The Six Stages of Change in Addiction Recovery

When an individual embarks on addiction recovery, the essential goal is to “change” by eliminating drug or alcohol use from his or her life permanently. But recovery is more complex than just making a decision and achieving it – the individual must have a genuine desire to change and be committed to follow through that desire. Those on the journey to recovery attest to the fact that the recovery process consists of complex stages. Authors Prochaska and DiClemente in their book, Changing for Good, mention that there are six stages of change in the addiction recovery process. Below are a synopsis of those stages:

Pre-Contemplation: In this stage, individuals struggling with drug abuse try to justify their behavior with little desire for change; they might still be denying the existence of the addiction problem that is hurting them.

Contemplation: At this point, the individual is aware of the impact that drug or alcohol abuse has had on his/her life and may be considering a positive change by seeking treatment. However, the contemplator is doing just that, contemplating. He/she might want to change but might not be ready to commit to it.

Preparation: After finally realizing the liability of using drugs and alcohol and the impact it has had on his or her life, this is where the individual starts to make plans to find resources for therapeutic intervention – this means making timelines or verbal/written agreements with self or with others.

Taking action: This is the step where the plan is put into action. Usually, this is the start of an inpatient or outpatient rehab program, attending AA or NA meetings or talking to counselors. People in this action stage are motivated to succeed and have found the support they need to do so. They will continue on their recovery path with the goal of achieving a drug and alcohol-free life. This stage lasts approximately three to six months.

Maintenance: Sustaining healthy habits that were learned through the treatment phase is called the maintenance phase. Due to the fact that substance use disorder is a chronic disease, the risk of relapse is always present. Individuals at this stage have learned the tools and skills needed to maintain their recovery and are mindful of relapse. Those individuals who return to using after this stage can learn from their relapse, and use that knowledge in their fight to become sober again. Often the relapse gives the recovering individual more determination to stay sober the second time around.

Termination: This is the stage where the person with a substance use disorder no longer feels threatened by their drug or drink of choice. Always mindful of their disease and the chance of relapse, they have the confidence to know that living a healthy and happy life without harmful substances is now a reality. They truly thrive in recovery and fear relapse less and less.

If you or a loved one is struggling with substance addiction and would like to explore treatment options, feel free to give us a call at (800) 851-3291. Florida Center for Recovery (FCR) offers addiction treatment with specialized therapies for individuals 18 and older through private inpatient rehab services. Established in 2002, FCR is a medical detox and rehabilitation facility providing comprehensive therapeutic programs to treat addiction and its underlying related mental health conditions. Our addiction treatment programs offer variable lengths of stay, which allows each client to anchor recovery behaviors needed for lasting change.

For more information about our rehab programs, you may also visit our online booklet Florida-Center-for-Recovery-Booklet for a better insight into our diverse comprehensive therapies.

Florida Center for Recovery
Helping Individuals Struggling with Substance Addiction Recover Since 2002.