The Matrix Model – Stages of Recovery

July 11, 2014

By Terence T.Gorski, Author


The Matrix Model for Cocaine Addiction was originally developed by Richard Rawson.

I believe the recovery chart depicted her is modified from the framework of the Matrix Recovery Model.

The model is developmental in nature (i.e. their are a series of developmental steps and stages of recovery). The idea of Post Acute Withdrawal is built into the model by intruding the the concept of “hitting the wall” which is a severe episode of PAW. PAW however, was not specifically mentioned in early versions of the model.

The Matrix Model was popular during the years of “The Cocaine Epidemic” in the 1980”s and 1990’s. It was an empirical model growing out of treatment experience and I clinical practice.

As with many other models it was expanded to include all addictive substances without any real evidence it was valid. It implies progressive recovery, with relapse as a treatment recovery failure.

There is no specific relapse prevention plan or emergency plan to stop relapse quickly should it occur. As a result the model, toy knowledge, has not adapted to integrate the chronic life-style related disease model and the need for relapse prevention and management of the course of the entire lifespan.

The model has been used in many programs and helped many people to recover.

The Matrix Model has been recognized as an evidence-based program and practice by NREPP –

I cannot locate the specific diagram and it is not referenced. The idea that neurological symptoms of recovery (PAW) can be predicted by days abstinent is controversial. Stage of addiction, type and amount of drug(s) used, age and health status of the patient, type of treatment, nutrition and stress management effect the progression of recovery.


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