Those who decide to get involved with a professional drug and alcohol rehab program will experience four stages of rehab recovery as they work towards improving their lives. The four stages of that recovery are described in the following overview. These stages were developed by the National Institute on Drug Abuse for the ""Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research Based Guide"" resource which is used by most healthcare providers. By reading over these stages, individuals can get a better amount of insight into what they will experience at a rehab facility.

Beginning Treatment

When someone reaches out for help from a professional drug and alcohol rehab program in their area, they are starting the first stage of their recovery. Whether someone chooses to get help voluntarily or they are forced to by the court, the recovery process is considered to start when they initiate treatment. During the first few hours and days of the process, it's normal for the individual to feel ambivalent about working towards ending their addiction. They may feel that they don't have a serious problem compared to other people. However, this is one of the most difficult attitudes to overcome in the first days because it determines whether or not someone will be able to take their program seriously.

Early Abstinence

When the individual has made a commitment to continue with their treatment for their substance abuse problem, they will be able to enter the second stage of their rehab, which is considered to be early abstinence. This is a tough stage to deal with because of the many factors involved, such as the withdrawal symptoms, psychological dependence, physical cravings, and many other related issues that can lead towards a relapse. It is during this period that the addiction counselor begins to teach the individual about coping skills that they can use to help them work towards a sober lifestyle.

Maintaining Abstinence

After 90 days have passed of continual abstinence, the individual is able to move on from the early abstinence stage and into the third stage, which is known as maintaining abstinence. If someone started in a residential treatment program, they may move to the continuing or follow-up phase of the rehab program on an outpatient basis. The focus of this stage is to maintain abstinence by avoiding any type of a relapse. Individuals learn about the warning signs and the steps that can typically lead to a relapse so that they recognize how to avoid it.

Advanced Recovery

After five years of abstinence, the individual reaches the fourth and final stage of their rehab, known as advanced recovery. At this point, the individual is able to take all of the tools and skills that they have learned during their rehab counseling and start putting them to use throughout the rest of their life. They will be able to remain sober and will have more skills to use towards becoming a healthier individual and fulfilling various roles within their life without the worry of having a relapse.

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