Stages of Recovery + Stages of Change

Most everyone in the recovery field has heard of the Stages of Change. These mirror the stages of addiction recovery.

These stages of recovery are what most people consider recovery to be. Keep in mind that each person experiences these steps in their own unique way. While their behaviors may manifest differently, advancing forward in the process is what is important.

Beginning with pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action and maintenance. Pre-contemplation is the beginning, where the person does not realize there is a problem quite yet. Then moving to contemplation, they realize there is a problem, but not quite sure what to do about it just yet. The preparation stage is when the person is moving forward and making plans to carry out changes for the future. In Action, the focus is on the attempt at overcoming addiction, moving forward to maintenance where they uphold the change made in preparation.

Professionals, family members and friends are all great assets to an addict as they progress through these stages. Encouragement and guidance can be the difference between success and frustration. As always, having someone who has had similar experiences can help overcoming any challenges, especially the action or maintenance stage. Addiction recovery is not a direct process.

These stages do not necessarily happen in order. There can be movement between the steps, sometimes backwards and forwards depending on the situation. Addiction is a lifetime disease, and these stages are the first steps towards a lifetime of being in recovery.
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