Difference Between Treatment and Recovery

Sep 2021 Difference Between Treatment and Recovery

While treatment and recovery go hand in hand, they are not the same thing. Treatment refers to the overall addiction recovery process. This includes detox, inpatient or outpatient programs, as well as the therapies and various treatments that are part of those programs. Recovery, though, encompasses every aspect of your life while you get and then continue to remain clean and sober. Essentially recovery is the life-long process of sobriety. 

In order to truly understand the concept of sobriety, it’s important to have a firm understanding of treatment and recovery. It’s also important to know and understand the differences between the two terms. Let’s take a deeper look at what both treatment and recovery are as well as the similarities and differences between the two.

What is Treatment?

When someone refers to addiction treatment, they’re referring to the overall process someone goes through in order to get clean and sober from drugs and addiction. When someone enters treatment, the first step is to undergo detox. Detoxing is done in order to rid the body of any and all toxic substances. After all, without the body ridding itself of these harmful substances, it cannot begin to recover. 

The detox process should be done under the care and supervision of trained medical professionals. This is due to the nature of detoxing and the toll it takes on the body. Detox can be done at either a local medical facility, a dedicated detox center, or a treatment facility that also offers detox services such as Phoenix Rising. Detoxing at a professional facility is important as attempting to self-detox can be incredibly dangerous and even life-threatening.

After detox has been completed, the next step is to enter into a treatment program for your addiction. At this time a treatment professional will likely recommend either a form of inpatient or outpatient treatment. Such treatment recommendations are based on the substances that individuals are addicted to and the severity of their addictions. 

Regardless of which form of treatment, individuals will undergo a variety of treatments and therapies. Examples of these treatments and therapies include individual and group counseling, behavioral therapies, and support groups. During addiction treatment, you’ll even learn new and helpful life skills that you can apply after you leave treatment to help with your sobriety. 

What Is Recovery?

Recovery is the overall process in which someone gets and remains sober for the remainder of their life. In other words, recovery is what a person is from the day they get sober until the day they die. 

This means that treatment is one part of the overall recovery process. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), recovery is defined as a process of change through which people improve their health and wellness, live self-directed lives, and strive to reach their full potential. 

Recovery is different for everyone, which can make it tricky to pinpoint exactly at times. However, anything you do in order to stay clean and sober on a daily basis is technically considered part of the overall recovery process. 

One of the tools that people tend to find most helpful during the recovery process is support groups. Examples of such support groups include NA, AA, or any other types of 12-step programs. These programs can be great, especially for those who are new in the recovery process as they provide a support system. Support groups programs also provide individuals in recovery with the chance to make friends with other people in recovery. 

Many times people leave treatment and immediately fall back into the same patterns of behavior and social groups that led them down the path to addiction in the first place. Support groups allow for someone who is sober to interact with other sober people and have support as they go down their journey to recovery. 

What Are The Different Stages of Recovery?

While treatment has a defined period of time that it goes on for, recovery never really ends. Someone is in recovery from the day they decide to stop using until the day they die. Everything they do in life is part of the overall recovery process. That being said, there are different stages of recovery. There are six stages to be exact. Let’s take a look at these six stages of the overall recovery process.


This first stage of the recovery process occurs when the person who is suffering from addiction realizes that for them no amount of drug or alcohol use is safe or possible. It is at this point when the person finally accepts that they have a problem and they can no longer continue to drink or do drugs.


During this stage of recovery, people will begin to experience the symptoms associated with withdrawal. This is also the stage of recovery where seeking medical detox is so important since many people are tempted to start using again to get rid of their withdrawal symptoms. During this stage of recovery, individuals will also begin to separate themselves from the temptations that lead to their addictions in the first place, such as social circles, places, or even activities.

Early Recovery

The 3rd stage of recovery is known as early recovery. During the early recovery stage, individuals will establish new and sober lifestyles that are free of all toxic substances. It’s also during this stage in which individuals will start to build their new sober relationships which will help aid in their long-term recovery. As we mentioned earlier, attending support group meetings can be a great way to do this. 

Middle Recovery

During this stage of the recovery process is when you will make amends and repair any past damage to relationships that were caused by your addiction. This stage is crucial in helping to develop your new sober and balanced lifestyle. While this stage of recovery might be uncomfortable, it is an important one.

Late Recovery

The late recovery stage is also crucial as it allows for individuals to identify any and all irrational thoughts that they may have had while they were suffering from addiction and change them. These irrational thoughts or beliefs can be about the people in recovery themselves, others, or even the world as a whole. Regardless of what or who people’s irrational thoughts are about during recovery, it is important to identify and eliminate them. 


The final stage in the recovery process is known as maintenance. This is the part of the recovery process that will continue for the rest of your life. During the maintenance recovery process, individuals will maintain their sobriety through continued growth, development, and management of their lives. 

What’s The Difference Between Treatment and Recovery?

As we touched on earlier, while many people assume that treatment and recovery are one and the same, they aren’t. Treatment is a step in the overall recovery process, however, recovery, as a whole, encompasses every aspect of your life as you continue your journey of sobriety. In short, treatment is the first step that you take to stop your addiction, where recovery changes your life moving forward, even after treatment has been completed. 

Want To Know More About The Difference Between Treatment and Recovery?

Recovery is the lifelong process of not just getting sober but staying sober. Treatment is a crucial first step in that overall recovery process. Thus, without getting treatment for addiction, you can not truly begin the recovery process. 

Receive Treatment and Recovery for Addiction At Phoenix Rising Recovery

Here at Phoenix Rising Recovery, we understand just how crucial the detox and treatment process is to the recovery process and people’s overall sobriety. That’s why we offer a variety of treatment options designed specifically for our patients and their individual needs. 

In addition to our more traditional treatment methods, we also offer a variety of alternative treatment methods, including:

If you or someone you know is suffering from addiction and could benefit from our services, contact us today. We want everyone that comes to see us to not only get clean and sober, but also learn the life skills needed to go on and live happy, healthy, and sober lives.