Much research has been about the disease of addiction and its effects.
Dr. Mark Gold suggests there are 6 stages of change in recovery and explains how each change directly affects behaviors and characteristics associated with addiction. In his article titled “Stages of Change,” Gold explains how the psyche is affected in each stage.
The first stage of change in recovery is precontemplation. In this stage, people are not aware that their drinking, using, or other addictive behavior is a problem. They are not interested in changing anything. This is a stage in which denial and rationalization are prevalent.
The second stage is contemplation, where the individual is “willing to consider the possibility that they have a problem…”(Gold). This stage of change in recovery is where the person is trying to make a decision. They have the information, they are aware that there are negative consequences to their behavior, but they have not fully committed.
The third stage is the pre-action stage, preparation. This is when the conscious decision is made to stop drinking or using. The 12 steps of recovery suggest that all it takes is the slightest bit of willingness to get started, and that is what is occurring in this stage.
The fourth stage of change in recovery is the action phase, where the rubber meets the road and the plan is put into play. Many people at this stage have already started meetings but, if not, this is where they begin attending 12-step recovery support, therapy, counseling, or all of the above.
The fifth stage is the maintenance stage, because the decision to get clean and sober is a lifelong commitment carried out one day at a time. The disease of addiction is not something that can be cured, but there is a solution. The maintenance of the spiritual condition can help prevent relapse. If relapse occurs, which happens to many individuals, people can get right back in the solution.
The sixth stage of change in recovery is termination. As it is said in the rooms of AA, the desire to drink will be lifted. This has happened and continues to happen to people who work the 12 steps.
The stages of change in recovery can be implemented with a 12-step program, therapy, inpatient and/or outpatient care, and other forms of treatment. There is a solution to the disease of addiction, but it requires a decision and action.
Gold, M. (2016). Stages of Change. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 8, 2016.