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5 Stages of Change in Recovery: When Things Begin To Get Better

When living an addictive lifestyle, there are many things that your addiction can take from you. The addiction you have can take away your dignity, relationships, career, and so much more. Some people will hit rock bottom and realize they need to turn their lives around, while others will decide one day that they need to make a change to their life.

No matter what got you to the point of realizing that you need to recover from your addiction, you are here today. You may have just decided to get clean and sober. You may be in your first 24 hours of recovery or you may have been in recovery for a while. Regardless, you are looking to find out when things will get better. It is different for everyone who is recovering from addiction – as this is an individualized process – but there is some information that might be able to help you get the answers you are looking for.

What are the benefits of getting sober?

Are you still living an addictive lifestyle? Are you contemplating whether you should give up drugs or alcohol? If so, seeing the benefits of getting sober might help you. Some of the many benefits of getting sober include:

  • Your health will get better.
  • You will save money.
  • You can have better relationships in your life.
  • You will feel less depressed and anxious.
  • You will have more energy.
  • You will get better quality sleep.
  • Your memory will improve.
  • Your overall appearance and your skin will improve.
  • You will have more time for the important things in life.
  • You will be able to truly enjoy your life.
  • You can learn more about your true self.
  • You can take part in healthy hobbies.
  • You won’t feel so alone.

These are just some of the many benefits that can be listed about getting sober. Pick even one of these benefits and let it drive you to get sober.

What are the stages of recovery?

Maybe you are about to enter into recovery or you have already started recovery, but you want to know when things are going to get better in your life. While this answer does vary from person to person, it is important to remember this – THINGS WILL GET BETTER!

Learning about the stages of recovery is a good motivator and reminder for many recovering addicts that things are going to get better.

Stage 1: Pre-Contemplation

If you are in the pre-contemplation stage, you haven’t admitted that you have an addiction. You are still living an addictive lifestyle – getting into legal trouble, having issues in your relationships, and fighting with your loved ones and friends. You still don’t realize that your addiction is negatively impacting your life. If someone were to say that you have an addiction, you would be in denial. You may be blaming your substance abuse on external factors such as your family, your childhood, a stressful situation in your life, or any number of other things. During this stage, you might hit your rock bottom. The good thing about rock bottom is that it might lead you to see that changes need to be made in your life.

Stage 2: Contemplation

During this stage, you have now accepted that something needs to change. However, you don’t quite know what caused your addiction. You may not know what to do next. Asking for help may seem out of reach. Many addicts will be in the contemplation stage for many months. You may even keep using harmful substances during this time. Many contemplators will feel hopeless most of the time but empowered when they think about changes that could be made. If you can look to your future – to a substance-free lifestyle – this could help you to get to the next stage of recovery. If you are feeling excited about recovery, you can move to the preparation stage.

Stage 3: Preparation

Once you get to stage 3, you are full of excitement. You want to live a recovering lifestyle with everything you have. You are making plans for a better future. During this stage, you have made a commitment to stay clean and sober. Some people even enter an addiction detox program or rehab program at this time. During stage 3, you are doing everything that you can to prepare for living without harmful substances in your life. A common recommendation for getting through stage 3 of recovery is to focus on a day, a month, or a year’s time frame. Most people will take things one day at a time. By doing this, you can help yourself reach the next stage.

Stage 4: Action

Now, it’s your time. It is your time to take action. The past is behind you and you have the power to take control over your life. You are taking actions in your life that lead to your living the best and most effective recovering lifestyle. You may change your environment to help you prevent a relapse. Maybe you are letting go of the people in your life that don’t support your recovering lifestyle. You might be participating in an addiction recovery program. While this stage does require much effort, it is completely worth it.

Stage 5: Maintenance

Finally, you must maintain your recovery. Many people forget about this stage which is one of the reasons that so many recovering addicts will relapse. If you can remember and take part in the maintenance stage of your recovery, you can have a better chance of staying clean and sober. During this stage, you might go to AA or NA meetings, talk to people from your support network a lot, use your coping skills, and continue reminding yourself of the benefits of staying clean and sober. Recovery is a lifelong journey. However, when using the tools that you learned in the action stage, you can continue on your journey to a lifelong recovering lifestyle.


You can see real results in your recovery. Whether you are still living an addictive lifestyle or you are already in recovery, you are going to see results. The time frame is a bit different for everyone. However, if you put forth the effort to move through the different stages of recovery, you can live your best life possible. You can start seeing changes happening in your life from the moment you admit that you have an addiction, to the life that you create in recovery.

Let yourself take the jump into recovery. You will see that every moment you put into your recovery is well worth it.

Do you or a loved one need help getting sober? Contact us today to discuss available options.