The 4 Stages of Addiction

The descent into addiction doesn’t take place with one big step. It takes place in stages. In fact, rehabilitation counselors have identified 4 distinct stages, the 4th being full-blown addiction or dependency. For concerned parents, family members, or friends, it is important to recognize the first 2 stages before someone they love hits stage 3. Someone in the 3rd stage of addiction is more likely to become a full-fledged drug or alcohol addict than someone going through the first 2 stages. For addiction, it is safe to say that prevention is key. But most parents, family members and close friends prove that in the case of facing the bitter truth about addiction; the adage that “denial is humankind’s strongest suit” holds true. People who suspect that a loved one is in the first throes of addiction should recognize their gut instinct and keep their eyes peeled for the following signs.

  • A loved one starts regularly indulging in a few drinks, sharing a joint or enjoying recreational drugs in a social environment without serious or legal consequences.
  • The increased use of drugs or alcohol begins to result in negative consequences. For instance, causing a ruckus at a social event or being stopped for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • When the frequency of drug use can’t be curtailed despite the negative consequences, one can say that an individual is in the first throes of full-blown addiction. This means that the craving for drugs is stronger than the fear of the social, emotional, psychological and even legal backlash that may follow.
  • Total dependency on drugs means that the individual is totally consumed by his or her addiction that all else pales in comparison.

The Difference between a Rehabilitation Center and a Sober Living Home

If an intervention (defined as a concerted effort by family and close friends, with the help of a reputable addiction counselor, to force a loved one into confronting his or her addiction and seek help) is successful, a person will then be checked into a rehabilitation center. In the rehabilitation center the person with addiction will have to go through a rehabilitation process that will involve:

  • Detoxification – This process rids the body of drug or alcohol traces. In some instances medication may be taken to counteract the physical effects of withdrawal.
  • Rehab – After an individual’s system is free of addictive substances, he or she begins to address the issues behind his or her drug use through therapy sessions. In these sessions they isolate the reasons behind their drug use and learn coping mechanisms that will help them live a drug or alcohol-free life.

The recovery process doesn’t stop at rehab. In fact, the road to recovery may be a long one fraught with temptations to backslide. This is where a sober living home steps in. In sober living homes a person who has undergone rehab will experience a modicum of the real world by performing chores, socializing with other people going through the same process and even holding down a job. A sober living home will serve as his or her transition before stepping back into the real world.