Introduce the concept of stages of recovery

Dr. Richard Rawson and his colleagues, who developed the neurobehavioral model of recovery from cocaine addiction, identified four different stages of recovery that are commonly experienced by people during their recovery.

These stages are rough guidelines for the recovery process.

Each of these four stages involves potential changes in your behavior, emotions, thinking, and interpersonal relationships. Following is a brief summary of symptoms or behaviors associated with each stage.

Stage 1: Withdrawal (0-15 days)

You may sleep more, act impulsively, or feel depressed, anxious, shameful, fearful, confused, or self-doubt. Cravings to use cocaine are strong, and you may have trouble concentrating or coping with stress. You may become irritated easily with other people.

Stage 2: Honeymoon (16-45 days)

You begin to feel better physically, your energy increases, and you feel more optimistic and confident about your life. You may even begin to feel your cocaine problem is “under control” or “over” and, as a result, you may want to drop out of treatment early or stop your recovery activities, such as attending NA, CA, or AA meetings or stop following the disciplines of recovery.

This may contribute to your use of cocaine or other substances again.

Stage 3: The Wall (46-120 days)

This is seen as the major hurdle in recovery. You become more vulnerable to relapse as you feel reduced physical or sexual energy, depressed, anxious, irritable, or bored; have trouble concentrating; and feel strong cravings or thoughts about using cocaine.

Stage 4: Adjustment (121-180 days)

If you get through the previous stages, you may feel a great sense of accomplishment. Life begins to feel like it’s getting back to normal as you adjust to changes in your lifestyle.

Although your mood improves, you still continue to feel bored and may even feel more lonely than you did before.

Cravings for cocaine occur less frequently and intensely, and you may begin to question whether you have an addiction. You may even put yourself in high-risk situations that increase your relapse risk.


2 thoughts on “Introduce the concept of stages of recovery

  1. Hmm interesting. I’m on day 47 and I have been feeling pretty listless for the past couple of days. Thankfully I haven’t had any cravings. Now that I have a theory to explore I can put the blues into perspective. Thanks!

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