What Is The Maintenance Stage In Addiction Recovery?

“Stages of change” in addiction recovery are used to describe the process of overcoming a drug or alcohol addiction and making positive changes in pursuit of long-term addiction recovery.

This follows the “Stages of Change” model, developed by researchers James Prochaska and Carlo DiClemente to explain the process of achieving health behavior change.

Under this model, the “Maintenance Stage” is the final stage, where the goal is to prevent relapse and maintain the progress you’ve made in the addiction treatment and recovery process.

What Are The Stages Of Change In Addiction Recovery?

Overcoming addiction is a lifelong journey. This can take time, and each person’s recovery journey can be different based on factors unique to your own life.

The Stages of Change model, also known as the transtheoretical model, recognizes that people with addiction can go through several stages in pursuit of long-term recovery.

The stages of change in addiction recovery include:

  • Precontemplation stage: You are aware of the negative consequences of your addiction, but aren’t yet ready to take any action to address the problem.
  • Contemplation stage: You have gained greater awareness of the pros and cons of your substance abuse, but are ambivalent or unsure about whether you are ready to commit to change.
  • Preparation stage: You have decided you are ready to commit to change and are beginning to prepare a plan for moving in the direction of recovery.
  • Action stage: You have changed your behavior, by seeking treatment or taking other steps to achieve recovery. You may still have urges to return to drugs. And relapse may occur.
  • Maintenance stage: At this point, you have established new behaviors that support your continued recovery, and are working to maintain the progress that you have made.

When Do You Reach The Maintenance Stage In Recovery?

The timeline for reaching the maintenance stage in recovery can vary from person to person, depending on the severity of your illness, its duration, and other personal factors. 

Each person’s recovery journey is unique. It may take months, or it may take years to reach this stage.

What Happens During The Maintenance Stage In Recovery?

At this point in the recovery process, you have likely sought treatment for your drug or alcohol abuse, and have reaped some of the benefits: skills development, stronger coping skills.

Now, you are working to maintain the progress you have made in recovery. Becoming complacent at this point, researchers say, is a risk that those in recovery should be aware of.

That is, a person at this stage can be at risk for overlooking lapses, or not realizing when old addictive behaviors have crept back into your life.

Relapse prevention, therefore, is a critical component of this stage. While relapse can be a normal part of recovery, there are also skills one can learn to help prevent this.

What Does It Take To Reach The Maintenance Stage Of Recovery?

For many people, some form of treatment is necessary to work through substance abuse behaviors and cravings. For instance, a residential treatment program, or outpatient counseling.

Having a strong support system of friends, family members, and others who are able to support you on your journey, can also predict a higher chance of achieving recovery.

Other influential factors might include:

  • quality of substance abuse treatment
  • personal motivation for recovery
  • external stressors in recovery
  • co-occurring mental health disorders 
  • access to a continuum of care (i.e. from intensive inpatient for severe SUD to outpatient treatment)

Addiction Treatment Programs At Bedrock Recovery Center

At Bedrock Recovery Center, it’s our mission to help people with substance use disorder and their loved ones heal from the effects of addiction and achieve a fulfilling life in recovery.

Our treatment facility offers detox and residential programs that feature evidence-based treatments, such as cognitive behavioral therapy and medication-assisted treatment (MAT).

For more information about our addiction treatment center and our treatment options, call our helpline to speak with an admissions specialist today.

  1. U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) — Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based guide (Third Edition) https://nida.nih.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment-research-based-guide-third-edition/drug-addiction-treatment-in-united-states/types-treatment-programs
  2. U.S. National Library of Medicine: NCBI Bookshelf — Stages of Change - Brief Interventions and Brief Therapies for Substance Abuse https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64942/table/A61041/
  3. U.S. National Library of Medicine: PubMed — The transtheoretical model of health behavior change https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10170434/

Written by Bedrock Recovery Center Editorial Team

Published on: September 20, 2022

© 2024 Bedrock Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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