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What may seem obvious to family, friends and co-workers is unclear for the drug addict who is in denial about their substance abuse, let alone drug addiction…

There is a fine line between experimentation with drugs and alcohol and substance dependence. Alcoholism and drug addiction typically come down the line. Addicts are most often unable to identify when their use becomes problematic and find themselves lying, cheating and stealing to protect their drug and alcohol use.

There are 5 common stages of addiction recovery:

1. Pre-contemplation (awareness and early acknowledgement) This is marked by a growing awareness that addiction is a problem. One of the most important parts of this phase is the transition from mere awareness of the problem to actual acknowledgement that action is needed. Few experiences are as essential to an addict as the moment when he or she shifts from denial to a willingness to make a change.

2. Contemplation (consideration) This stage involves the shift from awareness to action. It is when the addict begins to look beyond him/herself and understand that family, friends and colleagues have been negatively affected by your choices and actions. Though not yet pursuing active recovery, they are moving in that direction, and gaining invaluable information and insights in the process.

3. Preparation (exploring recovery) Moving past denial, the addict is motivated to overcome his/her addiction and begin taking small steps such as exploring the concepts of moderation and abstinence. This is the stage where recovery really begins. This is also a critical stage where some addicts make the critical decision to enter an addiction treatment facility.

4. Action (early recovery) On the positive side, addicts have not only stopped using drugs, but have also begun to learn how to remain drug-free. On a less positive note, early recovery is a time of great vulnerability. Relapse is common at this stage. Some of the most important steps taken are developing new coping skills, healthy habits and rebuilding damaged relationships.

5. Maintenance and relapse prevention (active recovery) Addicts have learned that they will need to continue to work hard for the rest of their lives to guard against relapse. This requires monitoring their thoughts and behaviors, ongoing practice of new coping skills, maintaining a support system and staying alert to triggers to use. During this stage, recovering addicts have begun to live lives they could scarcely have imagined at the beginning of this journey.

Recovery is about much more than overcoming an addiction to drugs or alcohol. It is a complete transformation of mind, body and spirit. While some individuals can progress through the stages of recovery with just the support of family and friends, most will require education and new skills from a drug rehab program. To learn more or to start your recovery, please contact Illuminate Recovery at 844-700-9888.

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