Change never seems to come easily. People find comfort in repeating patterns the same way even when addiction does not enter the picture. The uncertainty causes fear of what happens when we leave our familiar habits. A feeling of losing control that can occur when things change makes it even more difficult. However, addiction poses so many dangerous outcomes that breaking away becomes necessary. Knowing the five stages of recovery from addiction can help you make the transition.
Stage 1: Precontemplation
Before you start to consider breaking your addiction, you may tire of getting advice from your spouse if you have one. Even more, you probably do not want to hear it from your parents, friends, boss, or a judge either. At such a point, you resist hearing anything about your need to quit using. In this stage, you can put the responsibility on your family or genetic makeup. You probably know that placing blame somewhere else lets you off the hook. For example, you can avoid taking responsibility by blaming the police for not liking you, your friends, or the pressures of society.
Many people in your situation react the way you do. While you continue to enjoy addictive behavior, you have no interest in hearing about its harmful effects. Unfortunately, your lack of understanding gets in the way of seeing the negative impact of dependence on drugs or alcohol. As long as you protect your habit, your denial of addiction keeps you from reaching the second of the stages of change addiction.
While you may feel that the possibility of recovery does not exist for you, the option of giving up does not work. Unfortunately, many others in precontemplation think that recovery lies beyond their grasp. No one calls it easy, but the fact remains that you can recover at any stage.
Stage 2: Contemplation
Things change quite a bit when you start thinking about making a change at some point but not right away. Admitting to some of the benefits of a drug-free life shows that you know the potential harm you face. Almost everyone knows that you cannot correct a problem until you admit you see it as an issue. Important things can start to happen when you reach this point. It lets you consider cutting down on use or letting up a little on frequency. You may even entertain the idea of quitting. However, while you may listen to others’ advice more than usual, you still think addiction provides benefits you enjoy.
Seeing the danger but wanting to continue to use puts you in a valley of indecision. The conflict may make you willing to consider different approaches to quitting without setting a specific date. It allows you to acknowledge addiction as a problem you want to resolve. Factual information can help you see its causes. Then, you may start to wonder how to find a solution to the problem.
The contemplation stage gets its name from the process of thinking deeply about something. In the stages of change addiction, your thoughts can help you change the direction of your life. Without setting any date, you have the freedom to approach the problem when you see fit. Some people have loosely formed plans to do something within a few months. Most want to think that they can change someday when they feel like it. A sign that you can advance to the next stage occurs when you spend more time thinking about your future than your past.
Stage 3: Preparation
You can tell when you arrive at the preparation stage by making actual plans to do something about addiction. Usually accompanied by a fine-tuning of the strategies, the preparation stage provides an opportunity to get a little more persuasion or convincing. Your willingness to recognize a situation that requires attention may cause you to start an exercise program or seek counseling. In some cases, people decide to go it alone and try to quit addiction without treatment. Whichever path one may choose, the actions show a desire to consider options actively.
Careful planning in stages of change addiction can matter, especially in the preparation stage. Any time a significant change occurs, it affects almost everything in someone’s life. Some ideas that can help you anticipate how to handle the change you expect can give you peace of mind. For example, you can relieve some anxiety by deciding how much you wish to change. You may plan just to cut down to start reducing the harm to your body. On the other hand, you may decide to quit altogether. These steps can give you some guidelines as you develop your plan.
- Set a goal of how much of your addiction to reduce or eliminate.
- Think about what to do instead of using drugs or alcohol.
- See if you can figure out the triggers that make you want to use. Knowing them can help in the recovery process.
- Clear a pathway for yourself by removing obstacles that hold you back. Let your loved ones know that you plan to change. When you can get away from the negative influence of others, it can help you. If they want to use and expect you to join them, it creates a setback for you.
- Find a treatment center where you can find help from people who understand your issues.
Stage 4: Action Stage
Making the move that you planned begins by allowing others to see your changes. The commitment of effort and energy that you put into it helps you reach your goals and the benefits they bring. No question that it attracts the attention of anyone who knows you. It probably brings admiration as well. Even those who still use drugs or alcohol can see your strength and wish the best for you. When you actually call a treatment center for an appointment, it shows the action that can make a vast difference to your life and health.
From this point forward, you can show that you want action that creates significant changes. Among the things that produce important differences, abstinence may stand out. In the action stage, you learn to live without using any substance, hoping to avoid a relapse into old ways. The benefits to you let you stop the behavior that hurts you. You can appreciate caring and understanding yourself in a new way. Treatment center counseling helps keep you on the right path.
The action stage comes into full bloom when you get detox and counseling from trained professionals. With the caring and compassionate support that you can receive, you have a chance to live a drug-free life. The change in your behavior starts when you begin treatment. Not surprisingly, you can expect the experience to produce some stress. However, the strength of your decision to change and the guidance of counselors can make it an exciting time. It may take you a period to adjust to living without drugs or alcohol. Still, your counselors can help you through the rough spots when you go through the stages of change addiction.
Stage 5: Maintenance
Action brings you to the final stage of addiction therapy, but it does not stop there. After you learn about addiction and how it affects your life, you know that you can never allow it to control you again. Many people go through the stages several times, giving you no reason to give up. Instead, it can encourage you once and for all to defeat addiction.
During the maintenance stage, you must work hard to keep the monster out of your life. In therapy, you learn different ways to stay healthy and improve your lifestyle. In addition to staying sober, sports and exercise can help you protect the improvements you make. Likewise, getting enough sleep and attending drug and alcohol support group meetings can strengthen you.
Your journey away from addiction and toward sobriety requires constant vigilance. Even when old habits of coping with stress try to come back into your life, you have the skills to prevent them. Every day in the maintenance stage lets you find new coping mechanisms that prevent relapse. Anything of value deserves protection, and your life without drugs gives you the most valuable possession anyone can have.
Finding the Key to Starting a Drug-free Life
At ReCreate Life Counseling, we respect your desire to live a better life without drugs. We can help you create a new you who does not need drugs or alcohol. Our commitment to helping you achieve your recovery goals offers the path to sobriety. We can structure a treatment program that lets you see yourself as someone who enjoys an addiction-free life.
Our knowledgeable, compassionate and experienced addiction professionals provide the most effective therapies that help you recover from addiction. We hope you choose to call us to schedule an appointment to find out how we can help you.