Feb. 4, 2020
Roadmap to Recovery Pt. 1
(Withdrawal, Abstinence, Relapse Prevention)
SAMHSA - The Matrix Model
Welcome to the Sober is Dope Podcast with your host, POP Buchanan. This episode is part of our Back to the Basics, Recovery Roadmap series. The goal of this episode is to point out the stages of recovery, and prevent relapse. Thanks SAMHSA for this amazing information.
Recovery Road Map Videos
Part 1 - https://youtu.be/dkAY8m-uJI0
Part 2- https://youtu.be/bQPc8oNnrO8
Part 3- https://youtu.be/t934V54b2DE
Part 4- https://youtu.be/0VCTiLVEPlk
Part 5- https://youtu.be/gUWyVkta1Bw
Part 6- https://youtu.be/m8QXHTAJvZs
Recovery from a substance use disorder is not a
mysterious process. After the use of substances is
stopped, the brain goes through a biological
readjustment. This readjustment process is
essentially a “healing” of the chemical changes
that were produced in the brain by substance use.
It is important for people in the beginning stages
of recovery to understand why they may experience some physical and emotional difficulties. The durations of the stages listed below are a rough guide of recovery, not a schedule. The length of stages will vary from person to person. The substance used will affect the client’s progress through the stages, too. Clients who had been using methamphetamine will tend to spend more time in each stage than clients who were using cocaine or other stimulants.
Withdrawal Stage (1 to 2 weeks)
During the first days after substance use is stopped, some people experience difficult symptoms. The extent of the symptoms often is related to the amount, frequency, and type of their previous substance use.
Early Abstinence (4 weeks; follows Withdrawal)
For people who used stimulants, this 4-week period is called the Honeymoon. Most people feel quite good during this period and often feel “cured.” As a result, clients may want to drop out of treatment or stop attending 12-Step meetings during the Honeymoon period. Early abstinence should be used as an opportunity to establish a good foundation for recovery. If clients can direct the energy, enthusiasm, and optimism felt during this period into recovery activities, they can lay the foundation for future success.
Protracted Abstinence (3.5 months; follows Early Abstinence)
From 6 weeks to 5 months after clients stop using, they may experience a variety of annoying and troublesome symptoms. These symptoms—difficulties with thoughts and feelings—are caused by the continuing healing process in the brain. This period is called the Wall. It is important for clients to be aware that some of the feelings during this period are the result of changes in brain chemistry. If clients remain abstinent, the feelings will pass. The most common symptoms are depression, irritability, difficulty concentrating, low energy, and a general lack of enthusiasm. Clients also may experi- ence strong cravings during protracted abstinence. Relapse risk goes up during this period. Clients must stay focused on remaining abstinent one day at a time. Exercise helps tremendously during this period. For most clients, completing this phase in recovery is a major achievement.
Readjustment (2 months; follows Protracted Abstinence)
After 5 months, the brain has recovered substantially. Now, the client’s main task is developing a life that has fulfilling activities that support continued recovery. Although a difficult part of recovery is over, hard work is needed to improve the quality of life. Because cravings occur less often and feel less intense 6 months into recovery, clients may be less aware of relapse risk and put themselves in high-risk situations and increase their relapse risk.
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