Recovering from a meth addiction is not a quick feat. It can take a substantial amount of time, effort and treatment. To prepare for your own recovery, or for the recovery of a loved one, learn more about the various stages of meth recovery.
Stage 1–Withdrawal from Meth
The first stage of the meth recovery process is withdrawing from meth. This is also known as a detox. It begins when individuals cease consumption of meth altogether.
Typically, withdrawal can last for approximately 10 days. However, this stage of recovery is often considered as a full two weeks. It will only be after those two weeks that patients will really begin to feel like themselves again, without the use of meth.
The first stage of meth recovery, withdrawal, is marked by a number of side effects. Withdrawal symptoms may begin as quickly as eight hours after the last consumption of meth. Then, symptoms can ramp up and peak anywhere from four to nine days into withdrawal. They will begin to taper off again after the peak.
There are a number of physical symptoms that appear during a withdrawal from meth. Some of the most common include things like an increased appetite, headaches, body aches and extreme fatigue. Lots of sleep and apathy is common for patients in meth withdrawal.
In addition to physical side effects, there may be psychological symptoms of meth withdrawal. Symptoms can include, but are not limited to, anxiety, paranoia, depression and even hallucinations.
It is absolutely vital that during this first stage of meth recovery, medical attention is available 24/7. Participating in a detox or addiction treatment program gives patients the tools to recover safely and without serious risks to health or comfort.
Stage 2–The Honeymoon Phase
The second stage of meth withdrawal is known as the honeymoon phase. This stage is typically from about day 15 to day 45 of the recovery process. As the name implies, this is often a relatively easy stage for those in recovery from a meth addiction.
The honeymoon phase is exactly what it sounds like. It is a period of positivity and confidence for those who are in recovery. The challenges and discomfort of withdrawal will be over at this point and patients are often eager to embrace their new lives of sobriety.
It is important for patients to understand that while the honeymoon phase might feel very positive, the work is not done. The honeymoon phase is a critical time to evaluate the causes of addiction and explore behavioral therapies. There can be tremendous progress for patients who enroll in dual diagnosis or group therapy during this stage of meth recovery.
Stage 3–The Wall in Recovery
After about 45 days in the recovery process, patients can begin to hit a wall. This stage typically lasts until about day 120. The wall is often when the reality of recovery begins to hit patients in full force. Unfortunately, it is also when the risk of relapse becomes most troubling.
The wall is in stark contrast to the honeymoon phase. Just weeks ago, patients may have felt rejuvenated and positive. This is because after withdrawal, the body can finally begin to function properly. However, that phase will eventually end, and the hard work of the wall phase will begin.
For many individuals, this stage of recovery is most problematic because things like anxiety and depression can set in. For patients who are no longer in treatment, or who have transitioned from residential treatment to intensive outpatient programs, the lack of routine can be difficult. Feelings of isolation and loneliness may be common during this phase of recovery.
It is in this stage of recovery that patients are at the greatest risk of relapsing and using meth. Thankfully, the right treatment, support and awareness can help to prevent relapse from taking place. During this stage, any individuals in recovery should take the necessary steps to rely on their support networks, whether that is family, friends or local group meetings.
Stage 4–The Adjustment Phase
After 120 days of recovery, individuals will transition to the fourth stage of meth recovery. This is the adjustment phase, and it typically lasts for two months. This fourth stage is marked by a return to ordinary life for many individuals.
After 120 days, individuals will have been in recovery for approximately four months. While this is certainly not the end of the recovery process, those who have made it this far will have likely established a number of healthy routines and habits. This can make it easier to stay on track without an elevated risk of relapse.
The adjustment phase is a great time for individuals in recovery to start making moves toward the life they want. It might be a time to work on individual relationships and build bridges with friends and family members. It could also be a wonderful chance to head back to school or begin applying for jobs.
Stage 5–Long-Term Recovery
Unlike the other four stages, the fifth stage of meth recovery has no end date. It begins about 180 days into the recovery process, and it can last a lifetime. That’s because this final stage is all about living life free from an addiction to meth.
This may sound easy, but long-term recovery brings with it a number of challenges. Anytime that stress, change, anger or life problems arise, so will cravings and temptations. It is critical that individuals have relapse prevention plans in place to handle all of life’s ups and downs.
Long-term recovery also means adhering to absolute sobriety. There is no way to use meth in a recreational way, as that will lead to a slippery slope of addiction once again. Regular group meetings, support groups or accountability partners can help people understand the importance of meth abstinence for life.
Exploring the various stages of meth recovery can make it easier for prospective patients to begin the process. While recovery is far from easy, it can be the catalyst for a healthier, happier life.