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5 Stages Of Change: A Model For Helping Substance Use Disorder?

People on the outside looking in at their loved one experiencing alcohol or drug addiction often become exasperated by their behavior. A period of abstinence can be swiftly followed by binges, characterized by chaotic and selfish behavior.  

However, what is sometimes not apparent for the people witnessing this is that the person acting this way is often in a great deal of pain. Their drinking, using, and related behaviors? It’s often their way of escaping this pain. 

Maintaining sympathy during these times is easier said than done, and compassion fatigue can occur. Compassion fatigue means you may lose sight of the reasons you care for the person, lost in a mire of thought about their current and previous behavior. However, the good news is that everyone can achieve recovery as long as they take specific steps.  

Those embarking on a journey of sobriety should keep in mind to stay positive whenever possible. It is important for them to know that if the proper steps are taken, a day at a time, they will be able to overcome addiction and lead happy and free lives. Learning about the five stages of change can help you understand what may help your loved one achieve lasting sobriety.  

Stage One: Precontemplation 

In the pre-contemplative stage, the person struggling with addiction is not yet considering that they need to change. At this point, your loved one will probably become defensive, rationalizing their drug and alcohol abuse, and dismissing any suggestion that they get help. 

During this stage, professionals who are trained in helping people achieve sobriety aim to help your loved one move from pre-contemplation to contemplation by assisting them to become aware of the consequences of their addiction. Motivational interviewing techniques are often used to assist the client in considering a change. 

Stage Two: Contemplation 

During the contemplation stage, your loved one will become aware of the ramifications of their addiction and engage in some thought about the related issues. This stage, a progression from pre-contemplation, is characterized by the client weighing up the pros and cons of getting help. Motivational interviewing will continue to be used. 

Stage Three: Preparation 

At the preparation stage, your loved one will commit to change. Professionals seek to empower the gathering of information about options for change and assist the addicted person in looking for methods of recovery that suit them. This stage might involve looking for treatment centers or recovery coaches. 

Stage Four: Action 

In this stage, the individual now knows that they have the opportunity to change and are taking steps towards this.  A person in the action stage might have enrolled in a program at a treatment center and be working towards addressing the issues that have kept them in the vicious cycle of addiction.   

Skills gained at this point may include relapse prevention work to help the person see potential scenarios where they might fall back into using. Your loved one may also create personal inventories, where they look into their past to see patterns of behavior that have kept them stuck in their addiction. 

Stage Five: Maintenance and Recovery 

In the final stage, maintenance and recovery, your loved ones will learn how to successfully avoid triggers. At this point, being a part of the community is essential.  Their community might be a group that is regularly attended, or an alumni program offered by a treatment center. 

In the maintenance and recovery stage, it is crucial for your loved ones to stay connected and not lose focus of where they have come from and the progress that they have made. If the person has reached this stage, they should feel proud of how far they have come while being aware that they need to maintain a certain level of vigilance to help themselves from falling back into addiction. 

Change Is Not a Sudden Event 

The process of the five stages of change is much easier said than done, and it should be expected that there will be setbacks along the way. Change is not a sudden event and is instead a process that unfolds over time. As this process continues, the motivation of a person changes, and they are able to not only leave behind the wreckage of the past but also grow into an entirely new person. 

It is essential throughout the process to stay positive, whether it is you or your loved one who is going through addiction and remember that no matter how bad your situation feels at the time, that many others have come on the path before you. There is help available at any time. 

The helplessness which you can feel while seeing your loved one be in partial denial of the ramifications of their addiction to substances can be heart-breaking. It is essential that when your loved one is experiencing this, they need to seek help as soon as possible. 

When you visit, we will help you explore the best conventional and alternative models of detox treatment and therapies local to you. Our goal is to help educate you to make an informed decision about your health and wellbeing. We accomplish this by providing information about treatment centers that will offer you the best resources to improve your mental and substance use disorders. 

Our web page also includes the best treatment or transitional living arrangements in your community. Our goal is to advocate for you so that you can act and become an advocate within your community. Learn more by visiting our website today.

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