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Jellinek Symptoms of Recovery

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Posted On: May 0-6, 2002          Updated On: May 06, 2002
© Terence T. Gorski, 2001

Symptoms Of Recovery Based On The Jellinek Chart

The Jellinek Chart describes that this is what you can expect as you progress in recovery.

1.     Honest Desire for Help
    Alcoholics become willing to admit that they need to get better.

2.     Learns Alcoholism Is an Illness
    The primary treatment for alcoholism is education. Alcoholics need to learn they are alcoholic and can recover. They must learn the relationship between alcohol and life problems.

3.     Told Addiction Can Be Arrested
    Finding out that there is a way that the illness can be arrested is what gives the alcoholic hope.

4.     Meets Former Addicts Normal and Happy
    This is the beginning of the social rebuilding process. Alcoholics find out it is true that there are people who recover from the illness of alcoholism.

5.     Stops Taking Alcohol
    Learning that alcoholism is an illness, finding out it can be arrested, and meeting others who have recovered give alcoholics the courage and the strength to stop drinking.

6.     Assisted in Making Personal Stocktaking
    They begin evaluating their lives in terms of establishing priorities and begin taking an inventory of personal traits that can be utilized or modified or eliminated in the recovery process.

7.     Right Thinking Begins
    With the elimination of alcohol and with the help of others, the recovering person is able to begin making appropriate decisions about how to conduct life.

8.     Physical Overhaul by Doctor
    With the help of a doctor, the person begins improving physically. Physical illness is identified, and appropriate treatment is initiated.

9.     Onset of New Hope
    As the person feels better and thinks better, the sense of hope becomes stronger.

10. Start of Group Therapy
    The person gets involved with a group of people discussing the issues of recovery. It may be AA or a professional group or both.


11. Regular Nourishment Taken
    The person starts eating a balanced diet and feeling better physically.

12. Diminishing Fears of the Unknown Future
    Fears are diminished as confidence increases because of new hope, new relationships, and improved health. Taking things "one day at a time" promotes confidence.

13. Realistic Thinking
    Realistic thinking replaces wishful thinking and pipedreams. The person begins identifying true cause/effect relationships and begins recognizing personal alibi structures.

14. Return of Self-Esteem
    Because of new feelings of control over life, self-esteem is reborn. Self-esteem is directly proportional to the level of control people feel over their own lives. Paradoxically self-control comes by "turning over" unsolvable problems to a higher power and focusing on what is solvable here and now.

15. Natural Rest and Sleep
    Sleep pattern disturbances begin going away. Sleep is more natural and fears concerning sleep patterns are diminished.

16. Desire to Escape Leaves
    The desire to escape decreases as reality becomes less frightening and as control, self-esteem, and self-confidence are restored.

17. Adjustment to Family Needs
    The person becomes reinvolved with the family and becomes aware of and more responsible to needs of other family members.

18. Family and Friends Appreciate Efforts
    The family begins to give positive feedback as they begin to believe that this time the alcoholic is going to make it.

19. New Interests Develop
    Life is no longer just drinking. Until this point, the alcoholic's life has been alcohol centered – obsessed with drinking or obsessed with not drinking. From this point on, ridding self of the obsession and going beyond alcohol-centered thinking becomes the issue.

20. New Circle of Stable Friends
    New interests and lifestyle change enable the person to establish new relationships involving activities other than drinking.

21. Rebirth of Ideas
    Original value systems are rebuilt – usually the value system they had as adolescents.

22. Facts Faced with Courage
    There is less need to run from reality. They can see things as they are and are capable of taking hard and serious looks at self and attitudes.

23. Increase of Emotional Control
    Emotional recovery is taking place, and alcoholics become aware they are able to control their own responses to feeling, anxiety, and stress. Mood swings become less dramatic.

24. Appreciation of Real Values
    They begin to appreciate that they can have some pride, some courage, and some dignity. They develop an awareness of people, and relationships, and a spiritual program.

25. First Steps Toward Economic Stability
    They are able to initiate financial planning and      to take responsibility for their own financial situation.

26. Confidence of Employer
    As work performance improves, the employer is able to see that the person has some future and places more confidence in him or her.

27. Care of Personal Appearance
    A new sense of pride and dignity brings about a change in appearance.

28. Contentment in Sobriety
    The struggle not to drink is no longer the whole focus. The person is finding pleasure in non-drinking activities and having a sense of satisfaction in sobriety.

29. Rationalizations Recognized
    The person is able to catch self in denial and rationalizations before they begin to cause problems.

30. Group Therapy and Mutual Help Continue
    The group help process becomes an important part of the lifestyle. Relating to other recovering alcoholics enables one to be more accepting of self and more comfortable in one’s own situation.

31. Increasing Tolerance
    Recovering alcoholics become more accepting of others, less judgmental of family, less critical of friends. Old resentments are released and appreciation of others increases.

32. Enlightened and Interesting Ways of Life Open Up With Road Ahead to Higher Levels Than Ever Before
    At this point, the person enters into a new phase of recovery – a period of self-assessment followed by a reevaluation of values and birth of a new lifestyle built around new and expanding values.

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