Starting out on an unknown venture is terrifying, but perhaps knowing what to expect along the way and knowing what the expected outcome is will help to ease some of those tensions. The alcohol detox process requires time, patience, and plenty of outside support. Recovery is going to completely change the way your entire world works and you will go through different stages of this as you progress through your recovery. Well known alcohol use disorder researchers Carlo C. DiClemente and J.O. Prochaska created a six-stage model of change that helps professionals and their clients on the road to recovery.


During the pre-contemplation stage, the individual would be feeling the various effects of their alcoholism. THE FIVE STAGES OF ALCOHOL RECOVERYFinances might be tight from the exorbitant spending on just alcohol. They might be feeling the pinch from missing too many days at work, or too many events with their family. In this stage, when the alcoholic is confronted with their habit they will most likely be defensive, offering alternative reasons that things are not going well and NEVER blaming the alcohol. They may even claim that they have everything under control. An alcoholic in the pre-contemplation stage is not interested in changing just yet. Sometimes it takes a big push from an outside source, a wakeup call from something very drastic happening, to get them to begin to see that they might have a problem and that they might need help.


During the contemplation stage, the drinker is beginning to allow the thought that they might have a problem actually surface. At this stage, they may even have put together a plan of action or have set an end date for drinking or cutting back, but that date will always be in the future. It is never now. The pros and cons of drinking vs quitting are also being weighed during this time.


It is very common to research ‘alcohol recovery’ during this stage. The person’s commitment to change has become more tangible and solidified and they may have even started taking some small steps away from some of their negative habits. For many alcoholics the impending loss of their relationship with alcohol can feel like the loss of an actual, human relationship. It is not uncommon, therefore, for the alcoholic to go through the five stages of grief as well.


In stage three the alcoholic has committed their mind to recovery. Stage four is where they commit their body. At a treatment facility the person seeking recovery will experience three stages of detox.

EVALUATION: Blood tests and health screenings will be taking to assess the patient’s level of physical damage and level of addiction.

STABILIZATION: A healthy diet will be administered to avoid any malnutrition and medication to ease as much of the discomfort and side effects as possible will be administered.

TRANSITION: This is where the patient begins to transition from detox into therapeutic treatment. Generally, they would have a choice between an outpatient program that will allow them to still work and be near loved ones. Residential treatment, which is offered in-house and around the clock is also an option. In some of the more severe cases of alcoholism, however, the patient may be recommended for a partial hospitalization program. 


During this stage, the patient may still feel tempted to drink at times but focus on their goal should act as a deterrent. Daily recovery techniques are learned and applied to all situations. During this phase of treatment, the patient may also start to feel powerful surges of emotions. This is everything that was backlogged during their alcoholism finally coming to the surface and being released. The good feelings can be rather enjoyable and exciting but equally so, the lows can be devastating and crushing.

As with any type of addiction recovery, relapse is always a very real possibility. It is important to remember that a relapse is only temporary. The treatment is still working even though you may feel like it has failed you. At this point it is important to get back in touch with your recovery team and take things one step at a time. Alcoholism takes a lot of time and hard work to overcome, but with the proper team aiding your recovery, like the team at Asana Recovery, we can work with you to get you free from your addiction and get your physical and mental health back in order.