5 Stages Of Addiction Recovery


five stages of addiction recovery

When struggling with an addiction to alcohol or substances, recovery can seem like an impossible task. While no two addicts are alike, most will pass through similar stages of recovery.


While specialists identify six stages for developing an addiction, they map out five stages for recovery. Knowing the steps is valuable for understanding an addict’s motivation for recovery and helping on their journey to sobriety.


According to the National Library of Medicine, the five stages of recovery are:


  1. Precontemplation

  2. Contemplation

  3. Preparation

  4. Action

  5. Maintenance


Step 1: Precontemplation


This stage is when the individual does not believe that they have a problem with addiction is characterized by denial and continued use of drugs or alcohol. Although friends and family can clearly see the substance abuse has gotten out of hand, the individual feels their usage is completely under control and continue to deny they have a problem. They may even feel their problems are caused by outside factors and not the addiction itself.



Step 2: Contemplation


In this second stage, an individual begins to have an awareness that their use of drugs or alcohol is an issue. They have a desire to change, but are unsure as to how the change can take place.It is not uncommon to tell themselves that some day they are going to change.



Step 3: Preparation


At this stage, an individual has acknowledged their addiction and realizes the pros of getting help and recovery outweigh the cons. They will take time to learn about recovery and their options for getting help. This may include attending addiction meetings or drug and alcohol support groups, or checking out rehab centers.



Step 4: Action


In the fourth stage of recovery, individuals take the action they have been preparing for, and actively participate in programs and services that are essential to recovery. Individuals are willing to receive professional assistance, attend rehab and get support. Here, change is more visible to others around them.



Step 5: Maintenance & Active Recovery


Recovery doesn’t end with action. Without a strong commitment to maintenance, there will surely be relapse, usually to precontemplation or contemplation stage. Continuing the new behavior change is the focus of the maintenance stage.


Before leaving rehab, individuals should have a personal recovery plan, also known as a relapse prevention plan. This can include a variety of options, but some common features of a personal recovery plan include vocational resources, family therapy and introduction into a local recovering community, such as AA or NA. This comprehensive plan is essential in Stage 5, as the support and empathy of others allows the individual to maintain their recovery goals.



If you or a loved one are struggling or need help for an addiction or alcohol problem, call us at: 630-402-0144