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Stages of stimulant recovery


lover
ofa
meth
addict

Stages of Stimulant Recovery
I copied this paper when I first started dating my addict. When he was fighting so hard to stay clean. It helped me as a loved one know what was up ahead for his recovery. I looked at it daily.

Stages of Stimulant Recovery

In your recovery, it's helpful to have some idea of what to expect during the process. Most users experience five distinct stages of recovery. Each stage is linked to some of the changes you must go through as your body repairs itself from the effect of these powerful drugs. Each stage also has its challenges that call for specific actions. You may find it helpful to mark these stages on a calendar, you can anticipate changes in how you feel physically and emotionally.

0-15 days                         WITHDRAWAL STAGE      

Problem mostly physical
Also known as the eat, drink, sleep period. In the first two weeks of recovery, your body is repairing the damage from drug use. You will probably need a lot of rest and may feel physically sick. During this period, give your body what it needs to get healthy again: lots of rest, nutritious food, and plenty of water.

Challenges..............What to do
Medical problems.....Medical Exam
Exhaustion, constantly tired.....Allow time for sleep, take naps
Depression.....Exercise, activity, patience  it will improve
Severe cravings.....Identify and avoid triggers
Feeling crazy or out of control.....Talk with counselor/friend, AA/NA mtgs.
Lack of sex drive....Let time pass, talk with partner
Agitation/irritability...Reduce stress, warn everyone you will be less than charming for awhile.

16-45- Days (up to 8 weeks)        HONEYMOON STAGE

Physical health returning
In this stage, your body has made the necessary repairs. People usually feel great. Feeling great can lead to overconfidence. You may also find yourself minimizing your current or past problems. These can trigger relapse, so don't ease up on your recovery routine.

Challenges.......What to do
To much/too little activity.....Schedule your time
Overconfidence.....Educate yourself about addiction
Occasional craving.....Thought-stopping, eliminate triggers
Insomnia/strange sleep patterns...Maintain as regular a cycle as possible
Loneliness, boredom.......Support groups, friends
Increase in other drug use.....Counseling
Compulsive sexual behavior.....Identify risks and limit exposure to triggers

6 weeks-4months       THE WALL

                                Emotional Issues emerge
        This period is all about BOREDOM!! Stimulant use is exciting and so are behaviors that go along with it. With dependence, your body gets used to high levels of stimulation and sends you messages to the\is effect. These messages appear as strong cravings, drug thoughts, desire to seek out intense sexual experiences and feelings of boredom, sluggishness and depression. The key to making it over the Wall is to increase your recovery, physical and social activities. The danger of relapse is highest during this stage.

Challenges............What to do
Sluggish............Keep to a schedule, exercise   BOREDOM!!...........Support groups, friends, hobbies, anything.   Unfocused activity.......Schedule your time
Relationship problems.....Counseling   Depression....Counseling, perhaps medication   Thinking about/justifying drug use.....Identify and process with support      Hanging out with the old crowd....Substitute with new friends and activities

4-6 months                ADJUSTMENT STAGE

 Address psychological issues
        In this stage, people say they feel relief from the boredom and strong drug cravings. The body has learned to operate without stimulants. Most people begin to recognize the real issues behind their drug use and start making changes in their lives. A new concept of self begins to emerge.

Challenges...........What to do
Relationship problems.......Counseling
Overconfidence.....Educate yourself about addiction
Lack of goals.....Redefine personal wants and needs
Job/ Career dissatisfaction...Vocational counseling, new job or school
Boredom with recovery...Change recovery routine or activities
Boredom with sex life.....Redefine meaning of sex and sexuality
Discomfort with emotions.....Counseling, groups

6-12 months        RESOLUTION STAGE               

 Long-term recovery maintenance
        By now your dependence problem can seem distant. However, stimulant dependence needs some ongoing attention to support long-term abstinence. Exercise, eat healthy, get rest, limit your stress, and attend counseling when needed. Twelve-step or support group attendance can often be helpful.

Challenges.........What to do

Depression, anger, guilt.....Counseling, groups
Boredom.................Vary your activities
Relationship problems....Couples or family counseling
Uncertain self-concept.....? Who do I want to be and how can I become that?

     Replies...
Sfj Re: Stages of Stimulant Recovery
I think one should be very careful about embracing the ideas listed above. VERY CAREFUL.
They apply in a few situations, but not all by any means.

Some of the phrases are quite misleading,
danimal
55
Re: Stages of Stimulant Recovery
Got to wonder then why this is being handed out at an IOP treatment program 
lover
ofa
meth
addict
Re: Stages of Stimulant Recovery
You are both right. This is only a supplement. SFJ/KCI/suzette's site also has been detrimental in knowing what steps it takes to stay clean/what to expect. Every person is different, but it gives me hope and still does, that some day my lover will come back to me, emotionally. My counselor told me last week that it might take three years after using before my lover is back to "normal". I hold on to the hope that in the long run I will still be the one he wants. At this point lack of communication is the most staining. The counselor also stated this is very normal for recovering addict to close off. Knowing information is better than running around "crazy" thinking that you are the only one that is going through this turmoil.

Thank you for your insight
luve
piphany
Re: Stages of Stimulant Recovery
You know....from a few months of reading posts here of present and past recovery experiences, it seems that "real" people do tend to follow that pattern-generally-in their postings about feelings going through it now and memories of the past...It kind of seems that a bunch of recovering addicts might have gotten together and made up that list and some counselor edited and condensed it to be a general description.

Unfortunately, "Expectations are Premeditated Resentments" kind of bums the whole thing out and I see where Sfj suggests being very careful-he probably sees a lot more of the sad stories than we ever imagined.
Sfj Re: Stages of Stimulant Recovery
The book,  "Clinical Work With Substance Abusing Clients" Second edition by Shulamith Lala Ashenberg Straussner

Chapter 10 Page 228
Has pretty much the same layout.
Putting recovering stimulant addicts into stereotyped boxes with that much confinement just seems too dogmatic and confining in my opinion.
The model was developed for cocaine users and transferred to meth users. (not a good move)

And mind you, it is just my personal opinion.
danimal
55
Re: Stages of Stimulant Recovery
TY sfj.
Gotta agree...cocaine and meth ARE worlds apart.
This addict walked away from an 8-ball a day coke habit in the 80's and never looked back [no relapse].
In retrospect, the stages of withdrawal were nothing like meth withdrawals, not even close.
By any measure...meth IS unique!
Thanks for your wise perspective 
imlost
inky
Re: Stages of Stimulant Recovery
Kell I believe posted this last year when I had first came on board.
I found this guide to be closer to what really occurred.
Everyone is different though and there is no blueprint -
Quote:
WEEK 1: Depending on how much the person had been doing up until quitting time and how many nights they had been awake, if any, the first couple of days will be spent sleeping non-stop. After that, the person will still prefer sleep but will eat and go to the bathroom whereas before they probably didn't. They will be moody, cranky, lethargic and sometimes violent. After the fourth day, the meth will technically be out of their system. However, it's the damage that the meth has caused that is where the problem lies and the fact that your system is clean of it, does really mean a whole lot. Cravings will be setting in towards then end of the first week and will more than likely intensify. Anxiety will set in around the third day, which can be unbearable especially to a long time user who is trying to quit.

WEEK 2: The person will still be moody, cranky and sometimes violent. The cravings will be worse than week one and can become unbearable. They will have no energy to do anything, sleeping is still preferred unless they break down and get more dope. The second week is where a lot of people slip up.

NOTE: If the person was experiencing drug induced psychosis while doing meth, these episodes will start to subside during the second week, if not the first. If it doesn't and last any longer than four weeks, that could be a sign of a real mental disorder and the person should see a doctor as soon as possible.

WEEK 3: Sleeping a lot should start to diminish although the user will not have a lot of energy and probably will not feel like doing anything. Depression sets in for the majority of the people around the third week, if not sooner. Anti-depressants really help if this happens. Cravings should be leveling off around this time.

WEEK 4: Every thing aside from the depression and feeling lethargic should start to subside a little. As time goes on from here if the user stays clean, eventually, all these thing will ultimately disappear.

It's important to note though, that different things can trigger cravings for years after the user has quit doing meth.


WITHDRAWS LIST 2:

W+1-7 Days HIBERNATION: (Fatigue and Hunger) as your body detoxifies and violently downshifts from 10th gear to 1st - acute fatigue sets in. Periods of sleep ranging from 12-24 hours are not uncommon with brief periods of wakefulness still accompanied by lethargy and inability to perform the simplest of tasks.

W+8-21 Days - DEPRESSION: (Low and Lethargic)
you are indeed now much more awake, but you will find your current un-stimulated dopamine levels to be insufficient. Matter of fact, you could win the lottery tomorrow and still feel suicidal. Ride the storm out - this phase is short. Now might be a good time to schedule an appointment with a psychiatrist. Don't be ashamed. No one need know but you. One session costs no more than your average eight ball. And a psyche is still the only therapist that can prescribe medication if it is needed. Buproprion, Citralopram and Bromocriptine have all had good results in dealing with depression brought about via drug withdrawal from cocaine and amphetamines.

W+22-60??Days - FRUSTRATION: (Irritability & Anger) the length of this phase is somewhat proportional to how long and how much you've been using...But it is accompanied by irritability (at the slightest annoyances), "cravings", and absent-mindedness.
This period will be harder on those around you-than you! Be sure to remove anything in the way of visual "triggers" that can facilitate relapse.
If you find yourself tempted to use, go to NA meetings. Even if you just sit and listen and don't ever participate, you'll be surprised at what "rubs off".

W+60??-90??Days - READJUSTMENT: (Transition & Happiness) every day the cravings, depression and irritability lessen. But you're not "cured" yet. The use of meth carries with it a myriad of activities both mental and otherwise that may be loads of fun while you were on the drug but will seem about as exciting as watching grass grow while straight. Unless you replace these activities with productive and meaningful tasks, you are setting yourself up for relapse. Try and reinvigorate "pre-drug" hobbies, habits and activities. Try some new things as well. You were enough of a pioneering spirit to get into hard drugs. Be adventuresome and try some things you have never done before.
Penel0pe Re: Stages of Stimulant Recovery
Quote:
My counselor told me last week that it might take three years after using before my lover is back to "normal"


I got to tell you - I am coming up on 3 years - as long as I make it to January 18th, that is - and I am JUST starting to feel NORMAL. I am FINALLY feeling like the endless fatigue is starting to lift. My moods are still a bit unstable - but much improved - more REAL. I don't need to take a nap every day - that just happened over the past month or two (But I had surgery and stuff too - so that was a bit of a setback.)

My recovery from meth can in NO WAY be broken down into "weeks." NO WAY. The first YEAR was spent focused on just staying clean, the next year was spent on starting to put my life back in order, and this past 10 months has been spent on experiencing life on life's terms - the pink cloud you hear about in recovery turned a little grey, and I had to learn a lot about myself, how I deal with my own emotions (I found out I'm not that good at it,) and how I allow other people to influence my behavior, emotions, and thinking.

My physical health is still a work in progress - I am happy to say that the combination of surgery, being tortured by a very nice physical therapist named David, and medication, I am FINALLY coming around the corner! I see a light at the end of the tunnel regarding my physical condition - I think I may actually be WELL here pretty soon!

My recovery from meth has been a work in progress, measured in YEARS, not days, weeks, or months. I did use for a very long time, I am in my 40's, and so these things do make my recovery much different than someone who used for a few years, who is younger, who has no health problems, etc.

I agree with SFJ wholeheartedly on this one. HAVE NO EXPECTATIONS - don't use a "Chart" to measure anyone's recovery by - you may find yourself disappointed.
Quote:
This addict walked away from an 8-ball a day coke habit in the 80's and never looked back [no relapse].

I remember the last day I used Cocaine - it was December 23, 1994. I never looked back. I remember cocaine withdrawal - one night of good sleep, breakfast, and a cup of coffee pretty much had me covered.

I also remember the feeling I had when the cocaine ran out - the anxiety of THAT is the ugliest feeling there is - YUCK. No thanks. That lasts a few hours... but it IS a LOOONG few hours indeed!

Recovery from long term meth use is a different animal!

Sfj Re: Stages of Stimulant Recovery
Again, remember,
The original version of the "chart" listed above was developed as a result of talking to a few cocaine users.

How appropriate is that?
jes78 Re: Stages of Stimulant Recovery
I AM PRETTY OFFENDED, I DON'T THINK IT MATTERS WHAT THE DRUG IS, ADDICTION IS ADDICTION. BY THE WAY, AN 8 BALL IS NOT MUCH COKE. ACTUALLY, IM NOT GOING TO EVEN GO THERE, I LEARNED IN NA IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT WE USED OR HOW MUCH WE USED, BUT WHAT WE ARE GOING TO DO TO CHANGE IT. I KNOW A LOT OF US THINK WE DID THE MOST DRUGS, OR THE WORST DRUGS, TO ME THAT'S JUST GLAMORIZING THE USE ALTOGETHER, BEING PROUD OF IT. BUT I THINK MY RECOVERY IS JUST AS GOOD AS THE PERSON RECOVERING FROM POT, METH, COKE, HEROIN. OUR USE IS NOT WHAT BRINGS US TOGETHER, OUR RECOVERY DOES. I WOULD LIKE TO THINK NO MATTER MY DRUG OF CHOICE, ID BE HERE TODAY. I DON'T MEAN TO GET ANGRY, BUT I'VE SEEN A LOT OF PEOPLE ON A LOT OF DIFFERENT DRUGS LOSE EVERYTHING, ALL DRUGS SUCK, PERIOD!!!
Sfj Re: Stages of Stimulant Recovery
To jes78,

It's ok if you're offended if it makes you feel any better. However, your feelings are for you to deal with and you have to own them yourself. I apologize if I offended you, it was not and is not my intention. Shouting might make you feel better, but it makes it more difficult to read. I've been to many 12 step meetings over the years. Thousands. And most of the slogans I agree with and some I don't. That is my choice, just like it is your choice to believe in them.

I believe that saying all drugs are the same is one of the biggest problems we have. People who believe that are likely to tell that to kids, and then when the kids experiment, which is normal for kids to do, they find that parents, teachers, counselors and well-meaning adults have lied to them. Once you've told a lie to a kid, do you think he'll believe you anymore? Not likely.

The notion that addiction is addiction is good only for English language synonyms.
Is a gambling addiction the same as a cigarette addiction? Is a person who smokes pot habitually going to have the same problems at a compulsive shoplifter?

Even heroin addicts have a complete, unique and different set of problems than meth addicts. The medical indications alone are vastly different. If a doctor were to treat a meth addict and a heroin addict the same way, he could easily be sued for malpractice or worse. There are many more examples but I don't need to go any further. If NA works for all of your needs ? fine ? keep going to NA. Also, may I suggest being open-minded enough to look beyond NA?

I go to 12-step meetings probably as much as anyone on this forum. I have a sponsor , I worked the steps, perform service and serve on committees. In other words, I really like the ideas of 12-step. But I also realize that there is much more than just a spiritual side of life and recovery. There are also genuine concerns about medical needs, psychological needs, financial needs, relationship needs, and many other needs that recovering substance abusers need to deal with.

12-step is a spiritual program. Gambler's Anonymous and Sex Addicts Anonymous use the exact same 12-steps that we do. The solution is the same. The path we took to get the help we seek, the problems, are entirely different.

Just my opinion.
jes78 Re: Stages of Stimulant Recovery
thanks for letting me know i had caps on, im pretty computer illiterate, i wasn't trying to shout. i do agree w/ you. the solution is the same. my reply was to someone, a few, who spoke of walking away from coke and i received the message that coke is easy to get off, but not meth. to me, that says that one drug is easier to get off. if i go w/ that, i can come to the conclusion that my recovery isn't as good as someone who is recovering from meth. and i dont believe that. i lived in Italy, England, Belgium and America and i have seen drugs, all types, tear apart families. i like to believe if i had been on meth instead of crack and heroin id still be clean.

i think ive overreacted, a very smart person has helped me see that. im sorry, everyone. i think i may have interpreted a different message as was meant.

guest
who
Re: Stages of Stimulant Recovery
It's all good Jes. You are forgiven.

Quote:


i like to believe if i had been on meth instead of crack and heroin id still be clean.

No doubt you would still be clean. You got recovery going on like a pot of neck bones.

le
grumps
Re: Stages of Stimulant Recovery
jes78,
The beauty of this board is that there are a lot of different opinions and experiences that help up put together a complete picture and perspective on addiction.
No harm done!

I too found that chart to be problematic. Not so much on the beginning stages, but on the later ones.

The "wall" has lasted well over 18 months for me. Maybe its because I am not completely sober, but even when I was completely sober I seemed to be really stuck, behind, able to understand the principles of recovery, but barely able to "feel" them.

Sure a drug is a drug, and just like addictions transcend drugs, food, sex, internet, starvation, gambling, etc., the behavior modification is really important.

But helping people transition into a sober life, especially in terms of detox, does require understanding the drug you are dealing with.

Good luck to everyone.
Penel0pe Re: Stages of Stimulant Recovery
Quote:
my reply was to someone, a few, who spoke of walking away from coke and i received the message that coke is easy to get off, but not meth. to me, that says that one drug is easier to get off.

I walked away from coke with an eight ball of meth in my pocket, all proud that I had gotten myself "Clean."
Ha.
Yeah, between 1980 and 1994 I was a pretty heavy cocaine user, and when I was done, I was done. When I did go on that 14 year cocaine binge, PHYSICALLY recovering from that binge WAS LESS PAINFUL than the past 3 years of recovering from prolonged meth use has been.

I'm an addict either way. Either way, I had to be abusing SOMETHING, coke, weed, acid, meth, bennies, even stooped so low as to snort friggen No-Doz when there was nothing else around.

Yes, the physiological hallmarks of each addiction may be different, but the ends are always the same when addiction gets out of control, aren't they?

Heroin addicts are just as dead, just as in jail, just as homeless, just as crazy as a meth addict, a cocaine addict, or a gambling addict.

I know lots of people who lost everything because they just HAD to buy weed, every day. Lost their kids, lost their homes (Couldn't pay that rent, you know, had to buy that $60 a day bag of green bud to get by, right?) Sure, weed isn't meth... but there are PLENTY of folks who can't control their use of weed anymore than that gambling addict can stop pulling the arm on the slot machine.

There are differences, there are similarities.

I don't think any one drug or addictive behavior gets "Special Recognition."

For each individual, whatever brought them to their knees is what brought them to their knees. I used it all.

Meth is the one that brought me to my knees - it would have been something else if I had never found meth, of that I am quite certain.


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