After nearly 7 years of teaching the “Science of Opioid Detox” and the “Art of Opioid Recovery,” I’ve come to realize that there are essentially 5 Phases of Opioid Recovery.
And by arming yourself with the knowledge of these phases and what each consists of, you’ll significantly increase your chance of getting off opioids for good while feeling great without drugs.
The 5 Phases of Opioid Recovery are:
- Strategic Learning & Planning
- Acute Detox
- Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome
- Opioid Recovery Mastery
- Life Mastery
Table of Contents
1. Strategic Learning & Planning
Phase 1 begins when an opioid-dependent individual has decided they no longer want to be on opioids and they begin to do research. This phase can further be divided into two stages.
First comes the learning stage.
Learning can occur in many different forms.
You can read articles on the internet, read books, watch YouTube videos, talk with a doctor or addiction specialist, etc.
Once you’ve gone through the learning phase and you feel like you have enough helpful information, the latter stage of Phase 1 can proceed.
Strategic Planning is the process of using the information you’ve curated to develop a customized detox protocol that is tailor-made for your unique situation.
Once you’ve finished your plan and know what you’re going to do to get off opioids, you’re ready to move on to Phase 2.
2. Acute Detox
The Acute Detox Phase can include a wide array of detox methods. Some of the most common are Home Detox, Medical Detox, and Outpatient Detox.
Some of the less common methods are Ibogaine Detox, NAD Detox, Rapid Opiate Detox, and Ultra Rapid Opiate Detox (UROD).
After you’ve completed Phase 1 and have your detox method planned, all you need to do is set a date to begin and make the proper arrangements and adjustments to do so.
Then, once you’ve finished your Acute Detox Phase, whether you’re ready or not, Phase 3 begins.
3. Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome
If all you had to endure to be free of opioid dependence was successfully get through the Acute Detox, recovery rates would be much, much higher.
Unfortunately, there is yet another withdrawal phase you have to go through after detoxing, and it lasts much longer than the Acute phase.
Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS) is a bio/psycho/social phenomenon that occurs as a result of the damage drugs have done to the brain and body, and the mental/emotional and social stressors of living life without drugs.
PAWS begins immediately following the Acute Detox, and typically lasts for at least 1-3 months and often longer than 6 months if nothing is done to treat the disorder.
4. Opioid Recovery Mastery
Phase 4 is where the magic starts to happen. Some people begin Phase 4 while they’re still experiencing post-acute withdrawal symptoms, but it takes a long time to complete Phase 4.
I define Opioid Recovery Mastery as a point in your recovery where you’ve healed your brain and body 100%, and where you no longer desire using opioids.
Unfortunately, most people never reach this point.
The vast majority of people that detox from opioids never feel great without the drugs, so they continue to have sporadic cravings, and eventually, they give in, thus starting the cycle of addiction all over again.
It takes a lot of time, energy, and focus to achieve a state of Opioid Recovery Mastery.
But it is possible, and I’ve worked with and corresponded with a superabundance of individuals who’ve achieved this state of mastery.
5. Life Mastery
Getting to Phase 5 is simple in theory, but it can be difficult for some in practice. I define Life Mastery as “the dedication to constant-and-never-ending-improvement in all of the important areas of life.”
Areas of Life Mastery for me include Health & Wellness, Mind & Emotions, Career & Finances, Relationships, Spirituality, Rest/Rejuvenation/Recreation, etc.
When you set goals in your areas of Life Mastery and continue to make improvements, your life can get better and better.
The cool part about Phase 5 is that it’s not about reaching some destination, and it’s not about becoming perfect because perfection doesn’t exist.
Really, Phase 5 is about “The Journey” and who you become as a result of pursuing your vision.
This Life Mastery Phase is not about “striving” and it’s not about “the grind.”
It’s about having a vision for your areas of continuous improvement and then going after them with non-attachment and joy. This relaxed and peaceful way of goal-setting and achieving is much healthier than being attached to outcomes and stressing yourself out.
Now that you’re familiar with the 5 Phases of Opioid Recovery, you’re more equipped to conquer opioid dependence. Knowledge is not power, but applied knowledge is one of the most powerful forces in the universe.
Apply this knowledge to your own life and watch the miracles begin to unfold.