The Road to Recovery: The Alcohol Addiction Recovery Stages You Need to Know

Alcohol Addiction Recovery Stages

Choosing to get more out of your life by quitting alcohol is admirable. After you decide to start the journey of alcohol addiction recovery, you might have many questions. How long will the recovery take? What will the process involve?

Though there are some generally recognized stages of recovery, the alcohol recovery timeline is different for everyone. It will depend on factors like support, the severity of addiction, and the available resources. To provide you with information on the recovery journey, here are the general alcohol addiction recovery stages. But these alcohol addiction symptoms are typical and will end as you wean yourself off alcohol dependence.

Starting treatment: first thirty days

In this first stage, you have overcome the myths about alcohol addiction to seek help from professionals. Unfortunately, the early stages of recovery may come with feelings of denial. You may be tempted to think alcohol use is better than abusing other complex substances. Denial derails the recovery process.

The first few weeks of treatment may also involve feelings of depression. The depression will improve as the brain adjusts to the lack of alcohol. The early stages of recovery are one of the toughest ones. Apart from depression, you may experience:

  • Disturbed sleep
  • Anxiety
  • Problems with nutrition

But these symptoms are typical and will end as you wean yourself off alcohol dependence.

Early abstinence: first three months

The initial three months of alcohol recovery are crucial to the success of the whole process. But at this time, you may face problems such as continued withdrawal symptoms and a high risk of relapsing. The withdrawal symptoms may last many months but will improve with time.

The chances of relapsing are high because the body faces a lot of stress. To deal with stress, the body craves your feelings from alcohol consumption.

The first three months may also be challenging because of triggers that encourage a relapse. Experts in an alcohol detox center can give you the necessary skills and support to persevere through the second stage.

Maintaining abstinence: six months 

Usually, getting inpatient treatment stops after three months. So, staying sober after that period ends will depend on the skills you’ve picked up since you started the process.

You may struggle with overcoming triggers in the six months this stage lasts. You will need to stick to the healthy habits you’ve learned if you are to enjoy the benefits of sobriety.

Long-term abstinence: one year

After a year of alcohol addiction recovery, the healthy habits you learned will be well-established. In addition, your body and mind will have sufficient time to recover from the impacts of addiction. 

You will begin to feel like life without alcohol consumption is expected. Plus, the chances of a relapse will be lower because of the long abstinence period.

Once you reach a year of abstinence, you might want to stop attending group sessions. The sessions may not seem that helpful. But, it is essential to keep following the sessions because they provide you with a solid support system that is essential if you are to stay sober.

Advanced recovery: beyond

The final stage of alcohol addiction recovery is where you have maintained sobriety for a couple of years, such as five years. The chance of suffering a relapse reduces significantly once you reach five years of continued sobriety.

In the final stage, stick to what works for you. Also, rely on self-care and support from your community to reach your goals.


Recovery from alcohol addiction is a long-term process. Plus, your experience during recovery will be unique. So embrace the process and reap the rewards in your life.

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BSV Staff

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