From Addiction to Recovery: Understanding the Stages of Change

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Addiction is a disease that impacts the brain. It affects how you think, feel and act. When your brain is addicted to drugs or alcohol, it doesn’t work right. This can lead to changes in your thoughts and behaviors that make it hard for you to stop using drugs and alcohol despite the harm they cause in your life. Say’s Dr. Julian Mitton, recovery involves changing these behaviors by learning new ways of thinking about addiction and oneself as an addict or alcoholic—and finding better ways of coping with stressors than drug use.

Stage 1: Precontemplation

In stage 1, you’re not even aware that you have a problem. You may not even be willing to admit it and may even deny it when confronted with your addiction by friends, family members or professionals. You are in denial of both the seriousness of your condition and the need for change. In this stage, people tend not to think about changing their behaviors at all because they believe they are happy with who they are and how they live their lives–and why would anyone want to change?

Stage 2: Contemplation

The second stage of change is known as contemplation. In this stage, you are not yet ready to take action and have not yet made up your mind about whether or not you want to change. You may be thinking about the pros and cons of change and considering whether it is a good idea for you. It’s important to note that this is not just a matter of weighing the pros against the cons; it also includes any other factors that might influence your decision in one direction or another (e.g., fear).

Stage 3: Determination

Stage 3 is the stage of commitment. In this stage, you’ll develop a plan for change and make it clear to yourself and others that you’re serious about making a change. You’ll also take action by following through on your plan.

Stage 4: Action

The action stage is the first of four stages that make up the change process. It’s also the hardest one to reach because it requires you to take active steps toward change, which can be difficult if your addiction has become a habit or routine.

When you reach this stage, you will feel ready for change and motivated by it–but that doesn’t mean it will be easy! You may still face internal or external obstacles during this time (such as family members who don’t support your efforts). However, if you are able to overcome these obstacles and continue working towards recovery from addiction, then eventually things will get easier for both yourself and those around you


In this article, we’ve examined the five stages of change and their impact on addiction recovery. We hope that you’ve found it helpful to understand where you are on your journey and what comes next. Remember that recovery is an ongoing process, but with the right tools and support network in place, anyone can make it through!

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