The first stage of alcoholism recovery is Admission. The fact that the drunk is in a treatment center means they admit they have a medical problem. It’s a hospital setting, it must be a medical problem. Also, they aren’t there for their high blood pressure, they are there for their alcoholism.
The second stage of alcoholism recovery is Compliance. Here the patients attitude changes fairly dramatically. They know they drink too much and have to stop. They are committed to stopping, “within reason” they are willing to do whatever it takes to get that done. So they are still a little defiant.
The third stages of alcoholism recovery is Acceptance. This is where the patient really realizes just how much danger he was in. That this disease was killing them. They know they have to stop and they want to stop. When they express emotion, happy or sad, they mean it. You can see in their expressions that they mean what they say. This is great except often times they think they have now won the battle. They haven’t. They still need to find ways to maintain sobriety. The patient thinks it should be easy. It won’t be. They haven’t considered relapse yet.
The forth stage of alcoholism recovery is Surrender. This is where they realize that relapse and death are a real possibility. That if they don’t remain vigilant they can lose it all. While the patient remains hopeful about their future they are aware it could all be lost.
Below is a little more elaborate diagram of the stages of alcoholism recovery.
Here is another page with a diagram for the stages of alcoholism recovery from SMART.
Myth Buster (sort of): Admitting you have a problem isn’t the biggest obstacle faced by many people who need to get into recovery. High functioning alcoholics have a hard time with this.
Disclaimer: I don’t like the word recovery. Its silly but recovery sounds like getting sober is a life long process. It can be, but it doesn’t have to be. Once you surrender, once you really understand that alcohol is bad for you, staying away gets easier. I sometimes don’t think about alcohol for months on end. When I do I never think of it as a good idea. The point is that quitting does not have to be hard work for the rest of your life.