The 8 Stages of Recovery, By Length of Clean Time
Everyone’s journey is different. There are some things that we all have in common when it comes to the recovery process. Again, remember that everyone’s experience is their own and that it happened the way it was meant to. Here, we have the process of recovery, mostly through the first year and ending with ‘multiple years.’ Although we say that some people are feeling better by one year, I have heard many others say they were miserable the first year. Here are the 8 stages of recovery, by length of clean time.
#1. White Chip – 0 to 29 Days
Most people look back at this stage of their journey toward recovery and remember mostly hating everything. We’re just coming into the rooms or treatment at this point and most likely we’re detoxing from drugs and alcohol so we’re not feeling too hot. Mentally and emotionally, we were irritable and uncomfortable. Psychologically, we may have been feeling anxious and depressed. Hang on, it’s about to get better…
#2. 30 Day Chip
This is usually when the Pink Cloud shows up and usually lasts for at least a couple of months. If you went to treatment, then you’d be getting discharged from the inpatient phase at this point. You’ve started your 90 in 90 (if you didn’t start while in treatment). If you got clean and sober in the rooms, then you’ve already started your 90 in 90. At this stage, you would be moving into a halfway house.
#3. 60 Day Chip
You might still be experiencing your Pink Cloud. By this stage, you’ve already asked someone to be your sponsor and you’ve been calling them daily. You’ve started your steps; Don’t be surprised if you’re still experiencing PAWS – these withdrawal symptoms can last for the first year of sobriety and even longer.
#4. 90 Day Chip
You may still be feeling on-top-of-the-world. Others have started to feel reality creep in. Also, you’re usually expected to begin working a humbling job at this point.
#5. 6 Month Chip
You’ve finished your 90 in 90. Depending on the fellowship you’re in, you may have finished your steps around this stage of recovery. If so, you’ve also begun sponsoring. Some say they’ve had a spiritual awakening, as a result of working the 12 steps, and therefore have felt that the mental obsession has been lifted.
#6. 9 Month Chip
At this stage of the recovery process, most people who are living in halfway houses have met their commitment. Some may choose to stay or move into a ¾ house. Others decide to get a place of their own, usually with a roommate, or move back home – if they already have a house and family.
#7. One Year
You’re feeling pretty good at this stage of recovery – you’ve made it an entire year without a drink or drug. For many of us, this is the longest amount of time in our whole life that we’ve been clean sober. Your life is coming together at this point. You may have found a job more suited to your skills – not just a recovery job – and/or gone back to school.
#8. Multiple Years
Life has become more normal. You deal with everyday issues like the rest of the world while still working a program of recovery. You’ve come to the realization that you’ve gotten better at dealing with life on life’s terms and that your perspective has changed. This is key. My therapist in treatment told me that addiction is a disease of perception; therefore, when we are able to realize that our perception – as recovering addicts and alcoholics – is skewed and we are able to adjust our outlook, we have made real progress.
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