Stage I ~ Early Recovery ~ Abstaining from Alcohol/Drugs/Eating Behaviors etc.
The first task in Stage I is to address and stop the use of whatever process or substance is being used to alter the mood. This action allows the brain to recover from the changes that had taken place in the brain and aids in healing and returning to a normal state. Yes, the brain needs time to heal from what its been put through! This stage may include detox and either in-patient or outpatient rehabilitation along with a 12 Step Program of Recovery, Celebrate Recovery etc.
In this stage, it's important for a person to develop awareness about addiction, build a social support system (seek out your tribe!) and work on a relapse prevention plan. These activities will be of service to the individual in remaining free from returning to use and continue on the path of living a substance/process addiction-free life! Stage I/early recovery/healing time is dependent on a person to person basis. In some cases, the first stage of recovery may last up to two years.
Stage II ~ Middle Recovery ~ Learning to Live Balanced/Abstinent/Sober
In the middle recovery stage or Stage II, the person continues to sharpen their skills to stay away from the process/behavior/substance. Satisfaction and care of the person is a key in this stage. During this second stage, life lessons that a person may have forgotten or had never learned need to be discovered. Damages that were done previously are to be identified and repaired (think "made direct amends to such people wherever possible except when to do so would injure them or others" Step 9 Alcoholics Anonymous) turning towards a balanced lifestyle.
In this stage, the recovering person is encouraged to begin the process of mending relationships that were negatively affected and recovered, if possible. A balanced approach towards lessons learned and goals achieved in life and things around him or her define middle recovery. The stage II, middle recovery phase may last from 6 months to five years.
Stage III ~ Later Recovery ~ True Enjoyment of Life
Once the individual has been empowered by the process of working through the Steps, the last stage addresses some fundamental issues. Also known as family of origin issues. These issues may have been hanging around awhile, going back to childhood. For true enjoyment of life, they need to be brought out of the darkness, allowing light to enter and heal. This stage is about finding out exactly what caused the person to indulge in the first place. Let's get to the root of things! As humans we have patterns in our lives. Some patterns bring about joy while others continuously cause stumbling blocks. Have you ever thought to yourself "geez.....I've already worked through all of this! Where is THIS coming from? Why do I still find myself restless, irritable and discontent?" If so, you are not alone. Recommended is addressing these issues once the person is fully recovered (recovered from a hopeless state of mind and body).
Progress in all phases depends upon learning important lessons, rather than just accumulation of time staying away from excess food/drugs/alcohol/problem behaviors. The last stage of recovery is about growth and maintenance and continues for a lifetime. It is highly recommended that Spiritual growth, education, awareness and healing continues. Recovery is much more than just staying clean/sober/balanced/abstinent! It's about putting to use what you learned for the purpose of being of service and living a satisfying and fulfilling life. Goals and dreams CAN and DO come true!
How Does A Sacred Journey... Fit Into Your Stage III Recovery?!