How many times have you thought about starting a diet or quitting nicotine or caffeine without doing anything about it? Or lapsed back into bad habits after hitting a speed bump on the road to lifelong addiction recovery? Understanding the stages of change can help you in achieving your goals, particularly when overcoming your destructive addictions is at the top of your list.
To uncover the secret to successful personal change, three eminent psychologists, James O. Prochaska, Ph.D., John C. Norcross, Ph.D. and Carlo C. Diclemente, Ph.D., studied more than 1,000 people who were able to positively and permanently alter their lives. They discovered that change does not depend on luck or willpower but is a process that can be successfully managed by anyone who understands how it works.
In their book, Changing for Good: A Revolutionary Six-Stage Program for Overcoming Bad Habits and Moving Your Life Positively Forward, the authors describe the six stages of change and how you can implement positive personal change and make your favorable new habits a permanent part of your life.
Prochaska, Norcross and DiClemente initially developed this model to describe the process of adopting any healthy behavior. However, it is now one of the most widely used and accepted models within the field of substance abuse and addiction treatment.
“At The Discovery House, we provide a safe environment in which addicts and alcoholics can identify the issues that led them to self-destructive behaviors. Our understanding staff meets every resident where they are within their own stage of change,” said David Dequa, program director of The Discovery House. “We help clients learn how to define and address the underlying core issues that present inner discord, self-concept challenges, and isolating behaviors so that recovery can be achieved.”
The Six Stages of Change in Addiction Recovery
Stage One: Pre-Contemplation
You are not considering change and are unaware of the negative consequences of your actions. You may be certain that the perceived positive aspects of your substance abuse outweigh the negatives. There is no apparent need for change and you are unlikely to take action soon.
Stage Two: Contemplation
You have become aware of some of the problems caused by your substance abuse but feel ambivalent about change and have not yet decided to commit to abstinence. You explore the potential to change your behavior but lack commitment.
Stage Three: Preparation
You have concluded that the negatives of your addictive behavior outweigh the positives and have decided to change. You begin to plan steps toward your recovery by committing to treatment. It is important to share your decision to change with the people in your life.
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Stage Four: Action
You take your first active steps toward change, consciously choosing new behaviors, learning to overcome the tendencies toward unwanted behaviors and engaging in change. This stage is when you try positive behaviors and develop new life skills. You identify high-risk situations and develop coping strategies to overcome them.
Stage Five: Maintenance
You are sustaining the changes and self-control accomplished in Stage Four on a long-term basis. This is a good opportunity to evaluate your present actions and redefine your long-term sobriety maintenance plans, including relapse prevention.
Stage Six: Termination
At the termination stage, you will have adopted a new self-image consistent with desired behavior and don’t surrender to temptation in any situation. You appreciate your healthier and happier life by expressing confidence and self-control. The relapse prevention plan has evolved into the pursuit of a meaningful and healthy lifestyle. As such, relapse into the former way of life becomes almost unthinkable.
But long-standing change often involves setbacks. It is important to note that most successful self-changers go through the stages three or four times before they make it through the cycle of change without at least one slip. Most will return to the contemplation stage of change. Slip-ups give us the opportunity to learn.
Utilizing the Stages of Change in Addiction Recovery
The Stages of Change model helps clinicians identify which therapeutic strategies would be best suited for a particular addiction therapy participant at a particular point in time. For instance, motivational interviewing is most suitable for people in the pre-contemplation and contemplation stages of change. On the other hand, relapse prevention is a strategy that is most suitable for people in either the action or maintenance stage of change. As therapy participants move through the various stages of change, addiction specialists adjust their therapeutic approach to match the participant’s changing motivation.
The Discovery House, located in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles, utilizes a variety of addiction treatment programs that allow each client to receive the individualized care they deserve as they progress through the Stages of Change. The pet-friendly Southern California rehab center offers a variety of inpatient drug treatment programs to help drug addicts and alcoholics achieve and maintain sobriety.
Each client at The Discovery House receives customized care to end their dependence on prescription drugs, cannabis, heroin and other opiates and/or alcohol in order to live a sober life. To learn more about this visit The Discovery House or call (855) 203-7930.
How do the #StagesofChange reflect your journey toward a clean and sober life? Do you or a loved one have experience in a sober living residence? Please share with us on Facebook or Twitter @TDHRehab #Recovery