Do you believe that you or someone that you love is dealing with alcoholism? Are you worried about the road to recovery and how impossible it might seem at first?
The good news is that you’re never too far off from the turning point.
A great starting point is learning all that you can about the process beforehand. This will help you set realistic expectations for yourself during the stages of recovery.
See below for a guide on the different addiction recovery stages and what they all entail. Recovering from alcoholism is more than possible, you just need to take the first step towards it.
1. Pre-Consideration Stage
There are many people out there that would consider the consideration phase (the next phase) to be the first phase of recovering from alcoholism.
However, we would argue that the road to recovery happens as soon as you realize that your drinking has had a negative impact on your life.
This is also the stage in which you’re more defensive. You aren’t sure how to handle the information that you’re trying to process or the realizations that you’re coming to about how your drinking has affected others.
At this stage, you’re still making excuses for your drinking. You might try to blame it on dealing with stress at work, at home, and so on. The fact remains that you’re the one choosing to drink, rather than face the problems at hand.
Too many people try to force their loved ones dealing with alcoholism into a rehabilitation facility, which seldom works according to plan if they’re still mentally stuck in the pre-consideration stage.
To win this stage, simply take the time to weigh out the positives and negatives of your drinking. When you lay them out side by side, you’ll start to see that the cons far outweigh the pros.
2. Consideration Stage
Now that you’ve accepted that cons do exist in regards to drinking, you’re more open to the idea of getting help.
However, the risk at this stage is the loss of momentum on this decision. You may start to push off taking action, saying that it “isn’t the right time to get alcohol addiction treatment” or making a new year’s resolution (of sorts) to get help in the future.
This is due to a lack of confidence and the fear that comes with accepting that alcohol addiction treatment is a necessary action. They fear that they will receive judgment from other people, rather than support.
The lack of confidence comes from not having a guide. Even if they accept that change is needed, they may wonder “where do I go from here?” and “how can I get the help I need?”.
If you’re a loved one, all you can do is lend an open ear. This is a delicate stage, so they need all the support (not force) in deciding on their own.
3. Preparation Stage
The jump from the consideration stage to the preparation stage is a significant contrast. The person has accepted that they have a problem and need to find help and support for change.
There are still some important things to know about this stage:
- The person will most likely still be drinking in this stage. They accept the need for change but are “working their way” towards the climax.
- They might consider rushing to make the change, not giving themselves a chance to second-guess. Many experts would caution against choosing this route.
- This is still a “preparation” stage. If you’re a loved one, remain patient. While it might take some people longer than others to get out of, it’s an important part of the process. Rushing them out of it can lead to some catastrophic results.
Develop and organize an action plan. Reach out to a trusted detox and treatment facility to set yourself or your loved one up for success.
4. Action Stage
Now it’s time to put that plan into action. Whatever course you’ve chosen for yourself on your road to recovery, you’re now taking actionable steps towards it.
To assure your success, you’ll want to move your rehabilitation into an environment that’s professionally trained to handle detoxing and alcoholism treatment.
Otherwise, you not only risk losing all of your progress in a time of weakness but due to the withdrawals you might experience, which can be a huge risk to yourself and everyone around you.
Remember, you’ve made it this far. You’re taking steps towards detoxing (however small they might be). Know that the road will be tough, but that you can handle it with the right support system around you.
5. Maintenance Stage
Lastly, you have the maintenance stage, which occurs after you have completed an alcoholism treatment program successfully.
As the name would imply, this stage is working on advancing the progress that you’ve made and not letting yourself go back to your old ways. That includes cutting ties with a lot of the negative influences you had before you sought treatment out.
Some would argue that there is a “termination stage”, but the temptation of alcohol will always be there. It’s up to you to embrace this challenge and, with your new life and mindset, taking back control of your entire life for the better!
Embrace the Stages of Recovery in Your Life Starting Today
Now that you have seen an in-depth guide highlighting the different stages of recovery for alcoholism, all we are asking is that you start with stage one.
Be sure to begin by reading this in-depth explanation of when you should consider rehab for your addiction.