How To Get Past The Most Challenging Phase Of Addiction Recovery

Addiction recovery isn’t that easy, but it’s possible. This won’t be a quick process. You need to unlearn the harmful habits you’ve developed over time. Moreover, not knowing what to expect during the hardest part of recovery can make it more challenging to overcome an addiction.

Keep reading to understand the stages of addiction recovery and how you can overcome such phases when faced with obstacles.

The Stages Of Addiction Recovery

Addiction can develop over time, but some people can become addicted quickly. Most people become addicted to substances, such as drugs, alcohol, and volatile substances. Meanwhile, others get addicted to working, exercising, shopping, and the like.

However, recovering from any addiction is crucial. Hence, it would help to seek treatment from reputable recovery centers like They’ll teach you various coping skills to overcome the challenges of addiction recovery.

Here are the following stages of addiction recovery:

1. Precontemplation Stage

You may not be ready for any treatment program to help with your addiction at this stage. This is because you’re still justifying and defending your behavior during this phase. Because your addiction gives you so much pleasure, you continue to deny it has any negative consequences.

Hence, getting stuck in this stage is easy if you don’t recognize your behavior as an addiction. You may also think that recovery is impossible in your case.

2. Treatment Initiation

After the first stage, you’ve realized that your actions aren’t giving you good outcomes, so you seek help for your addiction. The treatment initiation also occurs when someone has forced you to enter a treatment program.

Although you might initiate the treatment, you may still wonder if you’re ready to give up on your addiction. And this is normal at this stage. However, it’s essential to remind yourself constantly why recovery is significant.

3. Early Abstinence

After you overcome the second stage, the next is early abstinence. In this stage, you’ve become committed to continuing your addiction treatment. In addition, you’ve learned to value the results and recognize their significance to your recovery.

However, this phase is one of the toughest because you may face more challenges, such as the ones below:

  • Triggers tempting you into a relapse
  • Psychological dependence
  • Physical cravings
  • Withdrawal symptoms

Challenges may dampen your motivation to continue your recovery. The best way to overcome them is to talk to your counselor. They’ll help you find a suitable treatment so you don’t give in to your urges.

It’s also helpful to share your feelings or experiences with your family or someone who can relate to what you’re going through. Having this support will help you get over your feelings of isolation.

4. Maintenance Stage

The more you learn about healthy coping mechanisms during your treatment, the more committed and diligent you’ll be in avoiding relapse. During this stage, you may attend support groups, pay attention to sleep hygiene, stay sober, and get regular exercise to keep up with your lifestyle changes.

Long-term sobriety is possible with the help of these coping mechanisms. They’ll also teach you how to resist temptation when it strikes unexpectedly. This phase can last up to five years or more, depending on your experience and addiction severity.

5. Advanced Recovery

After remaining sober and clean for approximately five years, you’ll enter the advanced recovery phase. This is the last stage because you can now use all the skills and tools you’ve learned during your treatment to live a fulfilling, satisfying, and addiction-free life.

At this stage, it’s not just being sober that’s remarkable. It’s also becoming a more productive member of society, a better person for your loved ones, and a healthier individual. It’s essential to continue attending the program until you’ve overcome all the stages of addiction recovery.

Different Ways To Overcome The Challenging Phases Of Addiction Recovery

The most challenging phase of addiction recovery varies for every person. Some may find the second phase the hardest, while others may find it more difficult to overcome the third phase. Regardless of which stage you find most challenging, success is possible. Here are six ways to overcome the challenging phases of addiction recovery:

1. Find Support From Loved Ones

Find Support From Loved Ones

Having dependable support and healthy relationships with others can affect you positively when overcoming addiction recovery challenges. They can help you control your urges because they understand your situation. And you can have someone to talk to whenever you feel lonely or depressed.

If you can’t find support from friends or family, you can always join a support group. Since they’ve experienced what you’re going through, you can make them your inspiration to stay sober.

They can also become your new friends who can help you connect to other recovery communities or help you adapt to an addiction-free life. The more time you spend with people who have overcome such challenges, the better you’ll be in achieving similar success.

2. Practice Healthy Ways To Deal With Stress

You may still need to face the problems that made you develop addictive behavior. These problems may include a busy work schedule, struggles in your relationships, or dealing with painful emotions. When you’re trying to get clean, these problems or negative feelings you’ve suppressed through addiction may resurface. Hence, you may be prone to relapse.

You can avoid a relapse by resolving these underlying causes that made you addicted. They may remind you of hopelessness, anxiety, shame, anger, frustration, loneliness, or stress. However, learning to accept these emotions as natural and necessary components of the transformation process is essential to your recovery.

To overcome these emotions, you must find alternative ways to address them instead of returning to your addiction. Nevertheless, you can keep your stress level at a minimum without falling back on your addiction. You can do this by considering these healthier ways to manage your problems or negative emotions:

  • Treat Yourself: It doesn’t have to be extravagant. Soaking in a hot shower or bath can do. You can also treat yourself to a full-body massage, tea with your favorite pastries, or travel to a new place.
  • Envision A Peaceful Place: Meditation can significantly help you manage stress. Close your eyes and think of fond memory, such as the times you spent with your loved ones, your child’s first steps, a sandy beach or a beautiful sunset.
  • Use Your Sense Of Smell: Breathing in good scents can help you feel good, such as the smell of freshly brewed coffee. You can also cook your favorite meal and savor the smell of vegetables and spices.
  • Play With Pets: Caring for your pets can help you forget your problems. Did you know that touching your pet’s fur can make you calm?
  • Enjoy Nature: Go outside when negative feelings are too overwhelming. Savor the fresh air or warm sun.
    Move: You may find balance and bust stress by running or brisk walking. Or you can relieve stress by taking a walk in your block.

These healthier ways are proven effective for managing stress and anxiety.

3. Learn Mindfulness

Thinking about the past and worrying about the future is a surefire way to trigger a relapse. Instead of doing such things, practice the habit of being in the present moment, also known as mindfulness.

Regrets, disappointments, and frustrations can come to mind when one spends too much time thinking about the past. On the other hand, when you let yourself get consumed by fear of the future, you run the risk of feeling helpless in the face of the many challenges that lie ahead.

When you’re mindful, you focus on what you can do now and where you are. It prevents your thoughts from taking you to places you can’t control. Mindfulness is also the opposite of avoidance which may have made you addicted.

When you’re in pain, mentally or physically, it’s possible to turn to your addiction to avoid such negative feelings. But when you’re mindful, you can learn to detach yourself from distressing memories and emotions. You can also learn to acknowledge them without letting them affect you. As a result, problems or negative feelings become tolerable and temporary.

Moreover, you can learn to relax when you practice mindfulness. Relaxing is vital when you’re trying to recover from addiction. When you’re relaxed, you can reduce the physical harm, cravings, anxiety, and pain associated with chronic stress. And when you’re not stressed, you don’t have the urge to return to your harmful habits.

Through mindfulness, you become more aware of what’s happening in your mind and body. This means you can become aware when stress is creeping into you. When this happens, you can take a moment to relax. Alternatively, before you accumulate stress, you can sit quietly and take a break. As a result, you can prevent stress from forming.

4. Eat Healthy Foods

Food impacts your brain functions. When the chemicals in your brain are out of balance or the brain isn’t producing sufficient neurotransmitters, you can become anxious or irritable. As a result, you may suffer from anxiety, stress, or inability to sleep, affecting your well-being. You can prevent this by eating healthy foods.

It’s best to have a diet that can keep you healthy and help balance the hormones in your brain. For instance, serotonin in your brain can help with relaxation. For this purpose, you may need foods rich in complex carbohydrates, such as bread, pasta, root vegetables, and legumes. These foods can keep you at your best, especially when you combine them with proteins.

When you’re at your best, you won’t quickly feel the cravings or urges to relapse. However, your body may not be used to digesting food during the early stages of recovery. Hence, it would help to introduce meals into your body slowly. You can start with frequent and small meals since you’re still adjusting to a new eating habit.

5. Change Your Environment

Before getting treatment, you may be surrounded by things that make you indulge in your addiction. When you have access to the things you’re addicted to, it can be hard to overcome the challenges of addiction recovery.

Suppose you’re addicted to playing video games. If you see your gaming gadgets constantly, you’re more likely to crave them. But if you’re not surrounded by such, you may experience fewer cravings.

Hence, it would be better to change your environment by creating a space to help you recover from your addiction. You can do this by disposing of temptations that feed your addiction. When you don’t have access to things you’re addicted to, it’ll be more difficult to relapse.

You may also want to detach yourself from people who are still associated with the addiction you once had. To avoid being tempted again, it’s best to either let them go or ignore them.

6. Practice Self-Forgiveness

Forgiving yourself after a relapse would be best because part of recovery is about growing, learning, and healing. Take relapse as an opportunity for growth. You can start by accepting that you’ve fallen off the wagon.

In addition, it would help if you made peace with what you’ve done, what has happened, and the truth about it. That way, you can let go of shame and guilt since you accept the responsibility for your actions. After acceptance, you should also take action by opening up about it to your support group or loved ones you trust.

Lastly, it would be best if you learned something from the relapse. You should accept and forgive yourself and ensure that the experience has sharpened your perspective. It means you should understand its lessons so you won’t have to repeat them.


Addiction recovery has five stages or phases, which can be difficult to some degree. These difficulties may be due to each phase’s challenges, resulting in a relapse.

However, you can overcome these challenges by creating a supportive network, practicing healthy ways to deal with stress, learning mindfulness, eating healthy, changing your environment, and forgiving yourself after a relapse. Doing these things can change your perspective into believing that recovery is possible.

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