Stages of Change in Sobriety

Understanding the five stages of addiction recovery can be useful for newly sober individuals and their friends, loved ones, and extended family members.

People get sober for many reasons. Maybe you were court-ordered to go to treatment, or your family had an intervention, and you were given ultimatums, or maybe you have hit rock bottom and can’t go on living in hell called addiction. 

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMSHA): 

Almost 22.5 million people reported using an illegal drug in the prior year. Over 20 million people have substance use disorders, and 12.5 million Americans reported misusing prescription pain relievers in the past year. Seventy-eight people die every day in the United States from an opioid overdose, and those numbers have nearly quadrupled since 1999. Yet, even though we have treatments we know are effective, only one in five people who currently need treatment for opioid use disorders is receiving it.

Unfortunately for most addicts, it takes more than one try to get sober. Mostly because it wasn’t their choice, it was forced, or they just weren’t ready to get sober. To get sober and live a life of recovery is to have the willingness, want, and drive to do whatever it takes and take suggestions from sober people who have more time than you.

What Are the Stages of Change in Addiction Recovery?

Understanding the five stages of addiction recovery can be useful for newly sober individuals and their family members. Each stage clearly describes recognizing and admitting the problem, preparing for addiction treatment, and dealing with life after treatment for alcohol and drug abuse. Moreover, it’s an integrated theory compatible with most evidence-based and holistic treatments, like the 12-step program and behavior therapy.

Stages of Change in Sobriety

Getting Ready For a Life in Recovery

Change can often be a nebulous term. Many people may think of change as a singular decision or a pivotal moment that marks a new chapter in someone’s life. For others, change can be viewed as a myriad of layers of internal contemplation that progress throughout different stages. Psychologists and mental health professionals have several theories surrounding the psychology behind major life changes.

Understanding what motivates one to change, for better or worse, is paramount in improving their physical and mental health condition. One of the most universally accepted models is the Transtheoretical model, also known as the Five Stages of Change. This model illustrates change as a multi-stage process in which an individual is in multiple mindsets before, during, and after a major change. They are broken down into the following stages:

  • The Precontemplation Stage of Change This Stage of Change is the addict still using and not yet knowing they need to make a change. They may still have negative consequences such as DUIs or substance-related arrests, family or friends expressed concern, or interventions. These consequences usually lead to them realizing they need help.
  • The Contemplation Stage of Change – At this stage, addicts begin to understand that they can’t keep living the way they are and starts to think they need to make a change. 
  • The Preparation Stage of Change – This stage is the addict looking at options for help. 
  • The Action Stage of Change – This stage is the most important and noticeable. This is where the addict makes a physical change and enrolls in treatment, and from there, the individual takes their first steps in a new life in recovery.
  • The Maintenance Stage of Change – This stage occurs after treatment is completed, but even though someone is finished with the treatment process, one must still take steps to decrease the risk of relapse. By exercising the new skills acquired in treatment, people in recovery can better avoid potential relapse triggers, cope with stressors, and navigate any spikes in cravings.

As addiction becomes more and more widespread, more programs are added to treatment facilities to help addicts. However, in order for an individual to be helped in breaking free from addiction, that person must be willing to make changes in their life, starting with the most important change: deciding to enter addiction treatment.

Get Help Today from On Call Treatment Center

On Call Treatment Center is an addiction treatment program located in the heart of Waltham, Massachusetts. Our carefully developed vision of quality clinical care includes Partial Hospitalization (PHP) and Intensive Outpatient (IOP) programs. 

Our medical, clinical and therapeutic team of experienced and compassionate professionals is available around-the-clock to treat all symptoms associated with addiction and the underlying causes. This addiction recovery experience is ideal for individuals ready for world-class drug or alcohol treatment who have been suffering from a substance use disorder.