Action & Maintenance Phases of Addiction Recovery Process

Action Phase

When an addict decides to quit, he enters the action phase. For this phase to go forward, it is necessary that he has confidence in his ability to leave, believing in his recovery and devise a plan of action to achieve it such as going to a psychologist, help groups, etc. Going to a support group can be a good way to start acting, because there you will not only get advice and help, but will also be surrounded by people who understand you.

In addition, knowing people who have gone through the same situation but who have managed to overcome it and lead happy and productive lives helps in realizing that recovery is possible and to think that they too can achieve it.

Detox centers can also be very useful. They help you through the phase of physical detoxification, dealing with crisis and the consequences that addiction may have had on their lives and relationships.

However, quitting using alcohol or drugs is only a small part of the recovery process. It is very important to address the psychological aspects of addiction, and the addict may need to learn a range of psychological skills like handling intense emotions, problem-solving, stress management, etc. Without certain skills to handle the problems and setbacks of life, the addict may end up in future, resorting to drugs or alcohol as a way to deal with emotions or problems that he does not know how to handle which also generate anxiety or intense discomfort. Learning, through the help of a psychologist can make the difference between relapse or leave it forever.

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Maintenance Phase

The last phase is maintenance or relapse. In this stage, the addict either manages to maintain changes he has made during the action phase or he falls back into the addiction. Recovering from addiction is a long process that involves becoming increasingly aware of oneself, problems, emotions and reasons for using drugs or alcohol. There comes a time when the addict has to tackle issues he may have been avoiding.

For example, a person who is abused in childhood can drink as a way to avoid feelings and memories that are too painful. Once psychological treatment has provided him with necessary psychological tools, he must face that past and overcome it. Or he may have to deal with anxiety problems like social anxiety. If a person drinks because of serious social anxiety problems, it will be imperative that his treatment includes this problem, so that he feels safe enough to deal with social situations without having to resort to alcohol or else the relapse will be more likely.

The first two years are most difficult and it is when most people fall, but some people can also fall after many years, so it is important to keep this in mind and keep doing everything that has kept the patient addiction free. Some people who have overcome addiction to a substance may fall into a different substance or a behavioral addiction like gambling addiction.

Relapse occurs especially when all the emotional and psychological aspects of addiction have not been properly addressed, and the addict continues to have problems coping with painful emotions.

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