How Long Does Addiction Recovery Take?

December 9, 2020

When you decide to get help for addiction, your first concern might logically be how long it takes to recover. Recovery can be defined in different ways. Some may view it simply as a point of remission when they can start counting sober days. Others may see full recovery as being emotionally free of addiction-related challenges.

Recovery is not a singular event; it is a process that takes place in stages. While your life should improve when you stop using, the journey to recovery goes beyond the initial act of quitting. Let’s examine the phases of addiction recovery and general timelines for certain types of treatment.

The Phases of Addiction Recovery

The general phases of recovery may include:

  • Acknowledgment: An individual acknowledges that he or she has a substance abuse problem.
  • Seeking treatment: That individual becomes willing to make a change.
  • Entering treatment: The next phase is to enter a treatment program.
  • Early recovery: The individual gets through detox and starts working on new sobriety skills.
  • Maintaining abstinence: This usually takes place after treatment; it may include aftercare programs such as support groups and ongoing therapy.
  • Advanced recovery: The individual is free from the substance and not struggling to remain sober.
  • Emotional sobriety: The individual reaches a point when she or he rarely considers using.

Time spent in each phase can vary depending on a number of factors. For example, it might take someone several months in treatment before he or she is ready to move on to maintaining abstinence.

Length of Treatment for Addiction Recovery by Type of Program

Here is a look at the types of rehab programs and the general duration of each. Note that all timelines depend on the individual.


Detox is the process of cleansing the body of an addictive substance. While each situation is unique depending on the substance and the person, detox can last anywhere from four to 10 days. This is typically the amount of time it takes for the acute withdrawal symptoms to subside.

Inpatient Addiction Treatment

Inpatient rehab is considered one of the most effective forms of treatment. These programs can last several weeks or months depending on the level of care that the individual needs. Many people start with an inpatient treatment plan and later transition to an outpatient program.

Outpatient Treatment Programs

Outpatient treatment can take longer; some programs last for months while others may take several years to complete. For example, someone seeking medication-assisted outpatient treatment might stay in a program for years as he or she gradually stops using the addictive medication.

Addiction Recovery Aftercare

Maintaining sobriety for the long term tends to involve some level of aftercare. Attending group meetings or occasional counseling can help you sustain sobriety. Many people continue to go to support meetings for years after completing a treatment program. If relapse occurs, it may be a sign that you need more treatment to keep you in remission.

Get Your Recovery Journey Started Today

Your personal commitment to achieving sobriety has a lot to do with the length of treatment for addiction recovery. Again, recovery is a process, not an event. At Buena Vista Recovery, we strive to provide compassionate, effective recovery programs for those struggling with addiction. We offer medical detox, inpatient programs, medication-assisted treatment, and more. If you or a loved one needs help, reach out to us for information on addiction treatment.