Published On: October 6, 20154.5 min read905 wordsCategories: Recovery
Adjusting to life post-recovery can be a challenging time, full of questions and maybe even doubts. The important thing to remember is that everyone who goes through recovery experiences a time of questioning — not necessarily questioning their choice to be sober, but wondering about the process itself. What are the stages of recovery? How long will it take for cravings to go away? Will I be tempted and triggered by substances for the rest of my life?
These questions are normal and are, in fact, good to ask. Asking questions is not always the same as questioning — asking questions allows you to gain knowledge and information that can, in the long run, significantly benefit your recovery.
So ask away. The more you know, the more informed your choices will be.
What are the stages of sobriety?
One of the most common questions for those in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction surrounds the stages of sobriety – what are they and how do I progress through them?
Initiating treatment – The first stage is when you actively seek out addiction treatment with the intention of stopping addictive behaviors for good. You will be introduced to treatment plans and expectations, and be allowed to set your personal goals for recovery.
Beginning sobriety – This next stage includes handling detox and withdrawal symptoms, as well as learning your personal triggers and new, healthy ways to cope with temptations when they arise.
Sobriety maintenance – The third stage usually includes moving from an inpatient facility to an outpatient facility as your sobriety has become more concrete. Certain tools have allowed you to develop better coping mechanisms, in addition to giving you strength in avoiding relapse.
Longterm sobriety – Once you have progressed through recovery for a number of years, you will find yourself in the advanced stages of recovery where triggers hold less sway, relapse is not as looming a threat and life is more than staying sober: it’s about investing in the people around you, taking good care of yourself and overall living a happier, healthier life.
Each stage of sobriety takes a different amount of time for each person, but many individuals will progress through all stages one way or another.
Common sobriety questions
Throughout recovery, especially in the early stages, you’re likely to have many questions about recovery. Remember, you’re not alone. Many individuals battling recovery want to learn as much as possible about their journey.
Do I have to give up drugs or alcohol completely?
If you find your consumption is beyond your control and signs of addiction are present, then yes, completely abstaining from drugs and alcohol is necessary for recovery. Continuing to use in even the smallest capacity puts your recovery at risk and makes it much easier to slip into a relapse.
When will my cravings go away?
After a few weeks, physical cravings should subside. The mental cravings, on the other hand, will take longer to overcome since substance use manipulates the brain. You’ll have to rewire your brain and reward it instead with healthy things like nutritious food and exercise.
Cravings can also occur when you’re around people or in environments that tempt you to use them. Especially in the early stages of recovery, you might need to avoid certain people and places that you know will worsen the cravings. As you become stronger at resisting, it may be possible to one day revisit those places and people if you so choose.
When will I feel like a normal person again?
Addiction wreaks havoc on your body and mind, and even though you might physically feel better after detox, it will take longer (depending on your personal journey) to have your mind return to a peaceful state. However, with perseverance and dedication to your treatment plan, you will begin to feel your mind heal as well.
Just keep in mind that the more healthy choices you make in recovery, the better you will feel overall. Eat an abundance of healthy food, exercise regularly, get outdoors and surround yourself with positive and uplifting people. The changes you make may not seem to be doing anything at first, but slowly you will begin to notice that you feel better and that your quality of life is improving.
Will I have to go to meetings forever?
Depending on your treatment plan, it may be best for you to attend meetings even after you’ve completed your inpatient program. Having people to talk to who have shared experiences can be helpful in maintaining your sobriety. There are a lot of options for different kinds of sober support groups, so you should be able to find one that meets your needs.
This doesn’t mean you have to go for the rest of your life, but it is an option you should always stay open to months or years down the road. You never know when a strong community will come in handy.
More questions about sobriety?
If you have more questions about sobriety, for yourself or because of a loved one, consider reaching out to the staff at Freedom Detox. No question about addiction, detox or sobriety is silly — rather, we encourage asking questions for the sake of expanding knowledge. The more you know, the more equipped you will be to make healthy informed decisions for your life.
The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as medical advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, a doctor-patient relationship.