The 4 Stages of Alcohol and Drug Rehab Recovery

rehab facility

Being addicted to alcohol or a drug of any kind can feel as if you are stuck in quicksand. It seems the harder you push, the harder it consumes you, and there is no solution in sight. With the right approach, professional help, and plenty of hard work and consistency, any obstacle can be overcome. There is no problem that can’t be solved if you are willing to work hard enough to solve it. Rehabilitation from alcohol and drug abuse has a few distinct phases. Here is what you need to do if you want to get back to living a healthy and sober life.

Treatment Initiation

The first step is the most difficult: identifying that you have a problem and looking for assistance to overcome this challenge. Many people don’t recognize that they have a problem until it’s too late. They keep putting it off, telling themselves that they are casual drinkers or casual users of a drug and that they can let it go whenever they want even though they have never quit for any period of time on their own.

The other challenge is when they actually start a program and interact with other people who have the same issue, they start to think their problem isn’t as bad. The entire process of getting medical attention and overcoming the recovery makes it appear as though the issue is being blown out of proportion, and the addict becomes less willing to go through with it all. It’s important that the person battling the addiction stays on course and continues with the preliminary steps of the treatment.

Early Abstinence

The first part of the treatment is to take a history of the patients’ drug use and understand the extent of the addiction. This is critical information to later modify the treatment plan to meet the patient’s exact needs. All treatment that is administered to a patient depends entirely on how they have dealt with their addiction and what needs to be done to address that patient’s specific physical and mental problems.

The first major change for the patient is the early abstinence phase. This is when the person is invited into the facility and can no longer consume the drug. According to https://www.rehabtoday.com/, this is the most challenging part because the patient experiences intense withdrawal symptoms; for many, it is the first time in a long time that they have been sober. They are highly sensitive, can relapse, and have all kinds of physical and mental challenges. If the patient is not in a facility and is just visiting a doctor for therapy they are going to be fighting social pressure, they will have to control their own urges and the person does not yet have the coping mechanisms to handle this change.

This is a phase where the person has not really developed an alternative lifestyle and is not fully comfortable using the coping strategies they are learning. They are also learning how they behave when things get tough; there is so much to be discovered during this phase. Not to mention constantly having to fight the urge to use the drug and somehow make the withdrawal symptoms disappear. Especially in the case of hard drugs such as heroin, the withdrawal symptoms can be physically painful and very challenging to cope with.

Rehab Program

Maintaining Abstinence

After approximately 3 months, the patient will have overcome the initial abstinence phase and will now be moving into the maintaining abstinence phase. This is when the patient will have identified their triggers and will have found alternative behaviors to deal with these cravings. The main focus here is to prevent the person from relapsing at this stage. The initial abstinence period is a very challenging one, but even after going through that experience people can still very easily relapse. At this point, the patient often thinks that they have overcome the most challenging part and a single drink or a single shot of the drug can’t do them harm, but it can quickly put them back into that path.

At this point, it is also important for the patient to learn that the quality of their life will not only improve by staying clean from the drug, but it will also require them to actively rebuild their life. This means restructuring other parts of their life, building better relationships, starting healthier activities to keep their mind and body fit, searching for work, and resuming their professional career. They must actively embark upon building a lifestyle that will keep them away from their addictions. 

This is where the patient needs to spend a lot of time in counseling and trying to figure out the different mental blocks that they might have as it will only be so long before they get frustrated if they don’t learn to live a new lifestyle.

Advanced Recovery

The final stage of recovery comes sometime later. For some people, this can be a year after the maintenance phase, for others, this can be five years or more after the maintenance stage. The idea of the advanced recovery stage is to learn the skills you need and improve the quality of your life outside of the addiction itself. At this stage, most people will have learned to handle their cravings and triggers and may have even made major changes to their lives where they are successfully living without alcohol or drugs. However, they are still not living at their full potential, which is the aim of the advanced recovery program.

This is where working with a professional will help the individual to set long term goals, to create a productive daily schedule, to start developing deep and meaningful relationships with new people in their life, to restructure their life with new activities that help them grow as a person, and also work on their higher self whether that means through religion, spirituality or social work.

These are the core things that are needed for a person to really cement sobriety into their life and be able to live a life in which they are no longer tied to the worry of relapse because they now have bigger and better things in their life.