How Long Does It Take to Get Sober?

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How long does it take to get sober from drugs or alcohol? Getting sober is a unique journey for each individual, and the timeline can vary based on several factors. Understanding the general progression can provide insights into what to expect during the process of getting sober from alcohol or drugs, though.

Today, you will discover:

  • How long does it take for someone to get sober?
  • How to help someone get sober, even if they don’t want help.
  • Getting sober from alcohol as safely and comfortably as possible.
  • How do I get sober today?
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Getting Sober Timeline

Every individual’s journey to sobriety is unique, and the timeline can vary depending on various factors such as the substance of abuse, the duration of addiction, individual resilience, and the support system available. That said, there are common stages and milestones that many people experience during the process of getting sober. Here is a general timeline that can provide a framework for understanding how long to get sober.

Week 1: Acknowledgment and Decision

The first step in the journey to sobriety is acknowledging the presence of a problem and making a firm decision to change. This often involves facing the consequences of addiction and recognizing the negative impact it has had on various aspects of life. During this initial week, individuals may reach out for support, research treatment options, or seek professional guidance to plan how to get sober long-term.

Week 1-2: Detoxification

For individuals struggling with substance addiction, the next phase involves detoxification, which is the process of removing toxic substances from the body. Detoxification can be challenging and may involve withdrawal symptoms, both physical and psychological, as the body adjusts to the absence of the substance. Medical supervision and support during this phase are crucial to ensure safety and manage any potential complications.

Weeks to Months: Early Recovery

The early recovery stage is marked by ongoing physical and emotional adjustments. During this time, individuals may experience fluctuating emotions, cravings, and triggers. They may also begin to learn coping mechanisms, develop healthy routines, and explore therapeutic interventions such as counseling or support group participation. Building a strong support network and engaging in activities that promote wellness and self-care are essential during this phase.

Months to Years: Continued Progress

As individuals progress further into their sobriety journey, they begin to experience greater stability and increased self-awareness. This phase often involves ongoing therapy or counseling to address underlying issues contributing to addiction and to develop healthy strategies for maintaining sobriety. Engaging in support groups like AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) or SMART Recovery and attending recovery meetings become valuable tools for long-term success. During this stage, individuals may also work on rebuilding relationships, setting goals, and pursuing personal growth.

Maintenance and Beyond

Sobriety is a lifelong commitment, and the maintenance phase involves ongoing efforts to sustain a substance-free life. Individuals in this phase continue to prioritize self-care, practice relapse prevention strategies, and remain connected to their support network. They may also serve as a source of inspiration and support for others who are on their own journey to recovery. Over time, the focus shifts from simply abstaining from substances to embracing a fulfilling and purpose-driven life.

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Best Way to Get Sober

While the journey to sobriety is deeply personal, several approaches have proven effective in supporting individuals through the recovery process. Here are some best practices to consider, whether you want to get sober yourself or you want to know how to get someone sober:

  • Seek professional help: Consulting addiction specialists, therapists, or rehab centers provides invaluable guidance and support tailored to individual needs.
  • Individualized treatment plans: Recognizing that each person’s journey is unique, personalized treatment plans encompass a combination of therapies, such as CBT (cognitive-behavioral therapy), motivational interviewing, and holistic approaches.
  • Incorporate therapy and counseling: Addressing underlying issues, developing coping mechanisms, and promoting emotional well-being are essential aspects of sustained sobriety. Individual or group therapy, counseling sessions, and specialized programs can be instrumental in the recovery journey.
  • Support groups and peer support: Engaging with others who have shared experiences fosters a sense of belonging and understanding. Support groups like AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) or NA (Narcotics Anonymous) offer a supportive network that promotes accountability and shared wisdom.
  • Holistic lifestyle changes: Adopting healthy habits, such as regular exercise, balanced nutrition, and mindfulness practices, can enhance physical and mental well-being, reducing the risk of relapse.


How long does it take to get sober from alcohol?

The duration to get sober from alcohol can vary depending on factors such as the individual’s level of dependence and the presence of co-occurring conditions, but it generally takes weeks to months for the body to detoxify and recover.

How long does it take to get sober from drugs?

The timeline to get sober from drugs varies depending on the specific substance and individual factors, but it typically involves a detoxification phase followed by ongoing recovery efforts that can last months to years.

How do you get completely sober?

To achieve complete sobriety, it is beneficial to seek professional help, engage in therapy or counseling, build a strong support system, and make positive lifestyle changes that support long-term recovery.

What is the hardest day of sobriety?

The hardest day of sobriety can vary for each person, but it often occurs early in the process when cravings and withdrawal symptoms may be intense, and the individual is adjusting to life without substance use.

Is it hard to stay sober?

Staying sober can be demanding due to various factors, including triggers, cravings, and the need for ongoing support. That said, with the right strategies, resources, and a strong commitment to recovery, it is possible to maintain sobriety and live a fulfilling life in long-term recovery.

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Get Help Getting Sober at Ohio Recovery Centers

If you arrived here today searching for “How long does it take for someone to get sober”, you should now understand more about the true meaning of sobriety. At Ohio Recovery Centers, we specialize in the outpatient treatment of all types of addictions, including alcohol addiction.

Choose from the following treatment programs at our Cincinnati rehab:

All our treatment programs combine behavioral, holistic, and pharmacological therapies. After completing an alcohol addiction treatment program, you will leave our facility with a robust aftercare plan and the option of engaging with ongoing therapy if required.

Call 877-679-2132 for immediate assistance combating alcohol use disorder.

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Joseph Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore has been working in the addiction industry for half a decade and has been writing about addiction and substance abuse treatment during that time. He has experience working for facilities all across the country. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.
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Christopher Glover CDCA

My name is Christopher Glover, and I am from Cincinnati, Ohio. I am currently in school and working to grow in competence to better support our community. As a recovering individual I know the struggles that you or a loved one can go through and that there is help for anything you may be struggling with.

The hardest part is asking for help and we are here as a team to best support you and your decision to start your journey towards a better future. Connect with Chris on LinkedIn

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Amanda Kuchenberg PRS CDCA

I recently joined Ohio Community Health Recovery Centers as a Clinical Case Manager. I am originally from Wisconsin but settled in the Cincinnati area in my early 20s.  My career started in the fashion industry but quickly changed as I searched to find my drive and passion through helping others who struggle with addiction. 

As someone who is also in recovery, I wanted to provide hope, share lived experience, and support others on their journey.  I currently have my Peer Recovery Support Supervision Certification along with my CDCA and plan to continue my education with University of Cincinnati so I can continue to aid in the battle against substance addiction. Connect with Amanda on LinkedIn.

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Patrick McCamley LCDC III

 Patrick McCamley (Clinical Therapist) is a Cincinnati native who has worked in substance use disorder/co-occurring mental health disorder treatment since 2019. Patrick received his bachelors degree in psychology from University of Cincinnati in 2021 and received his LCDC III (Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor) license from the Ohio Chemical Dependency Professionals Board in 2022. Patrick has worked in Clinical Operations, Clinical Case Management, and Clinical Therapy throughout his career.

Patrick has tremendous empathy and compassion for the recovery community, being in recovery himself since 2018. Patrick is uniquely qualified to be helpful because of the specific combination of his academic background and his own experience in recovery.

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Bill Zimmerman CDCA

Bill Zimmerman is a Greater Cincinnati Area native who has worked in substance use disorder/co-occurring mental health disorder treatment since 2018. Bill received his (Chemical Dependency Counselor Assistant) license from the Ohio Chemical Dependency Professionals Board in 2020.

Bill has worked in Clinical Operations in both support and supervision, and Program facilitating and 12 step recovery support during his career. Bill has a passion for the recovery community, having been in recovery himself since 1982. Connect with Bill on LinkedIn

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Taylor Lilley CDCA, PRS

Growing up in Louisiana with addiction running rampant on both sides of my family. A life away from drugs and alcohol seemed impossible for someone like me. I remember what it was like sitting across from someone thinking there is no way they could ever understand what I was going through.

Sharing my experience offers a credibility and a certain type of trust with clients that only someone who has walked down this road can illustrate. To immerse myself further into the field of addiction, I am currently studying at Cincinnati State for Human and Social Services.  I hope I never forget where I came from, if I can do it, so can you!

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Thomas Hunter LSW

Hello my name is Thomas Hunter. I was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. I am a licensed social worker.In my scope of practice I have worked in the areas of mental health and recovery for thirty years. The clients I have worked with in my career have ranged in age from seven to seventy.

I strive each day to serve my purpose of helping those in need and I believe I do so by utilizing all of my experiences to accomplish my goal of supporting those who desire to establish their sobriety and maintain it in their recovery. Connect with Thomas on LinkedIn.

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Mary D.Porter,LICDC

 My name is Mary D. Porter. I received my Masters of Social Work in 2008 from The University of Cincinnati. I received My Licensed Independent Chemical Dependency Counselor Licensure in 2001. I retired from The Department of Veteran Affairs Medical Center on April 14, 2014. Currently, I am the Associate Clinical Director for The Ohio Community Health Recovery Centers in Cincinnati.. Due to the fourth wave of the Opioid Epidemic in 2019,  I decided to enter back into the workforce to assist the addicted population.

The overdoses were astounding and I wanted to help.  I consider myself  to be an advocate for the addicted population. My compassion, resilience, empathy, wisdom, knowledge, experience and  love I have for this forgotten population goes beyond words. I consider what I do for the addicted population as a calling versus a “career,” because I too was once an “addict and alcoholic.” Today I am 45.5 years alcohol and substance free.

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Ben Lemmon LCDC III

Hello, my name is Ben Lemmon, and I’m the Vice President and Clinical Director at Ohio Community Health Recovery Centers. I’ve been working in the addiction and mental health field since 2013 and decided to enter the field after overcoming my own challenges with addiction.

When I first meet a client, I always explain to them that the reason we are meeting is because they are not capable of obtaining or maintaining sobriety, and my goal is to create a person that can maintain sobriety. I believe a person’s personality is made up of their thoughts, feelings and actions and my job is to help clients identify the thoughts, feelings and actions that have them disconnected from recovery and provide them with the tools to live a healthy and happy life. Connect with Ben on LinkedIn