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It gets better. It surely does. “Detoxifying is one of the hardest stages of healing an addiction. It is the bridge between the before, and the after. It is the time you make a decision about which way you want to go—back to drugs, alcohol, or smoking, or go forward to a new life,” says life coach and addiction therapist, Audrey Hope.

However, hitting rock bottom has its benefits. It’s the first step to looking at your life from a third person’s perspective. It is not only a physical process, but also about healing the mind and the spirit. It is a spiritual invitation to transform your life on all levels, according to Hope.

Before you decide on pulling yourself out of an addiction, it helps to know what to expect, and what your mind and body will exactly go through. Z Living speaks to Hope, and Dr Tina B Tessina, psychotherapist and author of The Real 13th Step: Discovering Confidence, Self-Reliance, And Independence Beyond The Twelve-Step Programs, to get a glimpse of what lies ahead:

Phase 1
You feel like you’re in a deep, dark place where every part of you is in the gutter. Drugs and alcohol have taken over, and brought you to a cave where you’ve left behind all your possessions and care for the world. No matter the consequences, you choose the icky cave over your good life; but now you’re at a door. You put your toe in, and decide to give something else a shot. It is a very tender time. At any moment, you can bolt backwards.

Phase 2
Something keeps you in the detox. It can be the pain you feel over hurting your loved one, or the guilt, gnawing at your soul. You’ve had enough. This stage is different for everyone. Something motivates you. You allow the process of detox to go full throttle. At this point, you need a safety net, someone or something to inspire you to stay, go through the hell, and survive. The truth is there are many sophisticated safety nets at this stage. Rehabs and detox centers are filled with doctors and people who can hold your hand and get you through it.

Phase 3
The physical hell continues for three to 10 days. You need detox drugs to help you through the withdrawal. You don’t feel good, but you can see the light at the end of the tunnel. You need to sleep, and get through the hours. Keeping your mind distracted with some music or meditation could help.

Phase 4
You begin to wake up. The withdrawal symptoms subside. You no longer have a band aid and the full impact of your abuse hits you. You are in the full light of day, and must now agree to go through the healing of your soul, starting therapy and facing the deep motivations behind your addiction. You have survived the physical test, and now must brave your remaining treatment.

Phase 5
Some people in recovery are courageous enough to be introspective and examine the attitudes and emotional history that led to addiction in the first place. Therapy or spiritual search begins here, and he or she can really embrace life beyond recovery.

Phase 6
In therapy, AA, or whatever healing method you choose, you must go through the journey of healing yourself. With the help of talented healers and therapists, you can get a new lease on your life.

Deep Recovery: As you progress in recovery, you begin to see that there is a lot to learn beyond staying clean. It becomes a way of life, but the addiction could still relapse if you’re not careful. Stay committed to recovery, and build an enjoyable life away from substances.

Advanced Recovery
If you’ve been sober for more than five years, you would have created a comfortable life away from addiction, and emerged strong. The risk of relapse never completely goes away, but staying clean becomes a habit. Your new-found strength makes it easier to deal with any future challenges that come your way.

Read More:
Are You Addicted To Food? 5 Symptoms You Should Look Out For
Learn How To Detox Right
5 Email Addiction Antidotes

An alumnus of Asian College of Journalism, and Cardiff University, Wales, Yoshita Sengupta has more than five years of experience in writing for various news outlets. As Founder and Director of Underscore, a content solutions agency, she writes for multiple digital and print news outlets and consults brands. When not working for Underscore, she works with social entrepreneurs and homeless communities, which includes running a library for street children.