The Phases of Recovery

These four phases are our own definition at the Sober Coach Network and are based on our own personal experiences and observation of others in recovery. It should not be deemed as expert opinion or scientifically proven in any way.

Every alcoholic or addict who attempts to get and stay clean faces the same problems. Below are the four main phases addicts go through.

Phase One of Recovery: Physical and Mental Stabilization

In phase one, an addict or alcoholic needs to get stabilized physically so their bodies and minds can start to recover from the trauma of excessive drinking and drugs. This means total abstinence and in some cases it’s best done under medical supervision. Alcoholics can actually die from severe withdrawals.

Phase Two Recovery: Life Stabilization Basic Needs

After the addict has stabilized physically, which usually happens in one to four weeks depending on the severity of their use, he faces a whole new set of challenges. He must find a living situation, find a way to make money, stay away from friends who drink or use, curb the urges to drink or use, and figure out how to stay occupied and grateful with his new life.

Phase Three of Recovery: Solving Major Problems and Restoring Relationships

In phase three of recovery, an alcoholic must find a way to take care of the problems she’s put off for years. These problems include legal, medical, financial, and mending family relationships. Some of the challenges in phase two still reappear even after having solved them initially.

In some cases professionals will need to be enlisted to help solve some of the legal, medical, and financial problems. It may be wise to hire a therapist or counselor to assist in restoring family relationships.

It’s during this phase that a sober coach can be helpful in getting an addict to take care of business and begin to develop interests and balance in their lives.

Phase Four of Recovery: Building Life Skills and Developing Purpose and Meaning

Phase four of recovery is the period after an addict has resolved most of the major pressing issues from phase three, and is now trying to figure out what to do with is life. This can be anywhere from three to six months after first getting sober and varies for each person.

Phase four is the period where boredom and lacking a sense of purpose can jeopardize an alcoholic’s sobriety. It’s during this phase that a sober coach can be hugely beneficial to an alcoholic’s recovery.

By exploring an addict’s skills, passions, interests, and aptitude, a sober coach can help him see the possibilities of pursuing a new vocation or interest. Such interest’s might include music, cooking, art, writing, building web sites, becoming a drug and alcohol counselor, getting involved in a church, or finding a new career that ignites their enthusiasm.

Which Phases of Recovery Should an Addict Use a Sober Coach?

Phase one is best left to treatment centers and medical professionals. An addict needs to stabilize mentally and physically before a coach will do much good.

During phase two, it may still be too early for an addict to benefit from working with a coach. At this stage, working out the major life needs can better be done while in a treatment center or with the help of a sponsor in AA or NA, or family members.

It’s during phases three and four where a sober coach can be highly effective in helping an addict to find their purpose and build life skills and balance.