Upon entering inpatient substance abuse programs, patients embark on a journey that will take them through several stages of treatment. Different inpatient substance abuse programs are based on different treatment philosophies, but most seek to ease patients through the difficult early stages while laying the groundwork for a stable, drug- and alcohol-free life in the long run. If you’re considering an inpatient substance abuse program for yourself or a loved one, here are the stages of treatment to expect:

Step 1: Intake

Upon admittance to the facility, the patient meets with a doctor to identify any medical concerns and to set a treatment plan. The doctor will decide how best to approach the detox stage, and they will provide any medications that may be needed to get through the withdrawal stage.

Step 2: Detox

Depending on the nature of the patient’s addiction, the symptoms of withdrawal may begin within a few hours or a couple of days. As the cravings begin to develop, the patient continues to meet with the doctor to help monitor and regulate the symptoms. It’s essential in this stage for the patient to be completely honest about their feelings so that the doctor can make withdrawal as pain-free as possible.

Step 3: Stabilization

Therapy and group meetings may begin as early as the detox stage, but most patients don’t fully get into these things until after the worst of the withdrawal has faded and it becomes time to confront the sober future face to face. While beginning therapy, the patient will also continue to work with his or her doctor to decide upon long-term treatment options (including drug maintenance therapy, if necessary).

Step 4: Release and long-term recovery

Inpatient treatment programs differ in how long they encourage their patients to stay. Some release their patients within a week, while other inpatient substance abuse programs allow their patients to stay for a month or more. But leaving the facility is by no means an end to your rehab. Upon release, you’ll still be in the early stages of your 12-step program (or whatever program you choose to use), and cravings will still be a constant concern. But with regular addiction therapy, family support, and group meetings, you can get through it.