Stages of Change

If you or a loved one are struggling with an addiction to drugs and alcohol, addiction is widely accepted to be a treatable condition. This means that sustainable recovery from addiction is possible. People seeking positive change or recovery often experience relief and hope to realise that change is a process, and the process is soundly researched and evaluated.  The Transtheoretical Model for Change displays the process of change quite clearly and as a therapeutic tool, allows identification of where an individual is within the model to be effectively determined. This model can facilitate you to better understand your own behaviour, or that of a loved one who is trying to introduce change to assist with rehabilitation and a likely goal of seeking long term recovery.

People seeking recovery from addiction are often looking for an indication or information about the treatment, rehabilitation and recovery process and an explanation that is black and white. But most of the people who have lived with addiction for any amount of your time know that there are that most of the recovery process occurs in the grey area.

In fact, scientists have documented this phenomenon. To know how people set about deciding to form a significant life change, researchers developed the Stages of Change Model, also referred to as the Transtheoretical Model of Change.

Familiarizing yourself with this model can allow you to begin to understand how your own behaviour, or that of a someone you love relates to the model. This information can be a helpful tool to encourage and map change.

According to the Stages of Change model, there are six stages that folks bear once they are considering making a significant change.

They are:

  • Precontemplation.

People at this stage don’t see any problem with their behaviour, and don’t have plans to vary.

  • Contemplation.

At this stage, someone is starting to see that their behaviour is problematic.

  • Preparation or Determination.

After contemplating a change, an individual becomes committed to creating a change.

  • Action.

An individual has decided to initiate the change that they hope will improve their lives.

  • Maintenance.

After taking action, people within the maintenance phase know what they need to do to maintain the change.

  • Relapse.

We might wish to think that after longing the labour of recovery, change is permanent. However, it’s well-known that almost all those who get sober will relapse at some point. Accepting that relapse is an element of recovery can help reduce shame and stigma and encourage people to restart the stages of change as soon as they will.

It’s scary to give some thought to relapse, especially when you’re new in recovery. But putting your head within the sand won’t help you to remain sober. Being frank about the danger of relapse can function motivation to stick to your recovery program. Understanding relapse risk can facilitate your grasp that relapse isn’t the top of meaningful change.

Knowing that creating change could be a fluid and dynamic process can normalize the experiences that you’re likely to possess during your recovery journey.

The same researchers who identified the stages of change also identified ten processes of change that can assist to help motivate people looking to change their lives. For instance, consciousness-raising and increased overall awareness and insight helps you become more alert to unhealthy behaviour. Forming helping relationships can keep you sober and on course.

In order to form lasting change, you have got to see which processes of change resonate the foremost with you. That way, you’ll tap into these sources of motivation when you’re struggling.