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The Hierarchy Of Recovery

Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is not unknown to most people. Many of us have learned about Maslow’s pyramid in school. If you haven’t, here’s a quick overview: Maslow believed that before an individual can get any need met, they must first have their physiological needs met. These physiological needs include food, water, shelter, and clothing. Without these needs, an individual cannot move onto the next stage. This is true for all stages, according to Maslow. The second stage is safety needs: personal security, employment, and health. The third stage is love and belonging: friendship, family, intimacy, and connection. The fourth stage is esteem: respect, self-esteem, freedom, and strength. The fifth and final stage is self-actualization: the need and desire to become the best you that you can be. These needs must go in order. An individual cannot reach self-actualization unless they have had all other stages of needs met. 

For substance abuse and addiction recovery purposes, Terence Gorski came up with a Hierarchy of Recovery. This hierarchy works just like Maslow’s pyramid, but it is tailored toward addiction recovery. Gorski’s pyramid is below, from stage 1 to 6:

Stage 1: Transition

During the first stage, motivation is key. The individual wanting to recover cannot do anything if they do not have the motivation to stop using the substance and get sober. Transitioning away from the substance can be extremely difficult, as the individual may be dealing with intense withdrawal symptoms. This is often the toughest stage for most individuals.

Stage 2: Stabilization

Once the transition stage is completed, the individual can move onto the stabilization stage. In this stage, the individual must be physically and mentally healthy. Without their health, they will not be able to move on in their recovery. 

Stage 3: Early Recovery

Once they are stabilized, the individual can move onto their early recovery stage. In this stage, they must work on changing their thoughts and behaviors around the substance. This is often done through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy sessions. 

Stage 4: Middle Recovery

Once they have been able to change their thought patterns and behaviors, the individual can move onto their middle recovery stage. In this stage, the individual is focused on trying to make better choices while avoiding the substance they have struggled with. 

Stage 5: Late Recovery

Once the middle recovery stage has been completed, late recovery comes. In this stage, the individual attempts to deal with the root problem: why they began using in the first place. This may come with dealing with past traumas and difficulties. This is a difficult stage that the individual must complete before moving on to the final stage.

Stage 6: Maintenance

This stage is never-ending. Maintenance must continue for the individual’s whole life. This is to make sure that the individual does not fall back into the patterns of using. They must use the skills they learned from the first five stages in this stage. It is difficult, but it is worth it.

If you are struggling in one of these stages, reach out to Villa Tranquil Recovery today. We want to hear from you. Call our experienced staff now at 214-799-3080