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  1. #1
    Registered User. mario's Avatar

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    24th February, 2009.
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    4 Stages of recovery

    If you have decided that you need to get help for your drinking , you have already entered the first stage of recovery by admitting that you have a problem and seeking outside help.
    This process -- reaching out for help and seeking some kind treatment or rehabilitation -- is known as treatment initiation. It is the first of four stages of recovery

    If you are like most people who seek help for substance abuse problems, in the very early stages you probably still harbor some feelings of ambivalence about giving up your drug of choice, and you may still be in denial about the full extent of your problem. This is common for people in the early days. Denial simply means refusing to believe the reality of your circumstances. Many people new to recovery usually have some level of denial about their addiction. Denial can take many forms, from thinking that you can still control your substance use to denying that you are really addicted.

    It's likely that during your substance abusing days you associated your drinking with certain people, places and things. Perhaps you always stopped by the same bar or you only drank when around certain people. You may even have had a favorite glass you drank from . All of these can be triggers that can cause you to relapse.
    It is absolutely critical to your continued abstinence that you avoid the triggers and other high-risk situations. You need to helpyourself identify the people, places and things that you associate with your drinking and help you develop strategies for avoiding these triggers, Many alcoholics organize their entire daily routine around obtaining, drinking and recovering from the effects of their drink.
    Once you quit drinking, there will be a void in your daily scheduled and/or a sense of loss. You may be used to a daily schedule that is chaotic and disorganized,. You may find it difficult imagining what you will do now that you are no longer drinking.

    Not everyone experiences cravings during early abstinence, but for those who do, it can become overwhelming. Craving is a strong urge to return to drinking . Craving can be both physical and psychological to the point that you can become obsessed with thinking about drinking again.
    you must recognize what craving feels like and learn that it is temporary and will pass. you must learn that you have choices; you can choose to "sit the craving out." You do not have to respond to the urge in a self-damaging way.
    The longer you remain abstinent, the fewer cravings you will have and the less intense they will become. But if you give in to the urge, they will remain strong.

    If you have been clean and sober for 90 days, you now need to put the tools that you learned in early abstinence to work toward maintaining your sobriety and avoiding relapse. maintaining your recovery is basically up to you. In order to maintain abstinence, it is important that you:

    Avoid environmental triggers.
    Recognize your own psychosocial and emotional triggers.
    Develop healthy behaviors to handle life's stresses.

    People get in trouble when they let their guard down after their early-absitence success. It is important that you not take your sobriety for granted and that your recognize the power of your addiction. Maintaining a recovery-oriented attitude is critical.
    It is also important your participation in support groups and that you remain honest with yourself and others about your feelings and thoughts. Changes in attitudes, feelings and behaviors can quickly lead you to a relapse.
    A relapse does not begin when you pick up a drink . It's a gradual process marked by negative changes in your attitude, feelings and behaviors. If you find yourself in the downward relapse spiral, do something different! Go to more support group meetings, spend time with others who support your recovery, maintain a heatlhy structure in your life, make sure you are in a drink-free environment and avoid external triggers. Take positive action to resolve any relationship, personal or work-related problems that are causing you stress.

    The fourth stage is reaching advanced recovery in which you have achieved long-lasting abstinence and have made a commitment to continue to lead a lifelong sober lifestyle. Advanced recovery, sometimes called stable recovery, usually begins after five years of sustained abstinence.
    Hopefully you have not only learned to maintain abstinence, you have also learned to make more healthy and productive choices in all areas of your life. Advanced recovery is living that healthy lifestyle for the rest of your life.
    As you have learned during your journey , recovery is much more than merely remaining abstinence. Of course, maintaining abstinence is a necessary part of recovery and the core of your recovery program. But if you do not make healthy choices in all areas of your life, you will find it difficult to lead a satisfying, fulfilling life.
    One group of recovery experts published a definition of recovery as "a voluntarily maintained lifestyle characterized by sobriety, personal health, and citizenship." Personal health involves not only to physical and mental health, but also social health -- participation in family and social roles. Citizenship refers to "giving back" to the community and society.
    Even if you have been clean and sober continually for more than five years, you are still one slip away from a relapse. In spite of your success, you can continue your participation in your mutual support groups.
    After five years of sobriety you are much less likely to have a relapse and you may not have to spend as much conscious effort to maintain your sober lifestyle, but your continued recovery can be a lifelong process.

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  3. #2
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    23rd February, 2009.
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    4 Stages of recovery


    Awesome food for thought here.


  4. #3
    Registered User. one2many's Avatar

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    7th July, 2008.
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    4 Stages of recovery

    Deadly post Mario as always..thank you xx

  5. #4
    Registered User. Doggygirl's Avatar

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    27th June, 2007.
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    4 Stages of recovery

    One of the things that came as a shock to me was that 3 months sober (as an example) is not really considered "long term" in recovery circles. :H FIVE YEARS??????? THAT SOUNDS LIKE FOREVER!!!!!!!!

    With each sober day I gain new respect for those who have gone before us and have truly experienced long term sobriety. I am so grateful to know people who have stayed continuously sober for 10 years, 20 years, 30 years, 40 years. We are just babies in sobriety here at My Way Out. I hope that we stick around and keep staying sober ODAT so that someday, we too will be wise in the ways of long term sobriety.


  6. #5
    Registered User. momof3's Avatar

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    9th May, 2007.
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    4 Stages of recovery

    Thanks for posting this Mario.

    Even though I am not at 5 years, I am deeply committed to "sobriety, personal health, and citizenship." It makes all the difference.


  7. #6
    Registered User. Gaia's Avatar

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    21st May, 2010.
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    4 Stages of recovery

    Hello there,

    Thanks for the post, Mario. I agree that early sobriety is a very dangerous time (I would say I'm painfully aware, except I don't feel any actual pain).

    I'm with DG on this one - 5 years sounds like FOREVER! Like sands in the hour glass...

    M3 I sense your commitment - and hope to keep the same.

    I think, as an early bird, that there is something also about what you see for yourself and your future. Visualizing myself as a happy non-drinker is important to me. A few weeks ago I was eating out with family and Mr. T. was enjoying huge glasses of wine. I felt a little bit angry and on the point of tears. I looked around me. I saw another group where a pinched nervous middle aged woman was the only one at the table without a wine glass. My first thought was that she was an alcoholic. Maybe she was having vodka tonic, or maybe she was sick for all I know. But what I realized was that I didn't want to be at a table without AL and be unhappy, making everyone else at the table uncomfortable. It was good motivation for me to change my attitude.

    I've also observed a very dear friend who happens to be Muslim when she is around AL. It's nothing to her! Her husband drinks moderately, and she is the center of attention, the life of the ball, the most lively and interesting one in every group. Although she is not a beauty, she believes herself to be lovely, and she is! I really admire her for many reasons. I view this as a model - I too want to be the happy lively one who could care less about having AL.

    Goals for the future. Love to all,

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  9. #7
    Registered User. not tonight's Avatar

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    9th May, 2010.
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    4 Stages of recovery

    Thanks for this post Mario. I am past the 90 day mark, and what I am finding important to my sobriety is continual improvement in others areas of my life: professional, health, family relationships. I feel that if I don't keep working to improve various areas in my life then old behaviours will creep back in.

    Getting sober is a process.

  10. #8
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    15th June, 2010.
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    4 Stages of recovery

    Just returned from my first sober holiday. Your post was a lovely welcome! Thank you mario for your words of wisdom. I love my newfound sobriety and I intend to protect for as long as I can. A five year plan sounds excellent to me!

  11. #9
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    10th August, 2009.
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    4 Stages of recovery

    5 years wow sounds forever but then i have been drinking forever, some day i will get there. i hope .

  12. #10
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    30th September, 2008.
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    4 Stages of recovery

    Picking myself up and dusting myself off, knowing that it is possible and I will be AF once again.

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