your loved one is at a stable period of their life.
Your loved one has their health back, found stable employment, and cut off anything unhealthy or could lead to a relapse. Your loved one will be happier after recovery and understand that going back to their addiction isn’t something they want.
They are living a happy, healthy life.
Help Your Loved One Through the Stages of Recovery
The stages of recovery can be difficult for your loved one to experience alone. As a support system, it’s important to have a strong understanding of the stages so you can support them. You want them to know that they aren’t alone in their recovery.
If you or a loved one are looking for substance abuse treatment in California, Apex recovery is here to support you. We offer evidence-based programs that can be catered to the individual. We also provide support for the loved ones of the individual receiving treatment.
Reach out to us today for a free consultation.