A substance use disorder (SUD) can cause significant problems in a person’s life. Fortunately, recovery is possible. The recovery process for addiction is different for everyone and not necessarily linear. The amount of time it takes to complete the stages of recovery varies, as a person’s healing process is just as individualized as their addiction.

Recovery from substance use disorder is long, challenging, but ultimately achievable. It takes time, effort, and dedication, but people can successfully break free from addiction with the proper support. Contact Fort Behavioral Health today if you or someone you know is struggling with a SUD. Our addiction counseling programs in Texas can build the foundation for long-term recovery.

The Stages of Recovery

Substance use disorder recovery is a journey of rebirth and renewal with multiple stages. There are generally three stages in the recovery process for addiction: abstinence, repair, and growth.


The abstinence stage occurs immediately following quitting the substance. This stage generally lasts from one to two years. The central part of it involves dealing with cravings and not returning to using substances. Some of the goals of the abstinence stage include:

  • Acceptance of having an addiction
  • Practicing honesty
  • Developing coping skills to deal with cravings
  • Becoming active in self-help groups
  • Practicing self-care
  • Practicing saying “no”
  • Learning and understanding the stages of relapse
  • Cutting off relationships with those who are using
  • Dealing with post-acute withdrawal, which involves emotional and psychological withdrawal symptoms and is a common cause of relapse
  • Developing healthy alternatives to using drugs or alcohol
  • Seeing oneself as a non-user of substances

The abstinence stage focuses on improving physical and emotional self-care. As individuals progress through abstinence, they feel increasingly better and can take more control over their lives.


The second stage of recovery is the repair stage. The main goal is to repair the damage caused by addiction. This stage typically lasts two to three years. Individuals may initially feel temporarily worse as they must face the damage addiction has done to their self-esteem, employment status, financial stability, and relationships.

Overcoming guilt is also a part of this recovery stage and can help people feel more deserving of healthy relationships, confidence, and joy. Some of the goals of the repair stage include:

  • Using cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) to overcome negative self-esteem and irrational thoughts
  • Understanding that addiction does not define someone
  • Repairing relationships and making amends
  • Feeling comfortable with feeling uncomfortable
  • Improving self-care and making it a priority
  • Developing a healthy and balanced lifestyle
  • Continuing engagement in self-help groups
  • Developing healthy alternatives to using substances

Establishing a support system while also supporting and believing in oneself is crucial to this stage of recovery.


The growth stage focuses on developing skills that reduce susceptibility to addiction. This stage is about moving forward with one’s life and typically starts within three to five years after abstaining from drugs or alcohol. During this time, individuals deal with issues or past traumas that may have originated their addiction. Some of the goals in the growth stage include:

  • Identifying and repairing negative thinking and behavior patterns
  • Understanding negative patterns passed down in one’s family, dealing with those resentments, and moving forward.
  • Challenging fears with CBT and relaxation techniques for the mind and the body
  • Setting healthy boundaries
  • Beginning to give back and help others
  • Periodically re-evaluating one’s lifestyle and checking that one is on the right track to recovery

Though the growth stage may last a lifetime for people in recovery, it can significantly improve the quality of a person’s life.

Find Addiction Treatment Programs at Fort Behavioral Health

Moving through the stages of recovery is a lengthy and challenging process. At Fort Behavioral Health, our team of experts provides support and guidance at every step. We tailor our specialized addiction treatment programs to meet each person’s needs and goals.

Our approach emphasizes relapse prevention through evidence-based therapies such as behavioral modification and cognitive-behavioral therapy. We take a holistic approach to recovery and focus on healing the mind, body, and spirit. Call 844.332.1807 or fill out our contact form to learn how we can help you reach lasting sobriety and wellness.


Get Help Today!

You don’t have to face the journey of recovery by yourself. There are people out there ready to help with what you’re going through. Reach out to someone for support today.

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