What Are The Stages of Addiction Recovery?

Examining the Stages of Addiction Recovery

Like many other processes, addiction recovery moves through an observable trend. Some sources have different takes on how many steps are in the process of addiction recovery, and some have different names, but the most commonly cited one is the transtheoretical model of change. This model was developed out of psychological theories and observations of behavioral change patterns, and it was established by James Prochaska and Carlo Di Clemente.

We have seen hundreds and hundreds of struggling and addicted teens and adults from all walks of life come through the doors of our program, so we’ve observed time and time again how people reconcile with their past lives of drug or alcohol abuse or chronic disruptive behavior. The process varies from person to person and family to family, but we’ve seen that by instilling our addiction recovery program with faith-based, Christ-centered practice, the results have an impact well beyond the lives of our recovered adults and teens. They often proceed to impact the lives of others through loving practice in their communities.

Here we take a moment to discuss the stages of addiction recovery as we’ve seen them at the Adult & Teen Challenge USA facilities.


This is the first stage of the model of behavioral change, and it describes a state in which the person is averse to making a change at all. We see this often with young teens who have been brought to our facilities but who may not yet be willing to acknowledge that they have a problem with substance abuse or other bad behaviors. No one can be forced to see that they have a problem, but through encouragement toward Christ and the discipline of a residential and educational mentoring program, eventually, our adults and teens become ready to make a change.


At this stage, a person is still not considering addiction recovery. They may recognize that they have a problem and they may agree to treatment sometime in an unspecified future, but they will not take control of the process just yet. We often see this when our students become more comfortable with their new environments. They may settle in and make some friends, but they are not wholeheartedly dedicated to their own treatment yet.


In the preparation stage, addicts will attempt to curb their use of a substance. Since our attendees will have no access to whatever drug they may have been abusing, we see this stage at our facilities when they have to reconcile with their inability to access harmful substances. This phase can be accompanied by irritability from withdrawals and a feeling of helplessness to take control of their own situation. That’s why we have mentors and a faith-forward community in place to assure them that not only are we on their side but so is Christ, who is waiting to accept them into a new life of faithfulness and devotion.


In this stage of addiction recovery, the addict will take responsibility for their behaviors. Typically this is when they accept that their substance abuse prevented them from living the life they want and the life God had laid out for them. They begin to devote themselves to their time with our program, and they are ready to consider a life of service once they graduate.

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Recovery: Our Process

At Adult & Teen Challenge, we have been guiding students through addiction recovery for over 60 years. We offer a Christ-centered approach, helping our students discover and triumph over the underlying causes of their addiction and find the love and grace of Jesus Christ.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, contact us today.