Before you read any further, the single most important thing you can take away from this article is that everyone’s road to recovery is going to look a bit different. 

It’s true that there are some pretty standard across-the-board treatments and phases of the recovery journey, but the—successes, milestones, potential setbacks and overall timeline and experiences of your journey—is going to be unique specifically to you.

Since every journey is different, we’re not going to give you a concrete timeframe of what your recovery “should” look like. Instead, we’re going to give you a general timeline of the different phases of recovery in order to help you or a loved one know what to expect.

How long does it take to break an addiction?

Have you ever heard that it takes 21 days to break or change a habit? Well, this idea has now been proven to be a myth. One that has tragically led many people to self-sabotage on their journeys to recovery. 

In reality, it’s been discovered to take around 21 days to create a habit, but far longer to break or change one. So don’t worry, you’re right on time.

In terms of breaking an addiction, the new understanding is that it typically takes around 90 days. This is because the brain requires a minimum of 90 days to neurologically reset itself to recover from the consistently induced effects of the substance. The brain also has to master the proper recovery skills and turn those skills into habits during this time.

Just as it takes time, consistent efforts and patience to achieve any goal, it also requires those things to recover from addiction, whether it’s to substance or alcohol.

The two phases of addiction recovery

There are essentially two primary phases of addiction recovery: the detox your body goes thorough and the process of rewiring your brain. In other words, the physical phase and the mental phase.

The recovery process typically begins with a medical detox. This is where your body learns to function without the substance, and you’ll probably experience a variety of symptoms, ranging from mildly unpleasant to downright uncomfortable. Depending on the severity of addiction and substance used.

The second phase is the psychological detox, or neurological reprogramming. This is where your brain regains sober functionality and learns how to process and focus, relax and experience joy without the assistance of a substance.

The addiction recovery timeline

A common question among those who are considering or have already begun rehabilitation is, “how long does addiction recovery take?” If you’re wondering the same thing, you’ve come to the right place.

The short answer is, there is no exact amount of time it’s going to take to fully recover from a substance addiction; everyone’s journey is different, and yours is going to be as well.

There are, however, three standard phases that are a part of the addiction recovery timeline. In most cases, for someone to be considered “fully recovered,” they’re going to go through and complete the following stages:

1. Committing to the right treatment plan

The right treatment plan (from enrollment all the way to post-rehab aftercare) is one of the keys to a successful recovery. So seek out support from loved ones and do some research to figure out which plan is the best option for your recovery. Commit to the work, and trust the process.

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2. Take care of your health

One of the greatest things you can do for your recovery in the present and yourself in the future is prioritize your health. This means to—eat healthy and exercise, foster positive, uplifting relationships (with yourself as well as others) and to follow through with your therapy sessions or medical prescriptions, if applicable.

3. Don’t let relapse keep you down

Relapse happens to the best of us. It doesn’t mean you’ve failed your recovery or that you’ll never fully recover. Relapse can feel completely disheartening, but it’s not the end of your journey. Use this step back as an opportunity to practice more self-compassion as well as prepare for future temptations.

Reach out to us for additional support

This is why it’s important to have a tailored recovery plan; while your recovery timeline is going to depend on factors like your background and the type of substance being used, the steps you take to maintain sobriety are going to be vital.

Our professional staff at Rehab After Work are committed to supporting and assisting you through your recovery from the very first steps all the way through rehabilitation and even beyond.

Recovering from an alcohol or drug addiction is one of the hardest things you’re going to do in your lifetime, but it’s not a journey you have to go on alone. 

If you’re ready to take the next steps in your recovery journey, give us a call at 610-644-6464.