Stage 1: Withdrawal (Days 0 – 15)
Withdrawal usually lasts from 1 to 2 weeks, but it can last upwards of 4 weeks—and, in some extreme cases, longer. Also known as the “sleep, eat, and drink” stage, your body and brain are in healing overdrive. There’s a lot of damage meth caused that needs to be repaired before you can move forward.
Stage 2: The Honeymoon (Days 16 – 45)
The crash has lifted, your body has made those immediately needed repairs, and you are feeling physically and emotionally much stronger. You might even feel great, better than you’ve felt in years. And it’s only the beginning of the third week! Unfortunately, this upswing can lead to overconfidence and you might find yourself minimizing your past meth problem.
A lot of people will relapse here because of this overconfidence. But not you. You are prepared. You understand this Honeymoon won’t last. Still, there’s much to enjoy while it does.
And much to do in the meantime, while you’re feeling stronger.
Stage 3: The Wall (6 Weeks – 4 Months)
You hit it hard. All the positive, forward momentum from the Honeymoon crashes around you.
A seemingly insurmountable Wall of depression, boredom, and despair—it begins about 45 days into sobriety and it continues through month 4 or thereabouts. Rarely, however, does the Wall last longer than 3 months. So, keep in mind, it’s going to get better.
The Wall is often where people will relapse. You so want the feelings of boredom and loneliness to pass, crystal meth seems like the solution again. Though the danger of picking up is highest here, you can get past it.
Let’s look at what to expect and what you can do to get through this stage of your recovery. The Wall is not impossible to overcome, just tricky.
Stage 4: Adjustment (Months 4 – 6)
You’ve gotten over the Wall safely and it is now mostly behind you. The next stage is called “Adjustment” because that’s what characterizes this time period—adjusting, physically, socially, and emotionally, to life without crystal. You get relief from the overwhelming cravings and begin to find life interesting again.
Stage 5: Ongoing Recovery (Months 6 – 12)
Toward the end of the first year clean, crystal meth addiction can seem distant and almost tangential to your life. Or, it can be something you continue to think about, fleetingly, almost every day. Like all things on this timeline, it depends.
This part of the quitting journey is called “Ongoing Recovery” (also known as the “Resolution” stage) because, despite how foreign your crystal dependence may seem, it’s important to remember that meth addiction is a “chronic disease” and you are never cured.
Recovery is always ongoing.
Arthur H. Belmont, LMFT
has over 18 years of experience working with children, teens and adults who are struggling with relational, emotional or behavioral issues.