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Addiction to alcohol does not occur overnight, and similarly, alcohol recovery does not happen overnight. Alcohol addiction can go through four stages, but an early intervention program might help keep some from progressing to the last stage where physical effects become severe. The stages of alcohol recovery usually cover six different periods and some people may progress through them faster than others.
Not everyone develops alcoholism in the same way, but alcohol abuse researcher Elvin Morton Jellinek identified some patterns in 1960 of the stages of alcohol recovery that became widely accepted.
In stage one, or the pre-alcoholic stage, the person may begin by drinking alone or in social situations. Notably, they use drinking to help them cope with unwanted emotions, stress or anxiety. They start developing a tolerance.
In stage two of the stages of alcohol recovery or the early stage of alcoholism, the addicted person may start to have problems with loved ones. They begin drinking to cope with problems caused by life situations and stress. They may begin to have blackouts and not remember what they did while drinking.
In stage three, the middle stage of alcohol addiction, the person begins feeling strong guilt from drinking. They may start to hide or rationalize their drinking by drinking alone or changing brands. They may make attempts to stop, only to have them fail.
In stage four of the stages of alcohol recovery or the late stage, the person starts losing control over their drinking. They may start the morning with a drink and have long periods of being drunk. At this point, a person often begins to show adverse health signs, both mental and physical.
Though getting help at any stage is essential, by the time a person enters stage four, they run a genuine risk of killing themselves with alcohol.
The stages of alcohol recovery begin shortly before the person seeks help, and then continue to the point when they do.
In stage one or pre-contemplation, the person begins to see the negative impacts of alcoholism. However, they may be very defensive and reluctant to recognize that they have a problem. People who seek treatment in this stage often do it involuntarily.
In stage two or contemplation, the person begins to recognize that they do actually have a drinking problem. They typically think about getting help but remain on the fence. They may make attempts to stop drinking on their own.
In stage three or preparation, the addicted person decides they need to make a change. They often begin telling their loved ones that they intend to change their behavior, even if they don’t do it immediately.
In stage four, or the action stage, the person actively decides to pursue sobriety. They typically start the first step of entering an alcohol detox. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can be severe, so medically managed detox is recommended. Detox can be one of the longest of the stages of alcohol recovery with risk of relapse if the person doesn’t remain in treatment long enough.
In stage five, or the maintenance stage, the person has typically completed a treatment program and begins working on new sober living.
In stage six, or the termination stage, the person has lived sober for some time and no longer craves alcohol. This stage has some controversy as many believe that alcoholism is a chronic condition that cannot be terminated entirely, only mitigated.
Once you have made the all-important decision to seek help for your alcoholism, it’s essential to choose a Joint Commission accredited facility like Beaches Recovery in Jacksonville, Florida. As many as 57 percent of addiction treatment facilities are not accredited.
At Beaches Recovery, you can begin treatment for alcoholism at our detox facility at Tides Edge. From there, you can enter our primary treatment programs and start developing the behaviors and coping mechanisms that lead to successful and long-lasting sobriety.
Our cutting-edge treatments include:
Don’t wait until your health declines before seeking help for alcohol addiction. Call Beaches Recovery today at 866-605-0532. We will walk you through the stages of alcohol recovery on your way to a new life.