The 5 Phases of Addiction Recovery

The 5 Phases of Addiction RecoveryAddictive behavior isn’t limited to what the addict does while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Those actions are just a part of the larger pattern. The whole addiction cycle can be summed up in five parts, starting with occasional and recreational use, peaking with abuse, and ending with rehabilitation and recovery.

The 5 Phases of Addiction Recovery

Progressive Phase

In the beginning, the adolescent may start using drugs now and then, just to relax or experiment. Eventually, their tolerance starts to build, and they need more and more of that drug to experience the same effects. This is when the guilt and lying usually starts, a means for allowing themselves to continue seeking the substance in question without obstacles or repercussions.


Crucial Phase

By the time the drug use has started to steadily increase, the adolescent’s ability to stop or cut down starts to diminish. They may try a couple times, but the efforts are short-lived. They begin acting more and more isolated, worrying friends and family. Their remorse and regret grows stronger and stronger, but it only makes them more afraid to seek help.  This is when the addiction really starts to cause isolation and concern.


Chronic Phase

At last, the situation becomes undeniably severe. After a lengthy period of intoxication, an addicted adolescent’s physical and psychological health is falling apart. They’ve abandoned their relationships and hobbies, and they’re spending the majority of their time with those who support their habit. Their whole daily routine is driven by substance use, and the mere desire to quit has mostly receded. Those who care most about the addict begin worrying about overdose, accident, incarceration, and death.


Rehabilitation Phase

Once a young addict sinks this far into the addiction cycle, they can no longer deny that  life has become unmanageable and there is a real need to change. The youth enters a rehabilitation program, where he or she learns and practices sobriety like a skill.  There’s a big jump from the chronic phase to rehabilitation, and a great deal of our focus concerning addiction is often concentrated in this jump.  Many factors contribute to an addict seeking rehabilitation after substance abuse has become a chronic addiction.


Recovery Phase

Finally, toward the end of treatment, the adolescent learns to utilize recovery tools and support resources on their own in order to grow their sobriety and live a steady life. Together with some support, they’re ready to take on the outside world, re-establish healthy communication with those whom they have wronged, and adopt a healthy and happy lifestyle. As confidence and self-esteem slowly return, the cravings slowly fizzle out. Relapse is always a concern and recovery is a lifelong phase. However afterward, the adolescent is oftentimes a more understanding, empathetic person, well aware of the needs of others, thanks to his or her experiences overcoming addiction.

If you have a loved one in a concerning phase of addiction and need help to get through to recovery, contact the skilled specialists at Sustain Recovery Services, where your loved one’s health and recuperation is our main priority.