5 Steps to Recovery: A Guide for Addicts

In 1977, James Prochaska and Carlo Di Clemente developed the Stages of Change model, which evaluates a person's readiness to enter recovery and provides strategies or processes of change that guide the person to take action. This model is useful in helping treatment professionals and family members better understand an addict's motivation to recover. The Stages of Change model consists of five steps: pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, and maintenance. Each step is essential in the recovery process and requires different strategies and approaches from the treatment team.

The pre-contemplative stage of change is when people are not considering the need for change and, therefore, are not interested in seeking help. At this stage, the addicted person is likely to become defensive and rationalize drug and alcohol use. When working with an individual in the pre-contemplative stage, the recovery team helps the client move toward contemplation by helping them adjust their approach to control (i.e. become more aware of the real consequences of their addiction).

The treatment team will also use motivational interviewing techniques to help the client consider the possibility of a change. During the preparation phase, people have committed to making a change. Often, clients will unconsciously try to skip this stage and jump straight into action; however, it's important that the treatment team appropriately support the client by preparing to take action. During this stage, counselors will train the client to gather information about potential change options, seeking recovery supports that meet their personal interests.

In a holistic treatment approach, as found in Journey Pure, the treatment team will continue to support the change preparation stage once the client enters treatment and will develop a personalized treatment plan for each client that best suits their individual needs. By itself, Stage 1 does not separate the individual from their substance abuse, but it is a crucial time that is crucial to starting the recovery process. After the addict has recognized their addiction and has taken more time to learn about it, it's time for them to start figuring out what their options are for getting help. This can happen in a number of ways, such as talking to friends and family who have been in their position before or doing more research online. At this stage, recovery shifts from reflection, research and desire to actively embark on the path to drug liberation. Stage 3 is where many addicts decide to visit a rehabilitation center to explore the possibility or even take the leap and enter a rehabilitation program. If the addict has not yet been admitted to a rehabilitation center, this occurs at the beginning of Stage 4, which is characterized by the individual putting their recovery plan into practice and making the effort to carry it out.

The first step will be to choose what type of recovery program would be best for them. There are many different options to choose from, but the most effective of them is known as hospital care, which is when the patient resides in the facility while receiving treatment. Because addiction is a chronic and progressive brain disease, there is no way to completely cure it. Instead, the most that can be done is to help a person overcome their substance abuse and provide them with the tools they need to maintain abstinence on a daily basis. Until now, the addict and the staff of a rehabilitation center have been working to achieve this goal. By the time Stage 5 begins, the individual will have made a great effort to overcome their substance use disorder and will have received the tools needed to begin recovery.

To facilitate this stage, it is important that addicts have a support system, not only in times of difficulty but also in moments of success and daily life. Before leaving rehabilitation, each patient should receive a personalized aftercare plan that is conducive to their recovery efforts. This can include a variety of options but some common features of an aftercare plan include intensive outpatient counseling, vocational resources, family therapy and introduction to a local community in recovery such as AA or NA. This comprehensive plan is essential in Stage 5 as the support and empathy of others allows the person to maintain their recovery goals. The Stages of Change model provides an effective framework for understanding addiction recovery. It's important for addicts and those supporting them through recovery understand each step in order for them to make progress towards sobriety.

By recognizing where they are in their journey towards sobriety they can better understand what strategies they need in order to move forward.

Ginger Baney
Ginger Baney

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