There are many different approaches and names given to the stages within the Five Stages of Recovery, but the general principles within each stage are similar. The Five Stages of Recovery provide a summary of where an individual may be on their journey to recovery and knowing what stage you are in can help you decide which steps to take next. 

Stage One: Pre-Contemplation (Impact of Illness)

In the pre-contemplative stage, an individual has begun to experience struggle and hardship due to their addiction. This could include deteriorated health, injured relationships with loved ones, economic hardship, criminal charges, and many other negative results of addiction. At this stage, an individual may not be aware that they have a problem and have not begun to consider it. However, getting to the pre-contemplative stage is the first necessary step in reaching recovery. 

Stage Two: Contemplation (Life is Limited)

Once an individual reaches this stage, the distress caused by their addiction has made them realize that they have a problem even though they haven’t yet taken action. In the contemplative stage, an individual may be considering their options and can often feel hopeless. During this stage many struggle with seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Others may experience the contemplative stage as stressful and overwhelming. 

Stage Three: Preparation (Change is Possible)

By stage three, an individual has decided to address and treat their addiction. Preparation can include emotional and mental preparation as well as researching different treatment options. In the preparation stage, it is important to evaluate which options are accessible to you and what your specific needs are. Choosing a treatment center that fits your financial needs and provides the care that you think will best for you and your needs should be considered, as well as finding out whether your treatment stay will be covered by your insurance. During preparation, you may also plan how you will communicate your decision to loved ones and your place of work if you plan on informing them. 

Stage Four: Action (Commitment to Change)

In the active stage, an individual is pursuing their recovery and taking steps to sobriety. This stage can include receiving treatment from medical professionals, entering rehab, and making certain lifestyle changes. Lifestyle changes may include removing certain people from your life, changing jobs, and mending your relationships with loved ones. The active stage can take many years to complete because there are multiple steps to reaching a full recovery that all take time. While in the active stage it is important that you stay focused and committed to avoiding a relapse later on. This stage can be the most difficult and painful to go through as you may experience intense withdrawal symptoms and are still early in your journey. During the active stage, you may find it helpful to begin forming relationships with caregivers and other recovering addicts that can continue to support you through your recovery. 

Stage Five: Maintenance (Actions for Change) 

In the fifth stage of recovery, you have reached your recovery goals and are now maintaining them. An individual may remain in the maintenance stage for the rest of their life as preventing yourself from relapse is a difficult task. During maintenance, you may consider joining support groups such as Narcotics Anonymous or Alcoholics Anonymous to have a community that you can lean on. Identifying and avoiding triggers is also an important part of maintenance. For some, maintenance may also include taking prescription drugs that will prevent their body from going into withdrawals. While being in the maintenance stage is a big accomplishment and you should allow yourself to feel proud, remember to stay focused, and continue to take care of yourself. 

The Optional Stage Six: Relapse

Stage six is considered “optional” because not everyone will relapse after their recovery. If you find yourself in the relapse stage, remember that the path to recovery runs in spirals for many people and that you are not alone. Avoiding the relapse stage takes great effort and willpower, making sure you remain committed throughout your recovery and into maintenance can make it less likely. Sometimes the circumstances that lead an individual into relapse are out of their control and sometimes they may just get caught in the wrong moments. Regardless of how you may have entered the relapse stage, you know now that you are capable of recovery and returning to the maintenance stage is entirely possible for you. 

The Five Stages of Recovery can help guide addicts and their caregivers toward what approach will best suit their current needs. If you are unsure of where you fall within the five stages but wish to receive treatment, call Rancho Milagro at (951) 526-4582 to learn more about our treatment options. Rancho Milagro offers both detox and inpatient options on our private ranch located in the secluded hills of Temecula, CA. Here you will be guaranteed a private and peaceful healing experience. Our philosophy is to provide each patient with personalized care and treatment for the whole person: mind, body, and spirit. We offer various therapies including art, nature, and massage. Rancho Milagro is also home to more than 20 rescued farm and therapy animals as well as miles of private hiking trails. We also offer support to our alumni by allowing them to return to the ranch for a day where they can utilize the trails, spend time with the animals, or chat with the staff.

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